Agudeza, The Axe's Edge: Early Modern Poetry and International Politics

24-06-2021 from 16:00 to 18:00
Nigel Smith (Princeton University)
Agudeza, The Axe's Edge: Early Modern Poetry and International Politics Nigel Smith (Princeton University)


Date and time: Thursday 24 June, 16.00-18.00


Zoom Meeting Details:  Take part in the Zoom meeting


Meeting ID: 484 717 2446


Abstract: Panegyric poetry played a significant role in the conduct of diplomacy in early modern Europe and has often been seen, quite rightly, as part and parcel of the culture of diplomatic gift exchange.  In some places this was supplemented by a growing culture of publicly available printed verse offering comment on international affairs, not a surreptitious world of clandestinely circulated handwritten verse satire and subversion (although of course that too flourished).  I’m interested in particular in the emergence of this printed political verse, its relationship to evolving print technology, and other closely-related media, such as visual art and theater.  I’ll investigate the projection of power in these publications, from local patrons to foreign princes attempting to influence public opinion in distant realms.  Above all, I’m interested in the transformation of poetic technique, as praise turned into another kind of verse that expressed a consciousness of civic life and a sensibility of political freedom.  Various kinds of knowledge are put to use in this cause (from perspectival theory to probability), but above all my focus is on developments of poetic-aesthetic theory and practical poetic accomplishment.  There are Italian, Spanish, French, English and German examples in this talk, not always written in the places where these tongues were the vernacular, and of course Latin, but there is some emphasis on Dutch poetry produced and circulated in the Dutch Republic, and its dialogue with poetry in other languages, notably English and French, in the context of inter-state relations in peace and war.         


Main authors:  Georg Rodolf Weckherlin, Jan Vos, Joost van den Vondel, Baltasar Gracián, Andrew Marvell. 


Main places: Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Paris, London/Westminster, Madrid, Venice, English Channel/North Sea.