CFP: Renaissance Horse Essays (3/21/05; collection)

full name / name of organization: 

Peter Edwards and Kevin De Ornellas are now actively seeking a major
publisher for a proposed inter-disciplinary collection of essays about the
Renaissance Horse. Although a number of leading critics in the growing
field of animal studies have pledged commitment to the book, we are seeking
further abstracts from scholars in all fields.

In his 1606 work, 'The Art of Drawing', William Peacham describes the
intensity with which he confronts an equine subject, examining it 'with his
brest and head looking full in my face'. Early modern English men and women
often confronted the horse head on, in practical, daily business and in
fictional and non-fictional writing. A new collection of essays, edited by
Kevin De Ornellas and Peter Edwards, will interrogate these physical and
cultural confrontations between man and horse. The collection will gather
together a series of scholarly engagements with the early modern horse. For
too long, the ubiquity of the horse in English Renaissance culture has
rendered it paradoxically invisible.

It is clear that writers and commentators in the sixteenth- and
seventeenth-centuries did not just regard the horse as a servile beast of
burden. Possession of a horse conferred status and power and because of its
emblematic qualities the metaphorically constructed horse had a capacity to
illuminate all manner of contemporary anxieties. Contributions should
therefore deal with the horse as it is represented in illustrative arts and
written culture, as well as in the historical records. Throughout, the
horse's head and face must always loom large in every essay. In other
words, although some essays may concentrate on the horse as a culturally
produced register of political, social or gender-related preoccupations, we
stipulate that essay writers should always refer back to the corporeal
beast itself. The collection will embrace and expand the different
approaches taken by De Ornellas and Edwards in their previous work: in his
1988 book, 'The Horse Trade of Tudor and Stuart England' (Cambridge
University Press), Edwards examines only the material horse: he commodifies
it; contrarily, De Ornellas, in his forthcoming Associated University
Press's book, 'The Horse in Early Modern Culture', treats the horse as a
symbolic asset, one malleable and fit for literary appropriation.

The scope of the book requires the deployment of a range of methodologies
and will showcase the research of scholars with varying specialities. The
tone of volume will therefore be determinedly diverse, to an even greater
extent than that found in the essays in the excellent Karen Raber and Treva
Tucker-edited collection, 'The Culture of the Horse' (Palgrave, to be
published in March, 2005). Combined, the essays will present an extensive
and multi-faceted examination of the Renaissance horse: we seek a rounded
view of the equine quadruped. Cultural historians, drama specialists,
economic historians, ethologists, equestrian scholars, fine arts critics,
literary experts, philosophers, poetry specialists, Shakespeareans, social
historians, students of the monarchies, veterinary scientists and
zoologists should all respond!

Taken as a whole the essays will assert and underline the horse's immense
influence on the early modern mindset, will dignify the horse as a proud
animal, and will stimulate readers to join with us in confronting the
Renaissance horse full in the face. Although essays will be painstakingly
researched, meticulously edited and well annotated, they will be accessible
and wide-ranging in their appeal: the collection is inherently
inter-disciplinary in scope and target audience. Aided by a collection of
well-written, complementary but also dialogic pieces by leading animal
scholars, readers will be able to confront and appreciate the early modern
horse with an intensity and totality previously unmatched.

Please send abstracts (between 300 and 500 words) by e-mail to Dr Kevin De
Ornellas, Queen's University, Belfast ( or to
Professor Peter Edwards, University of Roehampton
( Abstracts are due by March 21, 2005. A
considered response will be given to all proposals before the end of April,

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Received on Tue Jan 18 2005 - 15:47:14 EST