News Nuggets – February 2017

Dear Milton Society of America member,

Please continue to send me news and information that you think would be of interest and importance for our membership to know for inclusion in the next MSA Nuggets.

The MSA webpage will be going through some much-needed upgrading, moving, etc., so may be down we hope very minimally.

 The MSA at the MLA2017 and MLA2018

1) MSA Annual Dinner & Meeting 2017

“Heart easing mirth” was had by all 65 revelers who attended the MSA Annual Dinner & Meeting on Saturday, January 7, 2017, after the two MSA-sponsored panels earlier that day. The MSA AD&M program will soon be posted on the MSA webpage, by our new MSA Communications Officer Andy Fleck, who we welcomed that evening, along with our new members and officers of the 2017 MSA Executive Committee…

–          Elizabeth Sauer, President

–          Sharon Achinstein, Vice-President

–          Reginald Wilburn, member

–          Brooke Conti, member

… and gave hurrahs, oles, bravos, and the like at the announcement that the 2018 MSA Honored Scholar is

Gordon Teskey.

2) MSA Annual Dinner & Meeting 2018

Each of our MSA AD&Ms is special and important, but the 2018 MSA AD&M marks the 70 year anniversary of the foundation of our organization so …

2A) Location, location, location. Please send in suggestions for a wonderful site in New York for our MSA AD&M, to be held Saturday, January 6, 2018. Note: wonderful = a location close to the usual MLA Convention hub, with good food, friendly people, and staff who may be willing to reduce prices for our IRS charitable organization.

2B) “$70 @ 70: A Platinum Jubilee.” The attached flier outlines some of the reasons for a 2017 fund-raiser to refill our coffers, not the least of which is making the 2018 MSA AD&M as much as a gala to celebrate the MSA’s 70th anniversary as possible and to encourage scholars at all stages of their careers to join in on the collegial gathering. If your university, employer, etc., have/has matching fund programs, the flier should have all the information needed but, if not, please do not hesitate to contact me.

3) MSA 2018 panel CFPs and co-sponsored panel proposal

3A) The MSAsponsored guaranteed panel CFP. The follwoing CFP is also posted on the MLA 2018 CFP webpage:

“John Milton: A General Session”: All papers on the poet and polemicist are welcome, especially those connecting Milton with other authors, fields, and questions of literary value. Two-page CV and 500-word abstract by 15 March 2017; Elizabeth Sauer and Feisal G. Mohamed .

3B) MSA co-sponsored (non-guaranteed) panel. The MSA Executive Committee approved the following panel proposal to be submitted to the MSA by its April 1, 2017 deadline:

Surprised by Sin at 50”; co-sponsors MSA and the Reception Study Society; Chair Angelica Duran and Daniel Morris; Speakers Linda Gregerson, 2014 MSA Honored Scholar John Leonard, and Marjorie Perloff; Respondent 1991 MSA Honored Scholar Stanley Fish.

The MSA at the RSA

1) Five panels sponsored by the MSA

Safe travels and best wishes to all attending the Renaissance Society of America’s annual convention to be held in Chicago, March 30 – April 1, 2017, who have in store for them these MSA-sponsored panels…

1A) Milton: Religion across Space and Time

Fri, March 31, 1:30 to 3:00pm, The Palmer House Hilton, Third Floor, Salon

Organizers Ann Baynes Coiro and Feisal Mohamed; Chair Ann Baynes Coiro; Speakers Thomas Fulton, Christopher Koester, Elizabeth Mazzola

1B) Roundtable: Milton and the Digital Humanities

Friday March 31, 2017; 5:30-7:00 PM; The Palmer House Hilton, Third Floor, Salon 9

Chair: David Ainsworth; Discussants, Olin Bjork, Thomas Luxon, and John Rumrich.

1C) “Milton and Music”

Saturday, April 1, 2017; 8:30-10:00 AM; The Palmer House, Third Floor, Salon 8

Organizers Ann Baynes Coiro and Elizabeth Sauer; speakers Katherine Cox, Seth Herbst, and Alvin Snider

1D) Eros and Appropriation in Adaptations of Paradise Lost

Sat, April 1, 10:30am to 12:00pm, The Palmer House Hilton, Third Floor, Salon 8

Organizer John Garrison; Chair Blaine Greteman; Speakers, Lara Dodds, John Garrison, Stephen Guy-Bray.

1E) Reading De Doctrina Christiana

Fri, March 31, 3:30 to 5:00pm, The Palmer House Hilton, Third Floor, Salon 9

Organizer Jason A. Kerr; Chair David Norbrook; Respondent Jeffrey Alan Miller; Speakers Sharon Achinstein and Jason A. Kerr

 … as well as 2) More panels featuring MSA members and/or Milton’s works

2A) Early Modern Poetry and Poetics: From Puttenham to Milton

Thu, March 30, 8:30 to 10:00am, The Palmer House Hilton, Third Floor, Salon 4

Organizer John M. Wall; Chair John N. Wall; Speakers William M. Russell, Jessica Junqueira, Jonathan Sircy.

2B) Early Modern Christian Readings of the Hebrew Bible I: Milton and the Bible

Thu, March 30, 10:30am to 12:00pm, The Palmer House Hilton, Third Floor, Salon 4

Organizers Zur Shalev and Noam Flinker; Chair Martin Elsky; Speakers Raphael Magarik, James Grantham Turner, Noam Flinker.

2C) Early Modern Christian Readings of the Hebrew Bible II: Milton on Self, Nation, and Passion

Thu, March 30, 1:30 to 3:00pm, The Palmer House Hilton, Third Floor, Salon 4

Organizers Zur Shalev and Noam Flinker; Chair Noam Flinker; Speakers Ayelet C. Langer, Achsah Guibbory, N.K. Sugimura

2D) Milton: Learning, Drama, Ideology

Fri, March 31, 8:30 to 10:00am, The Palmer House Hilton, Third Floor, Salon 9

Organizers David Currell; Speakers Jeffrey S. Gore, Gretchen York, George Ramos, William Fitzhenry.

The MSA mobilizing for Duquesne UP

The MSA was informed just today that Duquesne University’s Timothy R. Austin, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, has advised its faculty that “the University has decided to move, in a deliberate fashion, to close the Duquesne University Press later this year.” Duquesne UP, founded in 1927, has long been one of the most important publishers of scholarly work on John Milton, especially given the longstanding work with both the Press and the MSA by 2000 MSA Honored Scholar Al Labriola (d. 2009). Individual Miltonists who have used Duquesne UP books or published with the press are encouraged to contact the Press to offer your support and/or suggestions for addressing alternatives and structures to make the Press more financially self-sufficient by contacting the university to protest this decision. Greg Barnhisel of Duquesne U advises that a good contact is Peggy Eiseman, Assistant to Duquesne U President Ken Gormley . Further information about the MSA mobilizing will come from the MSA Secretary Feisal Mohamad and/or President Elizabeth Sauer.  My best to you.

Seminars, Conferences, etc.

1) Newberry Milton Seminar, Chicago,  Saturday, May 6, 2017

See <https://www.newberry.org/milton-seminar>. Paul Stevens, “TBA.” Please register by Friday, May 5, 2017.

 2) Canada Milton Seminar XII, 12-13 May 2017; Victoria College, University of Toronto

Featuring Dennis Danielson, Stephen Greenblatt, Linda Gregerson, and Elizabeth Hanson as well as other speakers listed on the webpage https://crrs.ca/events/canada-milton-seminar/ . The webpage provides full information on hotel, travel, registration fees.


1) 2018 MLA Convention CFP page.

Most CFPs have deadlines by mid-March, including that from this group, always very welcoming to Milton studies…

Net Work: Then and Now; LLC 17th-Century English forum;

Panel on the labor of making and sustaining associations, then and now. Perspectives on communicative modes, affects, infrastructures, scholarly forms, and/or digital methods. CV and 200-word proposal by 10 March 2017; Chris Warren.

… as well as this one, which is specifically looking to attract at least one early modern or earlier paper:

Poetry and Insecurity; Forum: GS Poetry and Poetics;

Seeking papers on poetry written in heightened states of insecurity, broadly defined. Topics can address writing process, reception, distribution as affected by censorship/state intervention. CV and abstract (350-500 words) by 10 March 2017; Angelica Duran and Brian Reed.

2) Beyond Between Men: Homosociality Across Time; University of Oxford, Monday 19 June 2017; proposals due Monday 27 February.

For more information, see https://beyondbetweenmen.wordpress.com .

3) Newberry Library, Chicago, September 14-16 2017 Conference proposal; proposals due February 28, 2017

The Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library and the Early Modern Conversions Project at McGill University’s Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas are proud to announce a major conference, “The Politics of Conversion: Martin Luther to Muhammad Ali,” September 14-16, 2017. Religious conversion is a highly personal phenomenon–Augustine under the fig tree has the company of the voices of children and a found biblical verse, Luther spends days in solitary conversation with Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Cassius Clay is in dialogue with one or two sympathetic interlocutors. Yet conversion, as personal as it often is, can also ramify outward into the world with great force, galvanizing new communities, breaking old ones, and changing the political world utterly. The conference will coincide with the opening of a major gallery exhibition at the Newberry titled “Religious Change and Print, 1450-1700.” To view or download the CFP, click here.

 4) NEH summer Seminar at the Huntington Library; application deadline March 1, 2017

Prof. John King (Ohio State) and Mark Rankin (James Madison University) will co-direct “The Formation and Re-formation of the Book: 1450-1650.” Full details and application information are available at http://sites.jmu.edu/NEHformation-reformation-books2017/ . For further information, please contact Mark Rankin.

 5) International Milton Symposium 12: Renewed Call for Bids, preferred due date 1 March 2017

Because circumstances have made it impossible for those institutions initially expressing interest in hosting IMS12 to do so, I am reissuing the call for bids, as originally instructed by the Standing Committee of the International Milton Symposium. It is intended that the symposium will be scheduled for 2018 or 2019, preferably in the northern-hemisphere summer. The bid should include a clear indication of proposed dates and of location and accessibility in terms of international travel. A statement of support from the host institution is also desirable, as well as an indication of likely costs to participants, with some account of the available accommodation. Finally, the bid should include an outline of possible supplements to the academic programme (concerts, banquets, excursions, and the like). The successful bid will be announced no later than 1 June 2017. Please note that the International Milton Symposium can offer no financial support. Secretary to the Standing Committee, Prof. Karen Edwards is happy to respond informally to any preliminary indications of interest and to answer any queries about the process of preparing bids.

6) The Making of Humanities VI’, University of Oxford, Somerville College, UK, September 28-30, 2017; 250-word proposals due 15 April 2017

7) North American Conference on British Studies Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, November 3-5, 2017; panel proposals due March 3, 2017.

For detailed information, see <http://www.nacbs.org/conference>.

8) Crip Genealogies, co-edited by Mel Chen, Alison Kafer, Eunjung Kim, and Julie Avril Minich; chapter abstracts due March 15, 2017

Questions and 500-word abstracts to CripGenealogies@gmail.com. Full Papers due September 15, 2017.. Possible topics for discussion include: tracing relationships between the disability rights movement and other civil rights movements (including health and ability activism within racial justice movements; labor movements; movements for reproductive freedom; resistance to police brutality and other forms of state-sanctioned violence; and anticolonial movements); exploring crip theories emerging from women of color feminism, queer of color critique, transnational/postcolonial feminism, or anti-militarization movements; transnational and decolonial movements for sovereignty, disability justice, and anti-ableist resistance;  tracing critical ideas about bodies and minds in early feminist, queer, or critical race and ethnic studies; linking disability studies and HIV/AIDS activism and theory or disability studies and public health initiatives; grappling with the methodological/epistemological/political/ethical questions in doing this kind of bridge work, which always carries a risk of appropriation, co-optation, and/or erasure; reflections on key figures.

9) The Conference on John Milton, October 12-14, 2017; papers and proposals due June 1, 2017

To be held at Doubletree Hotel, Birmingham AL. Featuring: Plenary speakers Elizabeth Sauer and John Rumrich, a staged reading of Samson Agonistes by the Improbable Fictions, and a final banquet at the renowned Birmingham Institute for Civil Rights. More information at


Unexpected Milton Sightings

1) A bit more info on last month’s entry: Peter Rudnytsky advises that episodes of the HBO series “The Fall” have titles taken from Paradise Lost.

2) In his chapter on the tulip in The Botany of Desire (2001), Michael Pollan lists what he considers the most culturally significant flowers, the rose, “the peony in the East,” and the tulip, of course given the topic of the chapter, which he avers “have long been our canonical flowers, the Shakespeares, Miltons, and Tolstoys of the plant world, voluminous and protean, the select company of flowers that have survived the vicissitudes of fashion to make themselves sovereign and unignorable” (77-78).

Many thanks, tesoros.


Treasurer, Milton Society of America (2012-21)
English, Comparative Literature, Religious Studies (Director, 2009-13)
Purdue University

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