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Forms of Imperfection in the English Renaissance

Posted By Andrew M. Carlson, Friday, May 06, 2016

While early modern writers sought the perfect perfection of poesy” (to borrow the words of William Webbe), forms of imperfection have become central to our understanding of the period and its literary accomplishments. Scholars have lately looked to categories such as eccentricity, errancy, and incoherence as they have tried to understand the rise of English vernacular eloquence and the distinction of poetic making over the course of the early modern period. Others have emphasized carelessness, disknowledge, and textual disintegration in accounts of literature’s relation to early modern science. Accordingly, we seek contributions that restore forms of disfiguration, rudeness, open-endedness, softness, deviation, etc., to our understanding of English Renaissance poesy and the modes of thinking it enables. This panel is sponsored by the Medieval-Renaissance Colloquium at Rutgers University.


Please send an abstract (150 word maximum) and a very brief curriculum vitae (300 word maximum; please see RSA rules) to Andrew Carlson ( ) and Thomas Fulton ( by May 31 to be considered for inclusion. The abstract should include a paper title and 3-5 keywords.


Tags:  decorum  epistemology  imperfection  poetics  rhetoric  science  style 

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