By Emma Annette Wilson
The New Year 2015 gives us a new “grassy stage” on which to reflect upon one of the Marvell Society’s most extensive set of sessions for the 2014 South-Central Renaissance Conference, and also to anticipate an equally large gathering set to take place at the upcoming 2015 event in Raleigh, NC.
Last year, the Sonoran desert with towering Saguaro cacti and bobbling Gambel’s quail provided a spectacular setting for Marvell sessions examining both his prose and poetic work at the South-Central Renaissance Conference 2014 held in Tucson, AZ. A total of seven sessions were anchored by a plenary presentation by Professor Edward Jones (Oklahoma State University) examining the issue of authorship in the State Papers of Andrew Marvell and John Milton to suggest that Marvell’s distinctive hand and writing mode could make these archives a very rich source for future Marvell scholarship. Political engagement both domestically and overseas formed the focus for further panels on the Cromwellian Era and the Restoration. The Cromwellian panel probed the dynamics of Marvell’s relationship with Fairfax, and his deft negotiations with Royalist and Republican ideas during the Interregnum, in a move which was paralleled in the Restoration session by a paper concerning Marvell’s use of republican and imperial touchstones in The Character of Holland. The Restoration panel also saw a further investigation of Marvell’s political work through the lens of his Trinity House Letters, whilst Brett Hudson’s paper on the satire of corporal punishment in the Rehearsal Transpros’d was the recipient of the John M. Wallace Award for the best paper presented by an early career scholar.
Sessions on Marvell’s poetry suggested numerous new social, political, intellectual, and discursive contexts for his work, from his engagements with intertextuality and multilingual influences in Doctor Witty in the “Translation” panel to discussions of the social networks and correspondence networks of Marvell and his subjects. In these sessions a wide array of new European contexts including the Spanish baroque lyrics of Luis de Góngora and the role of Flecknoe in the service of Béatrix de Cusance, Duchess of Lorraine. A panel on “Identity and Influence” brought together discussions of Marvell’s manipulations of identity within The Garden, of contemporary influences at work in the Horatian Ode, and of Marvell’s own influence on pastoral discourse in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien. “Marvell as Traveling Tutor” allowed papers to reveal different facets of Marvell’s pedagogical engagements, from his formative education through to his own work as an educator, and his broader thoughts on female education. The conference was brought to a close with our traditional Special Poem Panel, which in 2014 focused on Eyes and Tears, and the papers presented can be seen in the Marvell Society Newsletter Volume 6, Number 1 (June 2014).
It is now with great pleasure that we can look forward to an equally stimulating set of Marvell sessions at the upcoming South-Central Renaissance Conference to be held 12-14 March 2015 in Raleigh, NC. Again, we have a full program comprised of seven sessions including a plenary talk by Professor Jonathan Sawday, the Walter J. Ong Chair in the Humanities at Saint Louis University, who will present on “Andrew Marvell’s Bermudas and the Eleutherian Project.” Our other sessions once again incorporate work on both Marvell’s poetry and prose, exploring “Intertextual Marvell,” “Patronage and Networks,” “Marvell and Influences,” “Place,” “Sexuality,” and the Special Poem Panel which will look at Daphnis and Chloe. This promises to be a really exciting set of papers, and it will be wonderful to hear from both returning long-term participants in the Society and also especially to welcome first-time presenters. In keeping with our tradition, we will be holding the Marvell Society dinner at a local restaurant in Raleigh, NC, the details of which will be sent via email shortly, and we hope this will be a great chance for some marvellous discussions about our latest research in the field.
The South-Central Renaissance Conference is being held from March 12-14 at the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel, and participants can register via the conference website.
I would also like to remind all of the Marvell presenters below the rank of associate professor to submit for the John M. Wallace Award for the best paper on Andrew Marvell given by an early career scholar at the conference. The award recognizes the signal contribution made to Marvell studies by John M. Wallace (1928-1993), Professor of English at the University of Chicago and author of the ground breaking interdisciplinary work Destiny His Choice: The Loyalism of Andrew Marvell (1968). The award is open to graduate students, independent scholars, and faculty below the rank of associate professor (US and Canada) or equivalent (i.e. within the first five years of a permanent teaching appointment). Applicants should submit full papers to me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 24 February 2015, and the President of the SCRC will present the award at the closing luncheon on Saturday 14th March.
Thank you to everyone for the fantastic papers presented back in 2014, we are really looking forward to the 2015 conference, and hope to see you in Raleigh!
University of Alabama