Author Archives: bernhard

Homepage online again; report

We are sorry to announce that this homepage was affected by an automized attack that caused ‘Economics of Poetry’ to be unreachable for several weeks since late September. We apologize for any inconvenience. The attack exploited a security gap in the blogging platform used on this homepage. After protracted negotations with our provider we have now been able to relaunch ‘Economics of Poetry’ in its original form. Our acknowledgments go out to Markus Neuschäfer, who was a great help in undoing the damage.

Conference reports online

Two months after a wonderful conference in Rome we are delighted to announce that the first reports have now started to circulate:

Last week saw the publication of Tara Auty’s (University of Western Australia) report that appeared as part of ‘Cerae. An Australasian Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies’. You can read Tara’s account here:

This Tuesday another report in German, authored by Christan Peters (University of Münster), was sent around on HSozKult, the largest German newsletter in the humanities:

The organizers of ‘Economics of Poetry’ would like to thank Tara and Christian for their efforts and their contribution to promote the results of the conference to a wide audience.

In this regard we are also happy that the first papers for the conference’s proceedings are currently reaching the editors. For the book a contract has been signed with Peter Lang at Oxford, where it will appear as part of the “Court Cultures of the Middle Ages and Renaissance” series. We are confident to have the book out within a year’s time after the conference and will keep you posted on the progress.

We would like to take the opportunity to thank once more all the speakers and guests who contributed in making ‘Economics of Poetry’ an inspiring event for all of us.

Conference programme online

Today we have uploaded the conference’s programme, which you can view here. [link removed on 14 April 2016; please check the new programme here].

‘Economics of Poetry’ will host a total of sixteen speakers from three continents, and we are delighted by the strong response the concept has attracted.

The conference is open to public after registration. If you would like to attend, please follow this link.

New publication: Schirg-Gwynne in Studi Rinascimentali

We are happy to announce a fresh publication dedicated to the ‘Economics of Poetry’, which has now appeared in the latest volume of “Studi rinascimentali”:

B. Schirg – P. Gwynne, The ‘Economics of Poetry’. Fast production as a crucial skill in Neo-Latin encomiastic poetry, “Studi Rinascimentali” 13 (2015), 11-32.

The joint article introduces to the concept and offers two case studies exploring efficient techniques of poetic production applied by Pietro Lazzaroni and Giovanni Michele Nagonio.

An online version of the article is available via Libraweb or Torrossa  (subscription may be required to view the latest volume).

Call for Papers

This week we are happy to announce that the registration for ‘Economics of Poetry’ 2016 is now open. We have started circulating the official Call for Papers, which you will also find below. The conference is being announced by the major associations for the study of Renaissance poetry, as well. Feel free to pass on the Call for Papers to friends and colleagues!

Economics of Poetry 2016
Efficient techniques of producing neo-Latin verse
28 – 30 April, 2016

The American University of Rome

Call for Papers (deadline August 16, 2015)

The international conference ‘Economics of Poetry’ will focus upon the techniques neo-Latin authors employed and developed to reduce the effort of poetic composition, streamline its production, and facilitate its presentation when time was a crucial factor for success. This approach encompasses the entire process of poetic production from composition, to physical realization and the formal presentation to the honorand as a process that was not predicated upon post-Romantic ideas of inspiration and originality, but rather upon the need to produce literary works in a timely fashion, often (though not exclusively) dependent upon the realities and exigencies of the contemporary political situation.

We welcome papers that focus on a variety of works by the same author and the full context of their production. We encourage proposals demonstrating how the reuse and recycling of previous texts and rhetorical templates, or even the re-dedication of previously presented manuscripts emerges as a central and essential modus operandi which can be excused as the authors’ response to the strict dictates of fast production.

The conference aims at a broad chronological and geographical coverage. While the main focus will rest on neo-Latin authors, we also encourage proposals from other disciplines, in which the concept of ‘Economics of Poetry’ can be applied. Confirmed keynote speakers are Susanna de Beer (Leiden), Marc Laureys (Bonn) and Keith Sidwell (Calgary).

If you are interested in participating, please visit for further details and the application form. Please note that this homepage is also an open platform for academic collaboration on this topic. The deadline for abstracts (300 words) is August 16, 2015.  We will inform you in late August if your paper has been accepted.

For additional information please visit the conference homepage or contact us directly (info[at]
Paul Gwynne (The American University of Rome)

Bernhard Schirg (Freie Universität, Berlin)

Panel report – ‘The Economics of Encomia’ @ RSA 2015, Berlin

From 25-28th March 2015, Berlin was the scene of the biggest annual meeting the Renaissance Society of America has witnessed in its entire history. The considerable increase in neo-Latin sessions once again proved the attractiveness of this young and rising discipline.

On Friday 27th, our panel ‘The Economics of Encomia‘ took place. We are happy that the panel, which attracted the attention of approximately 20 scholars, was very successful in introducing an international audience to the approach of ‘Economics of Poetry’. In addition, several scholars have shown great interest to contribute from their field of studies to the section ‘Economists of Poetry’, where you should find additional articles in the following weeks.

The session was chaired by Keith Sidwell (University of Calgary), who did a wonderful job in guiding through the papers and the following discussion.

keith-bernhard(Keith Sidwell, introducing Bernhard Schirg)

In the panel’s first paper, Bernhard Schirg (Freie Universität, Berlin) introduced to Pietro Lazzaroni’s ‘Economics of Poetry’. In a case study of the Carmen ad Alexandrum VI dedicated to pope Alexander VI in 1497, he demonstrated several of the techniques this author applied to finish a copy of dedication of more than 2100 verses in a few weeks; fast enough to serve as a present in Sforza diplomacy.

Due to an accident on his way to Wednesday’s reception in the Bode-Museum, Paul Gwynne (The American University of Rome) unfortunately had to leave this year’s meeting earlier. We are very happy that Paul is on the way to recovery. Despite his condition, he had agreed to record his paper on video before he left Berlin, which allowed us to keep the announced sequence of papers (you can watch parts of this video here).

paul(Keith Sidwell (left), tackling the imprevisto of Paul Gwynne)

In the panel’s second paper, Paul presented how the works of the neo-Latin poet Giovanni Michele Nagonio reflect the rapidly changing interests of Borgia diplomacy. Illustrating the ‘economics of poetry’ this author applied when serving the Pope, Paul demonstrated that this poet relied on a highly adaptive epic plot that with little a metric juggling could quickly accommodate any dedicatee.

After two papers comparing the works of single authors, in the session’s third paper Florian Schaffenrath (now the director of The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Neo-Latin Studies) introduced to the highly prolific genre of neo-Latin epic poetry around 1500. Presenting dedications from the works of Giovanni Battista Spagnoli, Paolo Pompilio, Giovanni Battista Cantalicio and others, he pointed to strategies these poets applied when approaching their dedicatees.

florian(Florian Schaffenrath introducing to the ‘Sitz im Leben’ of neo-Latin epic poetry)

As the session’s correspondent, Nikolaus Thurn (Freie Universität, Berlin) drew an alternative picture by exploring the ‘Economics of Poetry’ of Florentine humanist Ugolino Verino. He illustrated how Ugolino made passages from previous works part of his monumental Carlias, and how he also drew upon this slow-growing project to come up with ready-made passages for works dedicated on different occasions. He made an important point by distinguishing this author’s working conditions from the cases of professional encomiasts such as Lazzaroni and Nagonio: Also an ongoing project of an epic poem, which in Ugolino’s case was neither finished in time for a suitable occasion nor commissioned by a patron, could play an important role in both the humanist’s self-fashioning and his gain in prestige; factors which could already pay off before the epic was dedicated by being assigned tutor of students from illustrous families like the Medici.

The panel’s organisers would like to thank all those who attended the panel and participated in a vivid and inspiring discussion, and all the scholars who contributed to making this panel a success!

‘Economics of Encomia’ at RSA 2015, Berlin

The Economics of Encomia

Fri, March 27, 4:45 to 6:15pm, Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6, First Floor, 2095B

Only a week to go until the panel ‘Economics of Poetry’ will take place as part of this year’s annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of Ameria (RSA)!

The session chaired by Keith Sidwell (University of Calgary) will include the following papers dedicated to the approach of ‘Economics of Poetry’:

Bernhard Schirg (Freie Universität, Berlin): Writing against Time: Pietro Lazzaroni’s Carmen ad Alexandrum VI (1497)
Paul Gwynne (The American University of Rome): Johannes Michael Nagonius, Papal Poet (and Diplomat?)
Florian Schaffenrath (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute, Innsbruck): Dedicating Neo-Latin Epic Poetry around 1500

Nikolaus Thurn (Freie Universität, Berlin), editor of Ugolino Verino’s Carlias, will act as a respondent of this session.