Allegory of Grammar (1650)
Allegory of Grammar (1650). Laurent de La Hyre - Walters Art Museum. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The purpose is to discuss the diversity of early modern subjectivity by giving due attention to female writers that in unconventional ways responded to the period’s dominating subjectivation of bodies, thinking and desires in various senses and genres, such as novels, maxims, drama, poetry, letters, fairy tales. By this focus the workshop wants to give new historical insight on other forms of subjectivity than the ones usually related to a humanist narrative based on the idea of human sovereignty that was first articulated during the renaissance and that later on became established as the rational and autonomous modern subject.

The workshop brings together international and national senior scholars and postdoctoral researchers in early modern literary studies interested in a revaluation of the humanist tradition and its relevance today.

Keynote online

The keynote lecture by Nancy Frelick, and the lectures by Matilda Amundsen Bergström and Ellen Söderblom Saarela will be sent via the e-meeting service Zoom.

Join Zoom Meeting here, welcome to join from 10:00:

Please register

The event is free, but capacity is limited. Register by 11 September at the latest at

Carin Franzén and Nan Gerdes





Welcome by Carin Franzén and Nan Gerdes


Keynote lecture, Nancy Frelick

Invoking Echo: Representing Female Subjectivity in the Works of Early Modern Women

This presentation focuses on appropriations of the Ovidian figure of Echo in creative and critical discourses that explore female subjectivity in Renaissance poetry. While Echo has been used by both male and female authors – to evoke the sorry state of the desiring subject or poetic persona, regardless of gender, or even to denote poetry itself – some readers relate this mythological figure to the situation of women in the early modern period, not least with respect to sanctions on speech, sexuality, and other forms of self-expression, which were generally reserved for men. So, we may ask: do female writers simply echo or mimic Petrarchan models and forms created by male predecessors, as some critics suggest? Or do their poetic responses constitute – like Echo’s – repetitions with a difference, creating spaces for the expression of uniquely feminine forms of subjectivity, as other scholars affirm? Our exploration of such issues will lead us to consider examples from a range of poets and to reflect on various critical approaches and theoretical questions related to gender and representation.


Karine Durin

Feminine Heroism in the Age of Prudence – The Influence of the Moral and Political Works of Baltasar Gracián on Women’s Literary Production in 17th Century Europe




Matilda Amundsen Bergström

“When heroes tumble in a common heap” – Heroick women and visions of virtue in Katherine Philips’ royalist poetry


Johanna Vernqvist

Body and Soul: Epicurean Traces in the works by Tullia d’Aragona


Ellen Söderblom Saarela

Responding to Tradition: the Female Body in Ana Caro’s Comedies


Anna Carlstedt

Queen Christina and the role of Astrology in her Discourse of Self-Glorification




Nan Gerdes

Responsive selves? Subject formation in Hélisenne de Crenne


Carin Franzén

Queen Christina – in Response to Early Modern Subjectivation of Bodies and Desires


Concluding Discussion