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Willy Maley


Willy Maley is Professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of Glasgow. He has published widely on early modern literature and culture and is the author of A Spenser Chronology (1994), Salvaging Spenser: Colonialism, Culture and Identity (1997), and Nation, State and Empire in English Renaissance Literature: Shakespeare to Milton (2003). Edited collections include Representing Ireland: Literature and the Origins of Conflict, 1534-1660 (1993), British Identities and English Renaissance Literature (2002), Shakespeare and Scotland (2004), Shakespeare and Wales: From the Marches to the Assembly (2010), This England, That Shakespeare: New Angles on Englishness and the Bard (2010), Sir Henry Sidney in Ireland and Wales (2011), and Celtic Shakespeare: The Bard and the Borderers (2014). He is currently completing a monograph entitled Mapping Milton: Colonialism and Cartography in the Seventeenth Century.

Keynote Lecture: Mapping Moscovia: Milton and the Russian Revolution

According to Valentin Boss: “Many historians in Russia have used the accounts of Tudor explorers and diplomatists, and in the nineteenth century it was the attention of Russian scholars that saved Milton’s Brief History of Moscovia (1682) from neglect”. (‘Alekseev and Anglo-Russian Studies’, The Russian Review 43, 4 (1984): 393-404, at 393.) Exploring the legacy of Milton’s Moscovia this paper looks first at the context and critical reception of Milton’s derivative geography in the later seventeenth century, then at Milton’s later reception in Russia and the part he played in the revolution there, and finally at the ways in which British communists transformed the English Civil Wars into the English Revolution in the wake of the events of 1917. The impact of the Russian Revolution on early modern studies has not been properly examined, nor has the relationship between seventeenth-century England (and Ireland, and Scotland) and Ukraine (and Poland) been given the attention it deserves. This is the first sustained effort to examine Milton’s Russian reception from Peter the Great to Putin, and to look at how a minor text by a major author can open fresh avenues for research and debate.