Folger Colloquium: Constructing and Representing Authorship in Early Modern England

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Folger Institute
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Directed by Barbara K. Lewalski, this year-long colloquium is designed for faculty members and advanced graduate students at work on projects pertaining to the conception or practice of authorship in sixteenth and seventeenth century England. Recent scholarship has put under continual revision the Romantics' conception of the independent, sovereign author by emphasizing collaboration, borrowing, coterie audiences, the practices of the printing house, and censorship. Such approaches are welcome from colloquium participants as are investigations into how particular early modern English authors (or groups of authors) themselves wrote about or dealt with such issues as genre, literary tradition, models, imitation, inspiration, Muses, audience, wit, and the value and uses of poetry. Sources include treatises about poetics such as Sidney's Defense of Poesy, letters and other formulations, marginalia, funeral elegies for writers, and fictional portrayals of the authorial role (e.g., Sidney's Philisides and Astrophil, Spenser's Colin Clout, Wroth's Pamphilia). Sessions will generally center upon discussion of participants' pre-circulated works in progress.

Director: Barbara K. Lewalski taught at Harvard and Brown Universities and is now William R. Kenan Jr. Research Professor of History and Literature and of English at Harvard. Some recent books include The Life of John Milton: A Critical Biography (2000, 2003) and Writing Women in Jacobean England (1995). She is currently writing a book on "Early Modern Authorship, Sidney to Milton."

Schedule: Fridays, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m., 4 October, 8 November, 6 December 2013; 17 January, 14 February, 7 March, 18 April, and 9 May 2014.

Apply: 3 June 2013 for admission and grants-in-aid; 3 September 2013 for admission only. Visit for application guidelines and to access the online application form.