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British Institute of Florence

Call for Papers on Shakespeare's Humor

IASEMS website screenthot of Renaissance theater interiorThe Italian Association of Shakespearean and Early Modern Studies (IASEMS) has issued a call for papers on the topic of "Humour In Shakespeare's Arcadia: Gender, Genre, and Wordplay in Early Modern Comedy" for its Graduate Conference at the British Institute of Florence in Florence, Italy, April 23, 2015.

The abstract submission deadline has been extended to Nov. 15, 2014.

The 2015 IASEMS Graduate Conference at the British Institute in Florence is a one-day interdisciplinary and bilingual English-Italian forum open to PhD students and researchers who have obtained their doctorates within the past five years. This year's conference will focus on the theme of comedy in early modern texts, and on how humor is produced in language and plot, what purposes it serves, and how it can be related to issues of gender and genre.

From Mikhail Bakhtin's emphasis on the comic body to more recent explorations of the way erotic desire can be displaced by humor, early modern texts offer endless examples of improvisatory, situational or physical humor (whether deriving from the Elizabethan clown tradition or from the comic counterparts in medieval miracle and mystery plays) as well as sophisticated scripted humor and parody of romantic clichés. As is well known, humor or “comic relief” can also be found in noncomic texts, such as tragedies, romances, epic poetry, and pamphlets, often causing disruption of generic expectations and blurring the lines of genre distinction.

Proposals can therefore address, from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, the impact and the implications of humor or comedic infiltrations in a wide range of early modern English texts.

Candidates are invited to send a description of their proposed contribution according to the following guidelines:

Selected speakers who are IASEMS members can apply for a small grant (

For further information, please contact Ilaria Natali at

October 15, 2014

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