Peter Burke was educated by the Jesuits, and at St John’s College and St Antony’s College, Oxford. Burke was one of the first junior lecturers to be appointed at the University of Sussex, where he remained for 17 years (1962-1979), before moving to Cambridge, where he became Professor of Cultural History. He retired in 2004 but remains a Fellow of Emmanuel College and is also a Fellow of the British Academy, Member of the Academia Europea and Ph. D (honoris causa) from the universities of Lund, Copenhagen, Bucharest and Zurich. Burke has been a visiting teacher or researcher in Berlin, Brussels, Canberra, Groningen, Heidelberg, Los Angeles, Nijmegen, Paris, Princeton and São Paulo. He has published 26 books and his work has been translated into 32 languages. He is married to the Brazilian historian Maria Lúcia García Pallares-Burke.
The movement we know as the Renaissance used to be regarded as the replacement of one system of ideas and literary and visual conventions (the ‘Gothic’) with another system (the ‘Classical’). However, it has become increasingly obvious that Gothic and Classical coexisted for a long time, and also that they interacted, producing hybrid forms of thought, art, literature and especially architecture.
As the Renaissance movement spread outside Italy, to other parts of Europe and also beyond, from Goa to Quito, different local traditions made their contribution to the mix. Given the interest in cultural hybridity long shown by Natalie Davis, this theme will allow Burke to pay homage to Davis's work as well as to explore what was for long a neglected theme in Renaissance studies.
(11 November, 5:30 pm - Auditorium)
This lecture discusses the interest a few students of the Renaissance, especially in the circle of Aby Warburg, showed long ago in hybridization, and the reasons why this topic, once marginal, has moved towards the centre of Renaissance studies. It notes some of the strengths and weaknesses of the concept of cultural hybridity as a tool of analysis at both the macro- and the micro-level, as well as discussing terms that occupy some of the same conceptual space, from ‘ecotypes’ to ‘cultural translation’.
(12 November, 5:30 pm - Auditorium)
In the Renaissance movement we see not only the competition between Latin and the vernaculars, or among vernaculars, but also their collision and what Bakhtin called their ‘interanimation’. One striking example of this interanimation is the rise of literature in macaronic Latin, while another is the so-called ‘plurilingual comedy’. The traditions of classical epic and medieval romance (especially romances of chivalry) coexisted, competed and interpenetrated at this time, in the works of Ariosto, for instance, of Rabelais and of Spenser.
(14 November, 5:30 pm - Auditorium)
Renaissance architecture offers a series of particularly clear examples of cultural hybridization, since it is a collective art form and one that is shaped more strongly than others by local conditions (climate and materials as well as mentalities). This lecture will discuss the interaction between the Classical and the Gothic in churches and palaces from in Italy and elsewhere, and also the rise of local ecotypes as Renaissance forms spread through Europe and the New World, assisted by the migration of artisans and the dissemination of treatises on architecture, often in translation.