Call for Papers
Hamlet in Wittenberg: Civic and Princely Education in Early Modern Europe

"For your intent / In going back to school in Wittenberg, / It is most retrograde to our desire: /
And we beseech you, bend you to remain / Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye, / Our
chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.". The rather fearsome words of King Claudius in
Shakespeare's Hamlet bring up the question of how princes should be educated in the early
modern context, a question that keeps its pertinence in the context of early modern non-royal,
civic education, too.
Mirrors for princes have been important means of civic and princely education ever since
antiquity. Works of Xenophon, Cicero, Seneca and others also served as literary models for
the centuries to come. The early modern (city-)states' strive for stability and prosperity, led to
the Renaissance rediscovery of such ancient writings which were used as models for
instructing princes or city magistrates concerning the proper way of governance. The ethical
and political philosophical attitude was, however, accompanied by a special interest in applied
history - anachronistically speaking -, and hence the works like Machiavelli's Prince,
Calvin's Commentary on Seneca's De Clementia, or the Six Books of Politics or Political
Instruction by Justus Lipsius now also serve as documents concerning how ethics, politics and
historical knowledge were intertwined in early modernity.
The aim of our conference is to bring together scholars from different fields (moral and
political philosophers, historians, historians of ideas, literary historians etc.) in order to
discuss and explore the state-of- the-art and novel trends in the research of this field. We
welcome papers concerning any literary product belonging to the early modern genre of
mirror for princes or dealing with the education of city magistrates or ordinary citizens.
Proposals (with a title and abstract of the length of 3-500 words) should be sent by May 15,
to The conference will be organised in Budapest, at the
headquarter of the Research Centre for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of
Sciences on September 28-29, 2018. Our invited keynote speakers are James Hankins (Harvard University) and Jan Waszink (Leiden University), Tibor Fabiny (Károli Gáspár University).