Towards a Poetics of the Early Modern Sky


Le mercredi 6 novembre à 17h15, dans l'amphi 219 de la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, dans le cadre du Séminaire Modernités britanniquesl'Ihrim accueille John Gillies pour une conférence sur la perception poétique, scientifique et philosophique du ciel dans l’Angleterre des XVIe et XVIIe siècles, « Towards a Poetics of the Early Modern Sky ».

As part of a wider project on the phenomenology of the early modern sky (which asks how the sky is presented to us by the senses), this paper considers a poetics of the sky. The difference is that whereas phenomenology tries to reduce an object or impression to its bare minimum as percept, a poetics is attentive to the feeling tone that the object inspires in us. Here I propose that the sky in this period – whether idea or symbol – is pervaded by anxiety. Paradoxically this anxiety was indistinguishable from new spatial technologies of mapping and perspective. The paper begins by considering a notably unanxious medieval symbolism of the sky (in the gothic cathedral) and compares it with anxious early modern counterparts: sky imagery in Milton’s Paradise Lost, Breugel’s Fall of Icarus, and Shakespeare’s King Lear. It is not just that the imagery of the sky differs from medieval to early modern construct, but that the difference is worked out on the basis of a common terminology and tradition.

John Gillies is Professor in Literature at the University of Essex. He is the author of Shakespeare and the geography of difference (Cambridge, 1994), and co-editor of Performing Shakespeare in Japan (Cambridge, 2001) and Playing the Globe: genre and geography in early modern drama (AUP, 1998). He has written numerous pieces on early modern literature and drama. He is currently working towards two books: Complicity, a cultural and intellectual history, and The Conversational Turn in Shakespeare.

Date de début de la manifestation: 

Mercredi, 6 novembre, 2019