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MIT Literature Section & the Phi Beta Kappa Society presents, Wendy Walls “Discovering New Poets, Discovering New Worlds: The Strange Case of Hester Pulter in Seventeenth-Century England”

April 10, 2023 @ 5:15 pm - 6:00 pm

Presented by Wendy Wall
Avalon Professor of the Humanities
Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence
Professor of English at Northwestern University

Abstract: The boundaries of the world exploded in early modern England. With telescopes aimed at the stars, microscopes revealing unseen elements of life on earth, and colonial encounters reconfiguring what Europeans knew about cartography and ecosystems, writers and artists grappled with uncertainty on many fronts. Shakespeare and Donne, for instance, offer rich meditations demonstrating the exhilaration and fear involving in imagining brave new worlds. How do newly audible literary voices in the early modern archive alter our understanding of this time of political, scientific, and religious transformations? The discovery of a seventeenth-century poet named Hester Pulter––a writer fascinated by Galileo’s findings, dancing atoms, and natural philosophy–– offers an occasion to reflect on what it means to push the limits of the known world, both in early modern terms – and our own.

Bio: Wendy Wall is Avalon Professor of the Humanities, Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, and Professor of English at Northwestern University. Professor Wendy Wall researches topics as wide-ranging as Renaissance poetry, recipes, literature and science, women’s writing, digital humanities, gender, authorship, print culture, and theater. She specializes in early modern English literature and culture, with prize-winning books and projects that include Recipes for Thought: Knowledge and Taste in the Early Modern English KitchenThe Imprint of Gender: Authorship and Publication in the English RenaissanceStaging Domesticity: Household Work and English Identity in Early Modern Drama; and The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making. Professor Wall enjoys engaging in public humanities partnerships with prisons, theaters, and festivals and has served as president of the Shakespeare Association of America, co-editor of Renaissance Drama, and as the McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence. She is currently at work on a book entitled Revolution, Resurrection, and Dissolution: Hester Pulter and a Reimagined Early Modern World.


April 10, 2023
5:15 pm - 6:00 pm
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CAMBRIDGE, MA 02139 United States
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Literature Section
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue 14N-407
Cambridge, MA 02139
tel: (617) 253-3581