Good morning everyone! I hope you are enjoying the conference as much as I have been! It’s Amy Ippolito again and today I’m going to be writing about our final presentation of the conference, the Emerging Scholar Keynote – Katherine Walker. Her presentation is titled Demonic Instinct and Knowledge in Doctor Faustus.
Walker started off thanking the Blackfriars Conference for allowing scholar’s who are starting off their career with this wonderful conference that welcomes all to this wonderful community that the Blackfriars instills.
Her presentation starts off with talking about how instinct for early modern is “body and mind, elongated and contagious”. How there is no distinction between the body and the mind where it lives, how the stage allows for the dwelling of instinct (elongated), and how instinct is not self contained, you can pick up instinct from a fellow person (actor/character). Walker said that her interest lies in how instinct lies with and in temptation (especially with the devil).
Moving on to the Devil “because it’s Sunday” Katherine said, allowing for a great laugh from those in attendance. She reminds us that the Devil (especially in Early Modern) is not to messed with and he is a very much real thing/ threat to Early Modern not something to be joked around with, even though we tend to in today’s time. Inspired by the Rolling Stones, Walker goes on to say that “the devil might use his own instinct, or instill a type of instinct into you.” and how there are many examples like from John Gaul that talk about the devil about influencing people to help his cause. Then going on to know the difference between the Devil and God, demonic influence or divine influence and they only way to figure out is to pray and hope that you are godly enough to the difference, in the early modern time. Going further that the only people who truly know what the devil thinks would be witches.
Though her students are frustrated with Faustus “Tush, I think Hell’s a Fable” with his lack of close reading skills, Faustus thinks he has been elevated in Satan’s eye, which Walker said she will demolish that take through her presentation. The Devil being extremely smart because he has been around for so long, allowing the devil to learn about humans and affect and effect humans through instinct.
Walker concludes with the notion that when Faustus gives all of his books and knowledge to Wagner, showing how that there were always be these tricks and moments, where the devil will always be bodily and based in the material. With a few questions from the audience, Dr. Ralph Cohen and Katherine Walker talked about if the message of the play was did Faustus bring out the devil himself allowing Rafe to conjure the devil or is the message that it doesn’t take much to conjure up the devil, even with the last line of the play being “I’ll burn these books” going back to material knowledge asking what has Faustus learned if anything.
And just like that it’s 12pm and the conference for 2019 is over! We hope that you’ve enjoyed participating, presenting or reading as much as we had! And we sincerely hope to see you in 2021 for the 11th Blackfriars Conference!