Saturday, March 4, 2017
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We tend to think of Enlightenment-era philosophers as architects of abstraction—not least because they tend to describe themselves that way. This essay tries a different approach; part of a longer project called “Crafts of Enlightenment,” it treats Enlightenment rationality as a hard-won discipline, developed through craft knowledge and habits of labor.
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Susan S. Lanser, "Fictions of History: The Rise of the Novel and the Willful Suspension of Disbelief "
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Catherine Gallagher has argued that the “rising” novel established a firm concept of fictionality that was widely accepted by the mid-eighteenth century. Why, then, did readers so often insist on the facticity of certain fictions: seeking out a heroine’s grave, for example, or tracking down prototypes for characters?
Saturday, March 19, 2016
Please register to attend by 10 am Friday, March 18
Criticism of the eighteenth-century novel and even work in the burgeoning field of print culture has often neglected the importance of the process of revision, perhaps because the “actual sight of … revisions,” according to D. A.
Saturday, October 17, 2015
Kathleen Wilson, Performing The Wonder in Sumatra: East India Company Peripheries and the History of Modernity
How did theatrical performance work to stage larger English encounters with alterity in far-flung colonial sites? Professor Wilson will examine that question from the point of view of colonial residents of Sumatra and Saint Helena, who used English theatrical and social performances to reflect upon their own presence and status as agents of British modernity.
Saturday, April 25, 2015
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The story of Freemasonry’s introduction into France in the early decades of the eighteenth century is also in part the story of Enlightenment philosophy’s reliance on performance activity. Radical philosophy and freethinking did not subsist only in the circulation of printed texts.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Carolyn Steedman, “Nothing to say but itself”: Writing at the End of the Early Modern Era in England
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I had finished working on one of the strangest texts I have ever encountered, Low- Life. Or, One Half of the World Know Not How the Other Half Live, with all the doubts it raises about representation, writing, and history as both of those things, when I found Michel Foucault on the topic of writing itself.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Eighteenth-Century Seminar, this symposium convenes scholars from a range of fields, disciplines, and institutions both to interrogate the activity of reading as a leisure or a hermeneutic practice that unfolds in time, and to reflect upon the variegated apprehensions of time—physical, metaphorical, psychologica
Saturday, April 19, 2014
The eighteenth-century vogue for pictures of women perusing love letters not only marked the age’s affection for epistolarity, it also emblematized the “papered century,” named for the period’s unprecedented proliferation of monetary notes and credit instruments.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
By the early eighteenth century, decades before the discovery of its constituent gases, air was recognized as mundane matter: heterogeneous and changeable, subject to human manipulation, the “subtle” substance of history rather than spirit.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Nostalgia at sea, sometimes called calenture, is a desire to return home so powerful that the victim is overwhelmed by hallucinations of pastoral landscapes into which s/he leaps, with fatal results.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
In this talk, Professor Curran will provide a survey of the main “anthropological debates” in French and European thought during the eighteenth century. He will also examine naturalists’ halting attempts at classifying humans, as well as scholars’ inability to figure out just what classification means within the overall history of race. A reception will follow the seminar.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
The first modern orrery, a mechanical device presenting the motion of the solar system, was produced in 1704 by the eminent English clockmakers George Graham and Thomas Tompion.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Frances Ferguson, Economic and Sentimental Reasons: Financial Instruments and Personal Attachments in Fielding's Jonathan Wild
Fielding’s early novel Jonathan Wild centers on a character, the notorious thief and thief-taker Jonathan Wild, who invented techniques for preserving the value of personal possessions.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
NOTE CHANGE OF DATE
Between the 1730s and 1780s, a French traveler’s tale about the coronation of a West African king circulated throughout France, England, and the Netherlands. Embedded in this description of Hueda rituals surrounding kingship was a story about European rivalry for the favor of a key African player in the Atlantic slave trade.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
This paper argues that early eighteenth-century Englishmen were increasingly assertive about mixture as the source of their country’s perfections, as the cause of its unity, power, and civility. The recognition that English culture reproduced itself through mixture was remarkably broad.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Mrs. Richard Brinsley Sheridan, nee Elizabeth Linley (1754-92) traded her celebrated voice for the eloquence of silence.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
This paper seeks to complicate the picture of nineteenth-century reactionary aristocrats and modern republicans by bringing an eighteenth-century perspective to bear on French revolutionary and post-revolutionary culture and society. Prof. Goodman’s paper traces the life and career of a boy born less than a decade before the start of the French Revolution.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
At the end of the eighteenth century, William Godwin lamented that readers of Gulliver’s Travels missed the work’s political significance because they were distracted by “the mere playfulness of its form.” Professor Keenleyside argues, by contrast, that the form of Swift’s work itself carries complex political meaning.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Robert Markley, “How very wonderful the operations of time”: The Unsustainable Countryside in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park
In the late eighteenth century, traditional notions of time and history came under pressure from work in three emerging sciences: astronomy, geology, and paleontology.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
The tabloid-ready tale of “Mrs. Mary, otherwise Mr. George Hamilton,” who married several women while passing as a man, appeared in Boddley’s Bath Journal of November 8, 1746, and in a slew of London and regional newspapers shortly thereafter. This talk examines Henry Fielding’s use of Methodism in The Female Husband to explain the origin of Hamilton’s same-sex desire.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Focusing on reviews of the exhibitions of the Royal Academy in the late 1780s and in particular on portraits of female royal figures by E. Vigée Le Brun and A. Labille-Guiard, this works-in-progress paper examines the intersection of gender, aesthetics, and politics in the cultural realm on the eve of the French Revolution.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
This lecture focuses on two texts and a performance: Edward Ravenscroft’s 1681 comedy, The London Cuckolds, Terry Johnson’s 1998 adaptation of that play, and Don Wadsworth’s 2009 production at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama.