Nigel Smith is William and Annie S. Paton Foundation Professor of Ancient and Modern Literature and chair of the Committee for Renaissance and Early-Modern Studies at Princeton University. He has published mostly on seventeenth-century English literature, especially Marvell, Milton, and the radical tradition. Polyglot Poetics: Transnational Early Modern Literature is shortly forthcoming.
Literature Crossing Ethnic and Racial Boundaries 1600-1700
Smith is examining the emergence of a ‘global’ literature over a century before it is usually supposed to happen in the mercantile entrepots of early modern Europe, from the fusion of Christian, Jewish and Muslim texts inside a multi-ethnic study group in early seventeenth-century Amsterdam to poetry meant to be of global appeal, sometimes available in several languages simultaneously, claiming to be an extension of the oldest sacred texts, not merely from Judeo-Christian tradition. This is the first detailed literary study of the coming together of different cultures and creeds embracing Europe, Asia, Africa and America, as early modern trading entrepôts made connections globally and began to produce populations at home or in colonies that manifested multi-racial identities, some producing early anti-slavery statements in the face of the widespread adoption of chattel slavery.