Staging the Truce in Early Modern History and Literature

Event Date: 
27 Oct 2017

 Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès

 


 

Timothy Hampton reprises Grotius’ definition of truce as “the slumber of war” to show how early modern European playwrights staged that moment of negotiation as a paradox, as “an action that spends action, and by that very gesture reinstates power as potentiality” (Early Modern Diplomacy, Theatre and Soft Power, Palgrave, 2016, 28). A truce is thus a true moment of action, but an action that runs in parallel to a continuing state of war. However, it seems even nowadays to be confused with or taken as a form of static procrastination. If its outcome can prove sterile, the concept of truce and its performance should not be dismissed as fruitless. On the contrary, truce should be seen, as later suggested by Carl von Clausewitz, as an opportunity to be seized. This conference wishes to examine truce, its distinctive nature, and to see beyond its mere use as a delaying tactic.

 

 

If moments of truce are often recounted, their operational dynamic is often overlooked. Hence, this conference wishes to investigate the form, the assets and the challenges of truce in early modern political and religious conflicts. It intends to test the viability of this fundamental concept by confronting historical instances and literary representations of truce. The conference will thus focus on the form and on the agents of truce during historical conflicts as well as the way literature and especially theatre represented and even tested this moment of the “suspension of the actions of war”. The conference will emphasise not only the temporal nature of truce, but its practical and concrete aspects. The conference will also focus on the shortcomings of the concept and the practice of truce, and forensic papers on the failure of episodes of truce are sought.


 

We welcome papers examining early modern European and non-European literature and/or history and dealing with the following issues (non-exhaustive list):


  • the legal forms and languages of truce: how the Roman, canon and feudal laws considered truce
  • historical episodes of truce: the conclusion of truce and treaties, and the viability of a truce
  • the use of art as a form of truce, as a moment of suspension which gives the opportunity of a debate, a dialogue or a resistance
  • material methods of truce: art, printing, editorial projects, literature, gift-giving etc.
  • the dramaturgy of truce in historical negotiations, on the early modern stage
  • the role of truce in literature, in specific genres such as the epic, the tragic and the tragicomic genres
  • the agents of truce: official and non-official agents, ambassadors, traders, marginal political figures...
  • the specificity of truce in religious conflicts: do the form and the method of truce change in the context of religious conflicts?
  • truce and “perpetual negotiation”: Richelieu’s concept and the truce
  • peace and truce: difference or synonymy in terms of action and representation

 

Please send 300-500-word abstracts and a short bio to nrivere@univ-tlse2.fr, jeanne.mathieu1@gmail.com and nathalie.vienne-guerrin@univ-montp3.fr by 1st June 2017. Confirmation of acceptance by 15th June 2017.

 

Submission date for papers: 
01 Jun 2017