Creating Renaissance Criticism

'Creating Renaissance Criticism' was a workshop event organised by Joe Moshenska and Leah Whittington, Professor of English at Harvard University, assisted by Iris Pearson and Isabelle Stuart. It gathered together twenty-four literary scholars to think about connections between creative approaches and historical scholarship, rather than differentiating between them. The conference asked: what are the specific affordances of early modern literary and intellectual practice for the creative-critical turn?  How might engagement with early modern interpretative and compositional techniques complicate and broaden our repertoire of what might count as critical practice today?

Here is the briefing circulated to speakers:

The conference in June will be an occasion to share work towards these ends. Each of us will present a piece of writing that attempts two things: (i) a historically grounded account of a specific early modern literary technique or practice (ii) an experimental engagement with or enactment of this technique, formally or methodologically, that demonstrates the kind of transformed critical practice that might arise from this approach. The prompt is designed to open-ended so that you can seize on the version of “scholarship giving rise to creative enactment” that seems most fruitful to you in your own writing.

Two exercises ran alongside the conference, as a way of maintaining a sense of live practice and collaborative experimentation. One exercise invited participants to select a 'concept' (a word, phrase, idea, structure of thought) from the papers they had heard that day, and to photograph an 'instance' of that concept in their movements around Oxford. Another involved participants noting down a striking quotation from each panel, which were compiled into experimental poems to articulate the two days of discussion. The slideshow combining the results of these two exercises can be viewed here: 

A Slideshow.pptx.

Logo designed by Isabelle Stuart.