A keynote will be given by Professor Gordon Campbell:

Abstract: Careers, like conversion narratives, are for the most part retrospective constructions. Milton was constantly constructing his career as a writer in retrospect, when in fact most of his writing (especially his prose) was adventitious. This talk will examine Milton’s ex post facto constructions of his career, and will also examine the one period of Milton’s life when he had a job, working in the service of the Commonwealth and Protectorate. It will also consider motive, in Milton’s case the ideal of the virtuous citizen, which we would now call ‘active citizenship’, as a force that shapes careers.

Biography: Professor Campbell, FBA, has an international reputation across the whole span of Renaissance and early modern studies, and an expertise precisely in the interdisciplinary and cross-cutting interactions of literary, theological, artistic and other fields of cultural enquiry. He has also experience of working in government, the varied institutions of his own career here ideally placing him to reflect on the many ways in which the early modern career might be explored, both then and now.

Shorter papers:

Professor Gabriel Egan (De Montfort University)

Abstract: ‘Shakespeare’s Early Career’

Some time around the late 1580s, William Shakespeare, then in his mid-twenties, settled in London and built a career for himself as a writer. He scripted performances for the professional theatre and wrote long narrative poems for print publication, achieving notable success at both. For reasons we cannot quite recover, theatre came to dominate his early career, making Shakespeare, perforce, a collaborative writer. Research in computational stylistics, which will be sketched in this talk, has thrown new light on the extent of his early career collaborations, including possible ‘stratification’ in perhaps his first play, ‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona’.

Biography: Gabriel Egan is Professor of Shakespeare Studies and Director of the Centre for Textual Studies at De Montfort University. His recent publications are a book called ‘The Struggle for Shakespeare’s Text: Twentieth-century Editorial Theory and Practice’ for Cambridge University Press (2010) and articles on the editorial problem of press variants for Papers of the Bibliographical Society (2012) and Studies in Bibliography (forthcoming in 2014).

Dr Andrew Hopper (Leicester)

Abstract: ‘From Pennine yeoman to London bureaucrat: the career of Adam Eyre’

This paper will focus on success and failure in the career of Adam Eyre, a well known figure to social historians because of the diurnal he wrote between 1647 and 1649. It will explore how the revolutionary environment of the 1640s transformed a Yorkshire yeoman farmer from a remote upland parish, first into a captain of horse, and then into a London civil servant and land speculator. It will suggest that his experience invites a reassessment of how far the ‘chief inhabitants’ of rural parishes remained constrained by their home locality and pre-war occupations during the English Revolution.

Biography: Dr Andrew Hopper was awarded his PhD at the University of York in 1999, after which he held postdoctoral fellowships at the Universities of East Anglia and Birmingham before moving to Leicester in 2006, where he is now Senior Lecturer in the Centre for English Local History. He is an historian of the British Civil wars and is best known as the author of two monographs: ‘Black Tom’: Sir Thomas Fairfax and the English Revolution (Manchester University Press, 2007); Turncoats and Renegadoes: Changing Sides in the Engish Civil Wars (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Professor David Roberts (Birmingham City University)

Abstract: ‘Actors and Careers in the Restoration Period’

The idea of a career in stage performance is familiar from the vanishing world of repertory theatre and the roster of role choices made by opera singers. This paper examines the concept of ‘career’ in the lives of Restoration actors and actresses. With a particular focus on Thomas and Mary Betterton, it establishes key distinctions between kinds of actors and their backgrounds, discusses the performing and social trajectories they experienced and envisaged for themselves, explores the parallel working lives they pursued, and considers how the idea of the stage career came to be memorialised in early biographical literature.

Biography: David Roberts is Professor of English, Dean of Faculty and National Teaching Fellow at Birmingham City University. His 2010 biography of Thomas Betterton was shortlisted for the George Freedley Award; he has since published an edition of Betterton’s library catalogue with the Society for Theatre Research. His next book, Restoration Plays and Players, is due out from Cambridge University Press in 2014.

Dr Sarah Knight (University of Leicester)

Abstract: ‘Suck the hony out of the flower, and passe by the weedes’: student life at the early modern universities

In the mid-seventeenth century, besides the advice quoted in my title, the Cambridge tutor James Duport exhorted his students to ‘slubber not over your exercises’; ‘be frequent in exercising your stile’; ‘make choise of the best Authors’ but ‘doe not use, or affect old Phrases’.  In this talk I will consider the pedagogical advice and rhetorical models presented to early modern students and will examine what those men had to say about education after graduation. I will focus on two Cambridge case-studies, Fulke Greville (1554-1628) and John Milton (1608-1674): both demonstrated their interest in higher education and in how particular kinds of learning formed young men’s minds long after they had left the university.

Biography: Sarah Knight is Senior Lecturer in Renaissance Literature in the School of English, University of Leicester. Her main research and teaching interests are in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English and Latin literature, particularly works written at or about institutions of learning (schools, universities, Inns of Court). She is President of the Society for Neo-Latin Studies, and has been awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for 2014.

Dr Mary Ann Lund (University of Leicester)

Abstract: Rivers and puddle-jumpers: Donne and Burton

In his essay ‘Puddle-jumping as a Career Strategy’, Stephen Barley offers a challenge to the model of the research career as a coherent linear narrative. Acknowledging that his own career agenda has been idiosyncratic, he argues that ‘even a series of haphazard moves can have meaning’. In this paper I will reflect on how this might be applied, both to the careers of early careers researchers in the present day, and to two early modern careers: those of John Donne (1572-1631) and Robert Burton (1577-1640). Whereas Donne’s life was marked by major changes of direction, most prominently his ordination at the age of forty two, Burton’s seems to have followed a conventional path of academic preferment, and he remained a Student of Christ Church, Oxford for his entire adult life. Yet their own assessments of their careers shows that no simple contrast can be drawn between them, and, as I will suggest, reveals how much retrospective career-shaping plays a role in forging innovative modes of writing.

Biography: Dr Mary Ann Lund is Lecturer in Renaissance English Literature at the University of Leicester. She is the author of Melancholy, Medicine and Religion: Reading ‘The Anatomy of Melancholy’ (Cambridge U. P., 2010) and is currently editing Volume 12 of The Oxford Edition of the Sermons of John Donne (Oxford U. P., 2013- ).

Dr Jonathan Willis (University of Birmingham)

Abstract: Careers in Tudor Music

In some ways, the careers of Tudor musicians mirrored closely those of musicians today, and also those of aspiring early modern historians. Long hours of training in a chosen specialism and an enthusiastic commitment to public performance fell short of guaranteeing sustained employment. A lucky few were able to gain permanent posts in elite institutions: cathedrals, noble households, perhaps even the Chapel Royal, but even cathedral singingmen often had to moonlight in other trades part-time, in order to make a decent living. Other musicians gained employment as civic waits, but most ended up effectively self-employed, either as itinerant performers or making a living in their local community by supplementing their income through other forms of musical and non-musical work, such as instrument-making and repair, and simple manual labour.

This short paper will consider some of the career trajectories of early modern musicians both within and outside of the Church, with a particularly focus on the Tudor composer Thomas Whythorne, whose autobiography describes his early life and education, and his chequered career as a private music master, property agent, private tutor, music tutor, writer, lover, traveller, and finally as master of music to Archbishop Matthew Parker.

Biography: Jonathan Willis is Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Birmingham, and author of Church Music and Protestantism in Post-Reformation England (Ashgate, 2010). Between 2010 and 2013 he held a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, first at Durham University and then at the University of Birmingham, to work on a project ‘The Ten Commandments and the English Reformation’. He is currently writing up his research findings in a monograph, provisionally entitled The Reformation of the Decalogue: Protestantism and the Ten Commandments in England, c.1485-1625.

Dr Eoin Price (The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham)

Abstract: The Politics of Promotion in Early Modern Drama

Rather than considering the lived reality, this paper will examine representations of careers in early modern England. In particular, it focuses on plays which represent the allure of public office as well as the concomitant benefits, responsibilities, and dangers. The paper shows how dramatists engage with important political debates about the relative value of the withdrawn life of private contemplation, and the public life of active service. Who should aspire to public office? Does power corrupt? Is it better to be a shepherd, or an emperor? These are questions asked by the plays, and considered in this paper.

Biography: Eoin Price completed his PhD, on the politics of privacy and the Renaissance public stage, at The Shakespeare Institute, in March 2014. He has a chapter forthcoming on representations of hypocrisy in Tudor drama and is producing a state-of-the-field article on drama and political privacy for Literature Compass. He also contributes articles on theatre history to the Map of Early Modern London.

Paul Brown (De Montfort University)

Abstract: The Careers of George Wilkins

Between 1605 and 1606, at about the age of 30, George Wilkins struck out on a literary career. For a time at least, he was successful – his efforts were marked by popularity in print and a collaborative play with William Shakespeare – but it didn’t last. Before and after his brief affinity with the pen, Wilkins sustained both himself and his family by other means. By re-examining Wilkins, outside the sphere of professional writing, this talk marshals the facts of his biography to give a snapshot of a fledgling early modern literary career indicative of many other recognizable writers.

Biography: Paul Brown is a research student working on the social networks of the theatrical world of early modern London, looking at how physical and social geography affected the collaborative writing of plays.

Philip Tromans (De Montfort University)

Abstract: Richard Hakluyt’s Divers Voyages

Richard Hakluyt is best known as the editor of the three-volume second edition Principal Navigations (1598-1600). It is arguably the most important collection of English travel narratives ever published. But his earlier work is largely forgotten. His first travel publication, Divers Voyages (1582), is a materially malleable, structurally sophisticated and paratextually rich textual form of knowledge presentation. Hakluyt participated in the book’s design. The result was a more accessible and practical repository of information for aspiring explorers and colonists than Principal Navigations would later be. It strikes me that there is a place in the field of bibliography (and probably other disciplines) for similarly kinaesthetic presentational techniques, with the help of amenable publishers. Providing research students with tools we would have benefited from, and our scholarly peers with innovatively interactive publications, might further not just our careers but others’ too.

Biography: Philip Tromans is a research student at De Montfort University and a member of the university’s Centre for Textual Studies. His research focuses on how the paratexts to and materiality of English New World books published between 1553 and 1600 affects meaning. His essay, ‘The Printing of Terra Florida and its Contexts’, has been accepted by Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America.


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