PANEL 1: Friday 28 March
Geography in Renaissance Utopias I:
"Topos and text, Topos in Text"
Céline Beaud - University of Fribourg, Switzerland
"Comparing More's Utopia with Francis Bacon's New Atlantis: a necessary dual approach to the ideal society"
|Abstract of Céline Beaud's paper
As the origin of the utopian genre, Thomas More’s Utopia has laid the first stone of the path leading to fictive constructions of new modern societies. This paper wishes to compare Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis (1622) with More’s Utopia (1516) on one particular aspect, their structure. Therefore the study intends to question the function of both works in their diverging organization. While More in Book 1 introduces a criticism of European societies and in Book 2 a description of an ideal nation, Bacon presents his vision of the ideal society only and omits the critical part of any contemporary nation. Bacon’s actual “first book”, built on Utopia’s model, has to be found in Ancient literature, in Plato’s myth of Atlantis. This presentation proposes to explore the hypothesis of Bacon’s engulfed “first book”.
Jean Du Verger - ENSMM Besançon, France
"Geographical, Cartographical and Navigational Echoes in Teofilo Folengo's Baldus (1517)"
Abstract of Jean Du Verger's paper
While exploring Teofilo Folengo's Baldus (Venice, 1517) my paper draws on the Lipsian view that the practice of reading and travelling during the Renaissance were closely interwoven. The traveler walks through strange and foreign landscapes, the movement of the reader's eye explores the text as it slowly merges into a map. In the present paper, I will first examine how Folengo uses cartographic metaphors and conventions in his Liber Macaronicus, to create a world in which geographical reality and fiction are meshed. I will then try to uncover the textual sources which are embedded in this palimpsestic work. Like the Renaissance cartographers and cosmographers (Münster, Mercator, Ortelius and Cuningham), Folengo draws on various ancient sources as well as on contemporary geographical knowledge. Finally, I will seek to show how the text hinges on the speculum motif as it questions social, political and religious issues in early modern Italy.
Sophie Chiari - LERMA, Aix-Marseille Université, France
"Shakespeare's Redefined Utopias"
Abstract of Sophie Chiari's paper
In 1595, Ortelius fashioned an early map of Utopia which, by its very design, was shown to be a fantasy. Shakespeare similarly accessed the defamiliarized world of his plays through his own set of values. In doing so, like Ortelius, he created a dramatic and poetic geography which most particularly shaped his histories, his comedies as well as his tragi-comedies. As a consequence, the playwright developed a great variety of strategies to allude to very personal utopias.
This paper will thus first seek to establish a brand new taxonomy of the playwright’s utopias before exploring the complex relationships between utopia as a literary topos and the dramatic genres Shakespeare relied upon when writing his plays. The tackling of these issues will eventually allow us to understand how Shakespeare used, translated, distorted and redefined the very concept of ‘utopia’ for religious, aesthetic and political purposes on the early modern stage.