Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

7/1/2007 - 6/30/2008

Funding Totals

$40,000.00 (approved)
$40,000.00 (awarded)

Recursive Origins: Textual Culture, Historical Transition, and the Rise of Modernity

FAIN: FA-52361-06

William Kuskin
Regents of the University of Colorado, Boulder (Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001)

It is a commonplace assumption that modernity comes late to England. This argument assumes that humanism and the Reformation create a sudden break for English history. "Recursive Origins" proposes a model of historical transition based in the continual engagement with the presence of the past. Rather than discovering an insular England fundamentally transformed by modernity, it suggests that fifteenth-century writers such as Lydgate, Malory, and Caxton developed a complex skepticism about textual culture inclusive of secular and religious authority, and profoundly influential to their strongest readers, Spenser and Shakespeare. Reading and writing: the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries exist in a circuit of cultural production.