College of Arts and Sciences

Renaissance Studies


Works-in-Progress Workshop
Friday, January 28th, 3:00-4:00
Ballantine Hall 006

I am pleased to announce the first meeting of our “Works-in-Progress Workshop”, a forum where members of the Renaissance Studies group can share and discuss their current research in a friendly and informal atmosphere.

Penelope Anderson (Assistant Professor of English) will discuss her paper titled “The Garden of Epicurus ad the Garden of Eden: Friendship’s Counsel in “De Rerum Natura” and “Order and Disorder.””

Professor Anderson’s book project, “Friendship’s Shadows,” places early modern women’s friendship in the classical tradition of ‘amicitia’, arguing that women writers find in humanist friendship the potential for a textual generativity of the mind rather than sexual reproduction via the body. Most strikingly, they locate friendship’s efficacy not solely in its idealization of perfect faithfulness, but instead in its recognition of the inevitability of betrayal not outside but within all ideas of loyalty.

The third chapter of her book addresses the relation between volition, coercion, and friendship in Lucy Hutchinson’s epics, with comparisons to Thomas Hobbes and John Milton. Both Hutchinson’s translation of the Lucretian “De Rerum Natura” (composed 1650s) and her English “Order and Disorder” (most likely composed 1670s; anonymously published, in part, in 1679), which retells “Genesis,” substitute the mutual, linguistically-based obligations of friendship for biological procreation. Hutchinson uses the humanist language of classical friendship to rewrite the link between marriage and public life.

The pre-circulated paper will be made available upon request in the next few days.

I hope to see many of you.

Massimo Scalabrini
Director of Renaissance Studies