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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: January ::
"The Renaissance Horse": A Call for Contributors
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0082  Monday, 17 January 2005

From:           Kevin De Ornellas <
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Date:           Saturday, 15 Jan 2005 09:23:52 +0000
Subject:        "The Renaissance Horse": A Call for Contributors

Dear All,

Peter Edwards and I are now actively seeking a publisher for a proposed
collection of essays on the Early Modern Horse. It would be splendid if
some members of 'Shaksper' would respond to the call for papers, which
is reproduced below. All high-quality abstracts will be welcome and will
be considered very carefully indeed: the due date for proposals is March
21, 2005. Please send abstracts, by e-mail, to Dr Kevin De Ornellas,
Queen's University, Belfast (
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 ) or to Professor
Peter Edwards, University of Roehampton (
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 ). A
response to your abstract will be provided before the end of April, 2005.

In his 1606 work, The Art of Drawing, William Peacham describes the
intensity with which he confronts an equine subject, examining it 'with
his brest and head looking full in my face'. Early modern English men
and women often confronted the horse head on, in practical, daily
business and in fictional and non-fictional writing. A new collection of
essays, edited by Kevin De Ornellas and Peter Edwards, will interrogate
these physical and cultural confrontations between man and horse. The
collection will gather together a series of scholarly engagements with
the early modern horse. For too long, the ubiquity of the horse in
English Renaissance culture has rendered it paradoxically invisible.

It is clear that writers and commentators in the sixteenth- and
seventeenth-centuries did not just regard the horse as a servile beast
of burden. Possession of a horse conferred status and power and because
of its emblematic qualities the metaphorically constructed horse had a
capacity to illuminate all manner of contemporary anxieties.
Contributions should therefore deal with the horse as it is represented
in illustrative arts and written culture, as well as in the historical
records. Throughout, the horse's head and face must always loom large in
every essay. In other words, although some essays may concentrate on the
horse as a culturally produced register of political, social or
gender-related preoccupations, we stipulate that essay writers should
always refer back to the corporeal beast itself. The collection will
embrace and expand the different approaches taken by De Ornellas and
Edwards in their previous work: in his 1988 book, The Horse Trade of
Tudor and Stuart England (Cambridge University Press), Edwards examines
only the material horse: he commodifies it; contrarily, De Ornellas, in
his forthcoming Associated University Press's book, The Horse in Early
Modern Culture, treats the horse as a symbolic asset, one malleable and
fit for literary appropriation.

The scope of the book requires the deployment of a range of
methodologies and will showcase the research of scholars with varying
expertise. The tone of volume will therefore be determinedly diverse, to
an even greater extent than that found in the essays in the excellent
Karen Raber and Treva Tucker-edited collection, The Culture of the Horse
(Palgrave, to be published in March, 2005). Combined, the essays will
present an extensive and multi-faceted examination of the Renaissance
horse: we seek a rounded view of the equine quadruped. Cultural
historians, drama specialists, economic historians, ethologists,
equestrian scholars, fine arts critics, literary experts, philosophers,
poetry specialists, Shakespeareans, social historians, students of the
monarchies, veterinary scientists and zoologists should all respond!

Taken as a whole the essays will assert and underline the horse's
immense influence on the early modern mindset, will dignify the horse as
a proud animal, and will stimulate readers to join with us in
confronting the Renaissance horse full in the face. Although essays will
be painstakingly researched, meticulously edited and well annotated,
they will be accessible and wide-ranging in their appeal: the collection
is inherently inter-disciplinary in scope and target audience. Aided by
a collection of well-written, complementary but also dialogic pieces by
leading animal scholars, readers will be able to confront and appreciate
the early modern horse with an intensity and totality previously unmatched.

Kevin De Ornellas
Queen's University, Belfast

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