Writers the world over have often accompanied their texts with a variety of annotations, marginal glosses, rubrications, and explicatory or narrative prose in an effort to direct and control the reception of their own works. Such self-exegetical devices do not merely serve as an external apparatus but effectively interact with the primary text by introducing a distinctive meta-literary dimension which, in turn, reveals complex dynamics affecting the very notions of authorship and readership. In the Renaissance, self-commentaries enjoyed unprecedented diffusion and found expression in a multiplicity of forms, which appear to be closely linked to momentous processes such as the legitimation of vernacular languages across Europe, the construction of a literary canon, the making of the modern author as we know it, and the self-representation of modern individual identities.

The Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) at Durham University will host an international conference on the topic of self-commentary and self-exegesis in early modern European literature, 26-27 February 2016 at Palace Green Library.

Registration is free. To reserve a place, please email: selfcommentary@gmail.com




Friday 26 February


10.30                Registration, coffee and tea


Opening remarks: Francesco Venturi

Introduction and Chair: Carlo Caruso

Keynote: Martin McLaughlin (University of Oxford), Alberti’s ‘Commentarium’ to his First Literary Work: Self-Commentary as Self-Presentation

Jeroen De Keyser (KU Leuven), Elucidation and Self-Explanation in Filelfo’s Marginalia

12:45-2:15pm    Lunch break

2:15-4pm          Chair: Patrick Gray

Ian Johnson (University of St Andrews), Self-Commentary during Medieval Early Modernity: Reginald Pecock and Gavin Douglas

Harriet Archer (Newcastle University), Framing Creative Practice: Fictive Narratives of Poetic Invention in Elizabethan Prose-Verse Hybrids

Gilles Bertheau (Université François Rabelais – Tours), George Chapman and the ‘Andromeda Liberata’ Affair (1614): can a Poet be ‘master of [his] own meaning’?


4:00-4:30pm      Coffee and tea


4:30-6:00pm      Chair: Dario Tessicini

Keynote: Federica Pich (University of Leeds), On the Threshold of Poems: Lyric as/vs Narrative in Italian Renaissance Poetry

Magdalena Ożarska (Jan Kochanowski – Kielce), The Uses of Authorial Side Glosses in Anna Stanisławska’s ‘Transaction’ (1685)


Saturday 27 February

9:30-10:30         Chair: Marc Schachter

Keynote: John O’Brien (Durham University), ‘All outward and on show’: Montaigne’s External Glosses

10:30-11:00       Coffee and tea

11:00-12:50       Chair and concluding remarks: Richard Maber

Russel Ganim (University of Iowa), Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Annotation and Self-Exegesis in La Ceppède

Joseph Harris (Royal Holloway – London), Critical Failures: Corneille Observes his Spectators

Carlo Caruso (Durham University), Mock and Erudition: Alessandro Tassoni and Francesco Redi

For further information, please contact the event organiser: francesco.venturi@durham.ac.uk or visit: https://www.dur.ac.uk/imems/events/conferences/?eventno=25738