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Jean Dorat: Poete humaniste de la renaissance.

Christine de Buzon and Jean-Eudes Girot, eds. Jean Dorat: Poete humaniste de la renaissance.

Actes du Colloque international (Limoges, 6-8 juin 2001). Geneve: Librairie Droz S. A., 2007. xvi + 548 pp. index. illus. tbls. CHF 136. ISBN: 978-2-600-00927-0.

Although Jean Dorat has already been the subject of several major scholarly contributions--most notably Genevieve Demerson's Dorat en son temps in 1983 and Philip Ford's edition of the Mythologicum in 2000--the articles collected by Christine de Buzon and Jean-Eudes Girot bring new light onto key aspects of the life and works of a writer to whom sixteenth-century bibliographer Antoine Du Verdier attributed the authorship of over 50,000 lines of Greek and Latin poetry. The chapters that make up these proceedings are extremely well-researched, and in many cases considerably amplified versions of the papers presented by the specialists in French and neo-Latin poetry who participated in the colloquium organized by the editors in 2001.

While all contributors recognize in Dorat a major and versatile figure of Renaissance humanism, they primarily intend to remind us that he was a poet, in the broader sense given to the term by the Pleiade: vates, philosopher, counselor to kings and princes.

The volume opens with Genevieve Demerson's survey of the various images of the Lorraine-Guise family in Dorat's poetry. Professor Demerson shows that throughout his career and most notably in his 1558 Triumphales Odae, the poeta regius used encomiastic rhetoric and mythological imagery to foster a positive image of his patrons while glossing over darker events like the 1562 Wassy massacre. Jean Vignes provides an outstanding contribution on the imprint of Dorat's Neoplatonic ideals in the works of Jean-Antoine de Baif, as well as in the development of the Academie de Poesie et de Musique. Already touched upon by Vignes, Dorat's conception of musical humanism is the subject of Brunot Petey-Girard's text on the Confrerie de Sainte Cecile. This confraternity patented in 1575 was praised by Dorat in his hymn Ad Divam Coeciliam Musicorum. The notion of poetical traditio is the focus of Anne-Pascale Pouey-Mounou's article, while Perrine Galand-Hallyn tackles the complex question of the influence of Pindar, Horace, and Salmon Macrin traceable in the architecture of Dorat's Neo-Latin odes. Fernand Hallyn brings important nuances to Tabourot's and Du Verdier's famous statement that Dorat was the first to introduce the anagram in Renaissance France, arguing that his innovation was more precisely a transformation of the anagrammatic form into a full-fledged hermeneutic tool and poetic genre. Virginie Leroux studies the metamorphoses of the epithalamos genre under Dorat's pen. Isabelle Pantin presents Dorat as poet of nature, identifying his Amphitheatrum sive Hippodromus Regius as cosmological poetry. Michel Magnien unveils political uses of Neo-Latin poetry in his study of a poetic exchange between the magister and a young La Boetie concerning the 1554 reform of the Paris parlement.

The more familiar image of Dorat as reader and commentator of classical mythology is the subject of articles by Francesco Tissoni (on Dorat's use of Nonno di Panopoli's Dionisiache), Philip Ford (on the sources of Homeric allegory used by the author of the Mythologicum), and Laurence Pradelle (on the notion of integumentum). The figure of scholar Giovanni Matteo Toscano is the focus of a contribution by George Hugo Tucker, who sees in Dorat's Italian student the author of a set of previously unidentified annotations on Pindar's Pythian odes. The complementary philological approaches of ope codicum and ope ingenii provide the point of departure for Jean-Eudes Girot's investigation on the dual and sometimes paradoxical role of Dorat as poeta regius and erudite pedagogue.

Throughout the pages of this volume, readers will discover many other aspects of the life and works of Ronsard's magister. Jean Dupebe provides important details on Dorat's education and early career. Michel Cassin's research on the poet's native Limoges unveils a city where a set of specific political choices insured relative civil peace at the height of the Wars of Religion. Max Engammare revisits the question of Dorat's religious ideas, paying particular attention to the interest the poeta regius took in the psalms, especially in relation to the publication of Toscano's Psalmi Davidis ex hebraica veritate latinis versibus expressi. The poet's religious and ideological leanings are also treated by Jean Vignes, who reminds us that Dorat's involvement against the Protestants did not prevent him from promoting the more tolerant ideals of Christian humanism in texts like the Ad Regem Exhortatio.

Dorat's active advocacy of the notions of amicitia and concordia between the arts is highlighted in Isabelle Cirolo's study of the illustrated and bilingual Oracles des douze sibylles, as well as by F. Vuilleumiers-Laurens and P. Laurens's examination of Dorat's descriptio of the ballet commissioned by Catherine de' Medici in honor of the Polish Ambassadors who came to Paris in 1573.

In the last pages of this volume of substantial and informative chapters, Catherine Magnien-Simonin provides an invaluable tool to Renaissance scholars by completing an inventory of 214 liminary texts written by the poeta regius.


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Author:Campangne, Herve-Thomas
Publication:Renaissance Quarterly
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 22, 2007
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