Speaker: Ramie Targoff (I Tatti / Brandeis University)
This paper examines Aemilia Lanyer’s Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum, the first book of original poems by a woman to be published in seventeenth-century England, as a proto-feminist text. Professor Targoff will consider Lanyer’s strategies both to create female alliances in her extensive dedications (eleven separate pieces, all written to women) and to find new voices within her poem to construct alternative histories for women beginning with the Fall. How Lanyer justifies her own intellectual ambition, what place she imagines for herself in an inchoate female canon, and what relationship we might imagine between her poetic project and other examples of women’s literary and artistic production in the English Renaissance will form the larger context of the talk.
Ramie Targoff is the Jehuda Reinharz Professor of the Humanities, Professor of English, and Co-Chair of Italian Studies at Brandeis University, where she has been teaching since 2001. She is the author of Common Prayer: Language and Devotion in Early Modern England (2001), John Donne, Body and Soul (2008); and Posthumous Love: Eros and the Afterlife in Renaissance England (2014), all from University of Chicago Press; and Renaissance Woman: The Life of Vittoria Colonna (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2018). She has also recently completed a translation of Vittoria Colonna’s 1538 Rime, entitled Sonnets of Widowhood, from ITER Press and part of the Other Voice in Early Modern Europe series of women’s writers. Targoff is the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and she has been a Scholar in Residence at the American Academy in Rome. Her latest project, Shakespeare’s Sisters—a group biography of four women writers in Renaissance England—will be published in 2023 by Alfred K. Knopf in NY and Riverrun Press in London. She has a BA in English from Yale University, and a PhD in English from University of California, Berkeley.
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