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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Event Archive

This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.

Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.

James Melville and Ester Inglis

12th June 2019, 17:30 to 18:30, Seminar Room, Hallgarth House, Dr Jamie Reid-Baxter (Glasgow)

Please join us for the final Inventions of the Text seminar of 2018/19.

Glasgow University's Dr Jamie Reid-Baxter promises to deliver a Franco-Scottish tour de force on the poetic spirituality of Rev. James Melville and Esther Inglis (see full abstract below). The seminar will be followed by drinks in The Victoria Inn and the option of dinner at Ristorante Capriccio. If you would like to join us for dinner, please contact us at


Dr Jamie Reid-Baxter, editor of the poetry of Elizabeth Melville, Lady Culross, will look at the links between the dazzling work of the calligrapher and poet Esther Inglis (1571-1624), daughter of Huguenot refugees in Edinburgh, and the poetry produced by the ‘spiritual community’ that flourished in Fife around the Rev. James Melville (1554-1614). James’ involvement with French protestant culture extended to making a substantial and highly politicised poetic paraphrase of a Latin sylva by the great Genevan theologian Theodore Beza (1519-1605), on the David and Bathsheba story and the origins of Psalm 51. Melville was a national figure, a leading spokesman for the presbyterian wing of the Kirk, but his francophilia, unlike his ecclesiology, was something he shared with King James VI. Francophilia was also one of the many things that James Melville shared with his celebrated firebrand uncle Andrew (1545-1622), a noted Latin poet. The older man wrote Latin verse in praise of the work and spirituality of Esther Inglis, and Dr Reid-Baxter has now also identified a direct link between Inglis and James Melville. Currently known only as a (superb) calligrapher, Inglis herself wrote verse, in both French and Anglo-Scots, including paraphrases of the astonishing Cinquante Octonaires sur la vanité du monde published in 1583 by the pastor Antoine de la Roche Chandieu. Jacobean presbyterian ‘high culture’ is proving to be far richer than anyone imagined twenty years ago. Dr Reid-Baxter’s paper is an opportunity to see, read, and hear some of its finest literary products.

Contact for more information about this event.


Research in English At Durham (READ) blog showcasing the the literary research emerging from the Department of English Studies


We host a large number of conferences, lectures and seminars each year, many of them open to the public. Find out more on our Events page.


Many of our public lectures, seminars and conferences are recorded, and can be listened to as podcasts.

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