Printer Friendly

Reading and Variant in Petronius: Studies in the French Humanists and Their Manuscript Sources.

The use made of the manuscripts of the Satyricon by French humanist scholars represents one of the most vexing problems in Petronian scholarship. In his trenchant article on the textual transmission (in Texts and Transmission, ed. L.D. Reynolds [Oxford, 1983], 295-300), Reeve underlined the contribution of sixteenth-century scholarship for our understanding of manuscript affiliations and suggested that further study of the manuscripts available to such scholars as Jacques Cujas, Jean de Tournes and Marc Antoine Muret was a desideratum. Wade Richardson's monograph serves to fill this void. It is a most welcome addition to the scholarly literature - well researched, clearly (indeed at times eloquently) written, with well defined and important conclusions. The study will find its most appropriate readership among scholars concerned with the complexities of affiliations in the L class of manuscripts. But readers interested in codicology and humanistic scholarship will also be richly rewarded.

Richardson's monograph consists of eight discrete studies which, though unified by a central thesis, may be read individually with great profit. Chapters deal with such diverse topics as establishing the probable sources for the humanists' own copies of the text; linking specific manuscripts with individual scholars; evaluating the relative merits of French humanists as textual scholars; and discussing the implications of contemporary printing practices for the reconstruction of the text of Petronius. Richardson has rigorously examined the manuscript and printed evidence and is able to discuss it with authority. He deals with a tradition of great complexity and must marshall a wide array of evidence. In general, he does a good job of steering the reader through the relative complexities, though at times one may feel overwhelmed by the sheer mass of material with which he is confronted. Perhaps one of the greatest merits of this deceptively slim volume is its ability to take a seemingly nugatory piece of evidence hitherto overlooked by scholars and draw conclusions of wide-ranging import. So, for example, in chapter eight, Richardson convincingly demonstrates that Parisinus lat. 8790 A, thought to be a worthless manuscript, presents evidence which illuminates the intellectual interests of the young Pierre Dupuy. This is detective work of the highest order and reveals once again the potential for discoveries which remain buried in the riches of European libraries and archives.

To conclude, Richardson's study is a tightly argued monograph which draws insightful conclusions. It may not revolutionize Petronian textual studies but nonetheless compels a serious re-evaluation of that history, particularly as it relates to the L class of manuscripts. Future scholars interested in the text of the Satyricon or the fortuna of the author will ignore this book at their peril.

University of Toronto Press is to be commended for the attractiveness of the volume. The sixteen plates which illustrate codicological and palaeographical problems discussed in the body of the monograph greatly enhance its scholarly usefulness.

FRANK T. COULSON Center for Epigraphical and Paleological Studies, Ohio State University
COPYRIGHT 1996 Renaissance Society of America
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Coulson, Frank T.
Publication:Renaissance Quarterly
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 1996
Words:484
Previous Article:Leonardo Bruni e Firenze: Studi sulle lettere pubbliche e private.
Next Article:Renaissance-Rhetorik. Renaissance Rhetoric.
Topics:


Related Articles
Defenders of the Text: The Traditions of Scholarship in an Age of Science, 1450-1800.
De varietate fortunae.
Linguistic Theories in Dante and the Humanists: Studies of Language and Intellectual History in Late Medieval and Early Renaissance Italy.
The Danse Macabre of Women: Ms. fr. 995 of the Bibliotheque Nationale.
Joseph Scaliger: A Study in the History of Classical Scholarship, vol. 2: Historical Chronology.
Scholars' Bedlam: Menippean Satire in the Renaissance.
Tacitus' Germania and Beatus Rhenanus (1485-1587): A Study of the Editorial and Exegetical Contribution of a Sixteenth Century Scholar.
La Sapienza civile: Studi sull'umanesimo a Venezia.
Au miroir de l'humanisme: Les representations de la France dans la culture savante Italienne a la fin du Moyen Age.
Education in Early Tudor England. Magdalen College Oxford and Its School, 1480-1540.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters