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142Philosophy and Literature same-sex love as a noble and virile particularity of classical Greek life, a life which certain nineteenth-century Germans would resurrect in a modern translation of that ideal. Sappho had to remain chaste because women, in this view, could not experience homosexuality in its noble form, nor was heterosexuality an alternative that seems to have been thinkable within this vision of Greek life. The French, at the same time, produce a less erudite fiction of a sexually active homosexual Sappho. Here DeJean offers an opportunity to see Freudian accounts of female homosexuality as founded on the German philological tradition . This rationalistic struggle is traced up to the eve of World War II in the work of Yourcenar and the publication in Paris of the Reinach and Puech edition of Sappho. Fictions ofSappho is an erudite, provocative, and challenging work. Any study of European literature and intellectual history of the period from the Renaissance to the second World War will have to reckon with Dejean's insights. University of VirginiaJohn D. Lyons Writingfrom History: The Rhetoric ofExemplarity in Renaissance Literature, by Timothy Hampton; xiii & 309 pp. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990, $42.95 cloth, $12.95 paper. In a major contribution to the study of the Renaissance fusion of rhetoric, ethics, and history, Timothy Hampton uses the concept of exemplarity to synthesize the changes which took place in authors' and readers' understanding and use ofhistory as a guide to practical action from the early sixteenth century to the time of Shakespeare and Cervantes. Exemplarity is here understood as the identification and use of individual historical figures as models for action. The formation of the "self" as reader, writer, active civic person, participant in an interpretive community, and private person is, as Hampton shows, bound up in the choice and use of such models. Writingfrom History does not deal with historiography per se but rather with the past as reservoir of histories, particularly from classical antiquity, as they are selectively used to authorize action in the contemporary world. Beginning with three humanist advice treatises, Hampton points out the ways in which problems occurred in the application ofclassical models to the widely different conditions of the Renaissance. After describing difficulties in the location and Reviews143 application of suitable personal models from Budé's nationalist use of mythology , Erasmus's attempt to contain the past within a Christian framework, and Machiavelli's almost purely rhetorical position in The Prince, Writingfrom History devotes individual chapters to Tasso, Montaigne, Shakespeare (with a somewhat too brief account of Corneille's Cid), and Cervantes. While it would be difficult to summarize the intricate and informative readings given the texts of these major figures, there is a great coherence in Hampton's argument as he documents the increasingly private nature of reading and of the concept of virtue or action. In fact, the patient building of this scholarly case will provide readers with the foundation to understand the extension of the phenomenon of privatization through the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The author's conclusion suggests such a continuation through La Bruyère and Saint Evremond. A well-timed contribution to the renewed interest in exemplarity, Writing from History distinguishes itself from other studies by its fruitful concentration on the exemplar as different from—but, of course, related to—the exemplum. The exemplar is the heroic personality located in, or fabricated from, an authoritative text. As Hampton shows, this shift in emphasis to the exemplar has important consequences in the search for stability and unity which spread from ethical and philosophical texts to fictions which were governed by the rules of poetics. Since exemplary individuals reach readers in the form of narratives with their variations and reversals, how can moments of virtue or greatness be separated from the apparently contradictory failures or weaknesses vehicled in the same texts and assigned to the same historical personalities? The decisive difference in emphasis, with all the problems it will pose over the next two centuries, is located as early as Landino's commentary on the Aeneid at the end of the fifteenth century. Narrative (or sequential) unity and the resolution of the public/private dichotomy thereafterbecome challenges confronted...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 142-143
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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