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  • Monday, March 20, 2023 - 5:15pm to 6:30pm

Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion, sixth floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library

We will be welcoming Dianne Mitchell (University of Colorado Boulder) for a talk entitled “Folding the Lyric.” Dianne writes:

As critics, we often think of our task as one of
unfolding: that is, opening up the hidden meanings of historic textual objects. In this talk, I try a different method. I ask what we can learn by paying attention to the literal folds that mark the surfaces of handwritten lyrics from the English Renaissance. Easily overlooked in favor of a different kind of "close reading," folds nonetheless have much to tell us about how people interacted with poems, and about how poets (including Shakespeare) imagined the futures of the lyrics they created and shared. Reading for folds rather than "unfolding" also offers a powerful feminist praxis by bringing us into contact with female readers. I'll suggest that histories of sexuality and histories of the material text collide via the fold, as the still-palpable manipulations of women's fingers press back on a poetic tradition that would treat feminine bodies as even more malleable than the paper sheets I examine.

Dianne Mitchell is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she writes about the ways in which early modern material culture intersects with lyric form, gender, and sexuality. Her articles have appeared in Modern Philology, English Literary Renaissance, The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, and Studies in Philology. She is currently completing a book project about the unexpected kinds of lyric intimacy that emerge at the interface of Renaissance form and matter.