Early Modern Times – cloak & dagger

Early Modern Times - cloak & dagger

Dear readers,

Welcome to December! We begin with a special announcement: for those of you who are undergraduate students and have written (or are writing) papers about the early modern period, you are invited to submit your papers for presentation at the sixth annual ‘Conference of the Early Modern’, Jan. 26-27, 2018, at King’s. The deadline is Dec. 20. More details on the conference call for papers can be found here. Besides undergraduate presentations, the conference will feature an exciting keynote lecture by Dr. Lauren Beck, Mount Allison University, on ‘Indigenous Representations of Europeans in the Sixteenth-Century Spanish Atlantic’; and an equally stimulating alumna keynote lecture by Evany Rosen, EMSP grad & author of What I Think Happened, a collection of comic essays on the history of the western world. We hope to see you at the conference–but you shouldn’t expect to hear presentations on dial-up internet, as that would be more fitting for a ‘Conference of the Early Modem’.

But to turn to this week’s theme of intrigue and mayhem. On Nov. 18, your humble blogger reported on the rediscovered masterpiece and monster-piece by Leonardo Da Vinci, Salvator Mundi and its ne’er-do-well companion piece, Sale! Van Tour Mondays. While we are certain Leonardo painted the latter to cover legal fees (see Vitruvian Man v. Leonardo Da Vinci, a civil suit over the defamatory addition of false limbs in this commissioned portrait), doubt has been raised over the authenticity of the former, which sold for $450m. If it can be proven that someone other than Leonardo painted Salvator Mundi, we are led to understand that it might just sell for $4.50 in a garage sale and be nothing better than a piece of kitchenware to divert those involved in food preparation at home: a ‘counter-fit’, in other words.

It is surely no coincidence that the media just ‘happened’ to publish this week a travel piece on Ingolstadt, the Bavarian town that was both the birthplace of the Illuminati, the secret society founded in 1776 to defend Enlightenment ideals against superstition and tyranny, and the home of Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s famous novel. Alas, Ingolstadt has always overshadowed its sister-city Owngoalstadt, home of the worst soccer team in Germany and birthplace of the secret organization devoted to medical treatment of marine mammals, the Ill-Manatee Society.

In the last two days of classes this coming week: In her class on Baroque art, Jannette Vusich will be discussing the ‘Dutch touch’, i.e., the golden age of Dutch Baroque painting. Particularly noteworthy are the Dutch still-life portraits of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing, and slices of rye bread, such that any delectable sandwiches nowadays are described as ‘Reuben-esque’.

Kathryn Morris‘s students in EMSP 3000 will examine Descartes’s heated polemic against a university class on John Wesley, the Diss-course on Methodism. Her Vampire class turns to a novel about a hip but murderous Blue Jays fan–Buffy the Umpire-Slayer–and ends with a desperate plea by Friedrich Nietzsche to end the wooden acting careers of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, Twilight of the Movie Idols.

My students in Asia & the West will look at modern Japanese thinkers, contemporary cross-cultural perspectives on ethics and politics, and hear a cognitively stimulating guest lecture by Dr. Andrew Fenton on ‘Buddhism & Neuroethics’, in which he will reveal to us how we can overcome neuroses associated with Boddhi-image issues.

Till next week,

Simon Kow

Director, Early Modern Studies Program

Page Break