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England

John Florio
Summer 2014

The time in between

England came late to the Renaissance. But by the time it arrived, its greatest contribution would be literary. John Donne, William Shakespeare, and Ben Jonson served a literate aristocracy eager to be informed and entertained.

Into the late sixteenth century comes the observant figure of Michel de Montaigne, a French statesman and prolific essayist who wrote about nearly everything his mind encountered, “from cannibals to codpieces, suicide to faith,” as Will Hamlin, WSU’s English literature and Renaissance scholar, puts it. For most English readers of the time, Montaigne’s French Essais were made accessible by a translation undertaken by his contemporary John Florio, a language teacher … » More …

Spring 2013

Treasure, Treason and the Tower: El Dorado and the Murder of Sir Walter Raleigh

treasure treason tower Raleigh

Paul Sellin ’52
Ashgate, 2011

Years ago while doing research in Stockholm, Sweden, Paul Sellin, a scholar who specializes in literature and history of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, chanced upon some correspondence about Sir Walter Raleigh and gold that he may have found in South America.

Sellin, who studied history at WSU and then went on to the University of Chicago to complete a doctorate in English, is a … » More …

Winter 2006

When trash reveals history

From October 2005 through March 2006, I worked with ephemera in one of the great libraries of the world, the Bodleian at the University of Oxford. A cheeky person might say that “ephemera” is just a fancy term for trash. However, given the passage of time, even trash can become terribly interesting.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines ephemera as something that has a transitory existence. Printed ephemera may be items, such as broadsides, chapbooks, bus tickets, menus, playbills, and lists, to name just a few categories, that were not intended survive their immediate use. As most printed ephemera were not saved, what does remain can … » More …