Sporting with the Classics: The Latin Poetry of William Dillingham: American Philosophical Society Transactions, Vol. 100, Part 1. (ISBN: 9781606180013)

July 12, 2010 at 1:47 pm Leave a comment

Sporting with the Classics:
The Latin Poetry of William Dillingham:
American Philosophical Society Transactions
Vol. 100, Part 1.

by Estelle Haan (American Philosophical Society, ISBN: 9781606180013)
(Paperback, 123 pages, 2010, $35.00)

Sporting with the ClassicsThis study focuses on the original Latin poetry of William Dillingham, a 17th-century editor, anthologist, and Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University.

It does so in an attempt to disprove claims that Dillingham’s talent lay in criticism rather than in original composition, and that his Latin verse shows his complete independence of the old school of classical imitation.

This study has the twofold aim of highlighting both the classical and the contemporary intertexts with which this hitherto neglected poetry engages.

It argues that far from constituting the leisurely product of a gentleman in rustic retirement, this is highly talented verse that “sports” with the classics in several ways: first in its self-consciously playful interaction with the Latin poets of Augustan Rome, chiefly Virgil and Ovid; second in its appropriation of a classical world and its linguistic medium to describe such 17th-century sports or pastimes as bowling, horticulture, and bell-ringing.

It also foregrounds the pseudoromanticism surprisingly inherent in the work of a late-17th-century poet, who, it is argued, discovered in his twilight years a neo-Latin inspirational Muse.

About the Author
Estelle Haan is Professor of English and Neo-Latin Studies at the Queen’s University of Belfast. Her research interests lie mainly in links between English and neo-Latin poetry of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in particular the Latin poetry of English poets.

Previously with the APS, she authored: “Classical Romantic: Identity in the Latin Poetry of Vincent Bourne” (2007), “Vergilius Redivivus: Studies in Joseph Addison’s Latin Poetry” (2005) and “From Academia to Amicitia: Milton’s Latin Writings and the Italian Academies (1998).

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