12 to 2:30 pm
Towner Fellows Lounge
Scholars have long identified Milton as a “Hebraic” writer fascinated with Judaism as a source of Christianity. But what were the great poet’s sentiments on contemporary Jews and the question of their coexistence with the English? That issue gained national attention during the second half of the seventeenth century, when Oliver Cromwell convened officials to debate formally readmitting Jews, who had officially been absent from England since the 1290 expulsion. Professor Lavezzo explores how, while Milton never explicitly weighed in on national debates over readmission, he offers a charged and elusive commentary on the question in Samson Agonistes. Central to Lavezzo’s exploration of Samson Agonistes are the geographical and architectural aspects of the play, such as Samson’s abiding homelessness, his destruction of the Dagon temple, and his interment in his father Manoa’s home. By reading the spaces of Milton’s closet drama alongside its companion piece Paradise Regain’d and political tracts like Areopagitica, Lavezzo demonstrates how the great Hebraist also gave new life to an offensive English tradition of rejecting “the Jew,” one that extends back nearly a millennium before Milton, to the venerable Bede.
The paper will be precirculated to those who register, for discussion at the seminar.
Coffee and refreshments will be served before the seminar.
Learn more about the speaker: Kathy Lavezzo, University of Iowa
Download a printable PDF flyer to post and distribute.
Organized by Timothy Campbell, University of Chicago; Stephen Fallon, University of Notre Dame; Christopher Kendrick, Loyola University Chicago; and Regina Schwartz, Northwestern University.
Faculty and graduate students of Center for Renaissance Studies consortium institutions may be eligible to apply for travel funds to attend CRS programs or to do research at the Newberry. Each member university sets its own policies and deadlines; contact your Representative Council member in advance for details.
This scholarly program is free and open to all, but space is limited and registration in advance is required. The format is not a lecture, but discussion of a precirculated paper, which will be sent electronically to those who register.
Register online here. Registrations will be processed through 10 am Friday, October 7, 2016.