14 – 15 June 2019
King’s College London

The Inns of Court were culturally significant institutions of literary production, circulation and performance in the early modern period; their status as a stepping-stone between the universities and courtly or legal employment meant that many major (and minor) literary figures filtered through them. The Inns were communities of learning and leisure in which writers could produce, disseminate, consume, and influence each other’s writing. Even literary figures that did not reside in the Inns, such as William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, were associated with their members and influenced by their culture.

Building on the intellectual foundations of two recent Inns-related conferences, “The Early Modern Inns of Court and the Circulation of Text” will investigate the ways in which material and oral literatures were transmitted throughout, within, and beyond the Inns. This conference aims to centralise thought about the Inns, putting scholarship concerned with the disparate literary outputs of the Inns into a historical and materially-minded conversation. To this end, we are encouraging abstract submissions that engage with early modern literary culture and the Inns broadly, but we are especially interested in papers on the following topics:

  • Dramatic, oral, and performative literatures
  • Materiality, geography, and the Inns within the city
  • Manuscript and print cultures
  • Collection of literary outputs
  • Sermons, their delivery and publication
  • Translation and translated texts
  • Inns men and professional drama
  • Clubs, coterie culture and homosocial community
  • Women and Inns writing: an absent presence
  • Institutional patronage and patronage networks
  • Relationships with agents of the book trade

Along with plenaries by Professors Michelle O’Callaghan and Arthur F. Marotti, “The Early Modern Inns of Court and the Circulation of Text” will include a performance of Thomas Hughes’ Gray’s Inn drama, The Misfortunes of Arthur, by The Dolphin’s Back in Gray’s Inn Chapel and an exhibition curated in association with the Middle Temple Library.

Please submit 200-300 word abstracts for roughly twenty-minute papers along with a brief biographical note to early.modern.inns.conference@gmail.com no later than 10th January 2019.

Registration costs: tbc. We will be offering significantly reduced rates to postgraduate students and ECRs.

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