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EMIGF II: Joel Rodgers & Laina Southgate

November 23, 2021 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. Now in its eleventh consecutive year, EMIGF meetings are well attended by graduate students, faculty, and fellows from the early modern community at the University of Toronto and beyond. Our second meeting for 2021-22 will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 23rd from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. via Zoom videoconferencing. Please contact Jordana Lobo-Pires at to request an invitation link.


Joel Rodgers
CRRS Fellow, University of Toronto; PhD in English, University of Toronto
“‘Retaile it here abroad’: Corporate Profit and the Pleasure of Poetry in Donne’s Early Verse”

T.S. Eliot once suggested that early modern English poet John Donne, if he were born in the twentieth century instead of the sixteenth, might have become a “very great company lawyer.” Inspired by this implied affinity between Donne and business corporations, this talk returns to Donne and examines the poet’s explicit engagements with early modern London’s corporate culture in his early verse. Specifically, it focuses on a verse letter in which Donne recommends a fellow satirist imitate the profitable practices of the Muscovy Company, England’s first major joint-stock company. In Donne’s letter, the joint-stock company becomes a figurative but essential supply line for metropolitan London’s economic, civic, national, and poetic growth. Donne’s intermingling of corporate profit and pleasure substantiates the implicit affinity that Eliot suggests, and it furthers the poet’s relevance to our own shifting corporate culture today.


Laina Southgate
PhD student in English, University of Toronto
“Shakespeare’s Empire of Imagination: Negotiating Nation and Literary Adaptation in Finland”

Counterintuitive as it may seem, Finland is a postcolonial nation, having been successively colonized by Sweden and Russia. Finland’s efforts to imagine an autonomous national culture began in the nineteenth century, but it did not achieve postcolonial nationhood until 1917 (Browning and Lehti 693). Finland constructed its national identity through literature, and the central text in this effort was the Kalevala, a collection of folktales stitched together into a long narrative poem by Elias Lönnrot. The poems in the Kalevala all have strong ties to traditional Finnish oral folk stories except for one: the “Kullervo Cycle.” This narrative poem appears only in the 1849 edition of the Kalevala, and is disconnected from the other narratives in the epic. The “Kullervo Cycle” evokes Shakespeare’s tragedies, Hamlet and Macbeth. Indeed, some scholars have noted that the foreign poet haunts Lönnrot’s national epic, describing Shakespeare not as a “mediator of the story . . . but rather a ghosting influence upon its rewriting in another cultural context and mythical universe” (Szép 61). Through close readings of two key scenes in the “The Kullervo Cycle,” this presentation will interrogate the role that Shakespeare has played in the emergence of Finnish literature in the 19th century, as well as suggest that Shakespeare’s influence toes the line between colonial power and artistic expression in non-anglophone literatures.


November 23, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:




Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies
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