March 20, 1997

UCLA professor to discuss Milton and Spenser on sex and theology, April 7

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Debora Kuller Shuger, professor of English at the University of California at Los Angeles, will visit Cornell University in April to deliver a lecture titled "Glutinous Gums and the Stream of Consciousness: The Theology of Milton's Comus" on Monday, April 7, at 4:30 p.m. in Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium of Goldwin Smith Hall.

The lecture is presented as part of the University Lectures series.

Shuger is known for examining the mind-body problem from the perspective of "cultural poetics," a broad movement that reads nonliterary texts as if they were literature with attention to tone, symbolism and irony, according to Carol V. Kaske, Cornell professor of English. In her University Lecture, Shuger will discuss what the writings of Milton and Spenser, as well as prayer books, sermons and other moral treatises, tell us about the interplay between sex and theology -- particularly in terms of erotic dreams, Kaske said.

"Shuger combines the best of both 'new' and 'old' historicism," Kaske said. "Attacking the conventional wisdom that the Renaissance was marked by secularization, she revitalizes the subject of religion by teasing out of it current concerns, such as sexuality, selfhood and the construction of the other. Her lecture will appeal to social historians, cultural historians and to anyone who is interested in the history of the self."

A recipient of both Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellowships, Shuger served four years on the advisory committee of the nation's most prestigious journal of literary studies, PMLA. Her three published books are Sacred Rhetoric: The Christian Grand Style in the English Renaissance, Habits of Thought in the English Renaissance: Religion, Politics and the Dominant Culture and The Renaissance Bible: Scholarship, Subjectivity and Sacrifice.

Goldwin Smith established the University Lectures at the turn of this century to bring the world's foremost scholars to the Cornell campus. Recent University Lecturers have included Stanley Hoffmann, professor of French civilization at Harvard University, and Yale University's Donald Kagan, a scholar of ancient Greek history.