Dr. DS Mayfield studied American, English, and Spanish Literature at the University of Würzburg, and Comparative Literature in Berlin and Cambridge (UK). In 2015, he was Global Humanities Junior Research and Teaching Fellow at Johns Hopkins University. An alumnus of the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School and the ERC-funded DramaNet project (both at Freie Universität Berlin), he is currently writing his habilitation, focusing on Early Modern drama (Rojas, Machiavelli, Shakespeare) with Blumenberg as a theoretical framework.
A monograph entitled Artful Immorality – Variants of Cynicism. Machiavelli, Gracián, Diderot, Nietzsche was published in 2015, the edited volume Rhetoric and Drama appeared in 2017, both with de Gruyter. His most recent articles are: “‘Against the Dog only a dog’. Talking Canines Civilizing Cynicism in Cervantes’ ‘coloquio de los perros’ (With Tentative Remarks on the Discourse and Method of Animal Studies)”. Humanities 6.2.28. Special Issue Animal Narratology (June: 2017): 1–39. http://www.mdpi.com/2076-0787/6/2/28/pdf. “Variants of hypólepsis: Rhetorical, Anthropistic, Dramatic (With Remarks on Terrence, Machiavelli, Shakespeare)”. Poetics and Politics. Net Structures and Agencies in Early Modern Drama. Eds. Joachim Küpper, et al. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2018. https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/486170. Print.
Proceeding from a Nominalist worldview, Machiavelli and Montaigne consider contingency the rule in all matters: effects are factual; any causalities potentially perceived by human beings are regarded as being of temporal, sectoral, and partial relevance only. In order to approach and approximate probable grounds and possible motivations, particular data will have to be contextualized dependably—considered in relation to the respective circumstances, times, places, persons, purposes, etc. With respect to the pertinent conception of contingency, the seminar will specifically address Machiavelli’s signature chapter 25, and situate it within the entirety of The Prince. In terms of application, Montaigne’s essais 1, 5, 6, and 22 may serve as case studies with a view to tendering causal and contingent explanations for given events, while also inviting discussion of their notional latency.