Dr Una McIlvenna
BA, MA, PhD Lond
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions
+61 2 9036 9961
Room S364, John Woolley Building (A20)
My research interests lie in the fields of early modern cultural and literary history. My current project investigates emotional responses to public execution in the early modern period, looking in particular at the use of songs and verse in accounts of crime and execution across Europe. Crime reports were often printed in huge numbers on cheap pamphlets and set to the tune of well-known songs, enabling the reader to sing along to the account of the (often violent) crime and the public execution of the condemned. My research examines how the emotional resonances of a familiar tune could be transferred or subverted in the new version of the song.
My PhD thesis (Queen Mary, University of London, 2010) looked at scandal and reputation at the sixteenth-century French court of Catherine de Medici. It investigated the use of obscene, misogynist verse by the French judicial elite to shame the ladies-in-waiting to the queen mother, known ever since by the sobriquet ‘the flying squadron.’
- Early modern public execution
- Cheap print and media culture in the early modern period
- Scandal, gossip and rumour
Song and Verse in Accounts of Public Execution in Early Modern Europe
- McIlvenna, Word versus Honour: the case of Françoise de Rohan vs. Jacques de Savoie, The Journal of Early Modern History, 16, nos. 4-5, special issue: Speech and Oral Culture in Early Modern Europe and Beyond (October, 2012): 315-334.
- McIlvenna, 'Poison, Pregnancy and Protestants: Gossip and Rumour at the Early Modern French Court’ , Fama and her Sisters: Gossip and Rumour in Early Modern Europe, Claire Walker and Heather Kerr (under contract, Brepols, 2013).
- McIlvenna, ‘A Stable of Whores? The “Flying Squadron” of Catherine de Medici’ in The Politics of Female Households: Ladies-in-Waiting across Early Modern Europe, eds. Nadine Akkerman and Birgit Houben (under contract, Brill, 2013).
Singing the News of Death: Execution Ballads in Early Modern Europe, Study Day - Danse Macabre: Emotional Responses to Death and Dying from Medieval to Contemporary Times, The Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia
Ballads of Death and Disaster: The Role of Song in Early Modern News Transmission, Symposium: Disaster, Death and the Emotions in the Shadow of the Apocalypse, University of Melbourne, Australia
‘A heart of stone would melt to hear’: Playing on Emotions in Early Modern Public Executions, Society for Renaissance Studies conference, University of Manchester, UK
“Let all that hear this be afraid”: Singing About Executions in Early Modern Europe, Distinguished International Guest Lecture Series, School of Music, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
True, véritable, vera, warhafftige: Truth and Fiction in the Early Modern Execution Ballad, Centre for the History of Emotions Seminar, University of Adelaide, Australia
Celebrating the Corpse in Early Modern Execution Ballads, American Comparative Literature Association conference, Brown University, Providence RI, USA
The End of the Cuckold? Modernization and the Transformation of Sexual Shame, Renaissance Society of America conference, Washington DC, USA
Roundtable on ‘Music and Mourning’, ‘Power of Music’: Joint Meeting of Musicological Society of Australia/International Conference on Music and Emotion, University of Western Australia, Perth
“‘A heart of stone would melt to hear’: The Emotional Power of Early Modern Execution Ballads”, The Medieval and Early Modern Centre AGM, University of Sydney
“Playing on Emotions in Early Modern Public Executions”, Early Career Researcher Showcase, University of Sydney
“‘Sermons In Praise Of Cuckoldry’: Satire at the Court of Catherine de Medici”, Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada
“Shaming the ‘Cabal of Cuckoldry’: the Parlement de Paris and Catherine de Medici’s ladies-in-waiting”, ANZAMEMS Meeting 2011, University of Otago, New Zealand
“The Imaginary Library of the Duchesse de Montpensier and other Libels: Court Scandal and the Parlement de Paris”, University of Reading Early Modern Studies Conference, UK
“Word versus Honour: the case of Françoise de Rohan vs. Jacques de Savoie”, Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, Venice; Panel: Orality and Communication in the Early Modern World
“The politics of scandal: the women of Catherine de Medici’s ‘flying squadron’”, Gender and Politics in Early Modern Europe, Jesus College, Cambridge, UK