Samuel Daniel, Poet and Historian: A Two-day Conference

Event Date: 
10 Sep 2015 to 11 Sep 2015

Venue: The Royal College of Music


Conference Organizers: John Pitcher (St John’s College, Oxford) & Yasmin Arshad (UCL)


This is the first Conference devoted to Samuel Daniel (1562-1619), and it is presented by a consortium of universities—UCL’s Centre for Early Modern Exchanges,the English Faculty at Oxford University, St John’s College Oxford, and the Royal College of Music.

Samuel Daniel was a very considerable poet, writer, historian and man of letters. He is however the least studied and least understood of the major Elizabethans. Daniel was taught at Oxford by John Florio, and he did much to introduce Italian sweetness and ease of writing into the bloodstream of English poetry. He was also an impressive historian. He had extensive personal connections with the rich and powerful of the day, and with leading scholars, antiquarians, lawyers and academics. Daniel’s brother, John Danyel (1564-1625), was a musician of the first rank, who wrote songs and lute pieces that by general agreement keep company with Dowland's finest compositions. The Daniel brothers, who were very close, collaborated fruitfully on several occasions, but their work together has rarely been looked at.


This is the context for this interdisciplinary Conference, which will explore the full range of Daniel's interests in poetry, history and music, and how these come together in his work. Specific attention will be paid to the influence of the continental Renaissance on his writing, his importance as a student of history, especially medieval history, his achievements as a poet and writer, and his links to the world of music and the arts, through his brother John Danyel and others, Ferrabosco and Inigo Jones among them. Other speakers will consider Daniel’s special place in the history of ethical writing in verse, his high standing among Jacobeans—writers and readers, poets and dons—his masques, his translations, his conversation and his portraits.


There will be a concert of John Danyel’s music, with some poetry from Samuel Daniel, on the Thursday evening, 10 September, at the Britten Theatre. The Conference will include many firsts—including a reading of the prose History, and staged readings at the concert of ‘Ulysses and the Siren’ and selections from Musophilus in association with Globe Education. There is a programme of seven academic panels in sequence (no parallel sessions) over the two days, with two or three 20-minute papers in each, from 21 speakers.  


Confirmed Speakers include: Warren Boutcher (QMUL); Christopher Goodwin (Lute Society); Karen Hearn (formerly of the Tate, Hon. Professor UCL).

We are grateful for the generous support of: The Society of Renaissance Studies; Globe Education; Oxford English Faculty; St John’s College Oxford; UCL‘s Centre for Early Modern Exchanges; UCL European Institute; UCL English Department; UCL Joint Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies (JFIGS); and the Royal College of Music (RCM).

For Conference details see:

Conference Registration will be opening soon.  Fees are £85 for attendees/£70 for graduate students (this includes lunch and refreshments on both days, and the concert for delegates). Early booking is suggested as space is limited. We have a number of graduate bursaries generously made available by the SRS. Please contact us about this, and with any other queries at


The Concert at the Britten Theatre is also open to members of the public: To book tickets or for more information contact the RCM Box Office on 020 7591 4314, weekdays 10.00am – 4.00pm, or visit us online at Booking opens 1 June (£15/£8 concessions).