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Welcome

Authority and Materiality in the Italian Songbook:

From the Medieval Lyric to the Early-Modern Madrigal

Welcome to the website for the 2015 CEMERS Conference, which will be held on May 1-2 at the Downtown Center of Binghamton University (SUNY).

This site will eventually contain information about registration, lodging, downtown Binghamton, and additional events related to the conference, as well as the conference program. For now, we have the Call For Papers (click here or on the tab above for the poster; scroll down for the text version).

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Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Binghamton University

Authority and Materiality in the Italian Songbook:

From the Medieval Lyric to the Early-Modern Madrigal

May 1 and 2, 2015

In recent decades, scholars of medieval and early-modern texts have increasingly rejected as object of study the coherent, corrected text of the modern critical edition in favor of the instability and singularity of individual manuscripts and prints. Academic interest has turned particularly to the construction of authorial identity in late medieval and early-modern lyric anthologies and music books through scribal and authorial choices about the visual disposition and ordering of individual poems and songs. Francesco Petrarca (1304–1374) stands as a key figure in the development of the single-author poetry book, exhibiting in his autobiographical Canzoniere an acute concern with the minutia of the material production of texts and a high degree of authorial self-consciousness in the arrangement of his poems into a coherent narrative, which set a precedent for centuries to come. Petrarchism became the dominant idiom of European poetry in subsequent centuries, as well as the primary thematic register of the sixteenth-century madrigal, a musical genre in which composers also increasingly asserted authorial control over the appearance of their songs in printed music books.

This conference will feature talks by musicologists and literary and book historians with an interest in the shared material sources of Italian poetry and music from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries, focusing especially on Petrarch and his legacy. Martin Eisner (Duke University), and Giuseppe Gerbino (Columbia University) will be keynote speakers. Conference highlights will include a public concert of Petrarch’s poetry in musical settings by the early-music ensemble Blue Heron; we also anticipate publishing a volume of selected conference proceedings.