Study Day on 14th May: Crisis, Creativity and the Self, 1550-1700

The seventeenth century is often presented as a time of crisis and profound change across Europe. These include political crises such as the Civil War and Restoration; economic crises; continued religious tensions between Protestants, Catholics and other dissenting groups; profound intellectual changes such as the new experimental philosophy, the re-evaluation of the status of Classical knowledge, and a new awareness of individual subjectivity. These social and cultural developments also had an impact on the arts.

On 15th May an interdisciplinary study day is being convened in London by Stephen Rose to explore this idea of crisis in relation to notions of creativity and self. There’s a key-note by John Butt, as well as papers (including my own) placing music alongside drama, literature, science and religion. Issues for discussion include:

  • how  notions of creativity and the self were reshaped by the changing religious, political and intellectual climate
  • how subjectivity was performed in music, on the stage, and in the church
  • how notions of innovation and creative adaptation changed

A full timetable and details of how to book are included below.

Crisis, Creativity and the Self, 1550-1700

Room 261, Senate House, London

Tuesday 14th May, 10:17:30

10.00   Tea/coffee, registration 

10.30   Introduction: crisis and creativity in the long 17th century (Stephen Rose, Royal Holloway) 

Session 1: Performing the self in religion, drama and music (chair: Deana Rankin)

11.00   Sounding rituals: music, confession and identity formation in Heidelberg around 1600 (Matthew Laube, Royal Holloway)

11.30   Performing the self in Anna of Denmark’s court masques (Clare Whitehead, Queen Mary)

12.00   ‘Musicke doth witnesse call’: Representing lies and truth in the English madrigal (Katherine Bank, Royal Holloway)

12.30   Lunch (supplied)

13.30   Keynote address: Early modern musical subjectivities, listening and embodiment (John Butt, Glasgow University)

Session 2: Crisis, creativity and the self in England 1650-1700 (chair: Stephen Rose)

14.30   A mid-century musical friendship: Silas Taylor and Matthew Locke (Alan Howard, University of East Anglia)

15.00   Ancients and moderns, physicians and cooks: perspectives on musical creativity from the Royal Society (Katherine Butler, University of Oxford) (My abstract can be found here.)

15.30   Tea/coffee

Session 2 continued: Crisis, creativity and the self in England 1650-1700

16.00   Dennis & Eccles’s Rinaldo and Armida (1698), and the cultural politics of adaptation in Williamite England (Michael Lee, Queen’s University Belfast)

16.30 Celebrity and self: Restoration actors and their famous parts (Elaine McGirr, Royal Holloway)

17.00   Closing discussion 

Convened by Stephen Rose ( 

Registration fee: £10 (£5 students / concessions) to cover cost of refreshments. Booking form via this link 

 Supported by the Humanities and Arts Research Centre at Royal Holloway


1 thought on “Study Day on 14th May: Crisis, Creativity and the Self, 1550-1700

  1. Pingback: Crisis, Creativity and the Self, 1550-1700: A Review | Early Modern English Music

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