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Symposium Program

Neo-Latin and the Humanities:
An International Symposium in Honor of
Professor Charles Fantazzi

(all events will take place in Joyner Library, 2nd floor)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

7-8 pm: Plenary I

Dr. Alan White,
Dean of Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences,
East Carolina University

Dr. Frank Romer,
Foreign Languages and Literatures,
East Carolina University

Professor James Hankins,
General Editor, I Tatti Renaissance Library,
Harvard University,
"The Renaissance of Neo-Latin: Goals and Achievements"

8 pm: Reception

Friday February 25th, 2011

9 - 10:30 am: Session 1

Kevin Moll, East Carolina University School of Music and Director, Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program

Anne-Hélène Miller, East Carolina University

Speaker 1:
Ronald G. Witt, Duke University,
"The Rolls of Death and the French Renaissance of the Twelfth Century"
Beginning in early medieval Francia scrolls were regularly carried by messengers throughout the country announcing the death of an important layman or churchman with the intention that ecclesiastical institutions along the route would inscribe prayers for the deceased. By the late eleventh century these became vehicles not only for conveying prayers but also poems and literary prose. As such they served as something akin to literary journals and played a role in the beginnings of the French Renaissance of the twelfth century.

Speaker 2:
Timothy Kircher, Guilford College,
"Dead Souls: Leon Battista Alberti's Anatomy of Renaissance Humanism"
This paper examines the meaning of death in a number of writings of Alberti (1404-72), from early to late, both Latin and Tuscan (Life of St. Potitus, The Deceased, On the Family, Momus). These writings juxtapose the fragility of earthly existence with the immortality of the soul, and express these states through the voices of both dying Christians and pagan souls living on after death. The pagan souls, in their afterlife, provide Alberti with a means to assess the humanist revival of the ancients. Despite their immortality and erudition, these souls remain prone to self-deception. Alberti's portrayals suggest that the contemporary studia humanitatis often evaded the reality of death and life's transience. Moving beyond their Lucianic models, the writings offer a significant contribution to fifteenth-century humanism.

10:30 - 10:45 am: BREAK

10:45 - 12:15 am: Session 2

Jonathan A. Reid, East Carolina University

Speaker 1:
James K. Farge, Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, Toronto,
"Scholasticism, humanism and the 'collège de france'"
Scholasticism -- the logic-based, systematic approach to learning about God, human beings, their world, their knowledge, and their actions -- dominated the curriculum in European universities for several hundred years. It was never, however, without its critics. Thus, as many scholastic teachers in the later Middle Ages became more interested in the methodology of their science than in its results, their critics became more numerous and more successful. They proposed substituting the studia humanitatis -- the study of the classical authors of Greece and Rome -- as a more solid basis for learning and moral action. Their movement, known as "humanism," achieved its first and greatest success in Italy. Christian humanists, promoting the exegesis of biblical texts, insisted that Hebrew was equally essential alongside Greek and classical Latin for training theologians. Humanism successfully gained a place in the curriculum of many universities and eventually gave rise to specialized "tri-lingual colleges" where the study of classical Latin, Greek, and Hebrew held pride of place. The earliest of these colleges were founded in Alcalá (Spain) and Louvain (Belgium). My paper will concentrate on the creation of a tri-lingual program in the most prestigious university in northern Europe, the University of Paris, where scholastic curriculum still held sway.

Speaker 2:
Paul Grendler, University of Toronto,
"How the Jesuits Viewed Vives and Erasmus'"
Ignatius Loyola and the first Jesuits chose scholastic theology over humanistic theology when they were students at the University of Paris in the 1530s. Loyola quarreled with Vives, and he did not like Erasmus' books. But when they became schoolmasters at mid century, they realized that Vives and Erasmus wrote books that were very useful for teaching the humanistic curriculum that the Jesuits adopted for their lower schools. The paper discusses the contradictory and shifting attitudes and actions of Loyola and his successors toward Vives and Erasmus in the rest of the century and beyond.

12:15 - 1:30 pm: LUNCH

1:30 - 3:00 pm: Session 3

Lee Piepho, Sweet Briar College

Speaker 1:
David Wilson-Okamura, East Carolina University,
"Gold and the Virgilian Underworld"
Why is the golden bough made of gold? In 1945, Agnes Michels noted that there are only two golden boughs in all of classical poetry: one carried by Aeneas, the other Plato; ergo Virgil is a Platonist. Frazer, following Vico, argued that gold is really grain. What started Frazer on his twelve-volume quest was a hint in Servius, about the priest of Diana at Nemi. But Servius, in glossing the bough, did not stop there. Gold is also, he said, the payment for necromancy; and gold is money. Historically, it was the explanation that Frazer did not quote which had the longest influence, not only on scholarship but also on poetry.

Speaker 2:
Luc Deitz, Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg and Universität Trier,
"Francesco Patrizi da Cherso on the Nature of Poetry"
Controversies about the nature of poetry are almost as old as poetry itself. Many theoreticians tried to ascertain who is in and who is out, and for what reasons, mainly propounding a generic answer to the question. During the Middle Ages, discussions about the name and nature of poetry often took their cue from Servius' judgment that Lucan was a "historian" rather than a poet: "historical poetry" seemed to be a contradictio in adiecto. With the rediscovery of Aristotle's Poetics towards the end of the 15th century, and its peremptorily stated conviction that Empedocles was a "natural philosopher" instead of a poet, many other forms of poetic expression became suspicious too. The paper will analyze why Francesco Patrizi rejected Aristotle's verdict in his little studied Della poetica, how this rejection can be explained within the general context of Patrizi's philosophy, and what implications it had for neo-Latin poetry in general.

3 - 3:30 pm: BREAK

3:30 - 5 pm: Session 4

John Stevens, East Carolina University

Speaker 1:
Keith Sidwell, University of Calgary,
"The Tipperary Hero: the Ormonius of Dermot O'Meara"
O'Meara's (didactic) epic poem on the military career of Thomas Butler, 10th Earl of Ormond, has been unjustly neglected. In the wake of the first full critical edition (The Tipperary Hero: Dermot O'Meara's Ormonius (1615), David Edwards and Keith Sidwell, Brepols Publishers 2010), this paper will attempt an overview of the editors' findings about the poem's political context and purpose, its literary construction, its use of classical intertexts, and its negotiations with O'Meara's mother tongue, Irish.

Speaker 2:
James Estes, University of Toronto,
"The Englishing of Erasmus: The Genesis and Progress of the Correspondence Volumes of the Collected Works of Erasmus"
Over the past quarter century, Charles Fantazzi has been a major contributor, as both translator and annotator, to the Erasmus project of the University of Toronto Press. Among the works he translated for the project are the De conscribendis epistolis (1985) and the Enchiridion militis christiani (1988). Still to come are his translations of three of Erasmus' major apologiae against his critics in Spain. Meanwhile, Charles has assumed the responsibility for translating four of the volumes of Erasmus' correspondence. The first of these, CWE 13 (annotated by James K. Farge), has just been published. CWE 14 (annotated by James M. Estes) will appear early in 2011. The aim of this paper is to place Charles's achievement in context by describing briefly the genesis and progress of the CWE project, with special attention to the correspondence volumes as well as to the problems and pleasures of getting Erasmus' Latin into readable English.

5 - 5:15 pm: BREAK

5:15 - 6:30 pm: Plenary 2

Dr. Deirdre Mageean,
Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies,
East Carolina University

Luc Deitz,
Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg and Universität Trier

Professor Charles Fantazzi,
Thomas Harriot Distinguished Teaching Professor of Classics and Great Books,
East Carolina University,
"Erasmus and Vives on Education"
Education was a primary concern of both these humanists throughout their lives. Both actively taught in university settings, wrote numerous treatises on the subject, and devised textbooks, curricula and pedagogical methods of their own. Both were champions of the New Learning, studia humanitatis, with its new emphasis on the interpretation of texts and the inclusion of newly discovered classical authors. They combined classical with Christian precepts in their program of forming the intellect and moral character of the young. In certain respects Vives differed from his illustrious master, as will be noted. His magnum opus, De disciplinis, an encyclopaedic survey of universal education in twenty-one books, is surely the most important work of the sixteenth century on this subject. I shall give a synoptic view of the contributions of these two great Northern humanists in the field of education.

7:15 pm: Syposium Dinner at Starlight Café

(By reservation only. RSVP by February 15, 2011, to Anne-Hélène Miller, MILLERANNE@ECU.EDU )