New book – Exceptional Bodies in Early Modern Culture: Concepts of Monstrosity Before the Advent of the Normal, ed. by Maja Bondestam, pub. by Amsterdam University Press

Exceptional Bodies in Early Modern Culture, Concepts of Monstrosity Before the Advent of the Normal

Maja Bondestam (ed.), published by Amsterdam University Press, new series Monsters and Marvels. Alterity in the Medieval and Early Modern Worlds

 

Drawing on a rich array of textual and visual primary sources, including medicine, satires, play scripts, dictionaries, natural philosophy, and texts on collecting wonders, this book provides a fresh perspective on monstrosity in early modern European culture. The essays explore how exceptional bodies challenged social, religious, sexual and natural structures and hierarchies in the sixteenth, seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries and contributed to its knowledge, moral and emotional repertoire. Prodigious births, maternal imagination, hermaphrodites, collections of extraordinary things, powerful women, disabilities, controversial exercise, shapeshifting phenomena and hybrids are examined in a period before all varieties and differences became normalized to a homogenous standard. The historicizing of exceptional bodies is central in the volume since it expands our understanding of early modern culture and deepens our knowledge of its specific ways of conceptualizing singularities, rare examples, paradoxes, rules and conventions in nature and society.

 

Table of contents

Introduction – Maja Bondestam

1. The Moresca Dance in Counter-Reformation Rome: Court Medicine and the Moderation of Exceptional Bodies – Maria Kavvadia

2. Monsters and the Matemal Imagination: The ‘First Vision’ from Johann Remmelin’s 1619 Catoptrum microcosmicum Triptych – Rosemary Moore

3. The Optics of Bodily Deviance: Juan Ruiz de Alarcon’s Path to Public Office – Pablo Garcia Pillar

4. ‘The Most Deformed Woman in France’: Marguerite de Valois’s Monstrous Sexuality in the Divorce satyrique – Cecile Resfels

5. Curious, Useful and Important: Bayle’s ‘Hermaphrodites’ as Figures of Theological Inquiry – Parker Cotton

6. An Education: Johannes Schefferus and the Prodigious Son of a Fisherman – Maja Bondestam


7. Ambiguous and Transitional Bodies: Stillbirth in Stockholm, 1691-1724 – Tove Paulsson Holmberg


Afterword – Kathleen Long

 
 

« Monsters and problematic identities » – graduate student conference – The Medieval and Renaissance Student Association (MaRSA) of California State University, Long Beach

MONSTERS AND PROBLEMATIC IDENTITIES


The Medieval and Renaissance Student Association (MaRSA) of California State University, Long Beach is seeking individual papers as well as panel submissions for their graduate student conference.

The conference will be held at the Karl Anatol Center on the campus of CSULB on March I2th, 2020. Medieval and Renaissance monstrosity and identities. As an interdisciplinary conference, we welcome submissions from a wide array of disciplines focusing on the art, literature, and history of the period. Paper and panel topics might address issues (but are not limited to) the following:
Monsters es the other (theories of otherness)

Eco-critIcism and Monsters

Nationalism and Monsters

Identity formation

  • Gender
  • Race
  • Sexuality
  • Religious identity

Psychoanalysis (historical actors)

Post/Modern

Medievalism Fantasy Monsters

  • Zombies
  • Ghosts
  • Dragons
  • Fairies
  • Demons
  • Giants
  • Ogres
  • Werewolves (shapeshifters)
  • Dwarves

Cultural/Social Isolation (outlaw)/ Marginalization

Travel Literature, and Monsters

Colonialism/ Imperialism Trans-AtiaMic

Disabilities (dwarves)

Medieval Imaginary

Monstrous Bodies

Witchcraft (magic)

Ideological Appropriation

 

PRESENTATIONS SHOULD RUN FOR APPROXIMATELY 15 MINUTES. PLEASE SUBMIT ABSTRACTS OF NO MORE THAN 300 WORDS ALONG WITH A CURRENT 1 PAGE CV BY EMAIL TO MEDREN.CSULB@GMAIL.COM BY FEBRUARY 6TH, 2020.

 

 

CFP – « Re-defining the Monster » – ICMS Kalamazoo 2019

CFP for ICMS Kalamazoo 2019: Re-defining the Monster

The proposed session will discuss and debate on the various definitions of the concept of the “monster.” Defining the monster is a challenge. Monsters and monstrosity-related aspects have been topics of academic research either connected to identity or cross-cultural encounters, explored as ‘others’ in the context of voyages (real-imagined), as heritage from Antiquity, as races reflected in travellers’ reports inserted into Western art, philosophy, and theology.

What is a monster? What is monstrosity? How is the monster conceptualized by a given community? Can one define it or does the monster define itself? Does it offer any self-description? Did the medieval man write about monsters and how does this define the monster from a cultural perspective? Where and what is the “border” between human, “other,” and monster? This session seeks original research which investigates medieval scholarly debates in philosophical, theological, political, literary, visual contexts and/or sources in order to (re)define the concept of the monster/monstrosity. Reinterpretations of previous definitions are welcome in a debate on re-visualizing medieval monsters.

This sessions also aims to bring the intellectual outcome of these sessions into the attention of the general public by publishing the proceedings of the debates in the series « picturing the Middle Ages and Ealry Modernity » at Trivent Publishing, Budapest, Hungary.

Please submitt a 250-word proposal for a 15-20 minutes paper presentation by september 15th, 2018.

 

Contact information :

Andrea-Bianka Znorovszky, Ca’Foscari university, Venice, Italy (andrea.znorovszky@unive.it)

Theodora C. Artimon, Trivent Publishing, Budapest, Hungary

 

CFP – ‘Deformis Formositas ac Formosa Deformitas. The Ugliness of Beauty and the Beauty of Ugliness: Materializing Ugliness and Deformity in the Middle Ages’ – International Medieval Congress 2019 – July 1 – 4, 2019, University of Leeds.

‘Deformis Formositas ac Formosa Deformitas. The Ugliness of Beauty and the Beauty of Ugliness: Materializing Ugliness and Deformity in the Middle Ages’

Call for Papers for Session Proposal at the International Medieval Congress (IMC 2019)

July 1 – 4, 2019, University of Leeds.

The proposed session will discuss and debate on the various definitions and functions of the concept of “ugliness.” What is ugliness and how is it conceptualized? This session seeks original research which investigates debates on the concept of “ugliness” in various contexts:

  • Spiritual/physical/material ugliness;
  • Paradoxical nature of ugliness/irony/allegorical discourse;
  • Emotions and ugliness;
  • Functional aspects/Contrasts/Status and ugliness;
  • Didactic/moralistic functions;
  • Gendered aspects: ugliness belonging to other creatures;
  • Description/nature/character of ugliness;
  • Symbolism and patterns of transmission;
  • Comparative aspects of medieval beauty and ugliness;
  • Beauty within the context of ugliness in visual and textual sources;

Please submit a working title and a 250-word proposal for a 15-20 minute pape presentation by september 15th, 2018, the latest.

Contact informations :

Andrea-Bianka Znorovszky, Ca’Foscari university, Venice, Italy (andrea.znorovszky@unive.it)

Theodora C. Artimon, Trivent Publishing, Budapest, Hungary

Colloquium – Asclepius, the Paintbrush, and the Pen: Representations of Disease in Medieval and Early Modern European Art and Literature – May 4/5 – CMRS Medical Humanities Conference (UCLA)

CMRS Medical Humanities Conference

Asclepius, the Paintbrush, and the Pen: Representations of Disease in Medieval and Early Modern European Art and Literature

May 4May 5

Humanity has always approached disease with a mixture of curiosity and dread. Medieval and early modern people were no exception, displaying a deep fascination with virulent ailments and all sorts of physical deformities. But despite this a attraction, few artists of these eras engaged in the depiction of disease. When they did, their expression was particular to the medium used and differed among artists even when using the same medium. Since such an effort was outside their norm, what factors drove them to pick up pen or brush to approach maladies as a subject of esthetic expression? How did the artists’ experiences influence their choices in portraying disease? Were these depictions the result of something that interfered with their intent to faithfully reproduce the best of nature, or do they reflect a rebellion against what we generally assume to be the period`s artistic and literary quest: the portrayal of spiritual beauty and, later, the rediscovered beauty of the human body?

This conference, organized by Professor Massimo Ciavolella (Italian, UCLA) and Professor Rinaldo Canalis, MD (David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA), engages these questions and the contemporary perspective they elicit.

Funding for this symposium is provided by the Endowment for the UCLA Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies.

 

SATURDAY, MAY 5, 2018 | UCLA ROYCE HALL 314
8:30 AM Registration, coffee
9:00 Welcoming Remarks
Session I | Allison Collins (UCLA), chair
9:15 Francis Wells (Royal Papworth Hospital, Cambridge)
“The Role of the Decorative Arts in Disease”
10:00 Break
10:15 Joachim Küpper (Freie Universität Berlin)
“Malady in Literary Texts from the Medieval and the Early Modern Periods – Some Hypotheses On a Paradoxical Constellation”
11:00 Break
11:15 Gaia Gubbini (Freie Universität Berlin)
“Leprosy, Melancholy, Folly, and their Representations in Medieval French Literature”
12:00 PM Break
12:15 Alain Touwaide (UCLA, The Huntington, and Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions )
“The Art of Medicine in Byzantium: Disease and Disability in Byzantine Manuscripts”
1:00 Lunch Break
Session II | Rinaldo Canalis (UCLA), chair
2:15 Domenico Bertoloni Meli (Indiana University Bloomington)
“Textures of Lesions – Textures of Prints”
3:00 Break
3:15 Manuela Gallerani (Università di Bologna)
“Illness in art and art in illness: reflections based on paradigmatic works by Italian Renaissance artists”
4:00 Break
4:15 Sara Frances Burdorff (UCLA)
“‘Yet have I in me something dangerous’: Demonopathy, the Pox, and the Melancholy Dane in Shakespeare’s Hamlet
SATURDAY, MAY 5, 2018 | UCLA ROYCE HALL 314
9:00 Coffee
Session III | Monique Kornell (CMRS Associate), chair
9:30 Valeria Finucci (Duke University)
“The King and the Art of Brain Surgery”
10:15 Break
10:30 Alfonso Paolella (University of Naples)
“The ‘mal franzoso’ between art, history and literature. Paracelso and Della Porta”
11:15 Break
11:30 Efraín Kristal (UCLA)
“Nicolas Poussin’s ‘The Plague at Ashdod’ and the French Disease”
12:15 Lunch Break
Session IV | Guendalina Ajello Mahler (CMRS Associate )
1:30 Jenni Kuuliala (University of Tampere)
“Miracle and the Monstrous: Disability and Deviant Bodies in the Late Middle Ages”
2:15 Break
2:30 Lori Jones (University of Ottawa)
“‘Fevers, Botches, and Carbuncles’: Describing the Plague in Late Medieval and Early Modern Medical Treatises”
3:15 Break
3:30 Roberto Fedi (Università per Stranieri di Perugia)
“The Ailing Artist”
4:15 Concluding Remarks