Italian Voices

Performing Text in Early Modern England and Italy: Interpreting the Evidence

University of Leeds, Brotherton Library, Brotherton Room (campus map)

Tudor SchoolroomThis study day will consider the question of how we can locate and interpret evidence for the spoken and sung performance of texts in England and Italy from the late fifteenth to the seventeenth century.

The full programme can be downloaded here.

The keynote speaker is Dr Lesley Twomey, Reader in Hispanic Studies at Northumbria University, who is co-editing a volume with Tom Cohen on Spoken Word and Social Practice: Orality in Europe (1400-1700), to be published by Brill. Her subject is ‘Detecting Women’s Voices in Literary Texts: Examples of Women’s Preaching and Teaching in Women’s Writing’.

Members of two research projects will present and discuss evidence from England and Italy respectively: Voices and Books, whose PIs are Professor Jennifer Richards (Newcastle University) and Professor Richard
Wistreich (Royal College of Music, London), and Italian Voices.

Theocritus 1496 Dürer
Topics to be discussed include, for England:
   The Sound of the Voice in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Music
   The Voices of the Tudor Schoolroom and the Teaching of Rhetoric
   Actio and pronunciatio in Preaching in the Seventeenth Century
   Speech and Social Rank in Early Modern England

And for Italy:
   The Oral Performance of Poetry for Court Festivities
   Reconstructing the Performance of Oral Sermons and of Political Speeches
   Chivalric Poetry between Singing and Printed Texts
   Reading Literary Texts Aloud in Cultured Society
   The Languages of Performances of Learned Comedies

A round table, chaired by Dr Alex Bamji of the School of History, University of Leeds, will conclude the day.

The event is open to all. There is no charge for attendance but space is limited. To reserve a place or for more information, please contact

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