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The disciplines of classical scholarship were established in their modern form between 1300 and 1600, and Virgil was a test case for many of them. What became of Virgil in this period – how he was understood and how his poems were recycled – is an example of something that occurs to every classic when it outlives it original context: the words remain but their meaning becomes unsponsored. What did readers assume about Virgil in the long decades between Dante and Sidney, Petrarch and Spenser, Boccaccio and Ariosto? Which commentators had the most influence? What story, if any, was Virgil's Eclogues supposed to tell? What was the status of his Georgics? Which parts of his epic attracted the most imitators? Building on specialized scholarship of the last hundred years, this book provides a panoramic synthesis of what scholars and poets from across Europe believed they could know about Virgil's life and poetry.Read more
- Traces the history of interpretation from late antiquity through the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, so will appeal to scholars in all three fields of classics, Medieval studies and Renaissance studies
- Presents a panoramic overview of Virgil's reception and reputation in the Renaissance
- The study covers writers including Petrarch, Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare and Montaigne, and many figures in the history of classical scholarship
Reviews & endorsements
"Scholars will appreciate Wilson-Okamura's panoramic overview and his synthesis of previous criticism, and less-experienced readers will have no difficulty following his arguments, even when he refers to poets and epics they have not yet read...Highly recommended."
-B. E. Brandt, South Dakota State University, ChoiceSee more reviews
"I wish more academic books were like Virgil in the Renaissance. It is learned, urbane, full of nice details, perceptive readings, and many more good things that will repay a second, and undoubtedly a third and fourth, reading. The book is well-written and there are numerous turns of phrase that reveal the author to be an astute literary critic as well as an accomplished scholar, a rare combination in any age. Professor Wilson-Okamura has a good eye for the demotic to place against more exalted concerns and he knows how concerned the ancients were with the stuff of everyday life. He can also be quite funny when he wants to be. He often alludes to a second book he is writing. This shows that he has worked hard on a major subject that merits further publication, and it will be obvious to readers that his current book is based on a depth of reading that is far from exhausted by what we see in this volume. I have enjoyed reading Virgil in the Renaissance as much as any academic book I have read for a long time."
-Andrew Hadfield, PN Review
"...a fine book that should be required reading for all students and scholars of Renaissance literature or culture...well-written, carefully controlled, accessible, and unobtrusively scholarly. Commendably easy to read, it nevertheless offers a synthesis of a great deal of invaluable primary research—the tables of Virgil commentaries and their dates of printing, with which the book concludes, are probably worth the cover price alone — and the generous and authoritative footnotes throughout the volume offer rich pickings, exemplarily well-organized....Virgil in the Renaissance is that rare thing: a straightforward but subtle and enjoyable work of reference relevant to a wide range of students and scholars. For those with expertise in Virgilian reception specifically, little that Wilson-Okamura says will come as a surprise; but the systematic approach, generosity of reference, and consistently telling use of examples makes Virgil in the Renaissance an invaluable resource even for the (relatively) expert...it is hard to imagine a more useful starting point for any graduate student or scholar wondering about the presence of Virgil in a Renaissance text."
-Victoria Moul, King’s College London, Renaissance Quarterly
"In the final pages of this landmark study, David Scott Wilson-Okamura writes: ‘Virgil in the Renaissance was a style as much as an idea’ (p. 250). This encapsulates much of the originality of the book: by exploring the commentarial tradition from Servius onwards, Wilson-Okamura reviews The Faerie Queene and Gerusalemme liberata through the filter of the Aeneid, thus nudging the reader back to the works of Virgil himself.
-Richard Danson Brown, Modern Language Review
"There has long been a need for a comprehensive examination of Virgil’s place in the various European Renaissances (plural deliberate). Wilson-Okamura’s volume attempts to address that need. There is much in this book that will be a delight to those who are interested in the reception of Virgil in these periods of intense literary and artistic creativity."
-Lee Fratantuono, Ohio Wesleyan University, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2011
"Virgil in the Renaissance is that rare thing: a straightforward but subtle and enjoyable work of reference relevant to a wide range of students and scholars."
-VICTORIA MOUL,King's College London
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- Date Published: December 2015
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781316505342
- length: 314 pages
- dimensions: 230 x 153 x 20 mm
- weight: 0.46kg
- contains: 5 b/w illus. 2 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Part I. Publication:
1. Virgil with an i
Part II. Reputation:
2. Patronage and the Eclogues
3. Variety and the Georgics
4. Morals and minimalism
Part III. Interpretation:
5. Virgil's Odyssey
6. Virgil's Iliad
Appendix A. Virgil commentaries (alphabetical)
Appendix B. Virgil commentaries (ranked).
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