News Nuggets – May 2017

Dear Milton Society of America member,

We begin the May 2017 Nuggets aptly enough with Milton’s “Song. On May Morning” (cut and pasted from Tom Luxon’s wonderful Dartmouth Milton site):

Now the bright morning Star, Dayes harbinger,

Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her

The Flowry May, who from her green lap throws

The yellow Cowslip, and the pale Primrose.

Hail bounteous May that dost inspire

Mirth and youth, and warm desire,

Woods and Groves, are of thy dressing,

Hill and Dale, doth boast thy blessing.

Thus we salute thee with our early Song,

And welcom thee, and wish thee long.

Ah, very nice. On to business…

MSA at the 2017 MLA and 2018 MLA

1) 2017 MSA AD&M commissioned poet. Great thanks to MSA Comm Officer Andy Fleck for posting the 2017 MSA Annual Dinner & Meeting program (AD&M), <http://miltonsociety.org/?page_id=2259>, where you will find the poem “When I consider how my light is spent,“ commissioned by the MSA and performed at the 2017 MSA AD&M by Tyehimba Jess, who you will see won the Pulitzer Prize:


Another great poet!

2) 2018 MSA AD&M site. Many thanks to MSA Secretary Feisal Mohamed, aka the 2018 MSA AD&M NYer-on-the-ground, for visiting with and arranging with the folks at New York’s venerable The Grolier Club to let us hold our 2018 MSA Annual Dinner & Meeting there. More information is forthcoming in subsequent monthly Nuggets and the MSA webpage. In the meantime, feel free to locate The Grolier Club on a map as you book your MLA hotel.

The MSA Executive Committee will likely vote in September on the price for reservations for the MSA AD&M. As mentioned in the “$70 at 70” flier circulated in the February 2017 Nuggets and attached once again, the MSA AD&M is the MSA’s biggest expenses (and potentially one of its highlights); and we’d like to continue offering discounted prices to students, independent scholars, and assistant professors, so we hope you will use the summer lull to send in a check for US$70 or really any amount to help us cover costs. Folks with no access to US$ checks should feel free to contact me.

3) 2018 MLA Convention in NY, Milton connection, among myriad others. NY’s MOMA has as part of its home collection Paul Gaughin’s “Portrait of Jacob Meyer de Haan” (1889), the star of which to MSA members is the end of the Francophone title of Paradise Lost and the name Milton on one of the two books on the table: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/78323?locale=en

Publications of note

1) Blair Hoxby’s What Was Tragedy? received honorable mention for the RSA’s Gordon Book Prize—and is reviewed by Feisal Mohamed in the most recent Milton Quarterly.

2) Milton Quarterly 50.4 (December 2016) features 3 articles:

  1. “Thomas Margetts: A New Milton Manuscipt and a New Defender of the People of England by Joad Raymond
  2. “Milton and the Stations of the Crux” by Thomas Festa
  3. “Arminian Theology, Machiavellian Republicanism, and Cooperative Virtue in Milton’s Paradise Lost by Deni Kasa

6 reviews and a summary of the MSA’s presence at the 2016 MLA Conference by then-MSA President Stephen Fallon.


1) Society for Renaissance Studies Biennial Conference; proposals due 1 Sept 2017

To be held 3-5 July 2018, University of Sheffield, featuring speakers Professors Lyndall Roper, Emma Smith, and Feisal Mohamed.

Panels and papers should engage with one of the following themes:

– The natural world

– Frontiers, identity, exchange

– Power, protest and resistance

– Knowledge, truth, and expertise

– Civil and uncivil discourse

– Ornament and display, performance and perception

400 word proposals for 20 minute papers to <srs2018@sheffield.ac.uk>. In your submission, please indicate which theme or themes are most relevant to your panel/paper.

Seminars, Conferences, etc.

Safe travels and happy conferencing to those on both sides of the Canada/US border who will be attending…

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

See <https://www.newberry.org/milton-seminar>. Paul Stevens, “Milton and the Secular Metamorphoses of Grace.” 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.

CFPs, nominations, and applications

1) MSA awards; nominations due May 1 and June 1

1A) Please see <http://miltonsociety.org/?page_id=102>  for categories and submission guidelines for work on Milton published in 2016 (this page will soon be updated), due May 1.

1B) Please see <http://miltonsociety.org/?page_id=1910> for the newest award established by the MSA, the First Book Assistance Program, applications for which are due June 1. While on that subject, please make sure your campus library has purchased the first recipient of this funding, Islam Issa’s Milton in the Arab-Muslim World (Routledge, 2017),


2)  The Renaissance Society of America 64th Annual Meeting, New Orleans, 22–24 March 2018; general proposals due June 7, 2017; submissions for MSA sessions due May 19, 2017.

For general information, see http://www.rsa.org/general/custom.asp?page=2018NOLACfP

As an Associate Organization, the MSA may submit up to five guaranteed sessions and seeks panels and papers for its sessions. Proposals covering any aspect of Milton studies will be given full consideration, but especially desirable are those exploring Milton’s writings alongside these topics:

– populism

– states of insecurity/sites of resistance

– human decision and natural disaster

– the Thirty Years’ War

– embodiment

– manuscripts, drafts, and editions

Panels must be organized by a current member of the MSA. Required are the following:

– a session title of no more than 15 words;

– a 1-2 page description of the panel;

– an abstract of 1-2 pages for each of its papers;

– a 150-word version of each paper abstract;

– a list of audio-visual requests, if any, and session keywords; and

– 300-word curricula vitae for the panel organizer and presenters, including full names, institutional affiliations, and email addresses.

Papers may be submitted by both members and nonmembers of the MSA. Required are the following:

-an abstract of 1-2 pages

– a condensed abstract of 150 words;

– a title of no more than fifteen words;

– audio-visual requirements, if any, and a list of keywords; and

– a 300-word curriculum vitae.

Please send all materials to current president Elizabeth Sauer and secretary Feisal Mohamed.  All participants in the New Orleans conference must be members of the Renaissance Society of America.

*Please note: MSA Secretary Feisal Mohamed sent this out earlier via MailChimp. If you have been a member since before this February 2017 and did not receive it, please check your junk mail.

3) 4 Newberry Library 2017-18 Graduate Student Programs; May 15, September 30

– 10-Week Graduate Seminar; European Wars of Religion, 1550s-1650s; Wednesdays: September 27 to December 6, 2017. Application deadline: May 15

– Dissertation Seminar; Dissertation Seminar for Scholars of Material and Visual Culture; Fridays: October 6, December 8, 2017; February 9, April 20, 2018. Application deadline: May 15. Please note the following change in prerequisites: The dissertation seminar is open to all graduate students in the early stages of their dissertation, who have written at least a proposal and/or first chapter. Students need not be ABD.

– Research Methods Workshops for Early Career Graduate Students; The Other Italian Renaissance: Between Religion and Humanism, Dante to Vico; October 13, 2017. Application deadline: May 15

New Spain at the Newberry: Demystifying Colonial Documents from the Ayer Collection; February 16, 2018. Application deadline: September 30

The Turn to Religion: Women and Writing in Early Modern England; March 10, 2018. Application deadline: September 30

4) The 2017 Conference on John Milton, October 12-14, 2017, Birmingham AL; papers and proposals due June 19, 2017

Submit full papers (10 pages maximum; not to exceed twenty minutes reading time) along with 150 word abstracts on the conference website:
https://cas.uab.edu/milton/. Featured speakers John Rumrich (U of Texas at Austin) and Elizabeth Sauer (Brock U); 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. Questions may be directed to David Ainsworth.

5) Texts and Contexts, October 20–21, 2017, Ohio State University; proposals due August 1, 2017

For more information on this annual conference held on the campus of the Ohio State University devoted to Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, incunables, and early printed texts in Latin and the vernacular languages, see http://www.rsa.org/news/news.asp?id=334637

6)  The 24th Annual ACMRS Conference; proposals accepted on a rolling basis until midnight, MST on December 1, 2017

ACMRS invites session and paper proposals for its annual interdisciplinary conference to be held February 8-10, 2018 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Scottsdale, AZ. We welcome papers that explore any topic related to the study and teaching of the Middle Ages and Renaissance and especially those that focus on the general theme of “Reading the Natural World:  Perceptions of the Environment and Ecology during the Global Middle Ages and Renaissance.”

Conference Publication: Selected papers focused on “Reading the Natural World:  Perceptions of the Environment and Ecology during the Global Middle Ages and Renaissance” will be considered for publication in the conference volume of the Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance series, published by Brepols Publishers (Belgium).

– Keynote Speaker: TBD

– Pre-Conference Workshop: ACMRS will host a workshop on manuscript studies led by Professor Timothy Graham, Director of the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of New Mexico. The workshop will be held on the afternoon of Thursday, February 10, and participation will be limited to the first 25 individuals to register. Email acmrs@acmrs.org with “Pre-Conference Workshop” in the subject line to be added to the list. The cost of the workshop is $50 ($25 for students) and is in addition to the regular conference registration fee.

– Les Enfans Sans Abri: Since 1989, the ad hoc medieval/Renaissance drama troupe Les enfans sans abri (LESA) has been performing comedies all over the country and even in Europe. To learn more about Les enfans sans abri, visit their website at: www.lesenfanssansabri.com.

– Deadlines: Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis until midnight, MST on December 1, 2017. Responses will be given within a week of submission. Please submit an abstract of 250 words and a brief CV to ACMRSconference@asu.edu. Proposals must include audio/visual requirements and any other special requests; late requests may not be accommodated.

Visit our web page for further details on submissions. Questions? Call 480-965-5900 or email acmrs@acmrs.org.

Unexpected Milton sighting

The protagonist of Mischa Berlinkski’s novel Fieldwork (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007), a UCB anthropologist grad student in northern Thailand, notes of one of the natives, who use descriptive names, “She didn’t know why Farts-a-Lot wanted to make her life miserable, but she was sure that was his intention. There was one little incident after another. The time Farts-a-Lot rolled a cigarette with a page from her copy of Anna Karenina—and an important page, too, just as Anna was arriving at the train station. Why couldn’t he have used Paradise Lost?” (189).

Many thanks, tesoros.



Treasurer, Milton Society of America (2012-21)


English, Comparative Literature, Religious Studies (Director, 2009-13)

Purdue University

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