EME Launch Conference!

The Early Modern Exchanges Launch Conference is coming up this Thursday, 15 September.

Keep up to date on everything coming up via the website at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/eme/launch.

Look forward to seeing everyone there!

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The Bible at the Maughan Library

The King’s College London’s Maughan Library’s special collections exhibit on early modern translations of the Bible has been met with such success that it has been extended to 20 September.

Items on display include the second folio edition of the King James Bible (1613), a rare Low German Luther Bible (1578), the only recorded copy of the first edition of Genesis to be printed on North American soil (the so-called ‘Algonquin Genesis’ of 1655) and the first Bible to be printed in a language of the Indian sub-continent (the Tamil New Testament of 1715). Many exhibits are taken from the library of the linguistic scholar William Marsden (1754-1836), who assembled a matchless collection of printed Bibles from all over the world. We are delighted also to display a volume of the 21st century Saint John’s Bible, a masterpiece of contemporary fine printing and illumination, lent to the College by kind permission of the church of St Martin-in-the Fields.

The exhibition is a great follow-up to the Lambeth Palace exhibit celebrating the 400 years of the King James Bible. Although the Lambeth Palace exhibit ended mid-summer, the Maughan Library’s extended hours offer an ideal opportunity to catch up on anything missed!

A special feature of the exhibition is a free demonstration of Accordance, a software tool for Biblical scholarship. The demonstration model is available for visitors to try out during exhibition opening hours, Monday-Friday only. To find out more about Accordance please see the Accordance websitewww.accordancebible.com.

The exhibition takes place in the Weston Room, Maughan Library & Information Services Centre, Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1LR, and is open 09.30-17.00, Monday-Friday.

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Shakespeare at the British Museum

Presented in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the British Museum’s “Shakespeare staging the world”  revisits the playwrite’s stories and tell them anew to London in 2012.

The Elizabethan theatre dominated society. Spanning the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, Shakespeare used the theatre as a medium to showcase his understanding of history and contemporary cultures from across the world. The exhibit presents the argument that Shakespeare’s influence was palpable in his own time and his tales echo down through the ages. The exhibition will provide a unique insight into the emerging role of London as a world city, and so should be of particular interest to those attending the Early Modern Exchanges launch conference next week.

Maps, prints, drawings, paintings and tapestries will sit alongside arms and armour, books, coins, medals and much more, highlighting the cross-cultural exchange of the Renaissance and Shakespeare’s role in this exchange. The exhibit reveals how one man’s work has such a universal appeal. 

Part of the World Shakespeare Festival which is part of London 2012 Festival, the exhibit runs through the 25th of November and is free to members of the museum. The British Museum is located just around the corner from UCL at Great Russell Street. More information on the exhibit can be found  at  http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/shakespeare.aspx

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In the Age of Averroes: The Warburg Institute Colloquia

Edited by Peter Adamson, the 16th Warburg Institute Colloquia is now available. The work looks at Arabic philosophy in the sixth and twelfth centuries, bringing together scholarship from across this growing field.

Much as a previous volume published by the Warburg explored the full range of philosophical developments in the 10th century, this collection of 13 papers looks at philosophical literature of the 12th century. Several contributors discuss the most famous thinker of the period, the great commentator Averroes. However the volume casts a wide net, taking in theologians, “philosophical mystics”, and scientists, focusing on Jewish philosophy alongside Islamic thought.


The Warburg Institute is located just across the street from UCL off Woburn Square, and is well worth a visit this autumn. Of particular interest this September is the Warburg Institute’s Books Sale. To take advantage of the sale just ask at the Institute’s reception for the Warburg Books from 
10:00-12:45 or 2:15-4:45 any day from Monday to Friday.

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Theatre Opportunities in London

(Contributed by Kate Maltby)

Visitors to UCL’s Early Modern Exchanges launch conference will arrive in London just as the autumn theatre season is getting started, providing plenty of opportunity to trace Early Modern influence on today’s artistic climate.

During the week of the 15th – 17th, The Globe alternates its productions of Dr Faustus and Much Ado About Nothing, both in their last few weeks. As ever, Faustus proves difficult to stage, but I loved the energy of the performance and puppetry, and felt that for once, we have a Faustus that is coherent and watchable, even while festooned with the type of garish spectacle that made this uneven play a hit with Early Modern Londoners. Meanwhile, Jeremy Herrin’s production of Much Ado is mellow and beautiful, with a heartbreaking performance from Eve Best – a far cry from the brash slapstick of the David Tennant production that recently closed at Wyndham’s theatre.

But the rare treat for Early Modernists at the Globe during conference weekend will be a reading of Marlowe’s Massacre at Paris. Conveniently scheduled at 3pm on the Sunday after the conference finishes, the staged reading is an opportunity to listen aloud to the rhetoric of one of Marlowe’s least performed plays.

Elsewhere, Ralph Fiennes is about to open at the Royal Haymarket Theatre in Trevor Nunn’s production of The Tempest, with Nicholas Lyndhurst as Trinculo. Those intrigued by Hamlet, Luther or Faustus might enjoy The Gate’s new production, Wittenberg, in which contemporary playwright David Davalos imagines the two German doctors fighting for the soul of the Danish student. Moving a couple of centuries forward to the eighteenth century, the Southwark Playhouse hosts a revival of Hannah Crowley’s The Belle Strategem, and a fortnight after winning the Archangel Award at the Eidnburgh Festival, Max Stafford-Clark’s production of A Dish of Tea With Dr Johnson returns to the Arts theatre.

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Michaelangelo’s ‘Epifania’ at the British Museum

The British Museum has a number of excellent gallery talks coming up this fall. In particular, Daniel Godfrey’s upcoming talk on Michael Angelo’s Ephifania cartoon sound particularly informative. The talk will be this coming 8 October at 13:15 in the Museum’s room 90.  Anyone still in London following the Centre for Early Modern Exchange’s launch conference is strongly encouraged to join!

Epifania is a cartoon or full-scale drawing in black chalk, produced in Rome around 1550–1553. It is 2.32 metres tall by 1.65 m wide, and is made up of 26 sheets of paper. It has become well known as one of Michael Angelo’s most controversial works.

The composition shows the Virgin Mary with the Christ child sitting between her legs. An adult male figure to the right, probably St. Joseph, is pushed away by Mary. According to the British Museum, Michelangelo repeatedly changed the composition and its forms, as its apparent in the cartoon’s alterations. The composition was originally thought to be of the Three Kings, which may be the reason for the title, but is now understood as referring to Christ’s siblings mentioned in the Gospels.

The British Museum is open every day from 10:00-5:30. It is located just around the corner from UCL at Bedford Square.

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Early Modern London Theatres: A new resource at King’s College London

King’s College London has recently launched a new database in collaboration with the University of Ontario and the University of Southampton. Early Modern London Theatres (EMLoT) is a research database and educational resource. Funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the British Academy (BA), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), EMLoT lets users see what direct use has been made, over the last four centuries, of pre-1642 documents related to professional performance in purpose-built theatres and other permanent structures in the London area.

The database does not include play texts. Systematically collecting and describing centuries of usage of pre-1642 documents is a substantial task, and consequentially EMLoT does not yet cover the whole area: the first phase of work has concentrated on the theatres north of the Thames, particularly those lying outside the city’s walls in the areas known as Middlesex and Westminster. The next phase will be to extend coverage to Bankside and hence into Surrey.

An early version of the resource is currently available and can be found at http://www.emlot.kcl.ac.uk/. It may prove an invaluable guide to anyone coming to London for research this autumn.

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