I just came across a great website on early modern culture — Appositions: Studies in Renaissance / Early Modern Literature & Culture. It just hosted the ‘first-ever, fully electronic conference in the field of Renaissance and early modern literary and cultural studies.’ As far as I understand, this electronic conference will result in an online journal later this year. The editor is W. Scott Howard, the editorial advisor is Matthew Steggle, of EMLS fame.

The papers of the conference are online now, and among them I found one on early modern translations of classical literary texts about vindictive women (a subject I also looked at in my PhD thesis): Katherine Heavey’s “Translating Medea into the Sixteenth Century“(scroll down the page for the article).

Heavey shows that the figure of Medea attracted and inspired many early modern authors, but their fascination holds a paradox. As a woman, a witch and a pagan with little regard for partriarchal institutions, Medea evoked anxieties. In a lucid analysis, Heavey demonstrates how the sixteenth-century translators Richard Robinson, Arthur Studley [that should be John], George Whetstone, Arthur Golding and George Turberville all attempt to contain the subversive powers of this powerful female figure:

Male authors in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries deal with her threat by undermining her autonomy, making her more personally vulnerable, penitent or subject to the consequences of her actions. In doing so, they highlight, intentionally or unintentionally, the frictions and conflicts that the Renaissance Medea engenders frictions between male and female, society and the ‘other’, and between classical rendering and Renaissance rewriting.

Also interesting in Appositions (besides many more papers) is Event B: a wiki of “Renaissance /early modern keywords that undergo significant shifts in meaning during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.” I think this is an interesting idea — especially if the entries became less OED-based than they are now, and more like short articles.

On a different note: Inkhorn read all of Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy and lived to tell the tale. Congratulations!