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In the early modern period, the faithful were instructed to not only remember their own mortality, but also to be mindful of what occurs at the moment of death. Death, mortality, the cessation of life on this earth, the separation from those still living, only partially represents what was to be recalled and kept in mind. So, too, the remembrance of death informed the faithful how to act in the present. 

This one-day international symposium takes this matrix of interrelated concepts—of memory, of mortality, of remembrance—to engage with and situate a range of cultural practices in the early modern period. It draws together scholars of early modern literature, history, and culture to discuss all things thanatological.

Organised by William E. Engel (The University of the South: Sewanee), Rory Loughnane (University of Kent) and Grant Williams (Carleton University). 



9:00 – 9:30: Refreshments and Welcome

9:30 – 11:15: Thinking Through Death - Chair: Rory Loughnane (University of Kent)

Jonathan Baldo (Eastman School of Music, The University of Rochester): 
‘’Til Debt Do Us Part: Spiritual Accountancy in the Age of Shakespeare’

Kathryn Schwarz (Vanderbilt University)
‘Contagious Debt: Mourning in the Time of Plague’

Anita Sherman (American University)
‘Andrew Marvell’s Taste for Death’

11:15 – 11:45: Coffee Break

11:45 – 1:00: Preparing for Death - Chair: William E. Engel (University of the South: Sewanee)

John Garrison (Grinnell College)
‘Recollection and Preemptive Resurrection in Shakespeare's Sonnets’

Rebeca Helfer (University of California, Irvine)
‘The Art of Death and The Art of Memory in Donne's Holy Sonnets’

Philip Schwyzer (Exeter University)
‘Reforming Relics in Milton’s “On the Late Massacre in Piedmont”’

1:00 – 2:30: Lunch

2:30 – 3:45: Memorializing Death - Chair: Grant Williams, Carleton University

Brian Chalk (Manhattan College)
‘Dreaming of Death in Antony and Cleopatra and Romeo and Juliet’

Patricia Phillippy (Kingston University London)
‘“All Flesh is Grass”: The Dudley Women among the Fields’

Claire Preston (Queen Mary, University of London)
‘Ashes and Autopsies: Thomas Browne on Remains’

3:45 – 4:15: Coffee Break

4:15 – 5:30: Meditating upon Death - Chairs: Engel, Loughnane, & Williams

Andrew Hiscock (Bangor University/Montpellier III)
‘"Till dead Eliza doth reuiue agen": The Many Labours of Mourning a Virgin Queen’

Scott Newstok (Rhodes College)
‘Shakespeare and The Craft of Dying’

Peter Sherlock (University of Divinity, Melbourne)
'The Unton Memorial Reconsidered'

5:30 – 5:45: Concluding Questions and Closing Remarks

5:45 – 6:30: Wine and Cheese Reception: Warburg Institute Common Room, Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AB

This event is free and open to all.