The Early Modern Interdisciplinary Graduate Forum (EMIGF) is a monthly event that provides a platform for PhD candidates, post-docs, fellows, and recent graduates to present work in progress in an informal setting. Each event features two speakers, whose talks are followed by moderated commentary and discussion. EMIGF is hosted by the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies (CRRS) at the University of Toronto, and its mandate is to facilitate dialogue on current topics in early modern research across the disciplines.
Kirsten Schut Historisches Institut, Universität zu Köln
Death and Burial in the Religious Habit, from Medieval Europe to the Colonial Americas
Beginning in the early Middle Ages, lay men and women – usually the very wealthy – sometimes opted to join a monastery when they believed themselves to be dying, in the interests of furthering their chances for salvation. Over time, it became increasingly common to abbreviate the ritual of monastic profession to accommodate the very ill, and even to bury people who had not made a profession at all in the robes of a particular order. Condemned by generations of reformers as mere superstition, this practice nonetheless became hugely popular in many parts of Catholic Europe and Latin America during the early modern period, with nearly 100% of the lay population in some places requesting to be buried in religious habits. This paper will survey the history of this practice and suggest some explanations for its longevity.
Joel Rodgers Department of English, University of Toronto
“Free of the Wit-Brokers”: Jonson and the Corporate Affordances of Poetry
In Discoveries (1640-41), Ben Jonson explains why “good poets” remain “so thin and rare” by suggesting they exist outside the corporate structures of the state. “Every beggarly corporation affords the state a mayor or two bailiffs yearly,” Jonson opines, “but solus rex aut poeta non quotannis nascitur” (i.e., only a king and a poet are not born every year). A poet is no manufactured cog in a corporate machine; instead, for Jonson, the true poet is the one who builds that machine, the one who “can feign a commonwealth,” providing not only poetic but political forms for the state. This talk unearths Jonson’s anxious attempts to disentangle the true poet from English corporations in order to demonstrate how these legal structures, ultimately, inform his poetry. As much as Jonson opposes his ideal poet to corporate officers, he also claims that his poetry incorporates its audiences, morally and ethically, into these frameworks (if they do not already conform to them). Jonson may claim the true poet arises independently from the city and its livery companies, but Jonson equally claims the individual poem, “the end and fruit of his labour and study,” nevertheless “disposes” its readers and audiences to those civic offices and their corporate structures.
You are warmly invited to join us for the CRRS Welcome Reception, immediately following the Early Modern Interdisciplinary Graduate Forum!