Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Nine Medieval Latin Plays

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Nine Medieval Latin Plays

Article excerpt

Nine Medieval Latin Plays, trans, and ed. Peter Dronke, Cambridge Medieval Classics 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994)· xxxv + *37 PP· ISBN 0-521-39537-2. ¿30.00.

Peter Dronke's anthology of plays, which all will welcome with considerable enthusiasm, augurs most favourably for this new series, Cambridge Medieval Classics, of which this is the first volume and Dronke, fittingly, the general editor. Future volumes promise a generous view of medieval classics, from literature to philosophy and science, from the well-known to the less wellknown, both poetry and prose, both Latin and Greek. Some promised volumes contain pieces of relatively easy access in reliable editions, such as Hugh Primas and the Archpoet, though the currently available editions of these lack the English translations on facing pages that are a feature of the new series. Other promised volumes will make available texts one has always sought vainly in second-hand bookshops, such as Johannes de Hauvilla's Arcbitrenius and Nigel of Longchamp's Speculum stultorum. Historians of science will be most pleased at the forthcoming new edition of Adelard of Bath's De eodem et diverso and Quaestiones naturales, up to now accessible only in editions of 1903 and 1934 respectively, and Dantists will welcome the forthcoming editions of the De vulgari eloquentia and De monorchia.

The format in Dronke's anthology - a general introduction to the collection, followed by the nine plays, each with its own introduction (in and iv are treated together, as are ν and vi), text with textual notes, and explanatory notes - suggests a flexible editorial policy, longer texts presumably being treated in a more extended format, shorter pieces perhaps in a manner simiThe lar to Dronke's. But what is most welcome is the fact that each play is here newly edited from the manuscripts (with the partial exception of Hildegard of Bingen's Ordo virtutum, where Dronke relies on his own earlier edition in his Poetic Individuality in the Middle Ages, 2nd edn (London, 1986)) and translated, and this procedure will characterize all subsequent volumes.

The nine plays date from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and most of them were formerly available only in Karl Young's The Drama of the Medieval Church (Oxford, 1933), where the combination of the brevity of the text and Young's commentary often succeeded in relegating most to inferior status. …

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