The Virgilian Tradition The First Fifteen Hundred Years Jan M. Ziolkowski, Michael C. J. Putnam

Publication date:
07 Mar 2008
992 pages: 234 x 156 x 65mm
5 b&w illustrations, 2 colour images

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This indispensable anthology gathers texts and translations that cover major aspects of the Virgilian tradition from the Roman poet's own lifetime to the year 1500. Unprecedented in scope, the book presents a vast compendium of materials that illuminate how poets, teachers, students, and common folk responded to Virgil and his poetry. The volume offers a brief commentary on each text, many of which are translated into English for the first time. The book begins with a chronological survey of Virgil's influence upon writers from Augustan Rome to Renaissance Italy. There follow detailed reviews of biographies of Virgil, of how his writings were received and used, and of how the poet was envisaged and explained through the centuries. The final section focuses on the tradition of legends associated with Virgil.

Michael C. J. Putnam is W. Duncan MacMillan II Professor of Classics, Emeritus, and Professor of Comparative Literature, Emeritus, Brown University. He is the author of Virgil's Epic Designs and Horace's "Carmen Saeculare," published by Yale University Press. Jan M. Ziolkowski, author of more than a dozen books on medieval literature, is Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Medieval Latin at Harvard University.

ÒTwo thousand years after the death of its author, VirgilÕs poetry occupies a central place in the canon of Western literature. The number of responses to Virgil, however, has discouraged anyone from attempting to collect them, sift out the most important, and organize the selections in an intelligible manner. This is the job Putnam and Ziolkowski have undertaken, and they have succeeded admirably.ÓÑCraig Kallendorf, Texas A & M University   

ÒThis wonderful project brings together a truly generous sampling of text and translations that document the tradition of Virgil reception. There are no comparable collections of sources, much less sources with translations into English.ÓÑRalph J. Hexter, President, Hampshire College     

"A challenging project, well carried out. . . . Fascinating in illuminating the minds of [Virgil's] readers through the ages."ÑJasper Griffin, New York Review of Books

"25 researchers from many different academic fields have come together and compiled this anthology in a truly interdisciplinary effort. In spite of the dangers involved in such a huge project, the book is a virtually seamless and very compact piece. This book can serve as a trustworthy companion which lets the texts themselves be heard instead of secondary literature. . . . I have learned and profited very much from reviewing this book."ÑWolfgang Polleichtner, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"For Virgil scholars this book is a regal feast; for non-Virgilians it is an enticing invitation to learn more about the poet's long afterlife. Highly recommended."ÑChoice

Winner of the 2009 Alexander G. McKay Prize for Vergilian Studies, given by the Vergilian Society of America.

"Ziolkowski and Putnam have succeeded in producing a reference book that is both easy and pleasurable to use."ÑStephen Guy-Bray, Speculum- A Journal of Medieval Studies