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The University of Southampton
Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture

Symposium: Fools and Folly in Early Modern Europe Event

18 February 2012
Chawton House Library Chawton Alton Hampshire GU34 1SJ

For more information regarding this event, please email Alice Hunt at .

Event details

This one-day symposium on Fools and Folly in Early Modern Europe will bring together historians, art-historians and literary scholars from the UK, Europe and beyond to discuss their recent research.

While the 'wisdom' of folly in the early modern period has become a familiar concept, it has lacked significant cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural investigation. This symposium will include papers on Erasmus's character of Folly; the fools of Tudor interludes, French 'soties' and Shakespeare; king's fools and court jesters; carnivals and festive folly; and the representation of folly in art. Speakers will examine and consider the many manifestations of folly in early modern Europe and consider its different political, religious and social purposes. The event will also, via roundtable discussions, invite contributions about other directions  in research on folly, and related foolish things.

Speakers include:
Professor Luc Duerloo (Antwerp) on Hapsburg court culture
Dr Peter Happé (Southampton) on Ben Jonson
Professor Richard Hillman (Tours) on Mad Discourse
Dr Suzannah Lipscomb (UEA) on Tudor natural fools
Dr Alexander Samson (UCL) on Spanish folly and madness
Dr Peter Sillitoe (V&A) on Masques
Professor David Smith (New Hampshire) on Jan Steen
Professor Greg Walker (University of Edinburgh) on John Heywood
Dr Anna Whitelock (Royal Holloway) on Archie Armstrong

The symposium, hosted by the University of Southampton's Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture, will be held in the unique setting of Chawton House Library, an Elizabethan manor house and former home of Jane Austen's brother. Lunch and drinks will be provided.

For further details and registration, please download the registration form or contact

Support of the Society for Renaissance Studies

Chawton House Library

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