Renaissance Society of America
2018 Annual Meeting Call for Papers: “The Far North in the Early Modern Imagination”
Since at least the time of Hesiod, the land of the far north has been described in wondrous, exotic, and even paradisiacal terms. The Hyperboreans—those living “beyond the north wind”—were extolled by Pindar as an especially peaceful and long-lived race. In his famous Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus (History of the Northern Peoples), printed in Rome in 1555, the exiled Swedish archbishop Olaus Magnus (1490-1557) described his homeland as a place of noble warriors, strange myths, fantastic beasts, and extraordinary natural phenomena. Magnus’s account was reprinted in numerous editions and translated into six languages, stoking interest throughout Europe in the far north and its inhabitants. Well into the seventeenth century, this fascination manifested in nearly all aspects of European culture, from politics and literature to art and the natural sciences.
This session invites papers from a variety of disciplines that investigate and interpret the early modern understanding of the far north (broadly defined), from the sixteenth century through the beginning of the eighteenth. Topics may include travel accounts to northern climes and their reception, contemporary visual depictions of the lands and people of the far north, the discovery and publication of rune stones and other pre-Christian archaeological finds, historical claims to Gothic lineage and their use for political ends, the construction of patriotic narratives and mythologies, and the study, depiction, and analysis of northern flora and fauna.
Please email paper proposals, including a title and abstract of approximately 150 words, as well as a list of keywords, a current C.V. and a short bio (300-word maximum) to Kjell Wangensteen (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Saturday, June 3.