THIS POST IS THE SECOND IN A SERIES OF DAILY CONFERENCE RE-CAPS WRITTEN BY EARLY CAREER SCHOLARS ATTENDING THIS YEAR'S CONFERENCE.
By Megan Heffernan
The Marlowe Society of America is in the midst of an experiment in historiography. The conference is meeting this year in Wittenberg, a town in the east of Germany best known as the birthplace of the Reformation. It is home of Martin Luther, Lucas Cranach, Philipp Melancthon, and of course Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus (at least in one textual tradition). Drawing participants from across the globe, the 2018 MSA has wagered that location matters: that we as scholars can learn as much from the spaces that housed history as from the textual records of the past.
This ambitious gambit has already started to pay off, and in ways I hadn’t quite anticipated before I arrived. Walking the streets where Luther and his cohort of thinkers fomented a radical break with tradition, I have been startled to encounter the ways in which the history can inform or even live on in the present, perhaps becoming most vividly felt in the moments that emphasize the distance between then and now. Beyond a literal encounter with the world of Faustus, this conference is an opportunity to rethink how we tell responsible, passionate, and timely stories about the nature of our scholarly engagement with Marlowe, as well as the bodies and books that deliver versions of his authority to us today.Read More