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Contexts of Early Modern Literary Criticism

at The Newberry - Near North Side

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Near North Side, Downtown/Loop
60 W Walton St
Btwn N Clark & N Dearborn Streets
Chicago, Illinois 60610
Ruggles Hall
Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 18 and older
Average Class Size: 14
Teacher: Jane Tylus

What you'll learn in this history lesson:

Contexts of Early Modern Literary Criticism in Italy and Beyond

The symposium, designed for a broad audience of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members, local scholars, and the interested general public, will introduce participants to:

  • the extraordinary array of relevant research materials in the collection of the Newberry
  • the crucial debates in early modern Italian literary criticism
  • the range of exemplary texts and their respective audiences
  • a case study of interdisciplinary methodology for understanding and exploring the contexts of early modern literary critical writings.
A crucial feature of intellectual culture in early modern Italy was the reception of classical texts of literary criticism, such as Horace’s Ars Poetica, Longinus’ On the Sublime, and most importantly, Aristotle’s Poetics. The Poetics quickly became a central text for literary criticism in the period after its translation into Latin by Alessandro de’ Pazzi in 1536. These works provided poets with precepts for their compositions, ideas of genre, and a means to justify literary experimentation. Many of the interpretive debates surrounding these texts occurred on the printed page in various translations, commentaries, polemic treatises and published lectures. While the ideas on poetry in these works were explored by Bernard Weinberg, in his 1961 A History of Literary Criticism in the Italian Renaissance, few have yet explored these works from the more recent perspectives of book history and material culture. Weinberg was a professor at the University of Chicago and bequeathed his collection of early modern Italian literary criticism to the Wing collection at the Newberry Library.

This symposium aims to explore the contexts of early modern literary criticism in Italy through three lenses, of readers, publishers, and collectors, including such questions as:
  • Who were the publishers and booksellers of literary criticism in this period?
  • What was the market for such works and how did this shape physical aspects of their publication (typography, bindings, size, ornamentation, etc.)?
  • How did printing allow such debates to reach interlocutors beyond the immediate academic, intellectual, civic and national contexts in which they emerged?
  • Did publishers take any particular position in these debates?
  • Who read and collected such texts in the early modern period both in Italy and beyond? What criteria guided their acquisitions?
By beginning to reconstruct such contexts this symposium hopes to call attention to the complex social and economic dynamics of early modern literary debates and to create dialog between the disciplines of book history, the study of material culture, and history of ideas. This case-study symposium hopes to build skills and provide new perspectives for scholars who work on early modern European cultural history, while introducing interested members of the general public to new approaches in the field.

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Refund Policy
Requests for refunds must be received in writing. To request a refund, email us at [email protected] The Seminars Office retains a 10% processing fee. For single- and two-session seminars, tuition (less the 10% processing fee) is refundable until one day before the seminar begins. For seminars meeting more than twice, tuition (less the 10% processing fee) is refundable until one day prior to the second class meeting; we cannot give a refund once the seminar has met a second time. Requests for refunds may be placed over the phone, but must be received in writing or via email before the class meets a second time.

After this the class has met (for the second time in a longer course) we pay our instructors and do not give any refunds. We do not offer letters of credit.

If the seminar fails to reach a minimum of seven registrations before the early registration deadline (one week before the first day of the term), the seminar will be canceled and all participants will be fully refunded. The instructor is required to teach the seminar if it reaches seven registrations prior to the early registration deadline. In some cases, a seminar may be offered with fewer than seven registrations at the option of the instructor.


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Reviews of Classes at The Newberry (4)

(4 Reviews)
Contexts of Early Modern Literary Criticism
Reviewed by Anonymous on 5/8/2017
The instructor was excellent, a true scholar. One (the participant) did have to know some knowledge on the topic, though, since it was highly specialized.

School: The Newberry

The Newberry

The Newberry is home to a world-class collection of books, manuscripts, maps, music, and other handmade and printed materials related to the history and culture of Western Europe and the Americas. The collections span many centuries and feature items such as illuminated medieval manuscripts, rare early...

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