Hank Dobin’s paper on the topic of Essex on the European stage has been accepted for the Othello’s Island Conference to be held in Nicosia, Cyprus in March 2018.
Hank Dobin wrote a paper called “Bad Romance, or, The Shipping News” for a research seminar for the 2017 Shakespeare Association of American annual meeting in Atlanta. His paper was circulated among the seminar participants in advance. Unfortunately, bad storms in the Atlanta area threw air traffic into a tizzy, and his flights were canceled for two days in a row. He could not make it in time for the seminar and so missed the opportunity to discuss his own paper and those of his fellow participants.
Allie Jue, ’20, has been named a Lenfest Summer Scholar for 2017 and will work with Hank Dobin on the Timeline. Allie is interested in working on early English histories that tell the Essex-Elizabeth story and on recently-published novels that feature Essex.
Hank Dobin participated in the Shakespeare Association of America’s annual conference in March 2016, presenting the Essex Timeline as part of the Digital Salon. Approximately 16 digital projects were demonstrated at the Salon, as hundreds of conference participants wandered the room. Interest in both the content and the design/capabilities of the Timeline was considerable.
Cecelia Weingart ’19 will work with Professor Hank Dobin this coming summer on the Essex Timeline. With Professor Dobin, Cecelia was awarded a summer research fellowship by the W&L Digital Humanities Working Group and funded by a grant from the Mellon Foundation.
On December 5, 2015, Hannah and Ben presented their research at the Tenth Undergraduate Conference in Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. At the Digital Humanities Conference at Davidson in November, the focus was on the timeline itself. At Moravian, Hannah and Ben had almost an hour to present their own research — Hannah’s on the three operas that feature Essex (Mercadante’s Il Conte d’Essex, Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux, and Britten’s Gloriana) and Ben’s on the connection of Shakespeare’s Richard II to Essex and the February 8, 1601, uprising. Unlike many of the student presenters at the conferences who simply read their papers, Hannah and Ben stood and spoke spontaneously and articulately about their topics, using only prompts from their Power Point slides and the Timeline itself.
The rest of the day proved very worthwhile, as we attended diverse sessions on “Differing Desires,” “Others and Outcasts,” “Rethinking Shakespeare,” and “Mothers and Motherlessness.” We also enjoyed a lively keynote talk on Beowulf by Professor Michael Drout from Wheaton College.
“A Thousand Times Worse than Death” was one of six featured digital humanities projects at the first Undergraduate Network for Research in the Humanities conference held at Davidson College, November 6-8, 2015. UNRH brings together students from around the country (and Canada) who are developing digital humanities projects, either on their own or in conjunction with a faculty member’s research program. More than 30 students participated; a lightning round of presentations permitted the students to learn about each others’ projects and make fruitful connections with each other. On Saturday morning, six projects were presented to the entire group. Hannah and Ben did a fantastic job of presenting the scope and depth of the Essex timeline and of fielding questions.
For more information about the conference and the projects, see http://unrh.org/. A Youtube video of the presentations will be available soon.
Although still only 20% complete at best, the Essex Timeline is now open to everyone. The Timeline is the centerpiece of the larger ongoing research project called “A Thousand Times Worse Than Death: A Thanatography of the Earl of Essex.” Please be sure to read the introduction and instructions when you first access the Timeline. We invite feedback of any sort on the Timeline–its design or the content of individual entries.
Hannah and Ben presented the timeline and their own scholarship at the 17th Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference for Undergraduate Scholarship (MARCUS) held at Randolph College, in Lynchburgh, Virginia, on October 10, 2015. Although a necessarily quick summary of the digital timeline, the lifemap, and their own particular contributions to the Essex scholarship, Hannah and Ben’s presentation was enthusiastically received by the audience of other Virginia college students.
The University of South Wales hosted a conference titled “Representing the Tudors” in mid-July, 2015. Hank Dobin delivered a talk on “The Lore of the Ring”–offering both a survey and analysis of the apocryphal tale of the Essex ring.
The basic story is this: in happier times, Elizabeth gives Essex a ring, pledging to forgive him–no matter how grievous his offense–if he sends to her for pardon. In the Tower awaiting execution, the desperate Essex attempts to send the ring to the Queen, but it falls into the hands of the Countess of Nottingham, his enemy, and the ring is never delivered. Two years after Essex is executed, the dying Countess confesses to the Queen, who famously exclaims “God may forgive you, but I never will!” The Countess expires on the spot, and Elizabeth–out of rage, grief and regret–spirals into her final decline and death only a month later.
Over 400 years, this ahistorical story has been told and retold in plays, fiction, operas, images, and film. Dobin’s talk traced the doubtful provenance of the tale, its proliferation on the continent and in England, and its many variants in an effort to understand the fascination and function of re-imagining history in this way.