CFP: Hamlet in Wittenberg: Civic and Princely Education in Early Modern Europe

Submission deadline: May 15, 2018

Conference date(s):
September 28, 2018 - September 29, 2018

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Conference Venue:

Institute of Philosophy, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Budapest, Hungary

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"For your intent / In going back to school in Wittenberg, / It is most retrograde to our desire: / And we beseech you, bend you to remain / Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye, / Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.".


The rather fearsome words of King Claudius in Shakespeare's Hamlet bring up the question of how princes should be educated in the early modern context, a question that keeps its pertinence in the context of early modern non-royal, civic education, too. Mirrors for princes have been important means of civic and princely education ever since antiquity. Works of Xenophon, Cicero, Seneca and others also served as literary models for the centuries to come.

The early modern (city-)states' strive for stability and prosperity, led to the Renaissance rediscovery of such ancient writings which were used as models for instructing princes or city magistrates concerning the proper way of governance. The ethical and political philosophical attitude was, however, accompanied by a special interest in applied history - anachronistically speaking -, and hence the works like Machiavelli's Prince, Calvin's Commentary on Seneca's De Clementia, or the Six Books of Politics or Political Instruction by Justus Lipsius now also serve as documents concerning how ethics, politics and historical knowledge were intertwined in early modernity.


The aim of our conference is to bring together scholars from different fields (moral and political philosophers, historians, historians of ideas, literary historians etc.) in order to discuss and explore the state-of- the-art and novel trends in the research of this field. We welcome papers concerning any literary product belonging to the early modern genre of mirror for princes or dealing with the education of city magistrates or ordinary citizens.


Proposals (with a title and abstract of the length of 3-500 words) should be sent by May 15, 2018 to fi.titkarsag@btk.mta.hu.

The conference will be organised in Budapest, at the headquarter of the Research Centre for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences on September 28-29, 2018.

Our invited keynote speakers are James Hankins (Harvard University) and Jan Waszink (Leiden University), Tibor Fabiny (Károli Gáspár University).

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