Articles & Podcasts

Richard Baxter, verbosity and sedition

As the ailing Richard Baxter waited in the dock, physically propped up by his friends, during his trial for sedition in 1685, he was excoriated by his judge, the notorious Lord Chief Justice Jeffreys: Richard, thou art an old fellow, and an old knave – thou hast written books enow to load a cart, every…

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Sound and the City

Rachel Willie discusses the songs of the street and introduces a new research network, ‘Soundscapes in the Early Modern World’.

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‘Compassionate Consumption’?: George Gascoigne’s The Noble Arte of Venerie or Hvnting and the Voice of the Dish

In May 2016 it was reported that the number of vegans in Britain had risen by 360% in ten years.1 A Guardian article, published in November 2018, indicated that this number will continue to increase in the coming years, with one in eight Britons now identifying as vegetarian or vegan, and 21% claiming to be…

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Shakespeare’s Peaceful Histories

You can find this treasure in the Folger archives – a photograph of a soldier marching through Vietnam, a copy of Taming of the Shrew stuck in his helmet (Fig. 1). The photo might recall the poster for Kubrick’s 1987 war film Full Metal Jacket, featuring a helmet emblazoned with both the peace symbol and…

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Author of first English novel kept it hidden for ten years – here’s why

A dense work of early English prose, strewn throughout with serious and teasing marginalia from its author, might not be the most likely candidate for stage adaptation – but this project has just been undertaken by a team of artists and academics in Sheffield. William Baldwin’s Beware the Cat, written in 1553, will be performed…

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New documents reveal Servetus’s life as a student and teacher in Spain

Michael Servetus (c. 1511-1553) was a renowned polymath, who is an important figure in the history of many disciplines. His nontrinitarianism led him to being condemned by Catholic authorities in France and, upon fleeing to Protestant Geneva, he was burnt at the stake for heresy. Despite his significance, until recently, there were no documents about…

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Forbidden Protestant Books in Tudor Cambridge

It is a commonplace to say that the University of Cambridge was a significant seedbed for the early English Reformation. During the 1520s, new theology spread among its members. According to John Foxe, early evangelicals met at the White Horse Tavern, soon dubbed ‘Little Germany,’ and the Austin Friars, the local branch of Luther’s order,…

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Perfume and Gunpowder Podcast

On 13th September 2017 at the National Library of Ireland in Dublin, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin (Ireland Professor of Poetry) delivered the first in a series of three public lectures to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Society for Renaissance Studies. The series takes Renaissance senses as its theme. Focusing upon the sense of smell, Ní…

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Zibellini as Animal-Made-Objects

What are Zibellini? Zibellini are luxury fur pieces made from the pelts of animals belonging to the weasel family, most commonly sables and martens. These objects could be draped over the shoulder, carried in the hand, or worn on the girdle by a chain connected around the neck or to the mouth of the animal….

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“Plum pottage was mere popery”: the ups and downs of Christmas in the 17th century

Despite the persistent belief that Christmas was effectively invented by the Victorians and barely bothered with by anyone before the 19th century, a bit of a delve into the literature of the 17th century yields much in the way of interesting Christmas-related curiosities. Performance has a long association with Christmas, from medieval mummers plays to Henry…

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