The Consortium includes Columbia University, Fordham University, New School University, New York University, Princeton University, Rutgers-New Brunswick, and Stony Brook.
This page will be updated as more information becomes available.
Art History and Archaeology
AHIS GR8310 15th Century Art in the Netherlands. David A Freedberg T 4:10pm-6:00pm.
This course, often taught under the rubrics of “Early Netherlandish Painting” or even “Northern Renaissance Painting” might also be described as “Art in the Age of Van Eyck” or “Painting from Van Eyck to Bosch”. It will begin with manuscripts, and deal with the contribution of great sculptors like Sluter as well. The claim implicit in the title is that the techniques pioneered and perfected by the Van Eycks affected all the other arts too – even though the most original and compelling achievements of the century are probably those of painting, which will form the chief focus of this class. Attention will also be paid to the social and historical contexts of the main works discussed. Several museum visits will be included.
AHIS GR8436 The Global Print 1600-1900. Meredith Gamer. T 10:10-12pm.
Course description to be added when available.
English and Comparative Literature
GR6725 History Play: Ren to Mod. Jean E Howard. R 2:10pm-4:00pm.
Theatricality is an elusive concept and cannot be said to lend itself to a general theory. It points more to a conceptual framework, or better yet a condition, of performative elements which exceed the world of the theater as such. For this reason, we will examine precisely the intersection between what constitutes the boundaries of the theater as an art form and those theatrical elements that permeate various social and political spaces, either institutionally or in everyday life. Readings will range from well known dramatic theory texts (Brecht), to theories of performativity (Butler), to political assessments of the theater (Schmitt) or theatricality as such (Weber). We will also examine certain plays, films, or performance pieces as theoretical texts.
ENGL GU4901 History of the English Language. John H McWhorter. TR 11:40am-12:55pm.
A survey of the history of the English language from before Old English to 21st Century Modern English, with no background in linguistics required. Grammar, dialectal variety, and social history will be covered to roughly equal extents. Requirements include three examinations, one of them an extended take-home exercise. Lecture format with some discussion depending on the topic.
CLEN GU4122. The Renaissance in Europe II. Kathy H Eden. MW 10:10am-11:25am.
How did Renaissance writers imagine Eros? What obstacles does he meet? How does he relate to other kinds of love? To loss and to wit? Readings include Plato, Ovid, and Petrarch for background, then Stampa, Ariosto, Rabelais, Labé, Marguerite de Navarre, Ronsard, Rabelais, Wyatt, Marlowe, Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare, and Donne.
ENGL GU4263. English Literature 1600-1660. Alan Stewart. MW 8:40am-9:55am.
French and Romance Philology
FREN GU4203. French Literature of the 16th Century. M 2:10pm-4:00pm.
Survey of prose: notably, Rabelais and Montaigne, and poetry, the Grands Rhétoriqueurs, Marot, Scève, the Pléiade, Desportes, the religious poets
HIST GR6998 section 008. Daily Life in Medieval Europe. Neslihan Senocak. MW 2:40pm-3:55pm. Open to graduate students with permission of instructor.
This course is designed as traveller’s guide to medieval Europe. Its purpose is to provide a window to a long-lost world that provided the foundation of modern institutions and that continues to inspire the modern collective artistic and literary imagination with its own particularities. This course will not be a conventional history course concentrating on the grand narratives in the economic, social and political domains but rather intend to explore the day-to-day lives of the inhabitants, and attempts to have a glimpse of their mindset, their emotional spectrum, their convictions, prejudices, fears and hopes. It will be at once a historical, sociological and anthropological study of one of the most inspiring ages of European civilization. Subjects to be covered will include the birth and childhood, domestic life, sex and marriage, craftsmen and artisans, agricultural work, food and diet, the religious devotion, sickness and its cures, death, after death (purgatory and the apparitions), travelling, merchants and trades, inside the nobles’ castle, the Christian cosmos, and medieval technology. The lectures will be accompanied by maps, images of illuminated manuscripts and of medieval objects. Students will be required to attend a weekly discussion section to discuss the medieval texts bearing on that week’s subject. The written course assignment will be a midterm, final and two short papers, one an analysis of a medieval text and a second an analysis of a modern text on the Middle Ages.
HIST GR6999 section 003. Censorship/Freedom/Expression in Early Modern Europe. Elisheva Carlebach. M 10:10am-12:00pm. Open to graduate students with permission of instructor.
In this course we will examine theoretical and historical developments that framed the notions of censorship and free expression in early modern Europe. In the last two decades, the role of censorship has become one of the significant elements in discussions of early modern culture. The history of printing and of the book, of the rise national-political cultures and their projections of control, religious wars and denominational schisms are some of the factors that intensified debate over the free circulation of ideas and speech. Indexes, Inquisition, Star Chamber, book burnings and beheadings have been the subjects of an ever growing body of scholarship.
HIST GR6999 section 004. Composing the Self: Early Modern Europe. Charly J Coleman. T 2:10pm-4:00pm. Open to graduate students with permission of instructor.
This course explores manners of conceiving and being a self in early modern Europe (ca. 1400-1800). Through the analysis of a range of sources, from autobiographical writings to a selection of theological, philosophical, artistic, and literary works, we will address the concept of personhood as a lens through which to analyze topics such as the valorization of interiority, the formation of mechanist and sensationalist philosophies of selfhood, and, more generally, the human person’s relationship with material and existential goods. This approach is intended to deepen and complicate our understanding of the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, and other movements around which histories of the early modern period have typically been narrated.
HIST GR6999 section 006. The European Enlightenment. Charly J Coleman. R 10:10am-12:00pm. Open to graduate students with permission of instructor.
This course will include an in-depth examination of some major tinkers and texts of the French, Germans, and Scottish Enlightenments. By reading works of Montesquieu, Voltaire, Lessing, Mendelssohn, and Hume, we will examine their radically divergent responses to the central intellectual quandries of their day, and in many ways our own: the realtionship between rationalism, science, and faith; religion and the state; the individual and the polity; cosmopolitanism and particularism; pluralism and relativism; and the meaning of liberty.
HIST GR8311. Intro: Lit of European History. Mark Mazower. R 10:10am-12:00pm.
HIST GR8906. Craft & Sci: Objects and Making Early Modern. Pamela Smith. M 10:10am-2:00pm.
This course will study the materials, techniques, settings, and meanings of skilled craft and artistic practices in the early modern period (1350-1750), in order to reflect upon a series of issues, including craft knowledge and artisanal epistemology; the intersections between craft and science; and questions of historical methodology and evidence in the reconstruction of historical experience. The course will be run as a “Laboratory Seminar,” with discussions of primary and secondary materials, as well as text-based research and hands-on work in a laboratory. This course is one component of the Making and Knowing Project of the Center for Science and Society. This course contributes to the collective production of a transcription, English translation, and critical edition of a late sixteenth-century manuscript in French, Ms. Fr. 640. In 2014-15, the course concentrated on mold-making and metalworking; in 2015-16, on colormaking. In 2016-17, it will focus on natural history, researching the context of the manuscript, and reprising some color-making and moldmaking techniques. Students are encouraged to take this course both semesters (or more), but will receive full credit only once. Different laboratory work and readings will be carried out each semester.
ITAL GU4089 (Section 001: Italian, Section 002: English) Petratch’s Canzoniere. Teodolinda Barolini. R 4:10pm-6:00pm.
ITAL GU4192 Romance Epics: Boiardo & Ariosto. Jo Ann Cavallo. W 4:10pm-6:00pm.
ENGL 5110 – Queer Renaissance M 5:30 – 8 p.m.
This seminar will explore the intersections between early modern studies and queer theory, focusing on three key issues: the charged relations between queer theory and other critical frameworks such as psychoanalysis, feminism, and poststructuralism; the ongoing role of historicism in shaping major debates and conversations in the field; and the place of aesthetics, genre, and form in early modern and contemporary treatments of eroticism. Writers to be discussed will likely include Spenser, Shakespeare, Sidney, Marlowe, Nashe, Crashaw, and Philips, alongside Foucault, Sedgwick, Butler, Lacan, Bataille, Edelman, and others.
ENGL 6237 – FRENCH OF ENGLAND II R 4 – 7 p.m.
Studies the rich, under-researched corpus (c. 1000 texts) in the Frenches of medieval England; includes projects of translation/editing (for acquiring techniques of presenting and interpreting medieval texts). ENGL 6227 French of England is not necessarily required.
New York University
Engl-GA 1955.001. Medieval Women’s Writing. Chris Cannon and Carolyn Dinshaw. Thursday 9:30-12:15pm. [244 Greene St] Room 306
This course will concern writings by, for, and about women in the medieval period. Our goal will be to observe the interrelations between texts and lived lives—or even what we might call the medieval textual production of women. In pursuing such a goal, we will look at a great variety of the writings made by women as well as those that structured their lives because they read (or listened to) them: fable, court records, letters, saint’s life, treatises of devotion, of medicine and of mysticism. The course will culminate with a careful examination of the exuberant Book of Margery Kempe, sometimes called the first autobiography in English, but, in reality, a text shaped by a variety of hands and largely made up of and by other books. Expect long readings in both Middle English and modern English translation (so some experience in reading the Middle English language–in Brit Lit 1 or equivalent–is a prerequisite for the course). Seminar members will be required to choose a major text on the syllabus and become experts on it.
Engl-GA 2323.001. Spenser’s Faerie Queens. Susanne Wofford. Monday 2:00pm-4:45pm. [244 Greene St] Room 105
Engl-GA 2323.002. Literature of the English Revolution. Joanna Picciotto. Tuesday 12:00-2:45pm [244 Greene St] Room 105
We will explore the civil wars and their aftermath as a chapter in the history of literature areas of emphasis will include the expansion of genres associated with “news” and prophecy; the use of print to transform traditional communicative practices like petitioning; conflicting representations of the trial and execution of the kind; and the role of texts in sustaining political movements. We’ll begin by tracking the controversies that dominated public life in the generation before the outbreak of war(with special emphasis on the uproar surrounding the “Book of Sports”) and end by examining how architects of the Restoration legislated forgetfulness of the revolutionary years, with long-term consequences for historical accounts of the period. Authors we’ll explore include Lucy Hutchinson, John Lilburne, Andrew Marvell, John Milton, Elizabeth Poole, Anna Trapnel, and Gerrard Winstanley. Students will complete a research paper.
Engl-GA 2540.001. The Public Poets: Milton and Dryden. Bill Blake. Wednesday 6:20-9:00pm. [244 Greene St] Room 306
Engl-GA 2957.002. The Technology of Devotion. Tim Duffy. Wednesday 2:00-4:45pm. [19UP] Room 229
This seminar will allow students to investigate a long history of devotional archives, ultimately tackling three discursive “eras”: the ecstatic and theological writings of Augustine, Hildegard von Bingen, Julian of Norwich, Dante, and Petrarch, selections of devotional lyric poetry from John Donne to Rilke, and, most urgently, the theological revisitations of Derrida and Peter Sloterdijk. We will trade in tidy narratives of “secular turns” and modernity for considerations of long history, deep archives, (Neo-) Platonic ghosts and echoes, and eclectic and ecstatic methodologies of philosophizing beyond materiality.
Engl-GA 3323.001. The Culture of the Renaissance: A Re-translation. Juliet Fleming and Chris Wood. Monday 2:00-4:45pm. Deutsches Haus Auditorium
This class will provide an introduction to the past and the future of Renaissance Studies. It is designed for graduate students across the disciplines. Our broad aim is to ‘translate’ — that is, carry forward into the future and so reactivate — the Renaissance as an object of study, first by sketching the historiographical and disciplinary fortunes that produced it; and then by assessing opportunities for new approaches and research paths. Our title invokes the work of Jacob Burckhardt, Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien (1860), the pioneering work of cultural history that is responsible in large part for what we mean when we use the term ‘Renaissance’. We will follow the development of this period concept as it was consolidated and re-inflected in the early 20th century by the scholars associated with the Warburg library. The course is interdisciplinary to a high degree but does not pretend to survey the entirety of European experience in this period. Rather the focus will be on symbolic expression and its medial and rhetorical formats, including painting, poetry, prose, architecture, theater, dance, music and their various codings, inscriptions, and archivings. But the concept of the symbol is broad, and we mean it to unfold eventually into an anthropology of meaning that can potentially embrace all aspects of life.
Engl-GA 3269.001. Medievalisms. Carolyn Dinshaw. Wednesday 2:00-4:45pm. [244 Greene St] Room 306
“We are in medieval times,” said Donald Trump in September 2016, speaking of Islamic State attacks and the “immigration system” in the U.S. “We have never been modern,” famously asserted Bruno Latour. What is meant by “medieval” and “modern” in such assertions, and who is the “we”? How do ideas of the Middle Ages inform colonialisms, orientalisms, imperialisms, and nationalisms in their neo- as well as older forms? What do medievalisms look like outside Europe and the U.S.? How have they informed Western theories of the modern in, e.g., Bataille, Lacan, Bourdieu? This course will take a deep look at the idea of the Middle Ages from the time the period was first invented by Petrarch, problematizing time and temporality, geography, periodization, and nostalgia; among other sites of the “medieval,” it will investigate political discourse; psychoanalysis; literature, visual arts, and architecture; and popular culture. Seminar members will be required to write a research paper and present their work in class.
FREN-GA 2290 (#3003). Studies in Medieval Literature: Emotions in Medieval Literature. Timmie Vitz. Thu 3:30 – 6:00. [19 University Place] Room 225
Course taught in English
This course focuses on the role and representation of the emotions in French medieval literature, with particular focus on narrative of the 11th-13th centuries.
We begin with some large issues, such as: What are emotions? Is there some “basic list” of emotions?—and if not, why not? To what degree is there a “history” of emotions? What is the vocabulary of emotions in Old French literature?—what words were used? Who has (and doesn’t have) emotions: What of the role of gender, of class? What about religious/supernatural figures: God, Jesus, the Virgin, saints, angels, demons? Animals, monsters, etc.? And other “others”?
How were emotions distinguished from vices and virtues? From temperament and permanent character traits? From appetites? From feelings? With regard to audience response: how were/are emotional responses to works related to (and distinct from) physiological and cognitive responses? Do readers seem to have had different emotional response from those who saw/heard performed works?
Thus, we have a large set of large questions that we will raise at the start of the course, with some theoretical /philosophical/ theological readings (e.g., from the Bible, the Stoics, Augustine, Bernard of Clairvaux, Thomas Aquinas, rhetorical treatises). What were the important kinds of agreements and disagreements about emotions in the Middle Ages—and how did thinking on the issues develop? How much was vernacular literature influenced by philosophical and theological disagreements?
We then focus our attention on major examples from particular genres—since it appears to be the case that, for the most part, in this period, different genres handle and evoke emotions quite differently: each genre seems to focus on some emotions, and avoid others. We will look at saints’ lives and pious tales; an epic (La Chanson de Roland, and a few excerpts from other chansons de geste); romance (esp. Yvain but with glimpses elsewhere); lais of Marie de France; beast epic (Le Roman de Renart); and a few fabliaux. Toward the end of the semester, we will look at a few short 14th and 15th c. texts to see how the handling of emotions has changed and what has changed it—one example being the increased interest in the humours, such as melancholy. I am open to having us pause to examine texts that are of particular interest to the students in the class.
Students need to read modern French; we will work on Old French as needed in class.
FREN-GA 2390 (#20111) Montaigne & His Age: Exploring Topics in Renaissance Studies. Sanam Nader-Esfahani. Wed 3:30 – 6:00. [19 University Place] Room 225
This seminar will be driven by three main threads. Firstly, the course will serve as an introduction to the works of Michel de Montaigne (Essais, Journal de voyage), examining a variety of concepts and ideas that also permeate other sixteenth-century texts. Each session will explore a new topic (“The Body, Health, and Medicine,” “Rome in the Renaissance,” “The Authority of the Ancients,” etc.) through the study of selected essays, anecdotes from the travel diary, and where appropriate, complementary texts by other writers of the period. In turn, these topics will be explored through the reading of contemporary scholarship that examines our chosen themes more broadly. This is the seminar’s second thread, which will provide a perspective on the “state of Renaissance Studies”: we will adopt an interdisciplinary approach and place our primary readings in dialogue with recently published secondary literature in fields including (but not limited to) literary studies, history, history of science and philosophy, and art history. Finally, the third thread of the course will use assignments as a platform for professional development, inviting students to review the works of their peers, to write book reviews, to prepare a “call for papers,” and to draft abstracts. The seminar will culminate with a conference in which students will organize themselves into panels, thus simulating the process of presenting a paper and responding to questions and comments during the Q&A.
The course will be taught in English, though a reading knowledge of French is highly recommended.
Fine Arts (IFA)
FINH-GA 2533.001 (#20573). DURER: THE MAN AND THE MYTH (Colloquium). Colin Eisler. Fridays, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Recent discoveries have shown the Nuremberg master to be a composer, did this unknown dimension contribute to his creative role? Just how “educated” was the young artist? What did local schooling teach him? Did humanist knowledge come from his friends? Scholarship has sought to discredit the actuality of the young artist’s early Venetian visit? What are the reasons for and against such a journey? His most enigmatic engraving, devoted to Melancholy, is subject to steady re-interpretation. Which seem of value?
What were Dürer’s views of medicine, such a key area in his lifetime? Why are his sole surviving anatomical studies after Leonardo? Are further comparisons with that Italian master appropriate? Need he be appreciated as an autodidact? How valid is his characterization as “Artist, Scientist, Genius”?
Comparing recent American and German Dürer biographies, how do the artist and his works take on today’s values? Why and how has he become the Poster Boy for so many varying goals from Nazism to a refugee’s preservation memories of a better Germany? Dürer’s many prints, drawings and paintings in the New York area will be examined toward a closer understanding of the many questions raised in this class.
Students must have the permission of the professor before registering for this course.
FINH-GA 2544.001 (#20576). THE ART OF DESTRUCTION (Colloquium). Mia Mochizuki. Thursdays, 10:00am – 12:00pm
On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation (1517), when Martin Luther boldly posted his ninety-five theses on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg, it is perhaps a timely moment to consider the role of destruction in the interpretation of art. After all, as long as there has been art, there has been iconoclasm, a word coming from the Greek compound of breaking (klân) and images (eikon). Reformers of all eras have sought to decapitate, maim and otherwise “erase” objects. Taking a long view of iconoclasm as the active interrogation of objects by objects, this course will consider the power of art from the frankly object-centered perspective of “applied criticism,” censorship and renunciation. Using a selection of object failures — from the Parthenon to museums, ancient Buddha heads to contemporary news media — this colloquium will investigate what has happened when different technologies of picture-making clashed in civic discourse, pushing the rhetoric of representation to its breaking point and thus laying the foundation for invention once more. Topics will include lineage and cyclical regeneration, protection and preservation, memory and ruin, economies of sight, mimesis and the miraculous object,fragments and the ambiguous illusion of the whole, senses and the infinite hermeneutic, rupture and the inadequacies of the eye, and the hundred-eyed hydra of immediate, interconnected media images that freeze us today. Evaluation by active class participation, in-class discussion leadership, oral powerpoint presentations and brief historiographical papers.
No permission is required to enroll in this class. Students in other NYU schools should contact the Academic Department for assistance with registration: firstname.lastname@example.org
FINH-GA 3029.002 (#22294). THE CULTURE OF THE RENAISSANCE: A RE-TRANSLATION (Seminar).Christopher Wood and Juliet Fleming.Mondays, 1:30pm – 4:10pm
This class will provide an introduction to the past and the future of Renaissance Studies. It is designed for graduate students across the disciplines. Our broad aim is to ‘translate’ — that is, carry forward into the future and so reactivate — the Renaissance as an object of study, first by sketching the historiographical and disciplinary fortunes that produced it; and then by assessing opportunities for new approaches and research paths. Our title invokes the work of Jacob Burckhardt, Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien (1860), the pioneering work of cultural history that is responsible in large part for what we mean when we use the term ‘Renaissance’. We will follow the development of this period concept as it was consolidated and re-inflected in the early 20th century by the scholars associated with the Warburg library.
The course is interdisciplinary to a high degree but does not pretend to survey the entirety of European experience in this period. Rather the focus will be on symbolic expression and its medial and rhetorical formats, including painting, poetry, prose, architecture, theater, dance, music and their various codings, inscriptions, and archivings. But the concept of the symbol is broad, and we mean it to unfold eventually into an anthropology of meaning that can potentially embrace all aspects of life.
Permission is not required for registration. This class is cross-listed with ENGL-GA3323, GERM-GA3323, and MARC-GA2200 and meets downtown at Deutsches Haus Auditorium, 42 Washington Mews
Students from departments outside of History must receive approval from the instructor prior to enrolling in a History course. Please forward an email with the instructor’s endorsement to: Latoya Coleman, Graduate Program Assistant (email@example.com), along with your request for a permission code
HIST GA- 1552 19808 Renaissance Italy CLQ THURS. 2:00PM-4:45PM Karl Appuhn
ITAL GA 2192.002 Dante’s Divine Comedy: Inferno & Purgatorio (PLEASE SELECT SECTION 2 FOR THIS COURSE)
Wednesdays, 3:30 – 6:10 p.m.
Case Library, 2nd Floor, Room 203
The first of a sequence of two semesters, the course approaches The Divine Comedy both as a poetic masterpiece and as an encyclopedia of medieval culture. Through a close textual analysis of the Inferno, and the first half of Purgatorio, students learn how to approach Dante’s poetry as a vehicle for thought, an instrument of self-discovery, and a way to understand and affect the historical reality Dante utilizes the scientific-philosophical encyclopaedia of his time, but relives it in light of the Christian message. A text of the Christian “paideia” par excellence, the Commedia, is also an extraordinary modern work. Organized on the patrimony of values formulated by classical- medieval culture, the Commedia is a journey towards awareness, in which knowledge implies the rediscovery of the self. These themes will be investigated in the course along with the central theme of the Commedia as a discourse about the “other world” which implies the unveiling of the meaning of “this world.” The course will be conducted in English. Dante’s Commedia will be read in light of Dante’s “minor works.” The objective of the course is to familiarize students with one of the most significant texts in Western Culture. Through Dante’s text students will gain a perspective on the Biblical, Christian, and Classical traditions as well as on the historical, literary, philosophical context of medieval Europe.
Spanish and Portuguese
Introduction to Medieval Literature
SPAN-GA 1211 Pearce. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
Theoretical and practical introduction to the meaning of “letters” and literature in the Middle Ages and the methods and techniques to approach them. Major themes, literary “topoi,” and trends are illustrated with readings from the “jarchas” and Cantar de mío Cid through Libro de buen amor and La Celestina.
COM 547 / ENG 530 Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit
The Renaissance – Me, Myself, and I: The Early Modern First Person
Terms like “self” and “subjectivity” and the question of their historical or transhistorical meaning remain at the heart of literary study in the pre-modern period. With those issues in mind, this seminar focuses on the Renaissance “I.” We begin with some classical and medieval precursors and with the subject of literal self-portraiture. Then we turn to the real business of the class: readings in Petrarch, Montaigne, and Shakespeare-the first two being the great European masters of the first person, the last said to have buried the first person in the voices of his characters.
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
622. PROBLEMS IN MEDIEVAL ART: THE OTHER ARTS OF THE LATE MIDDLE AGES AND NORTHERN RENAISSANCE
(CAC, T, 4:00-6:40, VH 001, Section: 01, Weigert, 11176)
This seminar looks at artistic production in the realms of the French kings and Burgundian Dukes from the fourteenth through the early sixteenth century. We will focus on embroidery and tapestry, “tableaux vivants” and interludes, manuscript illumination and painted cloth, prints and metalwork, jewelry and gems. Our discussion will also include the “arte del disegno” (painting, sculpture, and architecture) but only in so far as they interact with and inform the other arts at the time. We will read foundational texts in this field, as well as more recent work on the concepts of intermediality, mediation, and media archeology. In so doing, we will evaluate the relevance of the concept of “media” to describe the specificity of these materials and techniques of communication and explore the emergence and impact of new visual technologies in the fifteenth century.
No background in the arts of this period is required. What is required is an interest in how shifting our focus from the categories Vasari codified revises the long standing art historical account of the distinctness of individual media and the art historical practice that relies on a particular mimetic model and theory of spectatorship.
- active participation in all seminar meetings
- two to three presentations of works of art and of reading assignments
- a twenty-minute presentation and final research paper (no longer than 10-12 pages in length). In order to structure your time, you will be given deadlines to submit: an idea for your topic; a title, short bibliography, and one-paragraph abstract; and the class presentation.
Syllabus available upon request to Professor Weigert.
630. PROBLEMS IN FIFTEENTH-CENTURY ITALIAN PAINTING AND SCULPTURE
(CAC, T, 1:00-3:40, VH 001, McHam, Index 20211)
This seminar will reconsider the contributions of the artists usually considered to be the founders of Italian Renaissance art, and hence of the early modern tradition in Europe. In 1435-36, the multi-talented intellectual and art theorist Leon Battista Alberti dedicated his treatise On Painting, which was the first evaluation of the cultural potentials of contemporary Florentine art, to the architect Brunelleschi, and singled out the sculptors Ghiberti, Donatello, and Luca della Robbia, and the painter Masaccio as the figures he considered to be the pioneers of a revolutionary new style. That evaluation has never wavered, but in the last decade our understanding of these figures has been transformed by new books (one by a Rutgers alum), articles, and exhibitions; that on the Della Robbia at the NGA, Washington, we shall visit as a group.
There will be ten weeks of seminar discussions based on selected readings, in which I shall lead off with an overview of the artist’s career and surrounding issues. Students will be assigned to present 10-15 minute summaries of the readings in those seminars. In the last weeks of the semester, students will give 25-minute oral presentations on research topics of their choice. These will then be written up as research papers to be turned in at semester’s end.
350:542 – Renaissance and Reformation from Erasmus to Milton
Thursday – 1:10 p.m. MU 207
Few events in history had as shaping an impact on English literature as the Protestant Reformation. Its proponents advocated the wide dissemination of the most read of vernacular texts, the Bible, which also came with a complex set of instructions, seemingly overturning those of the Catholic Middle Ages, on how the text should be interpreted. Putting it bluntly, people became obsessed with texts, reading, and interpreting. New ways of reading produced new modes of writing – writing that attended closely to the directives of the great reformers such as Luther, Calvin, and Tyndale.
Or, at least, so the story has been told. This triumphalist account of literary culture has recently been questioned from several points of view. The Reformation is no longer seen as a single event that sweepingly converted the English-speaking world, but a series of tumultuous “reformations,” none of them particularly complete. Great authors of the English Renaissance – Donne, Shakespeare, Jonson, Herbert, even Milton – have now proven far less susceptible to categorization; their relationship to the reformation far more agonistic – and perhaps far more interesting – than has been maintained. English poetry may be shaped more by antagonism to than by acquiescence in Reformation ideas.
This course will read literature and literary theory from before and after the Reformation – starting briefly with Dante and medieval examples before moving forward through the pivotal figure of Erasmus and to a series of case studies on Wyatt, Spenser, Shakespeare, Herbert, Donne, and ending with major biblical works in the Restoration, particularly Milton’s Paradise Lost. We follow two related trends in literary history: the effects of the revolution in textual studies on literary production, and the engagement of literary texts with the rise of Protestant literalism and other cultural changes wrought by the vernacular Bible. Readings of primary material will be accompanied by both traditional and revisionary scholarship in the field, including Erich Auerbach, Brian Cummings, Stephen Greenblatt, Barbara Lewalski, and James Simpson. Previous knowledge of the material is not required.
Stony Brook University
EGL 502: Studies in Shakespeare. 54101. LEC 01. TH 04:00-06:50PM. Bente Videbaek