The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1919  Thursday, 21 October 2004

From:           Gary Taylor <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, October 20, 2004 11:21 AM
Subject:        Enfants Terribles Symposium Jan. 8-9

The envelope please...

Our search for "the six most brilliant Renaissance scholars in the world
under 40" has been exhilarating, humbling, and excruciating. I will
publish in a subsequent email a list of all the scholars nominated
(including many who turned out to be over 40). Every nominated scholar
deserves recognition, and any six of them would have produced a splendid

Different judges would, no doubt, have chosen differently. I and my
colleague Professor Sharon O'Dair ruled out of consideration our own
younger colleague and our own former students because, however deserving
they might be, our choice of them would have been dismissed as
favoritism. (The many of you who nominated colleagues or former students
will appreciate how difficult and in some ways unfair that self-imposed
restriction was.) We have not chosen candidates on the basis of how many
nominations they received: this is not a popularity contest-and in any
case it was obvious that some people actively solicited nominations. We
have not chosen candidates on the basis of the sheer number of their
publications, but on what we regard as the quality and significance of
their work. (Nevertheless, in practice it has proven difficult to assess
the work of really young scholars, and the youngest of our chosen
"enfants" is 33.) We have not chosen people because we agree with them:
we would want to quarrel with aspects of the work of every one of the
winners. But an "enfant terrible", by definition, should be infuriating
as well as exciting: someone who challenges the paradigms of the older
generation, including the judges. We were not looking for people who do
superlatively well what their teachers taught them to do, but for people
who push the boundaries of the discipline in new directions. I encourage
any scholar who didn't get chosen to seize this opportunity to prove us
wrong, so that ten or twenty years from now we will be deeply
embarrassed to have overlooked such a colossal talent. Personally, I
have always found rejection the most powerful stimulus to aggressive

We were so inundated by compelling nominations that we decided to hold
two symposia. The first, featuring six young scholars who work primarily
on drama, will take place at the University of Alabama on January 8 and
9, 2005. The second, featuring six young scholars who work primarily on
poetry and prose, will take place later in 2005; I will announce details
of that symposium within the next month or so. I list below, in
alphabetical order, the six speakers at the Enfants Terribles
(dramatiques) symposium, along with references to two representative
short samples of their work, chosen by themselves.

KAREN BRITLAND (33, Keele University) for feminist and archival work on
the drama of the 1630s
---'"All emulation cease, and jars": political possibilities in
_Chloridia_, Queen Henrietta Maria's masque of 1631', _The Ben Jonson
Journal_ 9 (2002),87-108
---'An under-stated mother-in-law: Marie de M 

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