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Symposium report: Symposium for Seventeenth-Century Scottish Literature

Jessica Reid & Heather Wells

The Scottish seventeenth century has traditionally been viewed as ‘the awkward bit in between’ ‘Reformation and Renaissance’ on the one hand and ‘Improvement and Enlightenment’ on the other, ‘with no similar dominant theme to give it unity’.1 Until recently, much of the literature of the seventeenth century in Scotland has been neglected…

Polaris is a forum for explorations and discussions of the Northern Renaissance that don’t fit comfortably within the restraints of the orthodox academic essay. We publish conference reports, exhibition, TV and film reviews, speculative essays, and even host podcast episodes. We generally welcome submissions of around 750-3,000 words on all aspects of cultural practice in Northern Europe in the period 1430-1650. Initial inquiries regarding submission are encouraged, and should be sent to polaris.jnr@gmail.com (or click here).

Polaris 2021: A New Editorial Team

We are Kyle Dase and Tristan B. Taylor, the newest additions to the editorial team of JNR: Polaris. Both Kyle and Tristan are currently doctoral candidates in the Department of English at the University of Saskatchewan. Kyle’s research contextualizes John Donne’s verse epistles from the perspective of Renaissance sociability through the use of digital methodologies. […]

Olaus Petri and Josephus Flavius: A Comparison

In this supplement to his previous Polaris post, Andrey Scheglov (Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences) establishes parallels between Olaus Petri’s pioneering work of Swedish historiography, A Swedish Chronicle (En Svensk krönika) and The Jewish Antiquities and The Jewish Wars of the ancient historian Josephus Flavius.

MEMOs: An Exciting New Digital Hub for Early Interactions Between England and the Islamic Worlds

Lubaaba Al-Azami & Samera Hassan
Medieval and Early Modern Orients (MEMOs) is a recently launched AHRC-funded collaborative project that seeks to illuminate encounters between England and the Islamic worlds….

Olaus Petri: A Protestant reformer who approved of dissection

Andrey Scheglov
Could a sixteenth-century cleric approve of dissecting human bodies for scientific purposes? The case of the Swedish Lutheran reformer Olaus Petri (c. 1493–1552) proves that it could be so. In his theological treatise, ‘A Teaching on the Noble Creation, Fall and Restoration of Man’, Olaus mentions dissection and speaks positively of it..

Exhibition review:
The Slovak National Gallery’s Non-Permanent Exhibition

Magdalena Łanuszka
Usually, when a gallery needs reconstruction, exhibitions are closed, but when the reconstruction is planned to go on for a longer time, the galleries tend to organise temporary exhibitions of the highlights of the permanent collection…

Habits of Highly Effective Researchers? Online Communication and the Early Modern Boundaries Network

WWW Peter Auger
Thoughts on the Early Modern Boundaries project, and on how early modernists might develop working practices that better reflect the transnational and multilingual nature of early modern cultures.

Fake News in Early Modern England

Rebecca Hasler.
PODCAST SPECIAL. Three public lectures by Rebecca Hasler at the University of St Andrews, this year’s St Leonard’s College Research Prize Lectures in the Arts & Humanities: ‘New and Fake News in Early Modern England’, ‘Discovering Crime, Real and Fake’, and ‘Fake News: Satire and Fiction’. Listen to find out about fake news in early modern England.

‘The Masque of the Olympic Knights’, St Andrews, 11 February 2017

Rachel Horrocks
A report on the reconstruction of Francis Beaumont’s 1613 court masque, The Masque of the Inner Temple and Gray’s Inn. Funded by the Historical Dance Society, the reconstruction followed a weekend of early dance workshops led by scholar-practitioner Dr Anne Daye.

Conference Report – Myth and Emotion in Early Modern Europe

Katherine Heavey
& Gordon Raeburn

A report on the one-day seminar hosted at the University of Melbourne, in association with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (CHE), organised by Dr Gordon Raeburn (University of Melbourne) and Dr Katherine Heavey (University of Glasgow) and with the keynote lecture delivered by Professor Cora Fox (Arizona State University).

‘Parenthood and Childhood in the Middle Ages’, Edinburgh 8-9 October 2015

Rachel Delman & Phoebe Linton
Conference Report. Though nominally a conference on the Middle Ages, papers spanned the 9th to the 16th centuries, and the sometimes disconnected subdivisions of early-medieval, late-medieval and early modern studies were considered in close relation to each other. Keynote speaker Dr Sarah M. Dunnigan addressed the late medieval/early modern divide explicitly…

Worshipping at the Altar of the Bard

Anindya Raychaudhuri & Hannah Fitzpatrick
PODCAST SPECIAL in collaboration with State of the Theory. Many early modernists object to representations of Shakespeare’s life and works that elide a myriad of messy issues. Anindya and Hannah take up the politics of the commemoration of Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death, and discuss conflicting representations of Shakespeare…

TV Review: The Renaissance Unchained

Rebecca Unsworth
In his recent BBC4 television series rethinking the art of the Renaissance, Waldemar Januszczak began with Giorgio Vasari. According to Januszczak, that ‘Michelangelo groupie’ was responsible for inventing the Renaissance in his use of the term rinascita to describe what was happening around him artistically. The tale which Vasari wove in his Lives of the Artists was one of cultural triumph…

Reflecting on ‘National Boundaries in Early Modern Literary Studies’ (in English, Nederlands, Français, Italiano, & Español)

PeterlAuger et al.
Most researchers studying multilingual and transnational aspects of Renaissance literary culture work within departments centred on individual languages and national canons. The co-authors of this piece, for instance, include a specialist in the Spanish New World who teaches Cervantes…

Northernness in the Renaissance: Thoughts on the Constructivist Character of the ‘North’

Inken Schmidt-Voges
In the learned discourse of the Renaissance, the North was not just depicted as a geographical location, but also contained a set of qualities which characterised its nature as well as the people who lived there: ‘Northernness’. It was a rough, wild place…

Exile in that Infinity: Giordano Bruno

WWW Ed Simon
According to the Italian, the English were just as unimpressed with him as he was with them. On an Ash Wednesday in 1583 they sat in this dark-wood panelled dining room, tapestries keeping out the chill of late winter even as the cold couldn’t help but enter through the leaded window with its multicoloured glass diamonds…

The Destroyer of Worlds in His Newfoundland

WWEd Simon
On July 16, 1945 an assembled group of scientists saw a false sun rising in the west. Here, in the Jornardo del Muerto scientific myths of progress and religious myths of the last days were finally fused in a terrifying transmutation of mass into energy. They witnessed an alchemical nightmare at Alamogordo, New Mexico where man’s fear and desire for apocalypse was finally matched by man’s technical ability.

Northern Light: Polaris, an Introduction

Polaris Editors
The Journal of the Northern Renaissance is delighted to welcome you to Polaris, a new feature dedicated to short polemics, position pieces, interviews, and conference and research reports. We hope these pages will provide a forum for dialogues and debates to develop, offering our authors and readers the chance to come together to discuss the Renaissance in the North. Posts are open to comments: please contribute!

Renaissance Studies, Digital Humanities and the Library

Demmy Verbeke
Renaissance Studies has always been a multidisciplinary affair. Renaissance Studies are mostly defined by time (i.e. the various possible meanings of ‘Renaissance’) sometimes in combination with spatial boundaries (e.g. ‘the Italian Renaissance’ or ‘the Northern Renaissance’, as is the case with the journal associated to this blog), but never by object.

The Global Renaissance and the North

Heather Madar
The 2000s have seen a proliferation of scholarship on the so-called global Renaissance. Seen as originating from sources as diverse as Fernand Braudel’s The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Phillip II and scholarly and curatorial attention to the 500 year anniversary of Columbus’s voyage to the Americas, geo-political events of the early 2000s, particularly in the wake of 9/11, are seen as providing a particular stimulus.

The Demystification of Authority in Michel de Montaigne’s Essays

Dimitra Koutla
Michel de Montaigne’s Essays are not an apology or a vindication of a particular theory or state order. Montaigne was a member of a wealthy French merchant family, whose title and land were actually bought, not inherited and he was always careful to maintain a distance from his king, drawing a line between allegiance and blind obedience.

Notes on John Dee’s Aztec Mirror

WWEd Simon
In the British Museum – away from the Rosetta Stone and Elgin Marbles with their legions of selfie-taking tourists – is a shiny, jet-black obsidian mirror. Not much bigger than any standard hand mirror, the artifact is circular with a hole-bored handle at the top. A beautiful, dark, reflective black, it was forged from volcanic Mexican obsidian which the Aztecs associated with their god Tezcatlipoca, lord of divination (among other things).