Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2007.09.16

Rhoda Schnur, Acta Conventus Neo-Latini Bonnensis: Proceedings of the 12th International Congress of Neo-Latin Studies (Bonn 2003). Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 315.   Tempe, AZ:  Arizona State University Press, 2006.  Pp. xxv, 906.  ISBN 978-0-86698-360-0.  $80.00.  

Reviewed by Dana F. Sutton, The University of California, Irvine (
Word count: 2374 words

Although journals exist to service the burgeoning industry of Neo-Latin studies (most notably Humanistica Lovanensia and Neulateinisches Jahrbuch), the annual volumes in the present series provide a welcome additional outlet for articles in this field. The present volume contains eighty. Any review of such a large collection that did any more than repeat the table of contents would be intolerably long, and would require a level of polymathy bordering on the impossible. Confronted with this massive volume, what is a reviewer to do? Well, it does provoke a few observations about the direction and health of Neo-Latin studies.

At the end of an interesting study of the influence of George Buchanan's set of Psalm paraphrases on Polish Neo-Latin poets (pp. 221-30), Elwira Buszewicz writes:

There is still an urgent need to unify Neo-Latin studies, and to treat Neo-Latin poetry as a literary commonwealth. Only in this way can we achieve a suitable perspective for studying the similarities and convergences among Neo-Latin poets or between Latin and vernacular poetry. Walther Ludwig's opinion concerning the study of the elegy is also valid with respect to other genres of Neo-Latin poetry. Scholars who dealt with the history of poetry did it 'within the borders of national literature," being "amazingly unaware of, or unconcerned with, the works produced in neighbouring countries and read perhaps not only there."

One can only agree, And yet, there is a second, very different way of approaching Neo-Latin literature. While some works may have been purposefully written for an international audience, the bulk of Neo-Latin literature was meant for consumption by the author's fellow countryman. The author may have been operating under the influence of items in his or her national vernacular literature, may have influenced the composition of subsequent vernacular ones, may have even written in both Latin and his or her native tongue, and in any event reflects the concerns, prejudices, and sensibilities of his or her immediate time and place. As such, albeit written in Latin, such literature essentially belongs to the author's national heritage. Historians of individual national literatures often display equally amazing ignorance of Latin written by authors belonging to the nation in question, and surely it is an important task for Neo-Latin studies to remedy this ignorance. Buszewicz, in essence, recommends an international vision of Neo-Latin studies. Both by personal inclination and as matter of practicality, I myself tend to favor a considerably more nationalistic one. There is, of course, validity in both approaches, but there seems to be an unresolved ambiguity of definition and purpose lying at the heart of Neo-Latin studies as scholars attempt to juggle these two perspectives. This is not just an abstract philosophical question; it can have very practical consequences. If, for example, a university has a scholar who specializes in French Neo-Latin literature, in what department should that individual be housed, Classics or French? And, clearly, it has implications for what sort of intellectual furniture Neo-Latinists require, and therefore how they ought to be trained.

The final article in the book, Jan Waszink's 'Tacitism in Holland: Hugo Grotius' Annales et Historiae de Rebus Belgicis' (pp. 881-92) illustrates this point. It is no accident that Tacitism is visible in other Latin histories of the early seventeenth century (for example William Camden's Annales Rerum Anglicarum et Hibernicarum Regnante Elizabetha, first part published in 1615), and also in vernacular histories of the same period (such as Agrippa d'Aubigné's Histoire Universelle, first part published in 1616, and Bacon's 1622 The History of the Reign of Henry the Seventh). Although all the discussions of the so-called Anti-Ciceronian movement I have seen very naively discuss it as if it were purely a matter of stylistics, this movement represented a very important paradigm shift whereby Silver Age authors came to the forefront as objects of study and models for imitation by writers both Latin and vernacular. It is for this reason that we encounter Tacitism in histories of this period, and these observations provide a broader historical context for Grotius' Annales.

It is high time that the Anti-Ciceronian movement be studied in terms of substance as well as style. But at this point this issue of double vision manifests itself. On the one hand, the movement was a literary fad that affected all of northern Europe, and so it obviously needs to be studied as an international development. But it is equally necessary to produce a series of detailed investigations tracing how the movement played out locally in individual nations, in both Latin and vernacular literatures. And the sets of skills necessary to pursue these two approaches would presumably be rather different.

This issue of double vision has implications for another article in the set, Rüdiger Niehl's 'Editionsprojekt CAMENA, Heidelberg: De editionibus Neolatinis in rete electronico instituendis' (pp. 639-63). Niehl rightly points out that a main task of Neo-Latin studies is the production of editions: 'Studiis Neolatinis et homines docti et munera publica adeo desunt, ut non solum corpus ipsum litterarum Neolatinarum, sed ne capita quidem atque cacumina digne curari possint', and rightly diagnoses the chief obstacle: 'Aedes editoriae paucitate emptorum deterrentur'. Therefore editors of Neo-Latin texts perforce find themselves in the situation of pioneering electronic publication of their work. But everything that Neil writes appears to proceed from the assumption that Neo-Latin editors are producing editions for the consumption of fellow Neo-Latinists. Nowhere does one find an acknowledgement that the production of coordinated translations is just as important as text editing, or that editions of Neo-Latin texts ought to be addressed to a double audience, i. e., both to other Neo-Latinists and also to Latin-less scholars of vernacular literature and even interested laymen. Neo-Latin studies have the potential to perform great services for the Republic of Letters (and also to become far more viable commercially) when they are conducted in such a way that the needs of multiple audiences are addressed. When such needs go neglected, Neo-Latin studies, no matter how internationally oriented, acquire a certain parochialism of their own. And, if Neo-Latinists adopted a wider view of their responsibilities, one might be able to report the happier news that 'Aedes editoriae copia emptorum editiones Neolatinas libenter e prelo promunt'. (Another article in this set, J.-L. Charlet, 'Problèmes de méthode et normes éditoriales dans les different types d' édition de textes latins', pp. 231-40, does recognize the importance of coordinated translations, and it should be pointed out that the inclusion of translations is one of the many ways in which the advantages of hypertext can be exploited in electronic editions.)

Having said a bit about the direction of Neo-Latin studies, I want to conclude with a few words about the discipline's health. In one way, this volume has a depressing effect. I began this review by characterizing Neo-Latin studies as a burgeoning academic enterprise. This observation holds good for continental Europe. But this collection eloquently documents the fact that Neo-Latin continues to make slow progress in gaining a foothold in the English-speaking world. Out of the eighty contributors represented herein, only five are from the United States, three from the United Kingdom, and two from English-speaking Canada. In this respect, a remarkable (and, as far as I am concerned, inexplicable) divergence seems to be opening up between Anglophone and European humanistic studies.

Table of Contents

S. Revard, 'Presidential Address'


C. Codoñer Merino, 'Lal enseñanza del latin en la Universidad hasta el siglo XVII'

P. Galland-Hallyn, 'Quelques Orientations Spéfiques du Lyricisme néo-Latin en France au XVIe Siècle'

A. Lurilli, 'Il Latino della scienza nel dibattito italiano dei secoli XVII e XVIII'

G. H. Tucker, 'Neo-Latin Literary Monuments to Renaissance Rome and the Papacy 1553-1557; Janus Vitalis, Joachim Du Bellay, and Lelio Capilupi -- from Ekphrasis to Prosopopoeia'

H. Wiegand, 'Das Bild Kaisers Karls V. in der neulateinischen Dichtung Deutschlands'


Bedaus, 'Alexander Hegius und seine Dialoge'

E. Békés, 'Physiognomy in the Works of Galeotto Marzio'

F. Bernstein, 'Mutianus Rufus und der Gothaer ordo litterarius'

A. Bierganz, 'Francis Bacon: Nova Atlantis. Eine Unterrichtssequenz im Rahmen der Begabtenförderung'

Cs. Bíró, 'Expositio super Cantica canticorum: il commento inedito di Andreas Pannonius'

J. Bloemendal, 'Gerardus Joannes Vossius and his Poeticae institutiones (1647). Perspicuitas for Would-be Poets and their Tutors?'

L. Boulègue, 'Le discours médical dans la philosophie d'amour de la fin du XVe et du debut du VIe siècle: de la fascinatio ficinienne au lieu retrouvé d'un art érotique'

S. Brown, '"One Great Means of Debauching the Learned World": Learned Protestant Women and the Reformation of the Latin Language'

F. Buszewicz, 'Buchanan in Poland: Facts, Questions, and Paradoxes'

J.-L. Charlet, 'Problèmes de méthode et normes éditoriales dans les different types d' édition de textes latins'

D. Cheney, 'Valeriano's Hieroglyphica and the Encylopaedic Project'

J. Considine, 'Du Cange's Glossarium and the History of Reading'

D. Defilippis, 'La regio quinta, Picenum sive Marchia Anconitana, nell' Italia illustrata di Biondo Flavio'

L. De Grauwe, 'Einheit und Vielfalt der germanischen Sprachen nach Conrad Gessner (1555, 1561) im Lichte der "Theodistik"'

L. de Wreede, 'Willebrord Snellius: A Humanist Mathematician'

A. Dziuba, 'Polemics against West-European Scholars in the Chronica Polonorum of Maciej of Miechow (1457-1523)'

J. Eskhult, 'Theological Treatises in Sweden and Germany circa 1700: Style, Phraseology, and Vocabulary'

L. Fabbri, 'Giannozzo Manetti e Carlo Marsuppini: gli Statuta della biblioteca pubblica del Duomo di Firenze'

M. Gahtan, 'Giraldi's Aenigmata'

E. Galántai, 'Über den Sprachgebrauch von Petrus Ransanus anhand seiner Epithoma rerum Hungararum'

B. Garcia-Hernandez, 'La discutida influencia de San Augustin en Descartes y su comparación con la de Plauto'

F. González Vega, 'La configuración del lector ideal en la obra grammatical de Antonino de Nebrija'

J. Groenland, 'Murder Among Humanists: The Death of of Murmellius (1480-1517) According to Buschius'

L. Havas, 'La tradition historiographique classique et la réception d'Antonio Bonfini dans l'historiographie latino-hongroise au dix-septième siècle'

G. Hok, 'Humanisten und die Neue Welt: Petrus Martyr de Angeleria et Pomponius Laetus im Dialog über Weltverständnis und religiöse Vorstellungen der Ureinwohner auf Hispaniola'

L. Jankovits, 'Plato and the Muses at the Danube: Platonic Philosophy and Poetry in Janus Pannonius' Ad Animam Suam'

G. T. Jensson, 'The Reception of Icelandic Literature in Neo-Latin Literary Histories'

P. Kasza, 'Vom Lehrgedicht zu Wissenschaft; Der wissenschaftliche Wert jesuitischer Lehrgedichte'

G. Kecksméti, 'The Role of Neo-Latin Handbooks of Rhetoric in the Literary Theory and Practice of Early Modern Hungary'

A. L. Kerson, 'The Alexandriad of Francisco Javier Alegre (1729-1788)'

S. Kivistö, 'The Concept of Obscurity in Humanist Polemics of the Early Sixteenth Century'

C. La Charité, 'La réception du Institutione feminae christianae (1523) de Vivès dans la France du XVIe siècle: Pierre de Changy et Antoine Tiron'

S. Laigneau, 'La mort de Cicéron chez Théodore de Bèze (Juvenilia): une silve entre épopée et tragédie'

J. Ledegang-Keegstra, 'L' Epistola Magistri Benedicti Passavantii (le Passevant) de Théodore de Bèze: le latin macaronique en pleine forme'

A. Lesigang-Bruckmüller, '"Opusculum hoc author -- sibi et aliis iniurius -- Anglus Anglice scripserat": Englands Debatten des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts um den Sprachgebrauch in der Medizin'

L. López Calahorro, 'De Virgilio a Silio Itálico como modelos de la paz en la Guerra de Granada'

M. López-Muñoz, 'Carlos Borromeo, Agustin Valerio y Fray Luis de Granada ante la retórica eclesiástica'

M. Madrid Castro, 'Sebastian Brant, Kommentator des Baptista Mantuanus'

R. Manchón Gómez, 'La Oratio de summo pontifice eligendo (1513) del opisbo español Pedro Flores'

D. Marsh, 'Petrarch and Suetonius: The Imperial Ideal in the Republic of Letters'

M. Mastronardi, 'Eloquentiae urbis. Il dialogo De felicitate Ferrariae di Ludovico Carbonel'

I. Mastrorosa, 'La teoria del contagio alle soglie dell'età moderna: fonti classiche per la trattistica umanistica'

F. S. Minervini, 'Virgilio: un modello poetico per Bartolomeo Maranta'

L. Mitarotondo, 'Scritture latine nella paideia etico-politica del XVII secolo'

A. Moss, 'Christian Piety and Humanist Latin'

M. Mund-Dopchie and S. Mund, 'Les cosmographes et la connaissance du Septentrion à la Renaissance: étude comparée des descriptions de la Moscovie et de l'Islande'

C. Murphy, 'Thomas Stapleton's Latin Biography of Thomas More'

S. Murphy, Maro mutatus in melius? Lelio Capilupi's Cento in Feminas'

C. Neagu, 'The Hungaria-Athila, Nicolaus Olahus' Formula of the Orbis Loca and Orbis Gesta

K. A. Neuhausen, 'De Francisci Xaverii Trips eo carmine, quod Bonnae compositum Coloniaeque a. 1683 typis excusum inscribitur'

R. Niehl, 'Editionsprojekt CAMENA, Heidelberg: De editionibus Neolatinis in rete electronico instituendis'

I. Nuovo, 'La riflessione sull'arte in Leon Battista Alberti'

K. Pajorin, 'Exposizione mitologica e metodo scientifica nel De laboribus Herculis del Salutati'

S. Reisner, 'Rudolf I. als historisches Paradigma in der poetischen Habsburg-Panegyrik'

D. Rincón González, 'Lateinische Texte auf von Luther und Melanchthon unterzeichneten Flug-bzw. Einblättern'

V. Roggen, 'The development of a Protestant Latin Bible'

G. Rossi, 'Le orationes di Marc Antoine Muret: humanae litterae e iurisprudentia a confronto nella Roma del Cinquecento'

J. Sánchez Gázquez, 'Aristoteles en el De fato et libero arbitrio de Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda'

T. Santa-María Hernández, 'La difusión del humanismo médico: el boticario Lorenzo Pérez contra los depravata nomina o las daemonum appellationes'

C. Santini, 'Citazioni da authori classici, icone e paradigmi ideologici, echi del momento presente nella prefazione all'Almagestum Novum di Giovanbattista Riccioli'

P. Sartori, 'Frans Titelmans e la difesa della vetus editio del Nuovo Testamento dalle opera di Erasmo, Faber e Valla'

S. Schreiner, 'Die komische Seite der Wissenschaftlichkeit: Avenarius' Selurias, die neulateinishe Übersetzung von Zachariäs Murner in der Hölle'

A. Steenbeek, 'Lipsius' Motive für die Saturnales Sermones, "die über die Gladiatoren"'

F. Stok, 'Paolo Zacchia e il lessico della psicopatologia'

S. Surdèl and H. Nellen, 'Classical Philology and Early Humanism in the Low Countries: Research for Europa Humanistica'

H. Szabelska, 'Ontologische Grundlagen der humanistischen Konzeption der Sprache als Medium der gesellschaftlichen Kommunikation'

L. Szörenyi, 'Die Geschichtsshreibung und Gelegenheitsdichtung von György Pray'

I. Tar, 'Die Ars Historica von István Szamoskózy'

N. Thurn, 'Bartolomeo della Fontes Adnotationes in der editio princeps der Argonautica von Valerius Flaccus (Ricc. Ed. R. 431)'

P. Urbanski, 'Neo-Latin Drama in Seventeenth-Century Stettin'

S. Valero, 'Tradizione scientifica e polemica culturale nel De podagra di Antonio Galeato'

J. J. Valverde Abril, 'Una notable página en la historia de la Filologia: Los Aristotelis politicorum libri VIII des Ginéd de Sepúlveda'

M. Verweij, 'Johannes Fevynus, a Minor Humanist from Bruges at the Crossroads between Erasmus, Vives, Marcus Laurinus, and Franciscus Craneveldius'

K. Viiding, 'Zum Formengrundbestand der neulateinischen Propemptikadichtung'

J. Waszink, 'Tacitism in Holland: Hugo Grotius' Annales et Historiae de Rebus Belgicis'.

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