Christopher D. Johnson

Associate Research Fellow - Bilderfahrzeuge Project

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7862 8755 
johnson@bilderfahrzeuge.org

Bilderfahrzeuge Project Website

Research interests

The rhetorical tradition | Baroque lyric poetry | Renaissance intellectual history | Renaissance art history | Bildwissenschaft

 

Project

Rhetorical imagery in early-modern Spain and the New World

My contribution to the Bilderfahrzeuge project is a partly analytical, partly synoptic investigation of rhetorical terms that permeate the invention and interpretation of images and texts in early-modern Spain and the New World. My study, which is located in the field of the arts comparison, explores the materials and methods from comparative studies, art history and rhetoric, to the extent to which the company of rhetoric offers a theoretical and practical vocabulary in order to understand concepts such as color , enargeia , compositio , ekphrasis , figura , Paradigm, icon , and so on. Such a glossary helps us, For example Titian's "poésie" painting or El Greco's "sign language" (cf. Wittkower) with the verses of Góngoras, the grotesques of Bosch with the Sueños of Quevedo, the emblems of Horozco y Covarrubias with the arcos triunfales in Nueva España (Mexico) or the wall paintings in the Casa del Deán in Puebla with Ovid's metamorphoses . Furthermore, I intend to show that, although such texts and material objects are persuasive, their pictorial quality often also cultivates a pathos ( affectus ) of astonishment which belongs rather to the sphere which Nicholas of Cusa calls intellectio than in those of reason. The linguistic and pictorial joke ( ingenium, Ingenio ) of these documents and monuments cognitively stimulates readers and viewers in a strong, if not unique, way. To express it in Warburg's conceptuality: these images and texts circulate along the hiking routes that lead from Northern Europe and Italy to Spain, then to meander into the New World. They become rhetorical imagery for new, dynamic forms of subjectivity and objectivity, which often aroused dominant taste, cultural orthodoxy, and epistemological habits, but sometimes also directly or indirectly challenged them. Which lead from Northern Europe and Italy to Spain, then to meander into the New World. They become rhetorical imagery for new, dynamic forms of subjectivity and objectivity, which often aroused dominant taste, cultural orthodoxy, and epistemological habits, but sometimes also directly or indirectly challenged them. Which lead from Northern Europe and Italy to Spain, then to meander into the New World. They become rhetorical imagery for new, dynamic forms of subjectivity and objectivity, which often aroused dominant taste, cultural orthodoxy, and epistemological habits, but sometimes also directly or indirectly challenged them.

 
Academic background

 2014-present      Research Associate "Bilderfahrzeuge: Aby Warburg's Legacy and the Future of Iconology'', The Warburg Institute, London 

 2013-2014           University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Visiting Associate Professor of Spanish

 2004-2013           Harvard University, Department of Comparative Literature, Associate Professor of Comparative LiteratureFellowships

 2003-2004           Northwestern University, Department of English, Assistant Professor of English

 

Publications

Monographs

Memory, Metaphor, and Aby Warburg's Atlas of Images (Cornell University Press and Cornell University Library, 2012).

Hyperboles: The Rhetoric of Excess in Baroque Literature and Thought (Harvard Studies in Comparative Literature, with Harvard University Press, 2010).

Selected Poetry of Francisco de Quevedo: A Bilingual Edition, translator and editor (University of Chicago Press, 2009).

Current book projects

Baroque Expression: On Seventeenth-Century Literature, Art, and Thought (under contract with Princeton University Press, ms. delivery date: August, 2019)

"All the learning in the world ": Encyclopedic Writing in Late Renaissance England

Selected Articles

“Warburg’s Zwischenraum: Between Hieroglyph and Diagram,” in Aby Warburg: Work, Legacy and Promise, ed. David Freedberg and Claudia Wedepohl (Berlin: De Gruyter, forthcoming 2018).

 “Comparing Figures: Figures of Comparison and Repetition in Spenser’s Cantos and Donne’s Anniversaries,” in Spenser and Donne: Thinking Poets, ed. Yulia Rhyzik (Manchester: Manchester University Press, forthcoming 2018).

 “Theoretische Bemerkungen und eine Fallstudie zum frühneuzeitlichen enzyklopädischen Erzählen,” in Enzyklopädisches Erzählen und vormoderne Romanpoetik (1400-1700), ed. Mathias Herweg, Klaus Kipf and Dirk Werle (Wiesbaden: Hassarowitz Verlag, forthcoming 2018).

 “Encyclopedia and Encyclopedism,” in Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy, ed. Marco Sgarbi (Heidelberg: Springer Verlag, 2017).

 “Enzyklopädistik als Nachlass bei Novalis,” in Nachlasssbewusstsein, ed. Kai Sina and Carlos Spoerhase (Munich: Wallstein Verlag, 2016), pp. 246-269.

 “Configuring the Baroque: Warburg and Benjamin.” Culture, Theory and Critique 57.2 (2016): 1-24.

“Puntos errantes: la poética inmanente de Paradiso,” in Asedios a lo increado: Nuevas aproximaciones a José Lezama Lima, ed. Jorge Marturano, Marta Hernández-Salván, and Juan Pablo Lupi (Madrid: Editorial Verbum, 2016), pp. 143-176.

 “Wandering towards Bruno: synderesis and ‘synthetic intuition’.” Aisthesis: Pratiche, linguaggi e saperi dell’estetico 8.2 (2015): 7-26.

Pathosformeln: Warburg, Cassirer und der Fall Giordano Bruno,” in Ethos und Pathos der Wissenschaften. Studien zur wissenschaftlichen Persona zwischen 1750 und 1930, ed. Carlos Spoerhase, Dirk Werle, Ralf Klausnitzer (Munich: Wallstein Verlag, 2015), pp. 210-226.

“N+2: A Late Renaissance Poetics of Enumeration,” Modern Language Notes (Comparative Literature issue) 127.5 (2012):1096-1043.

“Baroque Poetry,” in The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, 4th edition, ed. Roland Greene and Stephen Cushman (Princeton: Princeton Univerisy Press, 2012), pp. 121-126.

“Making the ‘round of knowledge’ in Bacon’s Wake: Naudé, Comenius, and Browne.”Society and Politics (Special issue: Disciplines and Forms of Knowledge in Early Modern Thought) 5.2 (2011): 9-31.

“‘El Homero español’: Translation and Shipwreck.” Translation and Literature 20.2 (2011): 157-174.

“Coincidence of Opposites: Bruno, Calderón, and the Renaissance Drama of Ideas.” Renaissance Drama (Special issue: Italy in the Drama of Europe) 36/37 (2010): 319-352.

“‘Periwigged Heralds’: Epistemology and Intertextuality in Early American Cometography.” Journal of the History of Ideas 65.3 (2004): 399-419.