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Journal Special Issue: New Directions in Early Modern Correspondence

Those seeking to balance the port and mince pies this holiday season with some state-of-the-art reflections on early modern epistolarity are in luck: the latest issue of Lives & Letters – the free online journal of UCL’s Centre for Editing Lives and Letters – is devoted to New Directions in the Study of Early Modern Correspondence.

Guest-edited by James Daybell and Andrew Gordon, and developing out of a conference held at Plymouth University in 2011, the issue features an introduction to the latest developments in the field (in which EMLO gets a name-check); eight case studies of particular correspondents and correspondence networks; and a spectacularly useful select bibliography on the manuscript letter in early modern England. All articles are free for download from the journal website. James also contributed to our 2011 seminar series (here’s the podcast), while his latest book on the material letter has just been reviewed by the IHR.

CFP: Intellectual Networks in the Long Seventeenth Century

The Centre for Seventeenth-Century Studies at Durham University is seeking papers for a conference on Intellectual Networks in the Long Seventeenth Century (30 June–2 July 2013). The event – which will feature a keynote lecture from our own Howard Hotson – will ‘explore the emergence and consolidation of systems of intellectual and cultural exchange during the long seventeenth century, while assessing their lasting influence on the history of scholarship, literature, diplomacy, science, and religious communities’. Proposals are encouraged on (inter alia) erudite correspondence; academic networks; diplomacy; literary circles; intellectual exchange within religious communities; the book trade; women and intellectual exchange; and popular cultural exchange.

The deadline for proposals for 20-minute papers and full panels is 15 January 2013. For further details and submission instructions, head along to the conference webpage or download the flyer (pdf).

Seminar 5: Tuscan Readings of the English Revolution

In the fifth installment of the Project’s seminar series on Thursday 27 May, Professor Stefano Villani (University of Pisa) introduced us to ‘Tuscan Readings of the English Revolution: The Correspondence of Amerigo Salvetti and Giovanni Salvetti Antelminelli’. Villani focused on the communications sent by the elder Salvetti, a Tuscan informer and diplomat based in London, to the Grand Duke of Tuscany between 1649 and 1660, during which the former dispatched both a newsletter and a personal letter on a weekly basis updating the Tuscan court on developments within the new English Republic. Villani argued that within an environment in which Italian responses to the Protectorate regime were both highly regionalized and lacking in ideological consistency, the letters reveal Tuscans to have had more interest in and sympathy for the Cromwellian administration than either Venetians (who regarded it as a military dictatorship orchestrated by a religious fanatic) or Genoans (who viewed it ambivalently as a kind of protracted Machievellian experiment). As well as describing this ‘Anglo/Tuscan moment’, Villani sketched some fascinating differences between the two styles of missive – newsletter and personal letter – both of which took over a month to reach their recipients on the peninsula. The newsletters, which are anonymous and unsigned, provide a ‘pragmatic’ third person narrative of political events free of subjective judgements and commentaries (and often enclosing translations of English documents). The personal letters, by contrast, are written in the first person, sometimes in cipher, and signed, and contain many idiosyncratic political insights as well as numerous personal references. Seminars take place in the Faculty of History on George Street on Thursdays at 3pm. For future seminars in the series, please see here.

Podcast now available on the seminar page!