Reformation Literary Criticism

From the 1530s to the 1550s a school of literary thought coalesced around Philip Melanchthon and his circle at Wittenberg and radiated across northern Europe, stimulating doctrinal innovation and fresh literary experiment, and providing a vocabulary for the lived experience of political and confessional schism. By the 1570s, it had become the standard mode of reading the classics throughout the North, occupying the space between the reception of ancient Greek literature and a changing Christian faith.

At the HAB I will be working on Reformation Literary Criticism, an anthology in preparation for Sources in Early Poetics (Brill), which edits and translates these critical works for the first time. In particular, I will be studying the libri annotati of Johannes Caselius (1533-1613), a student of Melanchthon’s in the 1550s and a paradigmatic case of the second generation reception of the Wittenberg school, whose copies of Aristophanes, Aeschylus, Euripides, Hesiod, Homer, and Pindar came to the HAB with the transfer of the Helmstedt university library in the early nineteenth century.