The chambers of rhetoric in the Low Countries were amateur guilds or confraternities of laymen especially devoted to the composition of vernacular poetry and drama. The members were trained to perform not only in the semiprivate sphere of their chambers, but also in the public sphere, often in the context of civic festivals. This article asks if women had access to this formal literary culture that flourished in the urban middle class milieu of the Low Countries during the early modern period.
The precedence controversy refers to the dispute between the dukes of Ferrara and the dukes of Florence over who had precedence at ceremonials, especially those held at the papal court, over the last half of the sixteenth century. The controversy has been largely undervalued as the product of mere princely egotism, especially of Alfonso II d’Este and Cosimo I de’ Médici, linked to the decline of Italy, especially its small states, and within a process of refeudalization.
From earliest times, controversies abounded about the Blessed Virgin Mary, her Immaculate Conception or capacity for sin, and other issues. These controversies achieved particular intensity and expression in a debate about the Mater Dolorosa, the “sorrowful mother” at the foot of the Cross, a debate that began with the patristic writers and came to intense new life in early modern English polemic. Like many before, Edmund Bunny argued that Mary’s grief demonstrated culpable doubt in the divinity of her son.
The link between the reformation and witch-hunting in Scotland has not always been clear, including the role played by the reformer, John Knox. This paper argues that Knox’s contribution was the direct consequence of how he read scripture and applied it to contemporary developments in Scotland. Knox’s approach to scripture, as studied by previous scholars, is outlined and then applied to the particular texts in the Bible related to witchcraft and sorcery.
Although the two princes may be the most well-known children in Richard III, Clarence’s son and daughter surface at key moments in Shakespeare’s script. Clarence’s daughter, the historical Margaret Plantagenet, would go on to become the Margaret Pole executed by Henry VIII, and she offers an intriguing instance of a young female child on the early modern stage. By reading the girl Margaret as the future successor to the adult, I argue that Clarence’s daughter haunts Shakespeare’s play as the memory of past (and forthcoming) wrongs under the Tudor dynasty.
In the years up to 1623, Papirio Bartoli, Cardinal Federico Borromeo’s Milanese agent in Rome, drew up a project for an intervention on St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The Lombard’s main proposal was the construction of an enormous boat-shaped choir at the crossing of the church, but the dilettante also suggested the construction of two new aisles, a new façade, and a porticoed piazza in front of it. This essay analyzes the iconographic components, the liturgical sources, and the models of Bartoli’s project.
Sixteenth century Lutheran funeral sermons were intended for both clerical and popular audiences and sought to instruct and console the grieving. Unlike the Lutherans, the Reformed rejected most funeral ceremonial, including the preaching of funeral sermons. The collection of funeral sermons by the Reformed pastor Johann Brandmüller is unique in applying the Reformed style of published sermons, intended primarily as a theological resource for pastors, to a distinctively Lutheran genre.