Leah Whittington, Society of Fellows

Incoming Fellow at the Society of Fellows. Research Interests: Latin Literature, Early Modern English Literature, Classical Tradition and the Reception of Antiquity in the Renaissance. My current research approaches the interaction of rhetoric, ethics, and politics in Early Modern literature through the reception of classical scenes of supplication in Renaissance authors from Petrarch to Milton. Scenes of supplication like those in Homer and Vergil provide occasions for Early Modern readers to consider the questions of pity, clemency, and forgiveness, which were integral to the political and religious upheavals of the Reformation. Renaissance authors use the structure of classical supplication scenes to articulate ideas about the relationship between people and their government, the role of emotion in judgment, the place of mercy in justice, and the dynamic interaction between the reader and the writer of a text. My next project, Supplementing the Classics, will explore Renaissance continuations of classical works and the ethics of literary imitation. Leah Whittington email.