Dynamics of Neo-Latin and the Vernacular

Kromhout, David

Three Dutch Theocriti, or, A New Golden Standard? Imitation and Aemulation in Danielis Heinsii Emendationes et Notae in Theocriti Idyllia Bucolica (1603)

In my paper I want to focus on the appendix of this book, where several translations and adaptations of bucolic poems appear, written by Josephus Justus Scaliger, Daniel Heinsius and Hugo Grotius. The book fits well in the academic program Scaliger had envisioned for his pupils. Joseph Scaliger seems to have stimulated Grotius and Heinsius to acquire a reputation within the Republic of Letters by publishing text-editions, accompanied by emendations and notes. Indeed, both Heinsius and Grotius had already published texts before the publication of the present volume and both had made sure to mention their indebtedness to the great Scaliger, who had introduced them into the Republic of Letters. I will discuss the content of the appendix, focusing on the question why these scholar-poets invested time and energy in writing bucolic poetry. In this way, I will look for a cultural-historical explanation that identifies these poems as part of a literary discourse, where, as Greenblatt or Foucault have argued, literary products can be seen as representations of more general cultural currents or discourses, and where vice versa these literary representations also influence the culture they represent.