Posts Tagged ‘Early Modern’


Journal Special Issue Call: “‘The dyer’s hand’: Colours in Early Modern England”

January 15, 2014

Special Issue of E-rea (13.1, Autumn 2015).

Guest Editor: Sophie Chiari (LERMA, Aix-Marseille Université).

Scientific Committee:

Sophie Chiari, Aix-Marseille Université (France)

Line Cottegnies, Paris 3 – Sorbonne Nouvelle (France)

Tobias Döring, Ludwig Maximilians-Universität (Munich, Germany)

Roy Eriksen, University of Agder (Norway)

Stuart Sillars, University of Bergen (Norway)


As Michel Pastoureau has shown, the Middle Ages were a time when heraldry changed the names and the meanings of colours and when both stained glass and manuscript illuminations testified to the rich symbolism of the vivid medieval palette. In recent years, much attention has also been paid to the new approaches to colour which emerged in 18th-century England, in the wake of Isaac Newton’s innovative ideas on the colour spectrum. Nowadays, a full range of highly saturated hues characterizes our daily environment, so much so that black and white convey both elegance and sophistication.

Yet, the function and the symbolism related to the use of colours in 15th-, 16th– and 17th-century England remain surprisingly unexplored, partly because the Aristotelian theories of vision and colours have long been regarded as relatively limited ones, and partly because, until the 17th century, most skills related to the art and uses of colour were protected by a number of trade secrets and only circulated by word of mouth. Moreover, as a new black and white print culture was gradually taking precedence over the lavish colours of medieval manuscripts, the advent of Protestantism was at the origin of several violent reactions against the use of bright colours. Nevertheless, for all the exhortations of a handful of “chromophobic” Puritans zealots like Philip Stubbes against what they regarded as “artifice”, the iconoclastic fever which swept across early modern England never really stopped the use of polychromy.

Indeed, in spite of the corruptibility of early modern pigments and of the limited range of available hues, cloth manufactures flourished and English artists continued to use many different hues in their works. The court miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard relied for example on vibrant blue, yellow, crimson, black, white, pink, orange and green shades in his paintings. In the meantime, Shakespeare’s “dyer’s hand” (Sonnet CXI) exploited a whole range of colours in his plays and poems, from the Dark Lady of the sonnets and the black Moor of Venice to the white and red roses of the three parts of Henry VI, the yellow stockings of Malvolio in Twelfth Night or Autolycus’s “ribbons of all the colours i’ th’ rainbow” in The Winter’s Tale (4.4.206). Generally speaking, the circulation of clothes, cosmetics, gemstones, recipes, heraldic devices, botanical drawings, and university textbooks then partly depended on the colours which characterized them. Strikingly enough, an increasing number of dyes were marketed and, as a result, many early modern Englishmen wore red beards and dyed their hair. During the Civil War, the differentiated use of colours proved to be an important means of recognition of troops while, in the 1650s, philosophers eager to understand how their contemporaries perceived the world attempted to reconsider colour to question the reliability of senses and common sense. In his Leviathan (1651), Hobbes suggested that, like tastes and odours, colours were actually subjective (or “sensible”) qualities that one could “discern” only “by Feeling”.

Now, if early modern men and women enjoyed and promoted a variety of tinges, tones and tinctures, they were also disturbed by the uncanny power of colouring and dyeing. Theories about the significance of skin colour proliferated and contributed to the emerging construction of race which led to the creation of a series of binary oppositions between black and white. Researchers now acknowledge that colours may have served to crystallize the sexual, religious and political anxieties of an era when vivid tints were often seen as a transgression of sorts. More often than not, colours were indeed associated with poison, illness and pollution, and were therefore seen as potentially dangerous. Under Elizabeth I, the London Parliament tried in vain to colour-code the citizens in order to facilitate the identification of subversive individuals. In the early 17th century, the Puritan Thomas Tuke won a lasting fame with his Treatise against Painting and Tincturing of Men and Women (1616) in which he warned his readers against cosmetic literature and attacked the “superfluous” painted faces of his time.

These examples tend to show that, in the early modern period, colour still codified gender as well as religious, political and social distinctions. In other words, colour was a symbolical and literary construct worth exploring for scholars interested in the multiple facets of identity construction in early modern England.

This special issue of the electronic journal E-rea ( aims at tracing the changing meanings of colour(s) in England from the Tudor era until the Restoration period (1485-1660). It will welcome papers dealing with the material, literary, aesthetic and sociological dimensions of colour in early modern England. Colours should thus be seen as part and parcel of the cultural codes followed or questioned by the early modern society.

Find out more in the Word document here:



Postgraduate research studentship in Early Modern literature and culture

May 9, 2013

Following the success of the AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award collaboration with the National Maritime Museum (Royal Museums Greenwich), the University of Roehampton is pleased to announce a fully-funded 3-year postgraduate research studentship to start on 1 October 2013. The studentship will be a full bursary including Home/EU fees plus a Research Council level stipend for three years’ full-time doctoral study. The bursaries will be subject to annual review of student progress. The bursary rate for 2012-13 is currently £15,590. In addition a contribution towards project costs will be made available, with a minimum of £300 allocated.


The Department is looking for a candidate of the highest quality, capable of submitting a Ph.D. thesis within 3 years. Applicants should have completed an MA degree in a relevant subject prior to the start of the studentship and may be required to complete additional research methods training in their first year of study. Applicants should also be able to demonstrate strong research capabilities and fluency in spoken and written English.

Find out more here.


MEMORI Seminar Cardiff – This Thursday

January 28, 2013


Medieval and Early Modern Research Initiative
Prof. Daniel Wakelin of St Hilda’s, Oxford, will be giving the first MEMORI paper of the semester this Thursday at 5.15 in room 2.03. The title of his talk is ‘When Scribes Stop Writing’. A wine reception will follow in 2.47.
The next MEMORI seminar will be led by Prof. Andrew Hadfield of the University of Sussex, will be presenting a paper on ‘Lying in Early Modern Literature’. This will be on the 7th of February (not the 14th as previously advertised).

Follow @CardiffShakes

School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Cardiff University

Early Modern English Literature Positions Inc. #Shakespeare

August 6, 2012






Teaching Fellow in Early Modern Literature





Lecturer in Shakespeare and Theatre




Lectureship in Early Modern English Fixed Term (4 months)






Professor or Associate Professor of English Literature inc. Shakespeare


Senior Lecturer in English Literature

June 29, 2012
Name of Institution
University of Glamorgan
£38,140 – £44,166 per annum
Applications are invited for a Senior Lectureship in English Literature in either the early modern period and/or the long eighteenth century. The research specialism is open but applications from those with expertise in Literature and Science or Welsh Writing in English are particularly welcome. You will have a high quality record of research achievement through publication suitable for submission to REF 2014 and considerable teaching experience within English Literature in Higher Education. You will be expected to devise and deliver courses in your specialist area as well as making contributions to both the undergraduate and postgraduate curricula. You will also be expected to undertake relevant administrative duties commensurate with your experience and to work in partnership with staff across the Division of English.
CLOSING DATE: 20th July 2012

Historicizing Performance in the Early Modern Period

May 18, 2011

The John Rylands Library, Deansgate, Manchester


Plenary Speakers: 

Professor Julie Sanders (Nottingham)

Professor Tiffany Stern (Oxford)

This one-day academic conference aims to bring together scholars working on all aspects of performance in the early modern period (taken broadly to include the fifteenth to the early eighteenth centuries). We intend to interrogate what performance and its related terminologies and practices might have meant to early modern readers, playgoers, and congregations; how performance shaped and/or undermined distinctions between private/public bodies and selves. Although drama is an essential point of reference for this discussion, we encourage that “historicizing performance” be taken as broadly as possible. Topics might include (but are not limited to):

– Plays and play-going

– Music and singing

– Public spectacles, ceremonies and architecture

 – Ritual, devotional expression, spirituality / the sermon as performance

 – Autobiography and Performative Texts

 – Performing gender/ sexuality/ the domestic

 – Performance and the performative in theory

Please email abstracts (400 words max.) for a 20 minute paper to Michael Durrant and Naya Tsentourou at:

Deadline for abstracts: September 23th, 2011

Notifications of acceptance to be sent out by October 14th, 2011


Philosophy Research Seminar Today

November 24, 2010

The ‘Woman Question’ in Early Modern Social Contract Theory

Susanne Sreedhar (Boston) 

Wed, 24 November, 16:15 – 18:00
Humanities Building
Room 0.01
See Cardiff University website here.
Images of Matter

"Words are but the images of matter" --- Francis Bacon | Exploring the materiality of language in the early modern world and beyond

Will Pooley



research education, academic writing, public engagement, funding, other eccentricities.

READ: Research in English At Durham

Literature research, book news, and events from the world-class Department of English Studies at Durham University

Nature Writing in Wales

A Creative & Critical Writing PhD Sketchbook

Dr Charlotte Mathieson

Website of Dr Charlotte Mathieson

Shakespeare Institute Library

Info on Shakespeare, Renaissance literature and other useful library and research stuff.


Group for Early Modern Studies

We Are Cardiff

A blog about Cardiff, its people, and the alternative arts and cultural scene!


Cities. Culture. Regeneration. PhD Musings.

Lets pay more tax

Elspeth Jajdelska

Dr Johann Gregory

My Academic Portfolio

Dr Alun Withey

Welcome to my blog! I am an academic historian of medicine and the body, and 2014 AHRC/BBC 'New Generation Thinker'. Please enjoy and let me know what you think.

Thinking in Arden

Blog posts, mainly Shakespearean

The 18th-Century Common

A Public Humanities Website for Enthusiasts of 18th-Century Studies


The European Society for Textual Scholarship