Graduate Seminar: Reciprocity of Transmission and Reception: The Disticha Catonis

Catonis disticha moralia Latine et Graece, 1538. Newberry Case PA6272 .A2
Catonis disticha moralia Latine et Graece, 1538. Newberry Case PA6272 .A2
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Graduate Seminar
Friday, January 20, 2012 to Saturday, March 31, 2012

W. Martin Bloomer and Daniel Sheerin, University of Notre Dame

Optional class research trip to the Bibliotheca Ambrosiana in Milan, March 10 - 18

This seminar will explore the reciprocal relationship between transmission and reception of texts, using as a case study Cato’s Disticchs, one of the most widely read and studied texts of the medieval and early modern period. Transmission means the deliberate communication of a text from one generation to subsequent ones, involving a network of paratextual elements that make it attractive, accessible, and useful to future readers. Reception means the active receiving of a text, conditioned by these paratextual elements and by the newly developing requirements of the time. Written down about 200 AD, Cato’s versified proverbs collection became a “set book” of elementary education throughout Europe from the ninth through the seventeenth centuries, and so was continually copied, frequently printed, and subject to various commentaries, Latin paraphrases, vernacular translations, and new editions—all witness to the extent and character of the transmission and reception of the Distichs.

Participants will be assigned as ongoing projects “bundles” of distichs that engage specified topics, tailored to each student’s primary interests (history, vernacular literature, information science, etc.). As the culmination of the class, the instructors have arranged a one-week research visit at the Bibliotheca Ambrosiana in Milan. Housing will be provided, but students or their institutions would have to cover their transportation costs. More details about this trip will be forthcoming.

The class met on five Friday afternoons and the following Saturday mornings:

Friday, January 20, and Saturday, January 21
Friday, February 3, and Saturday, February 4
Friday, February 10, and Saturday, February 11
Friday, March 2, and Saturday, March 3

Friday, March 30, and Saturday, March 31

Participants: Julie Christenson, University of Missouri; Elisabetta Drudi, University of Notre Dame; Kate Fedewa, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Adam Foley, University of Notre Dame; Filippo Gianferrari, University of Notre Dame; Justin Hastings, Loyola University Chicago; Kathryn Hill, University of Notre Dame; Hailey LaVoy, University of Notre Dame; Robert McFadden, University of Notre Dame; and Megan Welton, University of Notre Dame.

Faculty and graduate students of Center for Renaissance Studies consortium institutions may be eligible to apply for travel funds to attend CRS programs or to do research at the Newberry Library. Each member university sets its own policies and deadlines; contact your Representative Council member in advance for details.

Learn more about Center for Renaissance Studies programs for graduate students.

Cost and registration information: 

Prerequisite: Latin reading knowledge. While students can pursue a research project in one of the European vernaculars, competence in Latin is essential. Students from Center for Renaissance Studies consortium institutions have priority and fees are waived for them.

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