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Reading Neo-Latin Literature. Occasion and Intertext


Admission requirements

This course is open to Master students in Classics, Research Master students in Classics and Ancient Civilisations: Classics (and Ancient Near-Eastern Civilisations), as well as Research Master and PhD students associated with OIKOS.


‘This is an exciting time for the study of neo-Latin literature’. With this statement Victoria Moul opened her introduction to the recently published A Guide to Neo-Latin literature (Cambridge, 2017). The main reason for this excitement is that in the last five years no less than three reference works for the study of Neo-Latin have been published, the other two being Brill’s Encyclopaedia of the Neo-Latin World (Leiden/Boston, 2014) and the Oxford Handbook to Neo-Latin (Oxford, 2015). The almost simultaneous publication of these works signals, in the words of Craig Kallendorf, ‘a new maturity for Neo-Latin studies’, meaning that they have become more and more aligned with adjacent disciplines, and are more and more concerned with methodological issues.

This seminar will take this ‘new maturity for Neo-Latin studies’ as point of departure and aims at understanding the role of neo-Latin texts in their wider literary and historical context. In so doing it will specifically focus on two characteristic features that Victoria Moul has singled out as presenting particular problems for its modern interpretation, literary appreciation and overall ‘readability’:

  1. The typically close relationship to social and political occasions, and
  2. The complex interconnections with both classical and contemporary literature, as well as Christian tradition.
    Instead of taking these two features – occasion and intertext – as problems, this seminar will approach them as opportunities to bridge the gap between two usually distinct disciplines: the field of Classics and the field of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (including areas as wide as intellectual history, history of science, art history etc.).

Accordingly, in this seminar we will read a selection of neo-Latin texts, both prose and poetry, and analyze both their connection to events at the time, as well as their place within the tradition of Latin literature. In all this, the seminar will reserve ample time to introduce and discuss the necessary research tools.

Since this course is open to students with different backgrounds in the study of Neo-Latin literature, the definitive selection of texts will be partly adapted to the students’ research interests, but will in any case include texts by such famous authors as Francesco Petrarca, Joachim Du Bellay and Desiderius Erasmus.

Course objectives

Knowledge & Insight:

  • Broadening the knowledge of Neo-Latin literature;

  • Broadening the knowledge of research tools for Neo-Latin literature;

  • Deepening insight in modern interdisciplinary approaches;


  • Enlarging reading and interpretative competence of Neo-Latin texts;

  • Enhancing presentation skills;

  • Enhancing writing skills;

  • Enhancing research skills.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


  • Book review: 20 %

  • Oral presentation, with full handout: 30 %

  • Paper: 50 %


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the examinations mentioned.


The oral presentation cannot be repeated. In case the final mark is unsatisfactory, a student can resit the book review, the written paper, or – if necessary - both.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

The exam review will take place in consultation with the student.


The requirements for MA and ResMA students are differentiated: ResMA students are expected to come up with their own original research topic, choose a Neo-Latin text, find literature, and write an introduction & commentary; MA students may expect more help in choosing their texts and finding literature, and their papers (also an introduction and commentary) may lean more heavily on existing scholarship on the given text.

Reading list

Most primary and secondary literature will be made available through the University Library or Blackboard.

The following titles might be useful for a first orientation:

Bloemendal, Jan, Philip Ford and Charles Fantazzi (eds.), Brill’s Companion to the Neo-Latin world. 2 vols. (Leiden/Boston, 2014)

Kallendorf, Craig. “Recent Trends in Neo-Latin Studies. A Review Essay.” Renaissance Quarterly 69 (2016): 617–29.

Knight, Sarah, and Stefan Tilg (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin (Oxford, 2015)

Moul, Victoria (ed.), A Guide to Neo-Latin Literature (Cambridge, 2017)

Ijsewijn, Jozef and Dirk Sacré, Companion to Neo-Latin Studies. 2 vols. (Leuven, 1990-98)


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte.
Registration Contractonderwijs.

Not applicable.


Susanna de Beer


This course is part of the curriculum of the national graduate school for Classics, OIKOS