Fools and Folly in Early Modern Europe

Saturday 18 February 2012

A one-day symposium hosted by the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture at the University of Southampton and Chawton House Library, Hampshire

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 who are currently working on folly. 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 Shakespearean drama; 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 research into 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 (University College London) 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 will be held in the unique setting of Chawton House Library, an Elizabethan manor house and former home of Jane Austen's brother. Coffee, lunch, tea and drinks will all be provided.

Registration cost: £40. Some postgraduate bursaries will also be available.

For further details and to register, please contact: Dr Alice Hunt;