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Clothing the Sinews of the City’s Mystic Body: Sartorial Extravagance in the Literature of Early Modern London

April 20, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Join the Folger Institute for our Spring 2018 Research Colloquia series with our Long-term Fellows.

The next colloquium will take place on this Friday, April 20th at 12 PM in the Folger Foulke Conference Room (301 East Capitol Street SE).

Folger-Mellon Fellow James Bromley (Miami University)

Clothing the Sinews of the City’s Mystic Body: Sartorial Extravagance in the Literature of Early Modern London

Early modern England’s literary representations of men in extravagant apparel are usually contextualized by sumptuary laws, courtesy books, and moralistic texts, such that early modern English literature appears to speak unequivocally against the abuses of clothing and denies sartorial extravagance any redeeming social value. My project revises this understanding by attending to way that extravagant clothing could allow men to reimagine the forms of embodiment, selfhood, and erotic relations available in early modern London. If satirists are to humiliate their targets through exposure, they do so by taking pains to represent the desires of and the desirability of the sartorially extravagant man. In so doing, they offer their readers a view of how the world might be reimagined that competes with their own satiric aims. This talk will examine John Donne’s “Satire 1,” early modern portraiture, and other texts that engage sartorial extravagance in the city to explore how the fantasies about queer modes of masculinity, sociability, and eroticism that attend upon urban sartorial extravagance might inform a new history of gender and sexuality in the early modern period.

Designed to fall during the end of each fellow’s period of residence, these hour-long conversations allow the Folger’s cohort of Long-Term Fellows to reflect on their time at the Folger and to share their discoveries, work, and insights with the wider Folger community. Please feel free to bring your lunch. Coffee and tea will be provided.



April 20, 2018
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm