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Masterclass – Kathy Eden (Columbia Univ. New York)

Rhetoric, Refutation, and Experience: The Early Modern Connection

Date: November 4, 2016
Time: 11:00-13:30
Venue: Trippenhuis Building, Kloveniersburgwal 29, 1011 JV Amsterdam
Open to:  RMa students and PhD candidates
Credits: 1 ECTS (available upon request); can be increased to 2 ECTS (on request and in consultation with the teachers) by writing a research paper (3000 words) about the subject.
Coordination: Arnoud Visser (UU), Lodi Nauta (RUG). In collaboration with the KNAW, the Erasmus of Rotterdam Society, and Huygens ING.
Registration: Maximum participants in this event: 15
Register before: 15 October 2016

NOTE: Registration for lecture separately via KNAW

Taking as its point of departure a brief selection of readings from ancient rhetoric and philosophy to twentieth-century philosophical hermeneutics (approx. 50 pp.), this workshop will explore the status of experience in the early modern period and its investment in the adversarial practice of refutation.

Kathy H. Eden (Professor of English Literature and Professor of Classics, Columbia University) specializes in Renaissance humanism, history of rhetoric, hermeneutics, ancient literary theory, and history of classical scholarship. She studies the history of rhetorical and poetic theory in antiquity, including late antiquity, and the Renaissance, within the larger context of intellectual history and with an emphasis on the problems of reception. Her current project explores epistolary theory and the construction of letter collections in antiquity and the Renaissance.

The seminar is organised in conjunction with the (public) Erasmus Birthday Lecture by Prof. Eden, “Erasmus on Dogs and Baths and Other Odious Comparisons.” This will take place at 16:15. Abstract: At once praised and censured by his contemporaries for his mastery of the comparison, Erasmus puts this discursive strategy at the center of his educational reform, his biblical hermeneutics, and his call to philosophia Christi. This talk will explore both the roots of Erasmus’ master trope in some of his favorite rhetoricians and philosophers, including Quintilian and Plato, and the key role it plays in his own literary production.


  • 11:00-11:45 Seminar part 1
  • 11:45-12:00 Coffee break
  • 12:45-13:00 Seminar part 2
  • 13:00-13:30 Lunch
  • 16:15-17:15 Erasmus Birthday Lecture (public)
  • 17:15 Drinks

Preparation and proposed readings:




Selected participants will receive 1 ECTS: Careful preparation of the assigned literature and active participation are required, as well as attendance of the Erasmus Birthday Lecture. Participants can earn 2 ECTS if they write a research paper about an aspect of the seminar theme (3000 words): in consultation with the course organisers.