Private Reading in Early Modern Devotion: Materiality, Space and Spirit

At the two-day seminar Private Reading in Early Modern Devotion: Materiality, Space and Spirit, eight international scholars discuss the “private turn” in early modern religion seen through English, German and French examples of devotional reading.

16th and 17th  century devotion is rich in issues related to privacy. Across confessions, believers are concerned with individual interiority, with domestic piety that supplement the church service and with artifacts and practices that support such piety. 

Private reading is one such practice, and at the seminar, the eight speakers examine ways in which reading throws light on notions of privacy related to the home, the self and the books.

Thursday 11 October

Room 7C.1.19


Mette Birkedal Bruun:What’s private about private reading?

Micheline White: The Material Traces of Queen Katherine Parr’s Devotional Reading

Natália da Silva Perez: Devotional aspects of Lady Jane Lumley's translations


Friday 12 October

Room 8B.1.14


Helga Meise: Reading practices as to be seen in the Almanachs / Schreibkalender of Elisabeth Dorothea von Hessen-Darmstadt (1640-1709)

Jill Bepler: Private devotions and funeral sermons in early modern Germany: tracing practices of reading and writing

Tanja Täubner: The borrowed "self". In which way meditation practice enabled the rise of the German Pietist Movement



Bastian Vaucanson:Yielding Power with Grace: Private Reading and Princely Education in Versailles (1689-97)

Lars Nørgaard: A monument of the self: L’Esprit de l’Institut des Filles de Saint-Louis