News Nuggets – January 2017

Dear Milton Society of America member,

The MSA and Milton at the MLA 2017

1A) MSA Annual Dinner & Meeting

Thanks to those who have already RSVPed to the 2017 MSA Annual Dinner & Meeting on Saturday, January 7, 2017. I have contacted all RSVPers who have contacted me via email or whose snail-mailings I received by December 20. If I have NOT contacted you and you sent something snail-mail, please note that I anticipate getting your correspondence on Tuesday, January 3, when my campus mail opens up after its Winter Break hiatus; that is the same day that I plan to send in the number of revelers and menu orders to The Rittenhouse. If you’d like to make sure I get your RSVP or if you still want to make a reservation, please email me by high noon, Wednesday, January 3. For more information, see…

Do check with me at any time through high noon, Friday, January 6, in case you or others want to join us at the last minute, to see if you can scoop up the spot of any last-minute cancellations.

SPECIAL NOTE: The poet who penned this year’s annual Milton poem, Tyehimba Jess, will read his 2017 MSA poem at the dinner. His most recent book of poetry, Olio <http://www.wavepoetry.com/products/olio>, will be available for purchase and autographing at the MSA AD&M. Bring cash or check for US$25 for your copy—the MSA does NOT have the capacity to accept credit or debit cards.

1B) MLA panels sponsored by the MSA

  • 459. “Race, Religion and Form in Spenser and Milton” (a collaboration with the International Spenser Society), to be held at 8:30 am on Saturday, January 7, in room 203B of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. MSA Executive Committee member Melissa E. Sanchez (Penn) will preside, with papers by MSA member Eric Song (Swarthmore), Ayesha Ramachandran (Yale), and Kimberly Ann Coles (Maryland, College Park).
  • 609. “John Milton: A General Session,” to be held at 3:30 pm on Saturday, January 7, in room 202B of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. MSA 2016 President Ann Baynes Coiro (Rutgers) will preside, with papers by Brooke Conti (Cleveland State), Alice Tsay (Michigan), and Julia M. Walker (SUNY Geneseo).

1C) Other Milton panels

… and the following panels that include a paper on Milton (great thanks to MSA Secretary Feisal Mohamed for the list): 51, “Rethinking the English Baroque”; 107, “Literary Influence: Queer Reframings”; 372, “Boethius in the Renaissance”; 468, “Il poeta civile: Ieri, oggi e domani”; 707, “The Apocalypse in Literature”; and 791, “Ruins and Remains in Early Modern England.”

Safe travels and all success as speakers and listeners!

MSA password

In one of his last duties as MSA Communications Officer David Ainsworth (2013-January 3, 2017) – huge round of applause! – has changed the password for the password-protected portions of the MSA webpage <http://miltonsociety.org> to



1) Onto the electronic scrolls of MSA award winners.

To my chagrin, in the December Nuggets, I listed only 5 of the 6 works published in 2015 that received MSA awards. Also to be duly feted at the 2017 MSA Annual Dinner & Meeting…

with the James Holly Hanford Award for a distinguished monograph on Milton is Gordon Teskey’s The Poetry of John Milton (Harvard UP), which has also been awarded the 2016 Christian Gauss Award, Phi Beta Kappa Society, and distinguished as A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2015.

2) From this world…*

“Angus Fletcher (1930-2016) left us [on November 28]. A critic who ranged more widely than any other of his generation, but whose thoughts were never far from Milton, Fletcher was author of The Transcendental Masque: An Essay on Milton’s ‘Comus’ (Cornell UP, 1972) and of many other books, notably Allegory: the Theory of a Symbolic Mode (Cornell UP: 1964), Colors of the Mind: Conjectures on Thinking in Literature (Harvard UP 1991), A New Theory for American Literature: Democracy, the Environment, and the Future of Imagination (Harvard UP, 2004), and most recently, The Topological Imagination: Spheres, Edges, and Islands (Harvard UP, 2016). In the last months of his life Angus was working on a book on Walt Whitman and the theoretical physicist, David Bohm,” as Gordon Teskey advises. See also


* Please note that I forward the names of the folks that appear in this section to the PMLA for them to publish in their “In Memoriam” section, so please do pass on news to me.

Member publications

1) Mandy Green and Sharihan Al-Akhras have co-authored the article ‘Satanic Whispers: Milton’s Iblis and the “Great Sultan” in the journal Seventeenth Century: for the abstract, see <http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0268117X.2016.1252279>.

2) You’ll find good use of the Digital Humanities, with usable electronic images enhancing the text in Beverley Sherry’s contribution to Shakespeare’s quatercentenary:

2A) ”Shakespeare in Stained Glass”  https://glaasincresearch.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/shakespeare-in-stained-glass/; and

2B) “Shakespearean Characters in Stained Glass” < https://glaasincresearch.wordpress.com/>.

See also her

2C) “Thomas Muir’s Short Life and Long Legacy in Australia”, in Thomas Muir of Huntershill: Essays for the Twenty First Century, eds. Gerard Carruthers and Don Martin (Edinburgh: Humming Earth, 2016), pp. 202-29. Muir’s connection with Milton is mentioned.

3) Andrew Grattan’s webpage, which contains his poems, has moved to andrewgrattan.org .

4) Demonstrating the web of interests and work of our members, Lana Cable sent in a 9-minute video clip from a symposium she organized on Poetics of Displacement for the University at Albany Global Institute for Health and Human Rights (GIHHR).  The excerpt launches her lecture on poetry and existential crisis in the context of the current refugee problem, and it touches on presentations by the four poets and scholars (including refugees) that preceded the audience Q&A: <https://youtu.be/y6DsbXS_F1k >.

5) See a description of Stanley Fish’s Winning Arguments: What Works and Doesn’t Work in Politics, the Bedroom, the Courtroom, and the Classroom (HarperCollins, July 2016) on this webpage: <https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062226655/winning-arguments>.

 Seminars, Conferences, etc.

1) RSA 2017 Chicago, 30 March–1 April 2017

Registration is now open. See  <http://www.rsa.org/general/custom.asp?page=2017Chicago>.

1A) MSA-sponsored panel

“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

1B) Other Milton panel

“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.

 2) 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.

3) 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.

 CFProposals, applications, etc.

1) Milton Society of America publications awards: nominations due May 1, 2017

For nominating and submitting publications from 2016 for the next set of MSA awards, please see http://miltonsociety.org/?page_id=102 [NOTE: this webpage address is the correct one; special thanks to John Leonard for advising me of having sent out wrong link last month).

 2) Milton Society of America Communications Officer; past due

Please consider nominating or self-nominating for this important position, with a tenure of January 2017-January 2021. For more details on the duties, please contact outgoing MSA CO David Ainsworth or Feisal Mohamed.

3) Literatures of Madness: Disability Studies and Mental Health; essay proposals due 15 January 2017

A peer-reviewed edited volume, Literatures of Madness: Disability Studies and Mental Health, will be submitted to the Literary Disability Studies book series at Palgrave Macmillan (http://www.palgrave.com/us/series/14821). Papers that engage with the place of psychiatric disability within the larger field of disability studies are especially welcome. Topics may include, but are certainly not limited, to the following: Intersections of addiction/psychiatric disability and race, class, gender, and queer identity in literature; Autobiography, authority, and mental illness; Disability and madness post-Foucault; Neurodiversity and psychiatric disability; Feminist and queer disability studies of psychiatric disability and addiction in literature; Cross-cultural perspectives on mental illness and disability; Madness studies in literature; /S/X (consumer/survivor/ex) patient narratives and disability studies. Abstracts of 250-500 words, plus a short biography, to Elizabeth J. Donaldson, by due date. Queries about the CFP before this deadline are very welcome. Accepted authors will be notified by 1 February 2017, and first drafts of chapters (approximately 6000 words) will be due on 15 June 2017 for peer review.

 4) 38th Annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum; abstract due January 15, 2017

This conference, “Culture and Violence,” to be held Friday and Saturday April 21-22, 2017, at at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire will feature as keynote speaker Professor Richard W. Kaeuper, University of Rochester on “From Geoffroi de Charny to Louis de la Tremoille:  The Autumn of Chivalry.” Abstracts (one page or less) or panel proposals that discuss the nature and cultural and religious context of violence in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period need not be confined to this theme but may cover other aspects of medieval and Renaissance life, literature, languages, art, philosophy, theology, history, and music. Students, faculty, and independent scholars are welcome. Please indicate your status (undergraduate, graduate, or faculty), affiliation (if relevant), and full contact information on your proposal.

5) Call For Interest: article, due date February 1, 2017

James Freemantle has been invited to curate an Exhibition in 2017 to celebrate the 350th anniversary of Paradise Lost and is looking for scholars who may wish to write an article for the accompanying Exhibition book, on the subject of the publishing history of Paradise Lost, as it related to Fine Press editions of the same. If interested, please contact him.

6) 2018 Society for Classical Studies meeting, Boston, January 4-7, 2018; proposals due February 15, 2017.

“Afterlives of Ancient Medicine: Reception Studies or History of Medicine?” panel, sponsored by the Society for Ancient Medicine and Pharmacy (SAM). For more details and/or to send the abstract of 500 words for proposed paper (20 min.), e-mail to Brooke Holmes.

 7) 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.

 8) 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/ .

 9) 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.

10) 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>.

11) 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.

12) The Conference on John Milton, October 12-14, 2017; papers and proposals due Spring/Summer 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. Final banquet at the renowned Birmingham Institute for Civil Rights. More information soon forthcoming at www.cas.uab.edu/milton

 13) More…

See the webpage Renaissance Society of America News webpage http://us10.campaign-archive1.com/?u=c802e2ce394caa1c082efc649&id=c9dbd53ed0&e=54999cc8b8 — the MSA is an affiliate organization of the RSA.

Unexpected Milton Sighting

Peter Rudnytsky advises that episodes of the HBO series have titles taken from Paradise Lost.


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.

May 2017 bring you all health and happiness. Many thanks, tesoros.


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

Leave a Reply