SAM Seminar: The Arrival, Form and Meaning of the Early Modern Grotesque in England

When:24 May 2016, 5pm - 6:30pm
Venue:Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building
Who:Liam Semler, University of Sydney
SAM Seminar

This seminar is based on Professor Semler’s introduction to his book manuscript, ‘The Early Modern Grotesque: English Sources and Documents, 1500-1700’—a collection of 287 sources and documents from English Renaissance texts that discuss or refer to the grotesque.

The sourcebook is arranged chronologically and the sources are extensively annotated and cross-referenced. This dataset gives an expansive insight into the discourse of the grotesque from 1500-1700 in England. An aim of the collection is to help widen the scholarly discussion of the early modern English grotesque beyond the usual parameters which tend to prioritise the theories of Wolfgang Kayser and Mikhail Bakhtin.

The primary terms for the grotesque that are traced through two centuries of English writing are ‘grottesco/grotesque/grotesque-work’ and ‘antic/antique/antique-work.’ These are explored in relation to other key terms and English visual imagery. It is hoped that a richer sense of the specifically English grotesque from 1500-1700 will emerge from this analysis of the textual archive.

Liam Semler is Professor of Early Modern Literature at the University of Sydney.

His main research interests are: Shakespeare, literary studies and modern pedagogical systems; early modern literature and the visual arts; the classical inheritance in the Renaissance; and women’s writing from 1500-1700. His current active research projects are on: the construction of the neoliberal student; Margaret Cavendish’s early philosophical works; and the terminology of the ‘grotesque’ in England from 1500-1700.

He is author of The English Mannerist Poets and the Visual Arts (1998) and Teaching Shakespeare and Marlowe: Learning versus the System (2013); editor of the early modern puritan text, Eliza’s Babes; or the Virgin’s Offering (1652) (2001); and co-editor of Storytelling: Critical and Creative Approaches (2013), Teaching Shakespeare beyond the Centre: Australasian Perspectives (2013), What is the Human? Australian Voices from the Humanities (2012), and Word and Self Estranged in English Texts from 1550-1660 (2010).

Finding us
Robert Webster Building is located mid-way off the UNSW main walkway. Map Reference G14. Cinema 327 is located on the third floor. 

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