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Open Access A Twelfth-Century Humanist Reinvents Virgil

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Imagine discovering in your attic architectural plans for the old family abode, revealing the original inner beams and seams, moldy additions, musty foundation, and repeated makeovers—all the blueprints as if freshly readable, magically suggesting a fresh contemporary renovation. Surely there is a similar charm in following the footsteps of a great poet. The thrill of a small discovery urges us on to proceed until we see through the creator's eyes and feel through the artist's emotions, until we know and understand more and more. It is possible today to recreate such a palpable process, on a potent scale. Like its prestigious antecedent, the Aeneid of Virgil (the "aged house, a "pagan Bible" for medievals), the Roman d'Eneas incarnates a fascinating twelfth-century retelling, indeed a reinvention of the immortal epic. While it preserves the mud but not always the marble of the Latin classic—the work vouchsafes the transmission of antiquity in the high Middle Ages. By studying this and related texts we can witness firsthand the very beginnings of medieval vernacular romance—in its humanistic context. It will become clear from our analyses that the romance is full of surprises—a schematic for new insights insofar as the poet's mind and methods reveal an irresistibly modern approach to adaptation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • Until a short time ago, in German speaking countries there has neither been a periodical dealing primarly with interdisciplinary research of the Middle Ages, nor has there been a forum for regular publications in other languages. Wishing to close this gap, the journal «Mediaevistik» therefore pursues two aims: 1. To publish research methods and results which deal with studies within the different categories of the Middle Ages as a subject, and 2. to offer a forum for studies in all other important European languages and thus stressing and furthering the internationality of this particular field of research. The time frame is approx. the 8th to the 16th century, corresponding with the geographical boundaries of Latin Christianity in the High Middle Ages.

    All articles in Mediaevistik are published as full open access articles under a CC-BY Creative Commons license 4.0. There are no submission charges and no Article Processing Charges as these are fully funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched, resulting in no direct charge to authors.

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