Instructor: Frank Bezner

This course fulfills the elective requirement for the DE in REMS.

TuTh 11-12:30, 60 Barrows, 4 units, CCN 15642

This course explores one of the most creative and interesting periods in post-classical Latin literature and literary culture: the epoch of humanism and the subsequent “respublica litterarum” of the 16th and 17th centuries. We will first read extracts from Petrarchs Latin works, then focus for about a month on literary works produced in (basically) 15th-century Florence (Salutati, Bruni, Pico, Poliziano). In the last third of the course we will explore some – mainly poetic – genres (e.g. love poetry by Johannes Secundus; Milton’s Latin poems; neo-Latin epics; and some early-modern philology). 

Emphasis is on translation and interpretation, but there will be a number of introductory or summarizing mini-lectures on single authors, contexts, or more general problems (as e.g. imitation and intertextuality; humanist style(s); humanist philology; modern interpretations of humanism etc.) We will also visit the Bancroft library and look at humanist manuscripts (including the single witness of an early work by Petrarch!) and early-printed books (mostly first editions of Classical authors). Altogether, the course will attempt to be an intellectual history of Renaissance culture via the reading of key literary works. 

The course is aimed at diverse audiences. Classicists will be able to study the reception of classical literature in the early-modern period, a period crucial for the emergence of a “modern” conception of “the Classics”; students of vernacular literatures will be able to study the Latin counterparts (and often foundations) of vernacular humanist culture; and early modernists from disciplines as History or Art History will have the opportunity to explore the intellectual undercurrents of early-modern institutions and/or artistic creation.

Prerequisites: Latin 100 or proven competence at this level.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes