RSA 2013 Proposed Panel: Truth and Figuration in Renaissance England

full name / name of organization: 
Jacob Tootalian / University of Wisconsin - Madison
contact email: 

This proposed panel for RSA 2013 (San Diego) is concerned with the relationship between figurative language and intellectual history in Renaissance England. We invite submissions that address the central question: What is the relationship between truth and figuration in the English Renaissance? Related questions include the following: How do writers in different genres and disciplines conceptualize the relationship between figures and truths? How do they use figurative language to convey those truths? How does a specific interpretation of the truth of a figure change a writer's poetics? How do recovered, new, or changing theories of language affect how truth is figured? In what ways do developments in the history of philosophy, science, or religion affect the use of tropes by English writers? What effects do humanism, the Reformation, the civil wars, or the Scientific Revolution have on English thinkers concerned with this question? This panel is interested in papers focused on texts from all genres in the period—poetic, devotional, philosophical, polemical, etc. Relevant topics might include the use of figurative language in the foundational texts of the new science, the changing tropological practices of lyric poets in the seventeenth century, the influence of scriptural hermeneutics on the figurative expressions of Renaissance writers, the relationship between monist metaphysics and poetics, or the persistence of tropes in the so-called new plain style. To propose a paper, please send an abstract of 150 words and a 1-page CV by June 8th to Jacob Tootalian at