Online public lecture: ‘The Tree of Life and Arboreal Aesthetics in Renaissance culture’ (Speaker: Dr. Victoria Bladen, UQ)

PMRG’s first event of the year will be the first of two lectures by Dr. Victoria Bladen, who teaches in literary studies and adaptation at the University of Queensland.

The first talk will be Zoomed live from Brisbane on Wednesday March 10 at 4:30pm (AWST), but will be recorded for ease of access for all PMRG members. This is an event organised by the Sydney group (SMRG) and the first of PMRG’s Guest Speaker events for 2021. There will be a second lecture in April/May for PMRG (details to be announced).

Here are the details for the first talk on March 10:

The Tree of Life and Arboreal Aesthetics in Renaissance culture

Across early modern European culture grew a rich and complex language of trees that surrounded the concept of the tree of life. It was articulated in a variety of media and forms: illuminated manuscripts, woodcuts, paintings, mosaic, fresco, sculpture, and pageantry.  Arboreal motifs and metaphors were a significant vehicle for expressing ideas of spiritual knowledge and articulating religious ideology. The sources for arboreal iconography lay in biblical text however the meanings that were read from these images extended beyond the textual metaphors to intersect with social ritual, folklore, and the cult of the cross.  We will also see how unsettling forces of otherness lay embedded within such arboreal iconography, particularly apparent in the figure of the Green Man. This paper maps key ideas surrounding the tree of life and its arboreal aesthetics in Renaissance culture, highlighting recurring motifs and ideas, and demonstrating its double nature whereby orthodoxy was shadowed by the Other.

Dr Victoria Bladen teaches in literary studies and adaptation at The University of Queensland, Australia and has twice received a Faculty award for teaching excellence. Her publications include six Shakespearean text guides in the Insight (Melbourne) series, including The Merchant of Venice (2020) and Much Ado About Nothing (2019), and five co-edited volumes, including Shakespeare on Screen: King Lear (Cambridge UP 2019), and Shakespeare and the Supernatural (Manchester UP 2020). Her forthcoming monograph The Tree of Life and Arboreal Aesthetics in Early Modern Literature will be published by Routledge in their World Literature and the Environment series.

Victoria’s presentation will be at 4:30pm Perth time, 6:30pm Brisbane time and 7:30pm Sydney time.

For Zoom details please contact the PMRG Secretary: [email protected].