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Durham University

School of Modern Languages & Cultures

Events in Modern Languages & Cultures

Conference: 'Self-Commentary in Early Modern European Literature' organised by Francesco Venturi [IMEMS]

26th February 2016, 09:00 to 27th February 2016, 17:30, Learning Centre, Palace Green Library, Durham University, UK

Writers the world over have often accompanied their texts with a variety of annotations, marginal glosses, rubrications, and explicatory or narrative prose in an effort to direct and control the reception of their own works. Such self-exegetical devices do not merely serve as an external apparatus but effectively interact with the primary text by introducing a distinctive meta-literary dimension which, in turn, reveals complex dynamics affecting the very notions of authorship and readership. In the Renaissance, self-commentaries enjoyed unprecedented diffusion and found expression in a multiplicity of forms, which appear to be closely linked to momentous processes such as the legitimation of vernacular languages across Europe, the construction of a literary canon, the making of the modern author as we know it, and the self-representation of modern individual identities.

The Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) at Durham University will host an international conference on the topic of self-commentary and self-exegesis in early modern European literature, 26-27 February 2016 at Palace Green Library.

Registration is free. To reserve a place, please email:

Plenary lectures will include Martin McLaughlin (Oxford) on Leon Battista Alberti, John O’Brien (Durham) on Montaigne, and Federica Pich (Leeds) on Italian Renaissance poetry. Eight scholars from a range of disciplinary backgrounds will explore various literary traditions, from Neo-Latin Humanism to sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English, French, and Polish literature: Harriet Archer (Newcastle), Gilles Bertheau (François Rabelais – Tours), Carlo Caruso (Durham), Jeroen De Keyser (Leuven), Russel Ganim (Iowa), Joseph Harris (Royal Holloway – London), Ian Johnson (St Andrews), and Magdalena Ożarska (Jan Kochanowski – Kielce). 

Click here to view the conference programme

For further information, please contact the event organiser: 

Contact for more information about this event.