The next meeting of the Waterloo Renaissance Workshop will take place this Wednesday, March 9, from 3-4 p.m. in Hagey Hall 232. Ted McGee will lead a discussion of “The Devil of Doncaster," a poem copied in as evidence in a libel case to be heard by the High Court of Star Chamber in 1613. An exceptionally accomplished example of popular poetry of ridicule, this piece demonizes one Brian Cooke (gentleman, alderman, later mayor of Doncaster) as a usurer and a thief. The poem, allegedly performed by ten musicians as well, exemplifies a particular kind of mockery directed at men as men and provides a distillation of the attitudes and imagery of one side of the debate about usury in early modern England.
Ted McGee is Professor Emeritus of the English Department, St. Jerome’s and University of Waterloo. He is co-editor of the Records of Early English Drama: Yorkshire West Riding collection, in which this poem will appear. His publications most relevant for this presentation are the REED: Dorset (U of T Press, 1999) and “Pocky Queans and Horned Knaves: Gender Stereotypes in Libelous Poems” in Oral Traditions and Gender in Early Modern Literary Texts, ed. Mary Ellen Lamb and Karen Bamford (Ashgate, 2008): 139-52.
The Waterloo Renaissance Workshop is a forum for the presentation and discussion of research on early modern English literature and culture. It offers opportunities for students, faculty, and independent scholars to share their work with other specialists in a more relaxed setting than conferences and formal lectures normally provide. The format varies, but meetings usually begin with a 20-30 minute presentation, followed by discussion for the rest of the hour. Conversations continue beyond this, aided by refreshments. All are welcome.