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SEFR Series 1450-1700

European Festival Studies: 1450–1700

Series Editors: J.R. Mulryne, Margaret Shewring and Margaret M. McGowan. Recently joined by Marie-Claude Canova-Green. 

1) Background to the Festivals Series

The Series General Editors have been developing interdisciplinary studies of Early Modern festivals for many years. Book-length publications have included:

Margaret M. McGowan (general editor), Renaissance Triumphs and Magnificences (Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum; and Tempe Arizona: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 1974– ) A series of facsimile texts with scholarly introductions.

J.R. Mulryne and Margaret Shewring (eds), Italian Renaissance Festivals and their European Influence (Lewiston, Queenston. Lampeter: Edwin Mellen, 1992). xvi + 346 pp; 16 contributors; 80 b/w figs.

J.R. Mulryne and Elizabeth Goldring (eds), Court Festivals of the European Renaissance: Art, Politics and Performance (Aldershot and Burlington VT: Ashgate, 2002). Based on an international conference supported by the European Science Foundation. xxiv + 402 pp; 20 contributors; 79 b/w figs.

J.R. Mulryne, Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly and Margaret Shewring (eds) Elizabeth Goldring and Sarah Knight (assoc. eds), Europa Triumphans: Court and Civic Festivals in Early Modern Europe (Aldershot and Burlington VT: Ashgate, 2004). A major hard-copy resource. 2 vols. Vol .1, xxiv + 636 pp.; vol.2, x + 466 pp; 23 colour plates, 148 b/w figs. A Modern Humanities Research Association publication. Vol.1. 24 contributors; vol. 2. 14 further contributors. Transcripts from 44 Festival texts, in full or excerpt, each translated into English.

Marie-Claude Canova-Green and Jean Andrews, with Marie-France Wagner (eds), Writing Royal Entries in Early Modern Europe (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013). xviii + 422 pp.; 20 contributors; 1 colour plate; 17 b/w figs; 1 table; 1 map.

 Digital Resource

253 digitised festival books, in full or excerpt, annotated and introduced, available on the British Library’s website. Principal investigator: J.R. Mulryne, with Margaret Shewring and Kristian Jensen (British Library). Research Fellows: Sarah Cusk and Alexander Samson. Website address:

Society for European Festivals Research

Founding convenors J.R. Mulryne, Margaret Shewring and Margaret M. McGowan, subsequently joined by Marie-Claude Canova-Green, with an Advisory Board of Renaissance scholars, archivists and curators. Initial support from the European Science Foundation. Based at the University of Warwick. The Society currently has more than 200 members.


The Festivals Series from 2013

Three volumes have been published with Ashgate Publishers. General Editors J.R. Mulryne, Margaret Shewring and Margaret M. McGowan:

  • Dynastic Marriages 1612/1615 (ed. Margaret M. McGowan, 2013), xvi + 308 pp.; 14 contributors. 61 b/w figs. Print and eBook.

  • Waterborne Pageants and Festivities in the Renaissance (ed. Margaret Shewring, asst. editor Linda Briggs, 2013), xviii + 440 pp; 22 contributors. 8 colour plates; 44 b/w figs. Print and eBook.

  • Ceremonial Entries in Early Modern Europe: The Iconography of Power (ed. J.R. Mulryne with Maria Ines Aliverti and Anna Maria Testaverde, 2015), xvi + 368 pp; 15 contributors + an Appendix, (ed. Lucia Nuti transcribing a previously unavailable manuscript in the Archivio di Stato, Rome). 7 colour plates; 38 b/w figs. Print and eBook.

Each of these book-length studies stems from an international, interdisciplinary conference hosted by the Society for European Festivals Research (SEFR). Selected papers were revised by the authors and edited by the volume editor(s) and general editors. Financial support for conferences, publications and the digital resource (see above) has come principally from the AHRB/C, the European Science Foundation and the University of Warwick.

Volumes under contract or recently published with Routledge

  • Architectures of Festival in Early Modern Europe: Fashioning and Re-fashioning Urban and Courtly Space (J.R. Mulryne, Krista De Jonge, Pieter Martens and R.L.M. Morris (eds), Routledge, 2018), xxiv + 336 pp; 15 contributors, 16 colour plates, 72 b/w figures and 3 tables.

  •  Occasions of State: Early Modern European Festivals and the Negotiation of Power. (J.R. Mulryne, Krista De Jonge, R.L.M. Morris and Pieter Martens (eds). In production (2018) with Routledge.

[These volumes stem from an SEFR/PALATIUM conference held in Venice in 2013, financially supported by the European Science Foundation.]

  • Felicia Else, The Politics of Water in the Art and Festivals of Medici Florence: from Neptune Fountain to Naumachia. (Monograph, Routledge, 2019) xxii + 226 pp; 32 colour plates, 76 b/w figures.

Volumes accepted in principal by Ashgate and subsequently by Routledge: now in preparation with Brepols

  • Marie-Claude Canova-Green and Sara Wolfson (eds), Celebrations for the Wedding of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, 1625. In advanced draft for Brepols.

  • Monique Chatenet, Murielle Gaude-Ferragu and Gerard Sabatier (eds), Princely Funerals in Europe 1400–1700. Chapters submitted in French, Spanish and Italian translated into English with support from the University of Warwick.

  • Margaret M. McGowan and Margaret Shewring (eds), Imperial Festivities in Mons and Hainault, 1549 (working title). This stems from an invited conference in Mons as part of the city’s year as European City of Culture, 2015.

Proposed monographs and an edited collection (Brepols):

  • Margaret M. McGowan, Festivals and Violence: princely entries in the context of war, 1480–1635 (Monograph).

  • Mary Young, Florentine Water Festivals in the 17th century (Monograph).

  • R.L.M. Morris, German Identities in the Court Festivals of German-speaking Lands c.1519-1650 (Monograph; working title).

  • Margaret Shewring, The Active Spectator: Popular Agency in Processional Festivals of Late Medieval and Early Modern Britain and France (Monograph; working title).

  • R.L.M. Morris (ed.), Crossing Boundaries: Festival and Diplomatic Encounters in the Early Modern World.

Reviews of some of the Festivals publications listed above:

Europa Triumphans (for publication details of these volumes see above):

Divisé en deux luxueux volumes, l’ouvrage … est un pur produit … Cet ouvrage exemplaire qui, destiné à durer, deviendra un précieux instrument pour la recherché. Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaisssance. Tome 67 (2005).

Der Wert dieser Quellen liegt vor allem in ihren politisch-sozialen Botschaften an die gemeineuropäische höfische Öffentlichkeit … Kurzum – eine in jedem Sinne wertvolle Edition, und es ist zu hoffen, dass ihr hoher Anschaffungspreis die immer kleineren deutschen Bibliotheksetats nicht überfordert. Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung 34/ 1 (2007)

This massive and handsome compilation of 1,202 large pages prints the original texts, with facing translations, of 44 descriptions of court or civic festivals between 1543 and 1734 … This comprehensiveness points up and helps correct a degree of provinciality in much of the work in this field, and is one of the ways in which the publication will open new ground in the study of Early Modern festivals. The volumes also contain expert essays on the political contexts of the various festivals and on their theatrical, visual, and musical components. Parergon 22.2 (2005).

Specialists can use these volumes to broaden their research horizon to include examples from languages and regions they hitherto necessarily neglected … Research seminars for advanced students studying courts and ceremonies can profit from the introductions as well as from the translations; for them, Europa Triumphans will be a priceless resource.

Court Festivals of the European Renaissance:

The Renaissance Festival is a burgeoning field of enquiry. This stimulating volume … documents a major contribution to that growth … it contains generous annotations throughout … Moreover, it is brimming with intellectual challenges. Sixteenth Century Journal XXXV/ 2 (2004).

This ambitious collection of essays presents a broad view … with a geographical span that stretches from England to Eastern Europe and a conceptual span that includes large issues of etiquette as well as minute details of planning and performance … Excellent introductory essays trace the rise of scholarly interest in festivals … An extremely useful roadmap to the fullness of the subject. Highly Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. Choice Vol 41 No. 03 (November, 2003).

Dynastic Marriages

By bringing together 14 different contributions that analyse the Habsburgs and Bourbons unions from different disciplines, the editor proves that it is essential to discuss dynastic marriages from an interdisciplinary perspective…This book is and will remain a crucial contribution to the field and something that anyone working on dynastic marriages, early modern diplomacy, and popular culture should take into account. Reviews in History, 2013

For over five decades, Margaret McGowan’s writings on the interpretation of intellectual, cultural and artistic developments in early modern France have helped shape our understanding of the potent connection between court spectacles and state building. H-France Review Vol. 14 (2014).

This collection of fourteen scholars representing different disciplines illuminates brilliantly and uniquely the multi-faceted significance of dynastic marriages in early seventeenth-century Europe, especially France and Spain. Robert Knecht, University of Birmingham, UK.

 Writing Royal Entries

…. This is a good and necessary volume. It is good because of the quality of the individual contributions and because of its large scope in a geographical and in a chronological sense; it is necessary because of its new subject matter and its textual and textualizing approach, as well as because of its specific concentration not on entries but on entry texts. It thereby fills an important gap in our knowledge of the entry-phenomenon. Publisher’s Reader (for Brepols, publisher of this volume).

Royal Entries were necessarily extravagant, put the provider into debt, employed many people and so were, in theory, good for the economy, while a town with a gift for diplomacy might obtain highly desirable privileges. This volume has four main themes: the status of the printed records; their use as propaganda; their use as historical records; and the transformations that they underwent in different places and times … It is difficult to select particular chapters for praise as all have their attraction for particular places and times. Parergon 31.1 (2014)

Waterborne Pageants:

 As the first book-length study on this topic, the collection makes available a wealth of inspiring new scholarship which showcases previously unexplored material… The volume … moves to acknowledge the complexity of water festivals as ephemeral spectacles, literary documents, records of socio-political negotiations and much more … [and] opens up a wealth of directions for future research. Renaissance Studies (2014).

This dense and detailed collection of case studies provides an authoritative overview of waterborne festivities in Renaissance Europe. [The chapters view] the waterborne festival as an emblem of state power and the ability of the monarch or city to control the uncontrollable element … The collective argument of these very distinct case studies implies that Renaissance political power relied upon its imaginary conquest of watery space. Early Theatre 18.1 (2015).

Ceremonial Entries:

The 14 essays in the beautifully produced Ceremonial Entries in Early Modern Europe: the Iconography of Power discuss different kinds of entries in various countries [including France, England, Scotland, Italy, Spain and Poland] … What the book lacks is an overview that would stand back from these very specific events and, perhaps by using recent work on the performative aspects or on ritual and ceremonial, would enable the reader to understand how these interactions between ruler and ruled actually functioned. The Art Newspaper Number 272, October 2015.

[The Early Modern ceremonial entry as discussed in this book reprises] a ceremony that goes back to the Roman adventus ritual in which an emperor entered Rome in triumph [and comes up to] the present … with the rain-soaked water pageant for Elizabeth II in 2012. [The book offers an analysis of] many disparate and dazzling events in many different territories across [the] centuries. History Today, August 2015.