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Grant number like: FB-56237-12

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Craig W. Kallendorf
Texas A & M University, College Station (College Station, TX 77843-0001)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,308 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2012 – 8/31/2013

Varying Editions of Classical Literary Texts and Their Reception: A Case Study of the Roman Poet Virgil

This project proposes a new methodological paradigm for literary history, fusing reception studies with book history to ground the changing interpretations of any text in the physical objects that both carry and contribute to its meaning. To test this new paradigm, the project focuses on the works of the Roman poet Virgil, which stood at the center of western education for 2,000 years. The manuscripts suggest that for the Middle Ages, Virgil’s poetry served as a sort of secular scripture that complemented the Bible, while early printed editions show that to Renaissance readers, Virgil offered moral wisdom and stylistic models. From the eighteenth century on, Virgil’s poetry moved gradually to the cultural margins, with the various editions serving as unread monuments or handbooks of increasingly specialized knowledge. The protean character of these texts is evident in the illustrated editions, in which the same text is reenvisioned within each successive culture.