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  • Monday, November 12, 2018 - 5:15pm to 7:00pm

Class of 1978 Pavilion in the Kislak Center, 6th Floor, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library

We will be welcoming David Norbrook for a talk entitled: “‘But a copie’: Lucy Hutchinson’s Life in her Texts.” David writes:

I want to explore some of the problems in writing a biography of a radical woman writer, with special reference to Lucy Hutchinson (1620-81) – who brings together different senses of the material as a pioneering translator of the great materialist poet Lucretius. Traces of the lives of seventeenth-century women in written texts are far rarer than for their male counterparts: for different reasons, we have no birth record of Hutchinson, hardly any letters, no will, no funeral monument. Moreover, by a kind of textual equivalent of the principle of marital coverture, those of her manuscripts that were transmitted via her husband’s Hutchinson line, and achieved a new fixity in print, have been more accessible than those she left with others. Even some of the Hutchinson works have been dispersed, and many are still lost. I shall discuss some ways of working round such archival exclusion, recalling Blake’s maxim: ‘Nothing can be more contemptible than to suppose Public Records to be True’. I shall also discuss the tensions between the wider availability of material texts through digitization and the limits and economic constraints of databases.  

David Norbrook is Emeritus Merton Professor of English Literature, University of Oxford. His publications include Poetry and Politics in the English Renaissance (1984), Writing the English Republic: Poetry, Rhetoric and Politics 1629-1660 (1999), and Lucretius and the Early Modern (ed. 2015). He is general editor of the first collected edition of the works of Lucy Hutchinson, published by Oxford University Press: vol. 1, The Translation of Lucretius (ed. with Reid Barbour), and vol. 2, Theological Writings and Translations (ed. with Elizabeth Clarke and Jane Stevenson) have so far appeared.

All are welcome! Those who do not hold University of Pennsylvania ID cards should bring another form of photo identification in order to enter the library building.


Sep. 17: Nicholas Herman (Penn): “The Book-Shaped Object in Renaissance Europe”

Sep. 24, 25, 27 - Rosenbach Lectures: Carlo Ginzburg (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa): Fossils, Apes, Humans: A Chapter in the History of Science, Revisited

- Sep. 24: “Paleontology and Connoisseurship”

- Sep. 25: “Gods, Humans, Apes: Art History and Evolution”

- Sep. 27: “Medals and Shells: On Morphology and History, Once Again”

Oct. 1: Whitney Trettien (Penn): “Digital Book History”

Oct. 8: Priyasha Mukhopadhyay (Yale): “Unread: A History of the Book in Colonial South Asia”

Oct. 15: J.M. Duffin (Penn): “Draining the Swamp of Arcane Legal Text: Reclaiming the Geography of Eighteenth Century Philadelphia”

Oct. 22: Katie Chenoweth (Princeton): “Printers’ Devices, or, How French Got Its Accents”

Oct. 29: Sarah Guérin (Penn): “On Ivory, Wax, and Paint: New Insights on Devotional Booklets”

Nov. 5: Margo Natalie Crawford (Penn): “The Textual Production of a Shared Black Edge

Nov. 12: David Norbrook (Oxford): “‘But a copie’: Lucy Hutchinson’s Life in her Texts”

Nov. 19: Samantha Sommers (Ohio State): “Reading in Books”

Nov. 26: Gary Dyer (Cleveland State): “John Hunt's Lord Byron"

Dec. 3: Mitch Fraas (Penn): “Boilerplate: Documentation, Paperwork, and the Persistence of Form across the Early Modern and Modern Worlds”

Dec. 10: Arthur Kiron (Penn): “Hidden in Plain Sight: Christian Readers of Rabbinic Literature in the Colonial Americas”