MEMS Working Papers Series
The MEMS Working Papers Series showcases unpublished research by members of the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS) and other University of Kent scholars working on the period between c. 400 and 1800. The Series provides a platform for graduate students, academic staff and visitors of the University of Kent to present new results from their research. MEMS Working Papers should be in an advanced stage of development but not yet ready for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. The Series welcomes contributions from a wide variety of disciplines and geographical areas focusing on the medieval and early modern periods. We are now inviting submissions for the MEMS Working Papers Series.
1. 'I'll Play the Cook: Reconfiguring the Early Modern Kitchen' - Stuart Morrison
The standard model of the early modern domestic kitchen in current scholarship is one of clear gender divisions and separation. This essay questions this current model through an assessment of the visual, popular, and print cultures of the early modern period. This essay looks first at Dutch genre art of the mid-sixteenth to mid-seventeenth century to see how kitchen interiors are presented, especially with reference to the gender of the people imagined in these paintings. Following is an exploration of the language of food – and food preparation – in plays of the period such as Arden of Faversham and Titus Andronicus. In these plays we find that male characters have a strong working knowledge of the kitchen and of food preparation, in opposition to the current academic model. Finally, a survey of some printed literature on the subject of food preparation suggests that these cookbooks and household guides often directly addressed men as well as women, and this is where this essay most directly opposes the current model as suggested by Wendy Wall and others. Throughout the essay there is an awareness of the influences of social status and economic circumstance on the various types of kitchen in the period and so the final suggestion is towards a reconfiguration in current scholarship of how we think about “the kitchen” as a conceptual space as well as a physical one.
Keywords: Early Modern; Gender; Popular Culture; Household; Kitchen; Print Culture; Visual Culture.
2. 'Households, Work and Consumer Changes in 18th Century Leiden' - Dr Danielle van Heuvel & Dr Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk
Dr Danielle van Heuvel and Dr Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk's paper questions how shifts in consumer behaviour affected work patterns within early modern urban households. It presents a case study of tea and coffee vendors in the eighteenth-century Dutch town of Leiden to address questions on the impact of changing consumption patterns on work and work relations amongst married couples. The paper centres on 831 individuals who held a permit to sell dried tea, coffee and chocolate in the Dutch town of Leiden during the long eighteenth-century. For a large share of these individuals we have been able to trace occupational information of the permit holder or their spouse in the 1749 tax register, as well as additional occupational data and data on household formation from marriage registers. This allows for in-depth analyses of the careers of husbands and wives, of the relationship between household composition and employment (e.g. parenthood and shop keeping), and the impact of the life cycle on work patterns (e.g. timing of marriage and opening a shop), thereby greatly expanding our understanding of the micro economics of early modern households in a rapidly changing urban economy.
Keywords: Women’s work, Colonial beverages, Industrious Revolution, Retail trade, Married women.
3. 'Rural to Urban Migration in 18th Century Scandinavia - Dr Jelle van Lottum & Aske Laursen Brock
Migration was at the core of early modern life; the excess mortality of the Early Modern City meant that to keep status quo or to grow, the City relied on migrants to expand. Fewer opportunities for work and social advancement in the rural areas of Western Europe meant that people there were relying on the City in a similar manner. This paper explores the characteristics and life cycles of the sailors who travelled great distances to find work in Copenhagen and Stockholm, and contributed to the commercial expansion of the two Scandinavian core cities during the eighteenth century. In doing so, the paper points to two different types of migration and migrants – a sedentary and non-sedentary type – who showed different characteristics but both contributed to the expansion of the cities’ labour market. When examining labour migration focus has frequently been on the classic push/pull economic relationship; this has been seen as the primary reason for sailors and people in general to migrate. Aske Brock and Dr Jelle van Lottum’s paper seeks to nuance this picture by investigating human capital levels, life cycles of the mariners and the possibility for social advancement for migrant: it challenges the notion that muscle was all which was needed in the maritime sector.
Keywords: Long Eighteenth Century, Labour Migration, Maritime labour market, Human Capital, Social Advancement
4. 'Rapin's Histoire D'Angleterre: A best-seller in the Republic of Letters' - Miriam Franchina
This paper addresses the best-selling book Histoire d´Angleterre (1724) by Paul Rapin Thoyras as a
space for cultural exchange by examining the roles of various actors involved in its production (the
author, the publishing network, the audience) and placing these within the broader frame of the
Republic of Letters.
The Histoire could be found both as an in-folio on scholarly bookshelves and in serialized cheap
editions in coffee-houses, and it therefore represents a meaningful case study to demonstrate the
increasingly historicized mindset of the time. The book responded to the quest for an impartial
history, satisfying the continental curiosity about the political system of England.
Rapin addressed his readers directly, advising them to rely on their “common sense”, and he offered
his own knowledge as guidance. This can be seen within the few surviving letters – mostly to
scholars and editors – which showed the author’s awareness of the debate on the purposes and
methods of history and his attentiveness to his audience´s reception.
Free of copyright and encoded in a moderate tone peculiar to the Republic of Letters, the Histoire
was open to different interpretations and to a variety of continuations and translations, some of
which made it all the way to North America and into the 19th century.
At the time gazettes were the primary vehicles of cultural exchange and proved crucial for the
Histoire, too. Only thanks to his activity as a journalist could Rapin access unedited sources for his
Histoire and the latter benefited from the advertisements and reviews in numerous European
The Histoire was ultimately a marketable book which satisfied a growing demand for a particular
type of historical knowledge. Circulating from hand to hand and from one printing press to another,
accompanying the Huguenot diaspora on their paths, it sparked pioneering historiographical
concepts (e.g. causation and change) in an era of rising literacy.
This paper is part of a 'Moveable Types Conference' special issue.
5. 'To make a career between London and Paris. Social network as a basis of Renaissance book production and trade' - Anna Baydova
Books and prints became a major resource of cultural exchange in XVIth century Europe. At that time Paris and London were among the most important centers of printing and were inevitably involved in book and print trading and exchange. One example of a successful career made between two European capitals was examined by Marianne Grivel in her article on Gilles Godet – a French engraver and editor working in London. There are many other examples of that kind. The testament of a London bookseller Nicolas Fichard who died in Paris in 1554 in the house of an editor and bookseller Oudin Petit shows that he was in constant connection with the French book market. The interest of London editors in Parisian printing presses is revealed by a contract made in 1564 between Fleury Prevost and Richard Tottel for the print of a book of laws of England. Thomas Vatroullier was a French huguenot refugee who moved to London but his connection with France was never lost. The first book he has published was decorated by the copies of plates by French painter Baptiste Pellerin for the Parisian music printers Robert Ballard and Adrien Le Roy. The plates of Le Roy and Ballard were very close to those used by Gilles Godet as frames for his popular prints. Vatroullier knew Godet as well as some other Parisian book traders and we can see that a social milieux formed by booksellers, printers and editors wasn’t limited by international frontiers. They were all collaborating in different ways: trade, duplication of editions and their decoration, association in book production etc. Personal or common acquaintances as well as origins helped to establish this network. The detailed examination of their collaboration as well as depiction of the complexity of this network is the aim of my communication.
This paper is part of a 'Moveable Types Conference' special issue.
Editorial guidlines and submissions
Please download a copy of our guidelines for authors here. Papers should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org in MS Word format (.doc\.docx). An abstract and three to five keywords should be submitted on a separate MS Word file. The authors should provide their full name and academic affiliation in the email. The authors will subsequently be contacted by the editorial team acknowledging the receipt of their submission. For any queries regarding the Series and the submission process, please contact the editorial team at email@example.com - we look forward to receiving your contribution.