Dante Workshop (UGent, 13-14 May 2019)

Location: UGent, Campus Boekentoren (Blandijnberg 2, 9000 – Ghent, Belgium)

Free entrance

Organizers: prof. Teodoro Katinis (UGent; SDA Gent), prof. Wim Verbaal (UGent), prof. Bart van den Bossche (KU Leuven), prof. Andrea Robiglio (KU Leuven).

Research groups: GEMS (Group for Early Modern Studies), HPIMS (Henri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies).

Participants: prof. Paolo Borsa (University of Milan), prof. Valerio Cappozzo (University of Mississipi), prof. Teodoro Katinis (UGent, SDA Gent), prof. Wim Verbaal (UGent), prof. Bart van den Bossche (KU Leuven), prof. Andrea Robiglio (KU Leuven), colleagues of the GEMS and the HPIMS, PhD students, students of the course LKV.



13/5: Room 120.036

h15-17: Dante Alighieri between Latin and the Vernacular, in English.

Moderators: Wim Verbaal and Andrea Robiglio.

Prof. Paolo Borsa and prof. Valerio Cappozzo will circulate in advance their materials to feed the discussion: published articles and current projects with specific regards to Dante’s poetry, the Stilnovo, and the interpretation of dreams in the Middle Ages.

h17: coffee break and networking.

h18:30: dinner.

h20-22: prof. Valerio Cappozzo, L’interpretazione dei sogni da Dante ad oggi, in Italian for the Società Dante Alighieri – Gent (for a broad public).


14/5: Room 120.012

Morning: informal meetings with PhD students and colleagues to discuss future research opportunities (feel free to contact us if you are interested in meeting the speakers).

h16-19: Dante tra latino e volgare, in Italian.

Moderator: Teodoro Katinis.

Prof. Paolo Borsa e prof. Valerio Cappozzo, for the students of LKV. Articles and handouts will circulate in advance. External participants are welcome to join also this part of the workshop.

h20: dinner


Image reference: Luca Signorelli, Portrait of Dante (1500-1504 ca.). Fresco. Orvieto Cathedral, Chapel of St Britius.


Exhibition Baroque Brutalities: Imagining Violence in Art (17th Century & today)

VANDENHOVE Centre for Architecture and Arts, Rozier 1, Ghent

Thursday & Friday 28 & 29 March, 2-6 PM and Saturday 30 March, 10 AM – 5 PM.

The exhibition shows 17th-century prints from the UGent University Library and works by Simon Pummell (video), Doina Kraal and Kevin Simón Mancera Vivas (peep-show box), Abattoir Fermé (performance stills).

Poster Inger Leemans Imagineering Violence 2019 Amsterdam-02

 The early modern period witnessed a true explosion of images on pain, suffering and violence across painting, print, theater, and public space. The public had plenty to choose from: sieges, executions, massacres. Violence fascinated the early modern spectator, yet it simultaneously conjured up numerous questions, some of which are not unlike those posed today.

How can violence be represented and imagined? How can an artist document the violence of the times? What about the numerous ethical implications? When does a spectator become a voyeur? When does violence turn into spectacle? Can violence be aestheticized? Does an artist have a duty to document contemporary violence? These questions saturate modern art, from the horrors of War in Goya to the racial violence in Edward and Nancy Kienholz’s ‘Five Car Stud’.

Baroque Brutalities not only shows how violence is represented in works of art from about 1650, but it also deals with the above-mentioned social, cultural and ethical questions concerning the representation of (extreme) violence today and in the Baroque era.

This exhibition is an initiative of the Dutch-Belgian research group ITEMP: Imagineering Violence – see: https://itempviolence.wordpress.com.

GEMS Lecture 2019 with Professor Hiro Hirai (Center for the History and Philosophy of Science, Radboud University, Netherlands)

Galen in the Medical Context of the Scientific Revolution

Date: Monday, 29 April 2019
Time: 4 – 6 PM
Location: Plateauzaal (Jozef Plateaustraat 22, Gent)

Galen (129–ca. 216) left a significant number of writings, over 100 treatises in a modern edition, which represent some 12 percent of ancient Greek literature. Although Galenism dominated the tradition of Western medicine, knowledge of his writings was relatively limited during the Middle Ages. The substantial body of these writings was made available in Europe thanks to the Aldine Greek edition (Venice, 1525), followed by a flood of Latin translations. In my paper, I will examine the impact of some key texts of Galen at the threshold of early modern science and philosophy. To this end I will focus on the particular use of Galen’s writings and teachings by Jean Fernel (1497–1558) of Paris, one of the most influential physicians of the Renaissance, and other physician-philosophers who were his contemporaries and followers in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.


Image references:
1. Nicolas de Larmessin, Portrait of Jean François Fernel. Engraving. Holding Institution: Smithsonian Libraries (Washington, DC);
2. Title page of Galen’s Aldine Greek edition (Venice 1525).

GEMS Seminar: Atelier with Annemieke Romein and Christophe Madelein

Time: Wednesday, February 27th, 2-4 PM

Place: Faculty Library Arts and Philosophy, Magnel wing, room “Herman Uyttersprot” (formerly room “Freddy Mortier”).

Annemieke Romein (UGent)
Protecting the fatherland, patriots in Jülich, Hesse-Cassel, and Brittany (1642-1655): Placing the cases in its context: resistance, offices, and state-building?


In this presentation, I will discuss my (nearly completed) manuscript which is based upon my dissertational research. As the Thirty Years’ War raged through central Europe, the nobility of several European principalities found themselves facing increasingly controversial princely politics. Particularly the decisions about taxation and warfare were debatable. According to the nobility, both the Duke of Jülich and the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel harmed their inhabitants with illegally extracted resources to pay for armies. This led to heated debates in the German principalities about the noble privilege to consent to taxes and the possible attempts of princes to establish arbitrary rule. However, opposing princely politics equalled rebellion. Hence the relationship between a prince and his nobility became the focal point of discussion. A central concern of the nobility was therefore how to voice critique that could avoid condemnation as rebellion. To this end, they relied on fatherland terminology (fatherland, patria, and patriot). I will also (briefly) contrast the German cases with how the nobility of Brittany handled a similar situation – though no armies raided their province.

Image reference: Portret van Willem VI, landgraaf van Hessen-Kassel. Theodor Matham, after Anselm van Hulle, 1717. Holding institution: Rijksmuseum.

Christophe Madelein (UGent)
When the Levee Breaks: Sublime Awe for the Christmas Flood (1717) in a poem by H.K. Poot


In the night of 24 December 1717 a flood hit the coast from Denmark to the Netherlands, killing approximately 12000 to even 16000 people. In the wake of the flood many poems were published, as is often the case with national disasters. I want to focus on one poem specifically, H.K. Poot’s “Op den hoogen watervloet, omtrent het einde des jaers MDCCXVII”. In this poem the flood is explicitly identified as a divine intervention. Rather than expand on the religious or theological argument as such, I want to focus on the aesthetic dimension of this connection, more precisely by reading it in the light of John Dennis’ notion of the sublime. In his The Grounds of Criticism (1704) Dennis lays down a classicist theory of art and literature, as the means to restore divine order. For him emotion is central to aesthetics, and no emotion is stronger than awe for the divine. In this light, poetry about disasters is not so much a lamentation or a call for charity and aid, as it is a celebration of the divine and a reminder of humility and piety. In Poot’s poem the attention shifts from the grand religious scheme to individual suffering, and back again, as it should for every individual reader and the nation at large, through the medium of sublime literature.

Image reference: Watersnood bij Amsterdam, 1717. Anonymous, 1718. Holding institution: Rijksmuseum

GEMS in portraits: Delphine Calle

After defending her PhD on love and passion in the work of Jean Racine in the summer of 2018, GEMS-member Delphine Calle has set course for a year at Rutgers University, New Jersey. She came back to Ghent for the Christmas holidays, so I had the chance to meet her for an interview over a Pain perdu coffee. We talked about bureaucracy, modern art, Thanksgiving and her postdoc project proposal about non-peer friendship in 17th-century France: Friendship across divides. A literary exploration of friendship and equality in 17th-century France.


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GEMS feedback session on FWO PhD proposals


Place: Blandijnberg 2, Grote Vergaderzaal (3rd floor)

Date: 6 February 2019, 14:00-16:00


​On Wednesday, February 6th, there will be a feedback session between 2 and 4 PM for students who are preparing an application of a FWO PhD fellowship. The session will take place in the Grote Vergaderzaal (Blandijnberg 2, 3rd floor).

Students who may be interested to get feedback from GEMS members on their proposal should send their drafts to: Cornelis.vanderHaven@UGent.be, before February 1st.


Image reference: Schrijvende boer, Cornelis Dusart, 1670 – 1704. Holding institution: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Representations of Violence and the Eye of the Beholder (1600-today)


GEMS’s own Kornee van der Haven and Yannice De Bruyn, in cooperation with Karel Vanhaesebrouck (ULB/VUB/RITCS), organise the specialist course ‘Representations of Violence and the Eye of the Beholder (1600-today)’. Enabled by the Doctoral Schools, this specialist course will take place on 28 and 29 March 2019. Its focus is on how violence is represented in works of art from 1600 onwards; what it means to look at violence; and social, cultural and ethical questions concerning the representation of (extreme) violence today and during various historical periods.

This specialist course is intended for PhD students at both academic and artistic institutions, and artists. It intends to create an intense dialogue between researchers and artists, and focuses on a close interaction with art works from today and historic periods alike. Parallel to the specialist course, an exhibition will be shown in the Vandenhove Paviljoen in Ghent. A visit to the exhibition and dialogue with some of the participating artists is part of the specialist course.

More information can be found here. For more information and registration, please contact Yannice De Bruyn.

The image is from Simon Pummell’s ATLAS FOR INANIMATE BODIES.

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GEMS Seminar: Nimrod Reitman inspired by… Michelangelo & Rilke

Time: Thursday, 13 December 2018, 11 AM – 1 PM
Place: Faculty Library Arts and Philosophy, Magnel wing, room ‘Freddy Mortier’

During this GEMS seminar, Nimrod Reitman will present a short story by Rilke about Michelangelo. Both this story and Rilke’s translation of Michelangelo’s Rime will serve as a springboard for the discussion and a development of some thoughts about concepts like ‘non finito’, ‘fragment’ and ‘entombment’. Doing so, Nimrod will present the broader theoretical apparatus of his research, spanning rhetoric to psychoanalysis.

Anyone who is interested to participate and who would like to receive the text by Rilke can contact Kornee van der Haven: cornelis.vanderhaven@ugent.be

– Rainer Maria Rilke at his desk. Copyright: Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz.
Self-portrait of Michelangelo.

Bernd Roling (Freie Universität, Berlin), “Return From the Dead: The Raising of Lazarus in Early Modern Biblical Commentaries and Natural Philosophy”

Public lecture

Time: 22 November 2018, h. 16:30

Location: KANTL (Koningstraat 18, Ghent)

Roling poster

The lecture will be the keynote of the international conference “Coordinating the two books“.

Image reference: Mattia Preti, The raising of Lazarus, 1650s. Oil on canvas. Holding institution: Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica, Rome.

GEMS Seminar: Atelier with Jürgen Pieters & Ruben Celani

Time: 21 November 2018, 2-4 pm
Place: Faculty Library Arts and Philosophy, Magnel wing, Room “Freddy Mortier”

Jürgen Pieters (UGent)
Literature and consolation: fictions of comfort

Rijksmuseum Een lezende man anon. 1660

In my talk, I would like to present the outline of a book project that I have submitted with Edinburgh University Press. I will focus on the conceptual framework of the book, in which I hope to correlate a contemporary concern with the pragmatics of literary reading (‘bibliotherapy’, and the often voiced idea that books are there to bring comfort) with a historical analysis of this age-old critical topos.

Image reference: Anonymous, A man reading, c. 1660. Canvas. Holding institution: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Ruben Celani (UGent)
Fashioning personae in 16th century books of secrets

The production of the so-called books of secrets (collections of recipes on a wide range of technical subjects, but especially on practical medicine) was not a complete novelty to the 16th century Italian book market: but it was only after the publication of the Secreti del reverendo Donno Alessio Piemontese (1555), that it became one of the most popular genres in the late Renaissance. One of the factors that undoubtedly contributed to this success was the keen use of rhetorical and marketing strategies: among those, a prominent position has to be assigned to the fashioning of appealing personae. After briefly considering the multiple meanings of this word and its connections with the concept of authority, my talk will focus on which personae were fashioned in the most widespread Italian books of secrets, and especially on the strategies adopted in order to craft them, providing examples from the texts considered.

Image reference (left): Portrait of Leonardo FioravantiEngraving from his Tesoro della vita humana (Venice, heirs of Melchior Sessa, 1570).
Image reference (right): Niccolò Nelli, Portrait of Girolamo Ruscelli, 1566. Engraving.