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“So many strange and surprising occurrences, so faithfully reported…”– Representing ‘Reality’ in European Travel Narratives of the Safavid Empire

Start: Oct 18, 2017 4:30:00 PM
End: Oct 18, 2017 7:00:00 PM

Early modern European travelers to the Safavid Empire were very interested in documenting the exotic sites and customs that they encountered during their voyages, from cityscapes to geographical information, as well as foreign costumes, religious practices, material objects, flora and fauna, and antiquities. Visitors described and analyzed Zoroastrian rites and rituals, they gave detailed accounts of the Shia Muharram mysteries celebrated in cities such as Isfahan, Ardabil, and Shamakhi, and provided depictions of ancient sites such as Persepolis.

Debt and doorways in Renaissance comedy

Start: Nov 1, 2017 5:00:00 PM
End: Nov 1, 2017 7:00:00 PM

Cultural and material histories now enjoy much greater explanatory currency, as far as English drama goes, than older formalistic studies of source, influence and genre. Linking ‘debt’ and ‘doorways’, this paper will argue for a formalistic element in Renaissance comedy’s preoccupation with plots of debt, a link between the conjectural uncertainty of the time of owing, and the imaginative power of off-stage space, the space hidden behind the door. English drama, far from rejecting neoclassicism, the paper argues, embraces the imaginative power of conjectured, off-stage scenes, purging these of their libidinal and prodigal associations. The paper looks at debt and doorways in Plautus, Ariosto and Shakespeare.