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Early Modern Interdisciplinary Graduate Forum I — Kirsten Schut & Joel Rodgers

September 12, 2019 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

The Early Modern Interdisciplinary Graduate Forum (EMIGF) is a monthly event hosted by the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies (CRRS) at the University of Toronto. EMIGF is a platform for PhD candidates, post-docs, fellows, and recent graduates to deliver papers in an informal setting. Our mandate is to provide junior and emerging scholars with the opportunity to present work in progress, and to facilitate dialogue on current topics in early modern research across the disciplines. EMIGF meetings are well attended by graduate students, faculty, and fellows from the early modern community at the University of Toronto and beyond. Our first meeting for 2019-2020 will be held on Thursday, September 12th from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Victoria University Common Room, Burwash Hall (89 Charles Street West, rear entrance).


Jordana Lobo Pires Department of English, University of Toronto

Death and Burial in the Religious Habit, from Medieval Europe to the Colonial Americas
Kirsten Schut Historisches Institut, Universität zu Köln

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.

“Free of the Wit-Brokers”: Jonson and the Corporate Affordances of Poetry
Joel Rodgers Department of English, University of Toronto

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.


September 12, 2019
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies


Victoria University Common Room (Rear Entrance Burwash Hall)
89 Charles Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5S1K7 Canada
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