The Transnational Reception of Plutarch in Early Modern Europe

Plutarch was one of the most popular ancient writers of the Renaissance, and his reception transformed early modern literary culture. Montaigne wrote about Amyot’s French translation that: ‘We ignoramuses would have been lost if this book had not lifted us out of the quagmire; thanks to it, we now dare to speak and write; from it the ladies give lessons to the schoolmasters; it is our breviary.’ My project is a survey of the circa 200 editions and translations of Plutarch printed before 1650 at the HAB, which will form the basis of a study of the reception of the Lives and Essays across and between different languages and areas in early modern Europe. By combining analysis of large-scale patterns with detailed close readings, my project will bring out the interconnectedness of editions, translations, and adaptations of the multifarious and multilingual Plutarchan corpus across Europe and challenge the continued study of the reception of his works within the framework of national literatures.