Mediaeval Latin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This chapter provides an introduction to mediaeval Latin. After demonstrating the impossibility of providing any sort of meaningful survey of so extensive, varied and underexplored a literary field, I model two different ways of approaching the subject. One is through microhistory, where one looks at texts with certain generic, formal or geographic characteristics in a diachronic fashion from their classical ancestors to their Renaissance progeny always keeping in view contiguous material in other genres and in languages other than Latin. The other is the history of style, where one looks synchronically at texts produced in widely different regions and in different generic categories to obtain a broader vista of the way Latin as a literary language changed over time. One way to do this is to look at mannerism, or deliberate obscurity of style for rhetorical effect, as a persistent feature of Latin literature from late antiquity on, in a dialectic with classicism on the one hand, and biblical simplicity on the other. This leads to a revisionist view of the earliest stages of humanistic poetry in Trecento Italy, as growing organically from pre-existing mediaeval stylistic canons.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Critical Guide to Latin Literature
EditorsRoy Gibson, Christopher Whitton
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages62
ISBN (Electronic)9781108363303
ISBN (Print)9781108421089
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Mediaeval Latin
  • manuscripts
  • history of scholarship
  • genre
  • epic
  • bucolic
  • reception
  • Renaissance humanism


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