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European Literary Careers

European Literary Careers: The Author from Antiquity to the Renaissance

Patrick Cheney
Frederick A. de Armas
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 256
  • Book Info
    European Literary Careers
    Book Description:

    In this first book-length study in the fieldof authorial criticism, various specialists from Italian, French, English, and Spanish studies collectively discuss literary careers spanning from classical antiquity through the Renaissance.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7468-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction ʹJog on, jog onʹ: European Career Paths
    (pp. 3-23)
    Patrick Cheney

    The essays collected in this volume explore various paths of European careers. Primarily, the careers are literary, but occasionally a nonliterary path crosses over them; the terrain is traversed by men as well as by women, from classical antiquity through the Renaissance, principally in Italy, France, England, and Spain, in poetry and in drama, in prose fiction and in nonfiction. The key word here is ′explore,′ for the ground is not merely vast and intricate; it remains largely under-explored. In fact, ′career criticism′ has emerged almost exclusively in English Renaissance studies, and primarily in studies of Edmund Spenser, Renaissance England′s...

  5. One Greek Lives and Roman Careers in the Classical Vita Tradition
    (pp. 24-46)
    Joseph Farrell

    For later ages, Virgil′s gradual ascent from humbler to grander genres was generally regarded as defining the ideal poetic career. Virgil himself did something to encourage the view that his three major works comprise a hierarchy of both styles and subjects and, at the same time, a unified whole.¹ This view quickly took root and bore fruit: almost from the moment of Virgil′s death, poets appear to begin defining the shape of their own careers in imitation of or in distinction to a Virgilian norm. Many of the essays in this volume will explore the ramifications of this tradition. This...

  6. Two From Cursus to Ductus: Figures of Writing in Western Late Antiquity (Augustine, Jerome, Cassiodorus, Bede)
    (pp. 47-103)
    Mark Vessey

    In the chapter ′Christianity and the Fame of the Spirit′ inThe Frenzy of RenownLeo Braudy begins to explore the changes to ancient Roman concepts of public service, career, and reputation brought about by the christianization of the Empire in the century after Constantine′s victory at the Milvian Bridge in AD 312. Writing, books, and literature occupy a prominent place in an account centred (aptly, if predictably) on the career, ideas, and works of that most voluminous of Latin Church Fathers, Augustine of Hippo. In fact, as Braudy observes, Augustine′s books, both those he read and those in which...

  7. Three Medieval Literary Careers: The Theban Track
    (pp. 104-128)
    Robert R. Edwards

    For medieval writers, literary careers are shaped by practice rather than program. The most influential career program from antiquity is preserved in the medieval manuscripts that prefaced the opening of theAeneidwith four lines tracing Virgil′s literary progression through pastoral, georgic, and epic:

    Ille ego, qui quondam gracili modulatus avena

    carmen, et egressus silvis vicina coegi

    ut quamvis avido parerent arva colono,

    gratum opus agricolis; at nunc horrentia Martis.

    (Virgil 1.240)¹

    I am he who once tuned my song on a slender reed, then, leaving the woodland, constrained the neighbouring fields to serve the husbandmen, however grasping – a...

  8. Four Authority and Influence – Vocation and Anxiety: The Sense of a Literary Career in the Sentimental Novel and Celestina
    (pp. 129-145)
    James F. Burke

    An attempt to discuss what sense of literary career might have existed among writers in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance is complicated enormously by the fact that we cannot be certain that the concept of the individual which pertained was analogous to our present understanding. Descartes′s famous dictumcogito ergo sumimplies that Western civilization in the early Renaissance had begun to move away from the understanding of human cognizance which had prevailed for a thousand years and had started to evolve toward new modes of interpreting experience. The personality of this unique self would be seen as...

  9. Five Versions of a Career: Petrarch and His Renaissance Commentators
    (pp. 146-164)
    William J. Kennedy

    Few writers have recorded more about themselves and their careers than did Francesco Petrarch (1304–74), and in the two centuries that followed his death none received more critical notice and commentary. Such diverse texts as his Latin epicAfricaand pastoralBucolicum carmen, his prose ′Coronation Oration′ and ′Letter to Posterity,′ and above all hisEpistolae Familiares(Letters on Familiar Matters) andEpistolae Seniles(Letters in Old Age) inscribe different accounts of his lifework at its different stages. Fifteenth- and sixteenth-century commentators on his ItalianRime sparsein turn understand these accounts from yet different perspectives. The poet′s programmatic...

  10. Six Judging a Literary Career: The Case of Antonio de Guevara (1480?—1545)
    (pp. 165-185)
    Kathleen Bollard de Broce

    Antonio de Guevara′s literary career follows neither a Virgilian nor an Ovidian model, but does suggest an alternative paradigm for the early modern period. While Guevara draws on classical rhetoricians for methodologies, his genre patterning differs significantly from that of a classical or medievalcursusin that he wrote neither epic, pastoral, nor love poetry; nevertheless, his heroic biographies, manuals for courtiers, devotional works, and collections of letters, together with his prologues, suggest both an engagement of literature with contemporary political and religious culture and a keen understanding of an author′s ability to craft his literary legacy.¹ Like Virgil, Guevara...

  11. Seven Arms versus Letters: The Poetics of War and the Career of the Poet in Early Modern Spain
    (pp. 186-205)
    Anne J. Cruz

    As a classical literary topos that enters the Renaissance through the normative writings on courtly behaviour, the vaunted linkage of arms and letters, known earlier assapientia et fortitudo, nevertheless displays considerable instability. In his magisterialEuropean Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, Ernst Curtius attributes its significance to the increasing differentiation both of disciplines and of social ranks - an issue, he avers, that raised the question of which studies were most appropriate for the ideal type of ruling class. Curtius′s study of the transition from classical to vernacular literatures, evincing as it does his vast humanist erudition and...

  12. Eight Divine Poetry as a Career Move: The Complexities and Consolations of Following David
    (pp. 206-230)
    Anne Lake Prescott

    No one would deny that divine poetry - poetry or verse drama based on the Bible - was admired in the Renaissance, not least in that period′s waning years. True, not all poets were quite up to the task of soaring skyward with Urania, the muse of astronomy who, largely thanks to a poem, ′L′Uranie′ by Guillaume Saluste, Sieur Du Bartas, mutated into a muse of such poetry often indistinguishable from the Holy Ghost him/herself.¹ Although ′L′Uranie′ is an accomplished poem (it or its protagonist must be the ′Muse′ that Spenser praises at the end of hisRuines of Rome...

  13. Nine ʹNovells of his deviseʹ: Chaucerian and Virgilian Career Paths in Spenserʹs Februarie Eclogue
    (pp. 231-267)
    Patrick Cheney

    Among Western writers treated in this volume, Spenser has become the career critic′s poet. He has proved fertile in this discourse because he is Renaissance England′s first ′laureate′: a writer who breaks free from the ′amateur′ mould of his generation to present himself with a complex literary career important to the nation.¹ In 1579, Spenser self-consciously begins his career-presentation inThe Shepheardes Calender, his inaugural collection of twelve pastoral eclogues, written nominally in imitation of Virgil, who had published hisEcloguesbefore his didactic poem, theGeorgics, and then his epic, theAeneid. In theOctobereclogue (lines 55-60), the...

  14. Ten Cervantes and the Virgilian Wheel: The Portrayal of a Literary Career
    (pp. 268-285)
    Frederick A. de Armas

    Throughout his literary career, Cervantes was engaged in a conversation and a contest with the classical authors of Greece and Rome. From his early pastoral romanceLa Galatea(1585), whose very title evokes the Ovidian myth of Polyphemus′s love for the nymph Galatea,¹ to his posthumously publishedLos trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda(1617), where Cervantes sought to assure his fame by rivaling Heliodorus′s Aethiopica,² his works constantly call upon the textual remains of the ancients. From the ancient monuments of Rome′s pagan past as depicted inDon Quixote(2:95) to the detailed description of the sixteenth-century city in the...

  15. Eleven Epic Violence: Captives, Moriscos, and Empire in Cervantes
    (pp. 286-301)
    Álvaro Molina

    While it would probably take volumes to fully trace the shape of a literary career like that of Cervantes, F. de Armas successfully illustrates through various landmarks the author′s awareness of and efforts to imitate Virgil′s career model, also known as the Virgiliancursus.¹ In the present analysis I will not attempt to pursue the proposed overarching progression from pastoral to epic in Cervantes′ career, but rather focus on a few moments in his writings which emulate typically Virgilian epic devices. Effectively, I will move inside one of the phases in Cervantes career outlined by de Armas - the epic...

  16. Twelve Renaissance Englishwomen and the Literary Career
    (pp. 302-324)
    Susanne Woods, Margaret P. Hannay, Elaine Beilin and Anne Shaver

    English Renaissance women writers were not Virgilians who styled their lives from low to high, Horatians who taught by delighting, selfcrowned laureates who sought a formal place in ′a system of authorial roles′ which ′emerg[ed] in late sixteenth-century England′ (Helgerson,Self-Crowned2). Yet women′s voices and self-presentations were visible both in the more confined traditions of manuscript circulation and the increasing ubiquity of the printed book, the two systems by which ′authors′ were published, made public, in the early modern period. We propose to outline some of the more common motives asserted by Renaissance Englishwomen, followed by a brief survey...

  17. Works Cited
    (pp. 325-362)
  18. Contributors
    (pp. 363-366)