CFP: [Renaissance] The Transformation of Vernacular Expression in Early Modern Arts and Scholarship (essay collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Sophie van Romburgh


Essay collection
Intersections: Yearbook for Early Modern Studies, vol. 19, published by
Brill (Leiden, The Netherlands)

The humanist call to revive classical antiquity inspired a parallel
reappraisal of local traditions in early modern culture. Although initially
considered to be old-fashioned, crude and unremarkable, artistic forms with
obvious regional connotations began to be embraced as a powerful
alternative to purely classicizing cultural ideals. Whether conceived of as
a counter-strategy to international movements, as a return to the native
past, or as a straightforward continuation and cultivation of vernacular
traditions, “the local” acts as a mark of distinction in the early modern
cultural context.

We take as a given that transformations of vernacular expression in the
early modern literary, visual and scholarly arts are distinguished from
mere passive literary and artistic influence and have interpretative
significance. Building on this premise, our volume will examine the
conceptualization, strategies and functions of both the cultivation of the
vernacular and cultivation by the vernacular in early modern cultural
production. Particularly, we are interested in contributions that address
one or several of three interrelated areas:

1. The historicity of the vernacular.
Should we perceive vernacular models as historical re-constructions,
recognizable by a determined, historicized style? Or, were vernacular
examples perceived as timeless values, as something akin to the universal
value of Ciceronian rhetoric?

2. The politics of vernacular expression.
How does the deployment of local forms intersect with contemporary
political or religious issues? Were vernacular models from a distinct
historical past thought to register the societal or religious values that
had given them shape? If so, did the employment of those models constitute
a deliberate revival of these past conditions? Does the regional offer a
counter-courtly position? How does printing, with its potential of wide
dissemination of texts and images, corroborate with the use of the local?

3. The art of vernacular cultivation.
Would artists and viewers have understood native visual concepts or
pictorial elements as a kind of visual vernacular language? If so, was this
visual vernacular understood in opposition to styles originating in other
regions or to an “international” classical style, or was there a more
complex dialogue between different modes of expression? To what extent are
local literary styles validated with reference to oral tradition? Can one
speak of a humanist endeavour to write vernacular literary style into an
“alternative canon” â€" one that does not prioritize classical literature?

The collection will be volume 19 of Intersections: Yearbook for Early
Modern Studies, published by Brill Publishers. The volume is scheduled to
appear in 2010, and will be edited by Joost Keizer, Todd Richardson and
Sophie van Romburgh. Proposals for contributions, about 300 words, should
be sent electronically no later than 1 April 2008, to:

Joost Keizer (Art History, University of Leiden),, or
Todd Richardson (Art History, University of Leiden),, or
Sophie van Romburgh (English, University of Leiden),
The submission deadline for essays will be 1 May 2009.

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Received on Fri Jan 25 2008 - 09:26:00 EST