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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Inventions of the Text Seminar Series

Inventions of the Text complements our Research Seminar series. Inventions is organised by a team of postgraduate researchers, and combines papers by academics from Durham and beyond with presentations by PhD students. Seminars run roughly every couple of weeks during term time, with around eight or nine events a year. After each seminar, attendees are welcome to socialise with the speaker(s) over dinner. They are generally for University staff and students, although sometimes open to the public.

Forthcoming Inventions of the Text Seminars

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 inventionsofthetext@gmail.com.

Abstract

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 inventionsofthetext@gmail.com for more information about this event.


Past Inventions of the Text Seminars