Alas, Poor Yorick!: Skulls and Comedy in the Renaissance, An Illustrated Lecture with Susan Harlan
Date: Wednesday, August 17th
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third Avenue, 11215 Brooklyn
What does a skull mean? In Renaissance Europe, it wasnt just a reminder of the transience of life and the certainty of death, but a more complex symbol one that called for contemplation, meditation, and sometimes, jokes. So when is a skull funny? Harlan will discuss the relationship between skulls and comedy in the Renaissance, from the erotics of Hans Holbeins woodcuts of the Dance of Death, which invoked the concluding wedding revels of comedies, to his playfully dark painting The Ambassadors, to Vesalius humorous Skeleton Contemplating a Skull. The lecture will conclude with a consideration of Hamlets wittily melancholic encounter with the smelly cranium of the jester Yorick.
Susan Harlan is an English professor at Wake Forest University whose research focuses on cultural memory and the social life of objects, as well as violence and the macabre. Her book Memories of War in Early Modern England: Armor and Militant Nostalgia in Marlowe, Sidney, and Shakespeare is forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan this fall. She also writes about memory, objects, and place (including an array of quirky museums) for venues including The Guardian US, The Morning News, Nowhere, The Toast, The Awl, Public Books, Curbed, and Roads & Kingdoms.
Morbid Anatomy Muesum (View)
424 A Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215