11-12 May 2017 Université Paris 13 & Université Paris Ouest Nanterre, Paris, (Pléiade, Paris 13; CREA, Paris Ouest Nanterre, SEARCH, Strasbourg) The Englishness of English Poetry in the Early Modern Period – Poetry in Circulation

The Englishness of English Poetry in the Early Modern Period – Poetry in Circulation

Université Paris 13 & Université Paris Ouest Nanterre, Paris, 11-12 May 2017

(Pléiade, Paris 13; CREA, Paris Ouest Nanterre, SEARCH, Strasbourg)



The focus of this two-part international conference, taking place first in Strasbourg (19-21 May 2016) and then in Paris (11-12 May 2017), is the evolution of English poetry over the early modern period. It includes aspects related to form and genre, but also the material dimension of poems as commodities and the different modes of their circulation, within and across national borders, through embassies and translations.


The Strasbourg Conference (“The Triumph of the Sonnet” – Programme) studied the sonnet as a mutable form imported from Italy (via France) into England in the Renaissance. The Paris Conference will further research those issues in Early Modern England while expanding the generic scope, envisioning other forms of lyric poetry such as odes, elegies, madrigals, and songs. It will also consider “the Englishness of English poetry” in relation to other literatures from the British Isles – Scottish, Welsh or Irish – and it will include transatlantic exchanges with the American colonies and dealings with extra-European countries and cultures (and their respective languages).


Lyric poems will be viewed as detachable particles, inasmuch as they did not only appear within or without sequences and collections, but could also be inserted into other types of literary discourse, poetic or non-poetic – and even sometimes technical. They could accompany gifts, as parts of ambassadorial exchanges for example, or even become gifts themselves in such transactions.


In Early Modern Europe, and in particular in England, one key vector of transmission was translation (from classical languages or from vernaculars), a process in which the selection and combination of the poems allowed for the unfolding of new meanings, creating new collections in the target language.


The material dimension in the dynamics of circulation will be of particular relevance, whether the poems were circulated in printed books or as manuscripts (bound or loose), openly or unofficially. The materials used (the type of paper and ink, their quality, the binding, sheet size and volume format), the order of presentation and the page layout (for collections and miscellanies) all contribute to fashioning the status of a circulated text.


We will try to determine the value of those detachable items of poetry. Were they considered to be commodities, like other marketable goods? How were they promoted, how were they sold, in a system that relied heavily on patronage? Was there a market for poetry, and what kind of capital (cultural, political, and/or financial) was attached to it?


Topics of interest include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Occasional verse
  • Dedicatory and commendatory poems
  • Secret modes of circulation
  • Poems as gifts
  • The role of publishers and patrons in the circulation of poems
  • Translating lyric poetry and the development of a career
  • Translating lyric vs. translating other poetic genres, such as epic; translating Latin and Greek poetry vs. vernacular poetry
  • Questions of direct or indirect translation, of selection, and of potential changes of form/format
  • Marketing translations; the question of the status of the translated work and its originality (cases of pseudo-original, or pseudo-translated, poems)


We welcome proposals for 25-minute papers (in English or in French) on the above-mentioned topics. Please send abstracts of about 250-300 words, together with a short (100-word) bio, to Anne-Valérie Dulac, Sabrina Juillet-Garzon, Laetitia Sansonetti, and Rémi Vuillemin at the following address: TEOFEP@yahoo.com, by 20 September 2016.


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