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Level 7

7AACM293 Early Modern Latin Poetry 1

Credit value: 20 credits
Module convenor/tutor: Dr Victoria Moul (2017/18)
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour weekly seminars
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
 1 x essay of 5,000 words OR 1 x edited text (or text extract) with translation and commentary of 5,000 words (100%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Pre-requisites: Students should have a reasonable knowledge of classical Latin, equivalent to an advanced undergraduate module; or, if they have less advanced Latin, they should have some knowledge of early modern history or literature.

Places on this module will be capped at 16 and will be allocated in the first instance to those students from any College who are following the MA Classics degree programme and secondly to those on the King's College London MA Classical World and its Reception programme. Any remaining places up to the maximum size of the class will then be distributed proportionally between Colleges.

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

This module offers students the opportunity to explore some of the key authors and genres of the Latin poetry written in Europe during the Renaissance, from the beginnings of neo-classical poetry in 14th and 15th century Italy, to around 1700. In this period, a vast amount of original Latin poetry, much of it of high literary quality, was produced across Europe in a range of genres, including those familiar from classical Latin literature (epic, elegy, drama, epigram) as well as several genres not typical of classical Latin verse (such as Latin Pindaric odes, various kinds of drama, and Christian religious verse).

This understudied material offers many points of interest, especially for students interested in any of the following topics: the reception of classical Latin poetry in early modern literature; the links between Latin and vernacular literature in early modern Europe; the political possibilities of classical imitation; or the linguistic features of neo-classical Latin in the Renaissance. Due to the understudied nature of much of this material, a good deal of which remains unedited and untranslated, this topic is also an excellent opportunity for any graduate students who are interested in the challenges of editing and translating a text for themselves. 

Students will be expected to read about 200 lines of Latin per week, together with one or two articles or chapters from books. Students should have a decent level of Latin and preferably a solid knowledge of classical Latin literature. Students with less Latin experience but some background in early modern studies are also welcome.

Students who are less confident of their Latin, or who belong to another department and are unable to take the module for credit, are welcome to audit (i.e. to sit in), subject to space. Those interested in doing so should contact Dr Victoria Moul in the first instance.

Provisional teaching plan

  • Week 1: Introduction to Neo-Latin Literature

  • Week 2: Latin in early modern verse manuscripts and miscellanies: an introductory reading exercise

  • Week 3: Neo-Latin Epigrams 1 (Poliziano, Sannazaro, Srozzi, Buchanan, Cordus, Crashaw, Milton, Herbert, Owen, Du Bellay)

  • Week 4: Neo-Latin Epigrams 2: Epigram Sequences (Herbert, Camden, Campion)

  • Weeks 5: Neo-Latin Elegy 1 (Strozzi, Pontano, Secundus, Buchanan, Melissus)

  • Week 6: Neo-Latin Elegy 2: British Latin Elegy (Campion, Cowley, Du Moulin)

  • Weeks 7: Neo-Latin Hymns: Marullo, Flaminio, Macrin, Balde.

  • Week 8: Neo-Latin Odes: Filelfo, Pontano, Milton, Cowley.

  • Week 9: A taste of neo-Latin hexameter: Pontano, Vida, Herbert, Milton.

  • Week 10: Student presentations and final discussion. 

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.

On Neo-Latin poetry, and Neo-Latin studies in general:

  • J. Ijsewijn, Companion to Neo-Latin Studies , 2 vols (Amsterdam, 1977 – but second rewritten edition, Leuven, 1990 and 1998)

  • Knight and Tilg, Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin (Oxford, 2015)

  • Ford, Bloemendal and Fantazzi, Brill’s Encyclopaedia of the Neo-Latin World (Brill, 2014), 2 vols

  • Ingrid De Smet, “Not for Classicists? The State of Neo-Latin Studies”, Journal of Roman Studies, 89 (1999), 205-9

  • Philip Ford, “Twenty-five Years of Neo-Latin Studies”, Neulateinisches Jahrbuch, 2 (2000), 293-30

  • Anthony Grafton, Joseph Scaliger: A study in the History of Classical Scholarship I and II (Oxford-Warburg Studies, Oxford, 1983 and 1993)

  • W. L. Grant, “European Vernacular Works in Latin Translation”, in Studies in the Renaissance I (New York, 1954), 120-156

  • Y. Haskell and Philip Hardie (eds), Poets and Teachers: Latin Didactic Poetry and the Didactic Authority of the Latin Poet from the Renaissance to the Present (Bari, 1999)

  • H. Hofmann, “Point de vue sur les méthodes et les perspectives des études néo-latines”, Les Cahiers de l’Humanisme 1 (2000), 11-13

  • W. Ludwig, “Die neuzeitliche lateinische Literatur seit der Renaissance”, in Einleitung in die lateinische Philologie, ed. by Fritz Graf (Stuttgart and Leipzig, 1997), 323-356

On British Neo-Latin:

  • J. W. Binns, Intellectual Culture in Elizabethan and Jacobean England. The Latin Writings of the Age (Arca 24, Leeds, 1990)

  • Leicester Bradner, Musae Anglicanae. A History of Anglo-Latin Poetry 1500-1925 (New York and London, 1940)

  • Houghton and Manuwald, Neo-Latin Poetry in the British Isles (Bloomsbury, 2012)

  • Moul, ‘Neo-Latin Poetry, 1500-1700: An English Perspective’, Oxford Scholarship online

Anthologies of Neo-Latin poetry:

  • F. J. Nichols, An Anthology of Neo-Latin Poetry (New Haven, 1979)

  • Alessandro Perosa and John Sparrow, Renaissance Latin Verse: An Anthology (Chapel Hill, 1979)

The website for the Society for Neo-Latin Studies has a useful set of further links, and is developing an on-line anthology of neo-latin extracts with commentary and translations.

Dana Sutton’s library of British Neo-Latin texts, with translations - though beware of flawed transcriptions and translations on this site.

Much neo-Latin material printed in England can also be found on Early English Books Online.

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