It’s been relatively quiet on the RECIRC blog front recently; one of the reasons is that myself, Erin and Sajed travelled to New Zealand for the ANZAMEMS conference in February, leaving Bronagh and Felicity to hold the fort. ANZAMEMS – the biennial conference held by the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies – was hosted at Victoria University of Wellington this year. Conference Chair, Sarah C. E. Ross, will be well known to those interested in early modern women’s writing. At least 220 delegates participated over four days, typically involving six parallel panels at a time.
We were delighted to have the opportunity to road-test preliminary Work Package 3 findings, particularly as we were sited in the specific strand of the conference run by the Early Modern Women’s Research Network. Ours was the first of five panels in this stream: Erin discussed our methods and numbers, Sajed and I our evidence about the miscellany circulation of Elizabeth Tudor and Katherine Philips. In the second session, Kate Aldred discussed the marital letters of Bess of Hardwick and George Talbot, Edwina Christie her ongoing research into readers’ annotations to seventeenth-century romances, and Bronwyn Reddan (whose paper won a prize at the conference’s close) spoke about authorial self-construction in French women’s fairy tales from 1690-1709. The second day kicked off with the third EMWRN panel; first a paper on the pedagogical impulses behind Hester Pulter’s poetry by Kerry Plunkett; then a consideration of female desire in Sidneian sonnet sequences by Rhema Hokama; and finally a study of Arcangela Tarabotti and nuns’ writing in Renaissance Venice from Moira Kenny. Panel 4 assembled papers by Ros Smith, Sarah C. E. Ross and Paul Salzman, focusing on quatrains exchanged between Elizabeth Tudor and her maid Anne Poyntz, the cultural career of Alice Egerton, and the afterlife of Aphra Behn’s posthumous fiction, respectively. The last panel comprised discussions by Sally Fisher of Margaret Beaufort’s will as life writing, Catherine Padmore on her discovery of and creative engagement with the Flemish painter Levina Teerlinc, and Patricia Pender on Princess Elizabeth’s embroidered gift-book covers for her father and stepmother. (See also Matt Firth’s blog for an account of ANZAMEMS.)
Nor was the EMWRN contribution finished; we went on the next day to launch the digital resource devised by the network, the Material Cultures of Early Modern Women’s Writing Digital Archive. Currently, this resource presents editions of works by seven women: Anne Bradstreet, Elizabeth Delaval, Mary Jacob, Elizabeth Melville, Lucy Russell, Mary Stuart, and Mary Wroth. It showcases the range of possibilities for the digital representation of early modern texts while also insisting on the particularity of each writer’s transmission history. Never ones to rest on their laurels, work on a second, aesthetically improved version of this resource is already underway.
Readers may be interested to know that the upcoming spring issue of the journal Early Modern Women features a section dedicated to reviews of major digital resources that propagate and interpret women’s cultural activities in the early modern world.
Our fallow blogging period has also coincided with mid-term reporting to our funding body, the European Research Council. Hard to believe that RECIRC’s more than half-way through! Taking stock of where we are has been an interesting process. So far, we’ve amassed 4,231 individual instances of reception evidence. Currently, our thesaurus includes 1,844 women writers and 6,759 female-authored works. Up to December 2016, we made 49 presentations of RECIRC-related research, including 3 RECIRC-branded panels and 3 keynotes. And this is our 38th blog post.
But of course, the main focus of recent months has been preparations for our conference, ‘Reception, Reputation and Circulation in the Early Modern World, 1500-1800’.
The conference remit reaches far beyond the parameters of the RECIRC project, encompassing cultural production by men and women, from 1500 through to the end of the eighteenth century. Talks will cover such diverse topics as Italian soldiers’ letters during the Dutch revolt, song and musical transmission, the international book trade, translations of French and Spanish poetry and fiction, saints’ reputations, bible-inspired embroidery, and digital approaches to literature and society. It brings together scholars working on the reception of texts, the reputations of authors and individuals, and the circulation of people and things across the world. Up to 57 speakers will attend the conference, hailing from Australia, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, the UK, the USA and Ireland. Happily, it’s also an opportunity to reunite the entire RECIRC team, as we welcome back Wes Hamrick and Emilie Murphy. There will be podcasts and we plan to post a conference report in a future blog (twitter users wishing to follow events should track the hashtag #recirc17). Stay tuned…