Academic journal article Seventeenth-Century News

Neo-Latin News

Academic journal article Seventeenth-Century News

Neo-Latin News

Article excerpt

Vol. 65, Nos. 3 & 4. Jointly with SCN. NLN is the official publication of the American Association for Neo-Latin Studies. Edited by Craig Kallendorf, Texas A&M University; Western European Editor: Gilbert Tournoy, Leuven; Eastern European Editors: Jerzy Axer, Barbara Milewska-Wazbinska, and Katarzyna Tomaszuk, Centre for Studies in the Classical Tradition in Poland and East-Central Europe, University of Warsaw. Founding Editors: James R. Naiden, Southern Oregon University, and J. Max Patrick, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Graduate School, New York University. *

* Geschichte der neulateinische Literatur: Vom Humanismus bis zur Gegenwart. By Martin Korenjak. Munich: C. H. Beck, 2016. 304 pp. 26.95 [euro]. As a number of people have noticed, Neo-Latin as a discipline seems to have reached a crossroads. After a hiatus of almost forty years, during which the field was well served by Josef IJsewijn and Dirk Sacre's Companion to Neo-Latin Studies (Leuven, 1977), three new handbooks have recently appeared in rapid succession: Brill's Encyclopaedia of the Neo-Latin World, ed. Philip Ford, Jan Bloemendal, and Charles Fantazzi (Leiden, 2014); The Oxford Handbook of NeoLatin, ed. Sarah Knight and Stefan Tilg (Oxford, 2015); and A Guide to Neo-Latin Literature, ed. Victoria Moul (Cambridge, 2017). At the same time, my "Recent Trends in Neo-Latin Studies," Renaissance Quarterly 69 (2016): 617-29 appeared, signifying that Neo-Latin has received the same recognition that English, history, and German have in the journal of record for the period in which the greatest amount of Neo-Latin literature was produced. This bibliographical survey made it apparent that, while the handbooks have done a good job of summarizing the state of research in a rapidly evolving field, there is still no book that does for this generation what IJsewijn and Sacre had done for theirs, in offering an account of the development of Neo-Latin literature from a single perspective. Korenjak's Geschichte der neulateinische Literatur is designed to fill this gap.

The book is divided into two parts. The first one, entitled simply "Geschichte," offers a chronological survey of the development of Neo-Latin literature, beginning with humanism and the Renaissance, extending through what Korenjak calls "Das Zeitalter der Konfessionalisierung," the seventeenth century, and the eighteenth century, and concluding with a modern period that extends from 1800 to the present. Part II, "Bedeutung," proceeds thematically, offering overviews of the role of Neo-Latin in education, translation and letters, belles lettres, history, religion, politics, and the scientific revolution. Part II is especially valuable in its recognition of the importance of non-literary writing within the field of Neo-Latin: this recognition was certainly present in the Companion to Neo-Latin Studies, but that volume still reflects a focus on literature that was typical of the generation in which it was produced. The Geschichte der neulateinishe Literatur, like Brill's Encyclopaedia of the Neo-Latin World in particular, provides a more balanced overview of an environment in which a scientist or theologian was as likely to be writing in Latin as a poet--more so, actually, depending on the time and place.

This is a courageous book, one in which the author, as he put it, wrote a single book about a few million books. No one can possibly have read all these millions of books, and Korenjak does not claim to have done so. Here, as always, it is important to let the author set out what he is trying to do, so that we evaluate the book he has tried to write, not (necessarily) the one we might want to read. Korenjak is quite clear about this: he intends to provide "ein Uberblick uber die neulateinische Literatur fur eine breitere Leserschaft" (28). The result is short, about 300 pages, with only minimal annotation, about ten per cent of the total, but it does indeed provide the overview that Korenjak describes. …

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