The Virgilian Tradition: Book History and the History of Reading in Early Modern Europe, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Virgilian Tradition

Book History and the History of Reading in Early Modern Europe, 1st Edition

By Craig Kallendorf


320 pages

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The essays in this collection approach the reception of the Roman poet Virgil in early modern Europe from the perspective of two areas at the center of current scholarly work in the humanities: book history and the history of reading. The first group of essays uses Virgil's place in post-classical culture to raise questions of broad scholarly interest: How, exactly, does modern reception theory challenge traditional notions of literary practice and value? How do the marginal comments of early readers provide insight into their character and mind? How does rhetoric help shape literary criticism? The second group of essays begins from the premise that the material form in which early modern readers encountered this most important of Latin poets played a key role in how they understood what they read. Thus title pages and illustrations help shape interpretation, with the results of that interpretation in turn becoming the comments that early modern readers regularly entered into the margins of their books. The volume concludes with four more specialized studies that show how these larger issues play out in specific neo-Latin works of the early modern period.


’… the author has assembled a fascinating body of knowledge that we can add to the numerous books in this field […] turning this variorum edition into an item of wider interest to students, researchers, and experts.’ Library Review

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Philology, the reader and the nachleben of classical texts; Marginalia and the rise of early modern subjectivity; The rhetorical criticism of literature in early Italian humanism from Boccaccio to Landino; Virgil's post-classical legacy; Proverbs, censors and schools: neo-Latin studies and book history; The Virgilian title page as interpretive frame; or, through the looking glass; The Aeneid transformed: illustration as interpretation from the renaissance to the present; In search of a patron: Anguillara's vernacular Virgil and the print culture of renaissance Italy; In the margins of Virgil: Venetian renaissance books in the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana and their early readers; Cristoforo Landino, Andrea Tordi and the reading practices of renaissance humanism; Virgil, Dante and empire in Italian thought, 1300-1500; Inclyta Aeneis: a 16th-century neo-Latin tragicomedy; Ascensius, Landino and Virgil: continuity and transformation in renaissance commentary; Aeneas and the 'new world': Stella's Columbeis and Virgilian pessimism; Indexes.

About the Author

Craig Kallendorf is Professor of Classics and English at Texas A&M University, College Station, USA.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / General
HISTORY / Social History