The Lecture by Lorna Hutson, Professor at University of Oxford and Fellow of the British Academy Held in the School of International Studies


The 26th lecture of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies of School (CMRS) at School of International Studies in Zhejiang University was successfully held online on October 30, 2020, with Prof. Lorna Hutson at University of Oxford giving an hour-and-a-half sharing on the England’s Insular Imaginings. Chaired by Prof. Shen Hong, Honorary Director of the CMRS, the lecture served as a prelude to the International Online Symposium on Shakespeare, Milton and European Literary Traditions program organized by CMRS, with about 200 community members from universities and research institutes at home and abroad listening and discussing. Prof. Yoshiko Kawachi (Kyorin University, Japan), Prof. Cong Cong (Nanjing University), Prof. Yang Lingui (Donghua University), Prof. Yu Shiyi (Tsinghua University), and Prof. Hao Tianhu (Zhejiang University) were among the attending experts. During the symposium, Prof. Shen Hong announced that Prof. Hutson had accepted the invitation of the CMRS to be its ninth international advisor, adding to the powerful cast of the Center’s advisor team which now include scholars from four world top universities, namely, Harvard, Yale, Oxford, and Cambridge.



Ms. Lorna Hutson (MA Hons, DPhil Oxon, FBA), Merton Professor of English Literature at University of Oxford and Fellow of the British Academy, taught at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and was the laureate of Roland Bainton Prize in 2008 and 2018. Her published books include Thomas Nashe in Context (1989), The Usurer’s Daughter (1994), The Invention of Doubt (2007), Circumstantial Shakespeare (2015), and the Oxford Handbook of English Law and Literature 1500-1700 (2017), etc. She is currently working on her new book named England’s Insular Imaginings, which attempts to explore the impact of early modern literature on the imaginings of “England refers to the whole British Isles”.

During the reign of Elizabeth I, the controversial sovereignty claim of England over Scotland based on the mythical “English” history of Brutus and King Arthur began to be replaced by the poems and maps of England, which displayed an island without land borders. How did that happen? And what did this mean for the relationship between England and Scotland? The lecture probed into the above questions by tracing the changes in war propaganda, river poetry, chorography compilation, historical relics collection, and cartography. Besides, it also offered new readings in interpreting Spenser’s allegorical epic poem Faerie Queene (1596). Prof Hutson mainly focused on how literature helped readers to leave behind the role of Scotland in this period together with England’s sovereignty claim. During the Q & A session, Prof Shen Hong raised questions about the evolution of the name “England”, the national origins of England, the river marriage and the chronicles in Shakespeare’s novel of Macbeth, to each of which Prof. Huston gave her interpretation. Then, Prof Hao Tianhu expressed his gratitude to Prof. Hutson and put forth questions about Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, and her heirs. The question of “Have any of Spenser’s contemporaries or readers in 17th century interpreted the Faerie Queene in the same perspectives” received praise and detailed answers from Prof. Hutson. In addition, Prof. Hutson also responded to several questions concerning political marriage, King Arthur, Milton, law and literature, etc. In closing, she extended her gratitude to the invitation of the CMRS and her yearning for a personal visit to Hangzhou.

The lecture of high academic value has stimulated heated discussion and received warm response and unanimous gratitude. In the meantime, as the first lecture in the International Online Symposium on Shakespeare, Milton and European Literary Traditions program, it has ushered the following two-day academic feast.


Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies of School (CMRS)

at School of International Studies, Zhejiang University

Written and Photographed by Shao Huiting and Zuo Jiayuan

November 3, 2020

Translated by Mo Feifei

Proofread by Xu Xueying

Contact Us

Address:No. 866, Yuhangtang Road, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, P.R. China

Postal Code:310058

Telephone:+86-571-8820-6044 +8