Chestertown, April 11—The transformation of the medieval world to Renaissance civilization challenged strongly held opinions about human behavior. Using the history of madness as a lens, noted scholar and author H. C. Erik Midelfort will examine the history of the Renaissance and the civilizing process in his talk "Madness and Civilization in Renaissance Germany." The illustrated lecture takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday April 20 in the Casey Academic Forum at Washington College.
Midelfort's highly praised study, A History of Madness in Sixteenth-Century Germany, forms the basis of his talk. The work has been praised for shedding light on the entire history of its era and on the nature of insanity and culture in general. It received the 1999 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, one of three prestigious national Phi Beta Kappa Book Awards for outstanding nonfiction, as "a contribution to the cultural and intellectual understanding of mankind." Donald McColl, Washington College assistant professor of art history, researched the illustrations for the book.
Midelfort is C. Julian Bishko Professor of history and principal of Brown College at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1970. He has also written "Mad Princes of Renaissance Germany" and other studies of madness and the occult in the Renaissance. A magna cum laude graduate of Yale University, where he also received his Ph.D., Midelfort has taught at Stanford, Bern, Stuttgart and Harvard universities.
"Madness and Civilization in Renaissance Germany" is the Conrad M. Wingate Memorial Lecture in History. It is also sponsored by the Washington College Department of Art and the Washington College Phi Beta Kappa Association. It is free and open to the public. For more information, please call 1-800-442-1782.