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New York 2014

The 60th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America

New York City, 27–29 March 2014

New York Hilton Midtown & Warwick Hotel New York

Conference program

A PDF version of the full program is available here. The preliminary print program errata and withdrawal list is available here (last updated 24 March 2014).

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the RSA was held on 29 March 2014. The minutes from that meeting are available for download on our past general meetings page.

RSA Plenaries

Thursday, 27 March 2014 – Margaret Mann Phillips Lecture

Sponsor: Erasmus of Rotterdam Society

Organizer: Eric Macphail, Indiana University

Location: New York Hilton Midtown, Sutton Rooms

Paul J. Smith, Leiden University
Folly Goes French: French Translations of the Praise of Folly in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

The early modern French Translations of Erasmus's Praise of Folly show an astonishing adaptability to its ever-changing readership. Recently much attention has been given to the two sixteenth-century translations (1518 and 1520); however, the three French translations of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are less known. The 1642 version addresses preclassicist readers, adepts of Richelieu's newly founded Académie Française, while the 1671 version appeals to the Parisian salons. Nicolas Gueudeville's 1713 translation went through twenty-two editions, in which its language is refined according to the rules of bienséance, and Vianen's illustrations, inspired by Holbein's famous drawings, are replaced by Charles Eisen's elegant figures, dressed in the latest fashion. Although she changed names (Moire/Stultitia–Dame Sottise–Dame Folie), language (from humanist Latin to Parisian French), appearance and attire (from Holbein to Eisen), Folly remains much the same through the ages — everlasting and omnipresent, just like the vices she laughs at.

Friday, 28 March 2014 – Plenary Session: Current Trends in the Digital Renaissance

Sponsor: The Renaissance Society of America

Location: New York Hilton Midtown, Sutton Rooms

Organizer and Chair: Martin Elsky, CUNY, Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center

Jonathan R. Hope, Strathclyde University
Paradigm Shifts in British Renaissance Literature: The Digital Future

On 1 January 2015, research in British literature will be transformed by the release of the first set of EEBO–TCP (Early English Books Online–Text Creation Partnership) texts, giving free access to 20,000 fully searchable volumes. With further releases planned, scholars can look forward to being able to read every printed English book from the period. It is hard to overestimate the importance of this as a paradigm shift in Renaissance studies, but such "big data" (or rather, in today's terms, small-to-medium-sized data) also poses new challenges. In order to realize the potential of such data sets, Renaissance scholars must adapt tools and methodologies from other fields such as corpus linguistics, data visualization, and statistical analysis. I will also look beyond text analytics to new applications of network analysis, geospatial mapping, and image searching, which promise to transform our research into Renaissance social structures, spaces, and visual culture.

Nicholas A. Eckstein, University of Sydney
Renaissance History and the Digital Turn

Of late Renaissance historians have ventured decisively down the road of the "digital turn." New digital technologies mean not only that scholars can map cities with unprecedented detail and clarity. They may also virtually "observe" and "experience" urban environments from vantage points that help us to see through barriers that even now divide disciplines and subdisciplines. Overlaying and peeling away categories of data allows us to filter our view of streets, zones, and neighborhoods by gender, occupation, residence, spatial relations, and other variables in order to reveal visual and even aural landscapes. Views of Venice and Florence by such cartographers as Jacopo de' Barbari and Stefano Buonsignori, for all their magisterial detail, are static. The exciting promise of several projects currently underway is to create dynamic maps that are not prisoners of the moment — maps that show evolutionary change, and may evolve and expand in the future.

Saturday, 29 March 2014 – Josephine Waters Bennett Lecture

Sponsor: The Renaissance Society of America

Location: New York Hilton Midtown, Sutton Rooms

William E. Wallace, Washington University in St. Louis
"Certain of Death": Michelangelo's Late Life and Art

What do we know about the final eighteen years of Michelangelo Buonarroti's life? From his appointment as architect of St. Peter's in 1546 through his death in 1564, Michelangelo completed no further sculptures. He took on nearly a dozen architectural projects, personally supervising half of them, but completing none in his lifetime. He lived with the constant expectation of death. I will examine the seeming paradox of an artist who, despite a plethora of incomplete endeavors, only increased his stature and authority, and extended his influence over the art and architecture of his time. Rather than the entrepreneurial artist of his earlier career, the elder Michelangelo astutely cultivated powerful patrons, influential bureaucrats, and a few trusted companions to realize his vision, remaining ever mindful of his legacy, the salvation of his soul, and the perpetuation of his family.


  • Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes at the Frick Collection
  • Renaissance Portraiture at the Met: Fashion Fabrics and Portrait Medals
  • Tour of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, plus a tour of the Textile Conservation Lab
  • Rhumblines and Islands: A Cartographic Evening at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Columbia University
  • Preview of Miracles in Miniature: The Art of the Master of Claude de France with Curator Roger Wieck, Morgan Museum



7th Street Film Syndicate – Artemisia Gentileschi documentary film, "A Woman Like That"
AMS Press, Inc.
Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS)
Ashgate Publishing Company
Boydell & Brewer
Brill Academic Publishers
Broadview Press
Cambridge University Press
Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, Toronto
Fordham University Press
Getty Publications
Hackett Publishing Company
Harvard University Press
Karger Publishers
Leo Cadogan Rare Books Ltd.
Maney Publishing
Northwestern University Press
The Penn State University Press
Roger Friedman Rare Book Studio
The Scholar's Choice
Syracuse University Press
Truman State University Press
University of Chicago Press
University of Pennsylvania Press
University of Toronto Press

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