Professor Simon Ditchfield – Royal Historical Society Virtual Lecture 18 September 2020
‘Something should be written regarding the cosmography of those regions where ours live’ (Ignatius Loyola).
As this quotation indicates, right from the start the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) realised the value and role of ‘local colour’ in the persuasive rhetoric of Jesuit missionary accounts. Over a century later, when Jesuit missions were to be found on all the inhabited continents of the world then known to Europeans, descriptions of these new found lands were to be read for the entertainment as well as the edification of their Old World audiences. Bartoli’s volumes also played an important role in giving their Jesuit readers a sense of the distinctiveness of their global mission. Referred to by Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837) as the ‘Dante of baroque prose’, Bartoli developed a particularly variegated and capacious idiom to meet the challenge of discovering how to describe the world.
In this Keynote Address, Prof William Franke closes a conference on the parameters of the unknowable and the unutterable in early modernity. His talk addresses one of the most important figures on the cusp of the Renaissance, Nicolas of Cusa, and how his apophatic ideas – the language of what can’t be said– emerged in concert with the artistic and scientific thought of the era.
The talk was the culmination of a day of papers that spoke to natural philosophy, music, poetics and the theological in early modern thought in relation to the apophatic. The full programme can be found Here. The conference was part of the annual Thomas Browne Seminar.
See what happened when we took 'Les Canards Chantants' to Hardwick Hall to celebrate the launch of our exhibition...
The group are singing from the famous Eglantine table, which features inlaid wooden sheet music. The song, 'Lamentation' was first printed at the end of the 1562 edition of The whole booke of Psalms, translated into English verse by Thomas Sternhold and John Hopkins. According to the book's authors, psalms and devotional songs were 'very mete to be used of all sortes of people privately for their solace & comfort, laying apart all ungodly songes and ballades, which tende only to the nourishing of vyce, and corrupting of youth'. Explore more of the Virtue & Vice Exhibition at Hardwick Hall.
Simon Ditchfield's Presential Address, on the theme of 'Translating Christianity in an Age of Reformations', was recorded, and can be viewed below: