Lecturer in English Studies
This work coordinates areas – mercantilism and humanism – that have traditionally been treated separately by economic historians and literary critics. The Early Modern merchant had a foot in both camps and provides the perfect lens for understanding this longstanding split.
“The findings will provide an important insight into Early Modern history and literary studies, and will have implications for other areas of history, such as science and education. They will also provide a compelling historical perspective on educational debates that are live and charged today – debates around science, technology, engineering and maths; academic specialisation; vocational learning; the acquisition of skills; the relationship between skills and academic learning; about the value of arts and humanities, and the nature of human learning itself.”
Merchants were essential to the literary economy of Britain in the 16th and 17th centuries – as producers, patrons, consumers and collectors. This project aims to understand these literary and cultural activities in more detail, as they remain almost entirely unknown.
Dr Vine will conduct archival research in the UK, Europe and the United States to recover little-known works from mercantile authors and editors, including letters, inventories, account books, and ledgers. He will also examine a range of literary, dramatic, economic, scientific and vocational texts.
The study will look at merchants who traded in the Mediterranean and the Levant, as well as northern Europe and Britain. Those studied will include authors John Browne, Gerard Malynes and Lewes Roberts; educationalists John Dugard and John Goad; dramatists Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, Thomas Heywood and John Webster; city pamphleteer Richard Johnson; goldsmith Hannibal Gamon; and merchant philosopher and financier, James Boevey.
Dr Vine will publish his findings as a detailed, academic study; in a collection of essays; and in articles written for non-academic journals. He will also embark upon a number of public engagement activities to promote the work, including: putting on performance workshops with school and university students; a staged reading performed by Edward’s Boys Theatre Company, Stratford-upon-Avon; public lectures at the University of Stirling and Guildhall Library, London; and a workshop and document viewing at London Metropolitan Archives.
In partnership with schoolteachers and Independent Thinkers Education, the project will also create educational resources relating to the literary and historical materials studied.
The project – entitled Mercantile Humanism: Knowledge-Making in Early Modern Britain – is funded by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship.