Sporting with the Classics: The Latin Poetry of William Dillingham

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Abstract

Sporting with the Classics: The Latin Poetry of William Dillingham (2010) (back cover)

Dana Sutton, University of California:
‘The great merit of Estelle Haan's study is that she is willing to take Dillingham seriously as a poet. Her reproduction of his work, together with an English translation and very detailed studies of his individual poems have the combined effect of rescuing an interesting poet from near-total oblivion. This, in my opinion, is the finest thing a neo-Latin scholar can do, and Haan accomplishes her task with the same skill, sensitivity, and eloquence that have distinguished her studies of other neo-Latin poets of this period (Joseph Addison and Vincent Bourne). It is impossible not to react to this volume with extreme respect and appreciation’.

Gordon Campbell, University of Leicester:
‘Nothing substantial has ever been published on Dillingham, but with this volume we have a new corpus of poetry that intersects with the work of many other seventeenth-century neo-Latin and vernacular poets. Professor Haan’s scholarship is here (as always) placed at the service of the poet, and she leads the reader gently through the work of a new poet. Professor Haan is the most eminent and able neo-Latinist of her generation, and her scholarship never fails; sometimes it dazzles as in the chapters on the hangman's stone and on Renaissance topiary. Her research is always up-to-date, and her translations have a gracefulness that other laborers in the vineyard can only envy’.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherAmerican Philosophical Society
Number of pages124
ISBN (Print)9781606180006
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010

Publication series

NameTransactions
No.1
Volume100

Bibliographical note

Sporting with the Classics focuses on the original Latin poetry of William Dillingham, a seventeenth-century editor, anthologist, and Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University. It does so in an attempt to dispute claims that Dillingham's talent lay in criticism rather than in original composition and that his Latin verse shows his complete independence of the old school of classical imitation. The book highlights both the classical and the contemporary intertexts with which this poetry engages. It argues that far from constituting the leisurely product of a gentleman in rustic retirement, this is highly talented verse that "sports" with the classics in several ways: first in its self-consciously playful interaction with the Latin poets of Augustan Rome, chiefly Virgil and Ovid; second in its appropriation of a classical world and its linguistic medium to describe such seventeenth-century sports or pastimes as bowling, horticulture, and bell-ringing. It also foregrounds the pseudo romanticism surprisingly inherent in the work of a late seventeenth-century poet who, it is argued, discovered in his twilight years a neo-Latin inspirational Muse.

From Back Cover of Published Book
The great merit of Estelle Haan's study is that she is willing to take Dillingham seriously as a poet. Her reproduction of his work, together with an Englsh translation and very detailed studies of his individual poems have the combined effect of rescuing an interesting poet from near-total oblivion. This, in my opinion, is the finest thing a neo-Latin scholar can do, and Haan accomplishes her task with the same skill, sensitivity, and eloquence that have distinguished her studies of other neo-Latin poets of this period (Joseph Addison and Vincent Bourne). It is impossible not to react to this volume with extreme respect and appreciation.
Dana F. Sutton
Professor Emeritus of Classics
University of California, Irvine.

Nothing substantial has ever been published on Dillingham, but with this volume we have a new corpus of poetry that intersects with the work of many other seventeenth-century neo-Latin and vernacular poets. Professor Haan's scholarship is here (as always) placed at the service of the poet, and she leads the reader gently through the work of a new poet. Professor Haan is the most eminent and able neo-Latinist of her generation, and her scholarship never fails; sometimes it dazzles as in the chapters on the hangman's stone and on Renaissance topiary. Her research is always up to date, and her translations have a gracefulness that other laborers in the vineyard can only envy.
Gordon Campbell
Professor of Renaissance Studies
University of Leicester

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