This month, I want to draw your attention to a couple of consumables resources related to the Renaissance. I like to peruse a couple of these databases now and again as I feel it helps to put me in an early modern’s “head space,” so to speak. This is not to mention that they are downright fascinating for articulating the ways in which consumables preparation is culturally constructed, and the fact that there is so much we don’t know about how “flavor” and chemistry work together (as David Chang likes to remind us).
- Yummy Acquisition: The Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has recently acquired the first cookbook devoted to pastry making. Le Pastissier françois (The French Pastry Chef), published in 1655 by the great Dutch printing house of Elzevir, is a landmark in the history of cooking and cookbooks. The wood cuts of animals and preparation instructions are stunning, some of which you can see on the Non Solus blog, here.
- Early Modern Recipes Online Collective: This is a useful hub of resources related to early modern cook practices and recipes. There are several attached archives constellated from a number of universities, each stressing the close relationship food, magic, science, and medicine shared in the form of the recipe. The blog is updated regularly with archival finds, recipe tests, and modified recipes to recreate a sixteenth-century board in your own home.
- Intoxicants and Early Modernity, England 1580 – 1740: As a growing database that takes the record of intoxication seriously, this project/archive aims to investigate the importance of intoxicants and intoxication to the economic, social, political, material, and cultural life of England between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. The project has a number of related publications, hosts events, and is compiling a database of materials and case studies. I spend a lot of time just reading through the archive materials, so fascinating in and of themselves. More at intoxicantsproject.org.
Earlier in the summer, I posted some online archaeology resources that I thought would be of interest in early modernists. There are a great deal of interesting web resources of carrying sizes that I come across, some relevant to my work, and some just downright interesting. Following a format I have seen other academic and fashion bloggers use, I am trying out a new initiative here at BiteThumbnails: the monthly blogroll. Near the start of each month, my plan is to do a brief post of a handful of websites I’ve newly run into that might be of interest to early modern and English Renaissance scholars. So without further ado:
- Queen’s Men Editions: In starting research on my dissertation chapter that features the Queen’s Men I ran into this awesome web archive. Not only does the site include full-text versions of each of the company’s known extant plays—an archive that is searchable, by the way—but also has video of recent and upcoming performances of these early playtexts to go with the performance histories. Check them out at: qme.internetshakespeare.uvic.ca.
- Staging Two Lamentable Tragedies: I recently ran across a blog detailing staged readings of Robert Yarrington’s Two Lamentable Tragedies this summer and coming fall, supplementing a dissertation project at University College London by Emma Whipday. Follow her progress on the blog (twolamentabletragedies.wordpress.com) and check out video from staged readings at the Hungtingdon Library on her YouTube channel.
- Early Modern Reading Group: If you are in the Midwest-Chicagoland region, I would like to invite you to join in a new collaborative initiative I’m heading at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It’s a reading group hosted by our humanities center here, and our theme this year is the repertory of the Admiral’s Men. They are more than merely Shakespeare’s “opposites,” and Andrew Gurr would have it, so we are reading a number of their plays this year coupled with some criticism to give us a better sense of the repertory of Shakespeare’s contemporaries. Hopefully this will culminate in a symposium at the end of the academic year. For readings and meeting information, check us out at: publish.illinois.edu/erlymodrn.