CRRS Sponsored Panels at RSA 2020

“The Body and the Divine in Early Modernity” explores the centrality of bodies as objects of devotion in early modern Europe and beyond. With the advent of the Renaissance, many forms of devotion rooted in the traditions of the Middle Ages – relic worship, corporeal miracles, blood cults – engendered new trends of Christian pietas, often linked with the progressive rediscovery of ancient models of aesthetics and thought. In such a context, how did bodies change as objects of devotion? What forms of worship endured the transition from the Middle Ages to Early Modernity? How did new devotional trends dialogue with past traditions?

This series of panels investigates these topics and draws on a burgeoning body of research on early modern religion, art, and literature in order to address the important question of how the devotion of the body evolved and persisted in Early Modernity.

Organizer: Marco Piana, Smith College

Renaissance Society of America Conference
2-4 April, 2020
Philadelphia, PA

The Body and the Divine in Early Modernity I: Glorifying the Senses

Chair: Matteo Soranzo, McGill University

Torrance Kirby, McGill University — “Richard Hooker on the ‘sensible excellencie’ of the liturgy”
Gina Filo, University of Oregon — “The Body, Sense Perception, and Devotion in Thomas Traherne’s Lyric”
Sarah Rolfe Prodan, Stanford University — “Eroticizing the Spiritual: Sensual Piety in Early Modern Devotional Verse by Women”
Tiffany Hoffman, Independent Scholar — “Bottom’s Bowels: Eros, Consumption and Conversion in A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

The Body and the Divine in Early Modernity II: Blood, Consumption, and Salvation

Chair: Marco Piana, University of Toronto

Sally Hickson, University of Guelph — “Christ’s Blood in Mantua: Imperial Aspirations and Empirical Legacies of Byzantium”
Paologiovanni Maione, Conservatorio di Musica “S. Pietro a Majella” (Naples, Italy) — “The Devout City: Music for St. Januarius and the Co-Patrons Saints of Naples in the Early Modern Age”
Molly Morrison, Ohio University (Athens) — “Dying Well: The Eucharistic ‘Comfort Food’ of the Condemned in an Italian Renaissance Comforters’ Manual”
Elisa Novi Chavarria, Università degli Studi del Molise & Giulio Sodano, Università della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli — “Blood cults between Saints and Nuns in Naples (XVI-XVII century)”

The Body and the Divine in Early Modernity III: Narrating the Body

Chair: Sarah Rolfe Prodan, Stanford University

Giulio Brevetti, Università degli Studi della Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli” — “Faces of Sanctity: Venerable Bodies in Early Modern Painting in Southern Italy”
Jantina Ellens, McMaster University — “Reading Women’s Devotional Bodies in Eliza’s Babes (1652) and An Collins’s Divine Songs and Meditacions (1653)”
Carmen Gallo, Università Federico II di Napoli — “Writing the Sacramental Body in Richard Crashaw’s Poems”
Diana Bullen Presciutti, University of Essex — “Catherine the Exorcist: Picturing Possessed and Stigmatized Bodies in Fifteenth-Century Italy”