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Unleashing the “mad Dogge”: Classical Reception in Early Modern Political Thought

Posted By Caroline G. Stark, Thursday, May 4, 2017
Updated: Thursday, May 4, 2017

As a new Associate Organization of the Renaissance Society of America, the Society for Early Modern Classical Reception (SEMCR) invites proposals for papers to be delivered at the 2018 meeting of the Renaissance Society of America in New Orleans, LA.  For one of its inaugural panels, SEMCR invites abstracts on the reception of classical texts in early modern political thought.

In Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes called ancient books a "Venime" akin "to the biting of a mad Dogge," which had the power to corrupt their readers and bring down monarchies.  Hobbes' violent reaction captures the authority Greek and Roman political thought commanded in a period of radical change in systems of government and, concomitantly, in contemporary theorizing about politics.  Early modern readers absorbed Plautus, Plutarch, and rhetorical handbooks along with the authors central to later modern formations of the classical canon like Homer and Cicero.  These texts helped give shape to new debates over legitimacy, authority, virtue, community, and a host of other vital issues.

This panel invites papers that illuminate the historical impact of that reception or make a methodological contribution to the study of the reception of political thought in particular.  Following recent developments in the field, it welcomes studies of poetry and other media as well as canonical prose texts (e.g., Marsilius of Padua, Christine de Pizan, Machiavelli, More, Bodin, Jonson, Grotius, Hobbes, Harrington, Cavendish, Makin, Locke).

The Society is committed to creating a congenial and collaborative forum for the infusion of new ideas into classics and early modern studies, and hence welcomes abstracts that are exploratory in nature as well as abstracts of latter-stage research.

Abstracts (150 words) and a short CV (300 words) should be sent as separate email attachments to caroline.stark@howard.edu (see the RSA's abstract guidelines and CV guidelines and models) by May 31, 2017.  The abstracts will be judged anonymously: please do not identify yourself on the abstract page.

Please include in the body of the email:

  • your name, affiliation, email address
  • your paper title (15-word maximum)
  • relevant keywords

Tags:  authority  Classical Reception  Classics  community  Early Modern  Hobbes  legitimacy  Locke  Machiavelli  More  policy-making  Political Thought  Politics  Renaissance  rhetoric  virtue 

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