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Sir Walter Ralegh: A Quadricentennial Symposium

Sir Walter Ralegh: A Quadricentennial Symposium

Room 246, Senate House, University of London, 29 October 2018, 10 am-3 pm

Malet Street, London. WC1E 7HU. Free: All welcome.

Please register online at

On the 29th October 1618, the great Elizabethan courtier, explorer, and author, Sir Walter Ralegh was executed at Old Palace Yard in the City of Westminster. To mark the 400th anniversary of this event, a special symposium on Ralegh’s life and writing will hosted at Senate House by The Institute of English Studies as part of the events programme of the History of Books and Reading (HOBAR) research collaboration at The Open University. 

This free event will include talks by Ralegh’s most recent biographer Anna Beer, author of the acclaimed Patriot or Traitor: The Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh (Bloomsbury), and by other leading early modern scholars.  Bibliographically Ralegh’s oeuvre is complicated and a main focus of the symposium will be a reconsideration of the textual situation, with the presentation of new manuscript evidence. We will also aim to identify important areas of emphasis for a proposed new edition of Ralegh’s works, focusing both on innovations in bibliography and history of the book as they relate to Ralegh and wider issues in cultural history.

10-11.15:      Introduction and Carlo Bajetta (Valle d'Aosta): ‘Editing Ralegh’s letters’

                    Jonathan Gibson (Open University): ‘Editing Ralegh in 1829’

11.15:           Coffee and tea

11.30-12.45: Kate Bennett (Magdalen, Oxford): ‘John Aubrey’s Ralegh’

                    Catherine Bates (Warwick University): ‘Wild Ralegh’

12.45-2.00:   Lunch

2.00-3.00:     Anna Beer (Kellogg, Oxford): ‘Inception/Reception - Thoughts on Editing Ralegh’, and final discussion.

Organisers: Carlo Bajetta (Valle d'Aosta), Jonathan Gibson (Open University) and Teresa Grant (Warwick)

From 4-7.30 pm on the same day, Westminster Abbey will host The Life and Times of Sir Walter Raleigh.  We will therefore finish at 3 pm, allowing participants to move to St Margaret’s, Westminster to hear speakers including the distinguished Ralegh scholar Mark Nicholls. Please note that if you want to attend Westminster Abbey’s event as well you must register separately on their Eventbrite website.

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