Medieval-Renaissance Seminar: Phyllis Rackin Lecture

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 2:00pm

401 Fisher-Bennett Hall

There will be a reception in the English Department Faculty Lounge after the lecture.


"Recipies for Thought: All's Well That Ends Well and Early Modern Knowledge-Practices"

Wendy Wall, Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, Northwestern University

When Shakespeare presents a heroine with a powerful recipe inAll’s Well That Ends Well, he draws on an increasingly popular form of technical writing in the day. Recipe books filled instructions for making medicines and foods became a publishing trend, while manuscript recipes proliferated. PuttingAll’s Well in the context of these writings raises key questions: What did recipe use allow an early modern person to do, or to know? How did manuscript recipe exchange form an unofficial “culture of knowledge” in 17th-century England? And how might a literary source give us access to the wide range of epistemological and intellectual questions posed in early modern recipe culture?

Wendy Wall, Avalon Foundation Professor of Humanities & Professor of English, Northwestern University (Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania), specializes in early modern literature and culture. She is author of The Imprint of Gender: Authorship and Publication in the English Renaissance (Cornell University Press, 1993) and Staging Domesticity: Household Work and English Identity in Early Modern Drama (Cambridge University Press, 2002), which was a finalist for the James Russell Lowell prize awarded by the MLA and a 2002 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award Winner.

Professor Wall has been the recipient of several grants and awards for her teaching and research, including a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a 1993 Teaching Award from Mortar Board, a 1998 Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award, the College of Arts and Sciences AT&T Research Fellowship, and the 1998-2001 Wender-Lewis Research and Teaching Professorship. She gives public lecturers in conjunction with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and with the Newberry Library in Chicago, has served as a trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America, and was co-editor of Renaissance Drama from 1997-2005.

Professor Wall has published articles on topics as wide-ranging as editorial theory, gender, poetry, national identity, the history of authorship, food studies, domesticity, theatrical practice, and Jell-O. She is currently at work on a book tentatively entitledStrange Kitchens: Knowledge and Taste in Early Modern English Recipe Books.

The Phyllis Rackin Lecture

The Phyllis Rackin lecture was established to honor Phyllis Rackin, Professor Emerita of English at the University of Pennsylvania, and her groundbreaking work in the fields of both feminist scholarship and Early Modern studies. A former President of the Shakespeare Association of America, she has published numerous scholarly articles on Shakespeare and related subjects in anthologies and in such journals as PMLAShakespeare Quarterly, and Shakespeare-Jahrbuch. She has also published four books on Shakespeare: Shakespeare's Tragedies; Stages of History: Shakespeare's English Chronicles; and Engendering a Nation: A Feminist Account of Shakespeare's English Histories, which she wrote in collaboration with Professor Jean Howard of Columbia University; and Shakespeare and Women. Her awards include an ACLS fellowship and a Lindback award for distinguished teaching.

This annual lecture is made possible thanks the generous support of the English Department, the Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality & Women, the Medieval-Renaissance Seminar, the Penn Humanities Forum, and Dean Rebecca Bushnell.

Event Category