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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Figuring Futures Seminar/IAS Public Lecture - Apocalypse and Nature in French Reformation Epic

1st February 2011, 17:30 to 18:30, Prior's Hall, Durham Cathedral, Dr Kathryn Banks, Durham University

This is the eighth seminar in the Figuring Futures Seminar series.

This talk will show some of the ways in which literature can give us access to variations within early modern apocalypticism. I will focus on the European bestseller penned by the French nobleman Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas, an epic poem about creation, alongside some imitations of Du Bartas's poem which took apocalypse rather than creation as their theme.

These poems have much to tell us about ways in which nature can (or cannot) be read eschatologically, a concern which shapes their approaches towards natural theology and natural philosophy; at the same time, their distinctive contributions towards thinking about nature and apocalypse are also shaped by their status as poetry.

A particular focus of these seminars is the intersection of classical and Christian ideas concerning the future and the ordering of the world, and their development across the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Recurrent themes are divinity and divination, Apocalypticism, Fortune, astrology and prophecy. A key emphasis is the political power of prophecy and the desire of rulers to control such knowledge or to influence prediction. The prophet or prophetess is a compelling yet marginalized and sometimes shameful figure. Papers treat ideas of apocalypse and nature, portent and prophecy, exegesis and politics, and visionary writing.

Contact david.ashurst@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.