Journal of Early Modern Studies

Journal of Early Modern Studies (JEMS) is an open access peer-reviewed international journal that promotes interdisciplinary research and discussion on issues concerning all aspects of early modern European culture. It provides a platform for international scholarly debate through the publication of outstanding work over a wide disciplinary spectrum: literature, language, art, history, politics, sociology, religion and cultural studies. JEMS is open to a range of research perspectives and methodological orientations and encourages studies that develop understanding of the major problematic areas relating to the European Renaissance.


Donatella Pallotti curriculum

Paola Pugliatti curriculum

Dept. of Education, Languages, Intercultures, Literatures and Psychology
University of Florence - Via Santa Reparata 93
50129 Florence - ITALY



ANNOUNCEMENT: JEMS accepted for indexing in ERIH PLUS

It is a pleasure to announce that JEMS has been approved for inclusion in ERIH PLUS. The European Reference Index for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (ERIH PLUS) is the most important and prestigious reference index in the European Union when it comes to international quality and impact accreditation for scientific journals in the areas of Humanities and Social Sciences.

ERIH PLUS was established (only as ‘ERIH’ at first) by the European Science Foundation (ESF) Standing Committee for the Humanities (SCH) in 2002 and has ever since become the most highly valued reference index within the European Union. ERIH PLUS can be described as especially demanding both by the width and diversity of requirements considered and by the strictness with which EU experts’ panels have to carry out their task when evaluating the compliance with those requirements. The selection process includes several stages of the evaluation procedure, and it has been coordinated by the no less demanding Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions in the Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers from 2014 onwards.
A new call for the rigorous evaluation of scientific journals was published in July 2014. JEMS passed this evaluation and was accordingly included in the EU’s prestigious and influential ERIH PLUS index. This undoubtedly means a great recognition for the persevering, disciplined and rigorous work carried out by this journal
ERIH PLUS was established (only as ‘ERIH’ at first) by the European Science Foundation (ESF) Standing Committee for the Humanities (SCH) in 2002 and has ever since become the most highly valued reference index within the European Union.

ANNOUNCEMENT: JEMS has been included by Clarivate Analytics (Thomson Reuters) to ESCI (Emerging Sources Citation Index) 

We are pleased to announce that JEMS has been accepted for indexing in the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), a new edition of Web of Science™.

Content in this index is under consideration by Clarivate Analytics (Thomson Reuters) to be accepted in the Science Citation Index Expanded™, the Social Sciences CitationIndex®, and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index®. 

The quality and depth of content Web of Science offers to researchers, authors, publishers, and institutions sets it apart from other research databases. The inclusion of JEMS in the Emerging Sources Citation Index demonstrates our dedication to providing the most relevant and influential scientific content to our community. 

The journal, sponsored and funded by the University of Florence, is a product of the open access publishing workshop in the Department of Comparative Languages, Literatures and Cultures and is published online by Firenze University Press (FUP).






We are now inviting contributions for Volume 10 of the Journal of Early Modern Studies, to be released online in 2021.

Early Modern European Crime Literature: Ideology, Emotions and Social Norms

Edited by Maurizio Ascari and Gilberta Golinelli

The 2021 issue of JEMS aims to cover various inter-related fields within the vast domain of European crime literature, with a particular focus on the British Isles. The literary and cultural phenomena we aim to investigate range from street literature, with its variety of broadsides and chapbooks, to drama (from revenge tragedies to domestic tragedies) and providential fictions, such as John Reynolds’ The Triumphs of Gods Revengeagainst the Crying and Execrable Sinne of Murther (1621-35), including the translation and transnational circulation of crime stories.

While exploring the connection between real crime and the literary imagination at various levels (from street literature to more sophisticated renderings), this issue delves into the ideological import of crime narratives intended as prevention of crime, a form of psychological ‘policing’ that compensated for the absence of organized police forces by reasserting the certainty of mundane and supernatural punishment. At the same time, focusing on the description and the representation/performance of emotions will enable us to analyse early modern criminography with the right lens to highlight its peculiarity and interrogate its multilayered aims. Instead of pivoting mainly on detection, early modern crime narratives revolve around criminal lives and criminal minds, not to mention self-appointed justice seekers, although of course community-based forms of social control were far from absent in early modern Europe. Both on page and on stage, providential fictions are often tragic and proto-melodramatic in tone, and this includes broadsides, which typically climax with a ballad to be sung to the tune of a song, achieving a combination of news circulation and engaging rhetorical/aural effects.

Given the nature of early modern crime literature, we invite papers exploring these and related issues:

History. The relation between historical criminal events and their literary representations. Many early modern crime narratives are part of the vogue of news that was fostered by both the invention of print and the translation/remediation of foreign materials. Being marketed as ‘true stories’ (often soon after the events they recount), in order to exploit the sensational appeal of real criminal cases, these narratives can be regarded as the ancestors of what we label as true crime. 

Ideology.The conceptualization of crime in relation to the complementary paradigms of sovereign power (or mundane justice) and of God’s omniscience/omnipotence. Early modern crime is conflated with sin, and in the absence of organized policing detection is correspondingly presented as resulting from the synergy of social surveillance and providence. The emphasis is on coincidence rather than on organized and rational detection. Due to the containment of, and simultaneous fascination with, transgression, criminals are portrayed as both abject and heroic, but we can also interpret these ambivalent portraits as the ‘product’ of gender constrictions and discriminations. 

Agency.While criminal agency is often presented as stemming from the devil, early modern crime narratives reveal an increasing ‘psychologisation’ of crime, investigating both the criminal’s motives and the devastating impact of guilt. This interest for the criminal overlaps with the conception of the human the early moderns inherited from classical tragedy, notably with the Aristotelian concept of hamartia.

Emotions.Early modern crime literature appeals to the emotions on various levels and in all its forms, whether the focus is on the plight of victims or on the inner turmoil of offenders and revengers. 

Body. The spectacle of the violated/murdered body, of bodily punishment and execution rituals, raises questions on the various meanings and appropriations of a racialized and gendered body, calling our attention to the body as a powerful symbol and rhetorical tool in relation to a set of discourses in which science and medicine conflate with politics and ideology.

Gender: Gender as a method of inquiry has been extremely useful to re-consider the formation of identities, subjectivities, their agency and their access to justice and compensation. Reading the performance and representation of male/female crime and criminals in a gender perspective might illuminate how gender relations and hierarchies were implicated in the construction of systems of power, social norms and national legal system.

Genre.Early modern crime fiction covers a wide spectrum of genres, ranging from domestic tragedies and revenge tragedies to providential fictions, ballads, sermons and other religious texts. Issues of crime and punishment are also central to early modern utopias and utopianspeculations and thus pivotal in those hybridliterary texts in which fictional debates on social norms and justice, on the nature of crime and on capital punishment serve(new) political programmes and the envisioning of alternative forms of government. 

Main deadlines:

30th June 2019:

Please send your proposal and working title to the editors ( 

20th July 2019

Notification of proposal acceptance.

10th January 2020: 

Submission of articles to the editors.

Please note that articles must comply with the editorial norms and must not exceed 12,000 words, including footnotes and bibliography. Articles may include up to 10 images (for publication they need to be submitted in 600 dpi resolution and with publication permit). All articles are published in English. Please be so kind as to have your paper revised by a native speaker.

Posted: 2019-02-27 More...



We are now inviting contributions for Volume 8 of the Journal of Early Modern Studies, to be released online in 2019.

Beyond Books and Plays. Cultures and Practices of Writing in Early Modern Theatre. Edited by Lene Buhl Petersen and Raimondo Guarino.

The 2019 issue of JEMS will address the major cultural phenomenon of the production of written texts and, in a broader sense, the uses of writing in early modern theatre. Thus the volume is situated at the crossroads between textual studies, performance studies, and studies of orality vs. literacy. Going further than the relationships between book and stage, initiated by D.F. McKenzie and R. Chartier, and developed in a number of important studies concerning the printing of early modern drama, the range of suggested topics is expected to address textual practices both as sources and offshoots of theatrical enterprises, the skills related to writing and reading in players’ cultural environments, and the relationship between the popular professional theatre and literary milieux.

This call for papers invites researchers interested in the production of manuscripts (plays, promptbooks, parts, plots) in theatrical practice, from the late fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries, not only in the contexts of major national traditions (i.e. Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre, Siglo de oro, French Classical theatre, Italian Academic and professional theatrical environments) but also in peripheral and lesser known areas. Specific attention could also concern the connections between printed texts (not only printed plays, but also treatises, reports and players’ literary works) and performances, including civic and religious representations. In addition to philological and historical assessments, articles could draw attention to players’ literary competence, texts as tools for memorization, practices of oral/aural reproduction, the setting up of dramatic repertoires; and/or the rise of specific professional figures such as prompters and scribes employed in professional theatres to keep and reproduce manuscripts. Thus, the collection of articles should hopefully open up new horizons in the syntheses and synergies between literary traditions and performance cultures in early modern Europe.

Main deadlines:

31st October 2017: adhere to project and send working title and abstract to Raimondo Guarino ( and Lene Buhl Petersen (

28th February 2018: finalize paper for submission to referees. Articles must comply with the editorial norms and must not exceed 12000 words, including footnotes and bibliography. All articles are published in English. Please be so kind as to have your paper revised by a native speaker.

Posted: 2017-07-25



We are now inviting contributions for Volume 7 of the Journal of Early Modern Studies, to be released online in March 2018. The issue, jointly edited by Riccardo Bruscagli and Luca Degl’Innocenti, is entitled Out Loud: Practices of Reading and Reciting in Early Modern Times.

Its aim is to bring together scholars from a wide disciplinary spectrum who are working on the linguistic, literary, historical, and more broadly cultural features of the practice of reading and reciting poetry and literary texts, in formal as well as informal contexts, aloud. The increasing interest in orality, both from a structural and a historical point of view, has already produced a remarkable amount of very distinguished scholarship. Within this very large and diverse field of study, we intend to focus on the techniques of memorization, improvisation, and performance, which might be required in the practice of reading and reciting verse and prose aloud. For certain literary genres – typically in chivalric literature, for example – such practices, and the related skills, are obvious and well documented, but we are also calling for attention to be paid to the recitation of lyric poetry, plays (the so-called ‘closeted dramas’), short stories, novelle, and other verbal artefacts, in a broad array of contexts, ranging from Academies and Salons to informal social gatherings and even family pastimes. In the space between reading silently and reciting aloud in theatrical productions, we think there is a very large, interesting, and significant range of phenomena waiting to be explored.Contributions on the relationships between recited texts and their printed official versions are also welcome.

Main deadlines:

- 16th October 2016: adhere to project and send working title to Riccardo Bruscagli ( and Luca Degl’Innocenti (

- 31st January 2017: finalize paper for submission to referees. Articles must comply with the editorial norms and must not exceed 12000 words, including footnotes and bibliography.

All articles are published in English. Please be so kind as to have your paper revised by a native speaker.

Posted: 2016-09-12



The 2017 issue of JEMS, edited by Alessandro Arcangeli and Anu Korhonen, is entitled A Time of Their Own. Experiencing Time and Temporality in the Early Modern World. The issue will explore the different ways in which time was culturally constructed in the early modern period and how it was experienced, conceptualized and organized. There is no call for papers for this issue because it collects a selection of contributions presented at The Annual Cultural History Conference of the International Society for Cultural History (ISCH), which was held at the University of Bucharest Campus, Romania, on September 7-10, 2015

Posted: 2016-09-12
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