ARCHITECTURE POETRY

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Niveau: Supérieur, Doctorat, Bac+8
Bert SELTER ARCHITECTURE & POETRY. THE LETTER OF RAPHAËL TO POPE LEO X AND THE INTRODUCTIONS TO A FEW HUMANIST EDITIONS OF CONSTANTINIAN POETRY. « Such is poetry's answer to the Arch of Constantine. » A. MacGregor 1 This paper will no doubt be disappointing in some aspects, since it will not set forth any newly gained insights in Renaissance art theory. It originated by accident, in the course of the research on Latin poetry of the Constantinian era conducted at the University of Ghent. It is the result of some detour that should not really have been taken, but nevertheless was – out of curiosity. In the following, we would like to take the reader along on this detour, for it leads past some interesting humanist text editions and their prefaces, along with Raphael's letter and the ideas on fourth-century poetry and art expressed there. In the end, one might be left wondering whether this route has actually led somewhere. Merely taking the route, however, imbibing the scenery and having some interesting spots off the beaten track pointed out can be a reward on its own. And fortunately, there is the advantage that a number of these introductory letters offer an entertaining insight into the everyday world of Renaissance scholars and publishers, which can be quite amusing.

  • division between

  • research has

  • emphatically called

  • meta-poetic language

  • existing poems

  • latin epics

  • late antique

  • constantinian era


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BertSELTERARCHITECTURE&POETRY.ANDTHETIHNETLREOTDTUECRTIOOFNRSATPOHAAËFLETWOHPUOMPEANLIESOTXEDITIONSOFCONSTANTINIANPOETRY.«Suchispoetry’sanswertotheArchofConstantine.»A.MacGregor1Thispaperwillnodoubtbedisappointinginsomeaspects,sinceitwillnotsetforthanynewlygainedinsightsinRenaissancearttheory.Itoriginatedbyaccident,inthecourseoftheresearchonLatinpoetryoftheConstantinianeraconductedattheUniversityofGhent.Itistheresultofsomedetourthatshouldnotreallyhavebeentaken,butneverthelesswas–outofcuriosity.Inthefollowing,wewouldliketotakethereaderalongonthisdetour,foritleadspastsomeinterestinghumanisttexteditionsandtheirprefaces,alongwithRaphael’sletterandtheideasonfourth-centurypoetryandartexpressedthere.Intheend,onemightbeleftwonderingwhetherthisroutehasactuallyledsomewhere.Merelytakingtheroute,however,imbibingthesceneryandhavingsomeinterestingspotsoffthebeatentrackpointedoutcanbearewardonitsown.Andfortunately,thereistheadvantagethatanumberoftheseintroductorylettersofferanentertaininginsightintotheeverydayworldofRenaissancescholarsandpublishers,whichcanbequiteamusing.Butfirstthingsfirst:wemustsetforththenatureofthisresearchandhowitledtothisdetourthroughRenaissancetexteditionsandRaphael’sletters.THEMODERNAPPROACHTOCONSTANTINIANPOETRYEventhoughLateAntiquepoetryisnotthatpopulartobeginwith,itseemsthatthepoetryoftheConstantinianerainparticular–whichroughlycomprisesthefirsthalfofthefourthcenturyAD,fromabout313to361–isevenlesserstudiedandread.Anumberofpoetscanbedatedtothiserawithcertainty.ThemostnotableareJuvencus,whowrotethebiblicalepicEvangeliorumLibriIV,Avienus,whohasleftusthreedidacticpoems(theAratiPhaenomena,theDescriptioOrbisTerraeandtheOraMaritima),Optatianus,acourtpoetwhowroteanumberofeulogiesintheshapeoffigurativepoems(theso-calledPanegyricusConstantini),andLactantius,ifthepoemDeavePhoenicecanbeattributedtohim.Anumberofotherpoetsandpoemsareofuncertaindateandcanbeplacedanywhere,fromrightbeforetorightafterthisperiod,andeverywhereinbetween.Verylittleresearchhasbeendoneforthesetexts2.Whyisunclear.Perhapsbecauseoftheuncertainauthorship,the1A.MacGregor,«Beast-lore:catuliandlionessatTiberianus2.14»,TheAmericanJournalofPhilology,111,1990,p.395-397.2Juvencusmightbethemostpopularamongtheunpopular.Recentlyanumberofpartialcommentariesweredevotedtohim,whilemostscholarlyattentionisfocusedonhistechniqueofbiblicalrewriting,its(generic)