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  • Quinto Orazio Flacco. Annali delle edizioni a stampa (secoli XV–XVIII) by Antonio Iurilli
  • Frances Muecke
Iurilli, Antonio, Quinto Orazio Flacco. Annali delle edizioni a stampa (secoli XV–XVIII) (Travaux d'Humanisme et Renaissance, 574), 2 vols, Geneva, Droz, 2017; paperback; pp. 1540; 89 b/w illustrations; R.R.P. CHF148; ISBN 9782600047302.

More than ten years ago I reviewed Antonio Iurilli's fascinating Orazio nella letteratura italiana. Commentatori, traduttori, editori italiani di Quinto Orazio Flacco dal XV al XVIII secolo (Vecchiarelli Editore, 2004) in this journal (Parergon, 22.2, 2005). This new work, in which the subject has been expanded to a global scale, follows a similar pattern. Volume 1 contains a rich interpretative 'Introduction' and the bibliographical 'Annali', that is, a registry of 2372 items (see the 'Criteri di registrazione bibliografica', p. 307). This is divided into [End Page 218] the four centuries covered, each further subdivided by year, the last being 1800, with a final list of uncertain or not securely dated editions.

Volume 2 contains the bibliography and indexes. It is worth listing some of these last as they give a glimpse of the book's scope: 'Indice biografico degli autori secondari'; 'Indice biografico degli editori, dei librai, dei tipografi'; 'Indice dei luoghi di stampa'; 'Indice per autore delle imitazioni, delle parafrasi, delle parodie, delle traduzioni'; 'Indice per lingua nazionale delle traduzioni'; 'Indice per autore delle edizioni musicali'; 'Indice cronologico delle edizioni musicali'. There is also a general index of names of persons and places and a list of illustrations. Some of the indexes provide summary results of the research. For example, the 'Indice cronologico delle edizioni musicali' interestingly shows at a glance that the two most fecund periods for musical settings of Horace were the sixteenth century and the second half of the eighteenth century, there being none between 1607 and 1757 (for a comment see i, 141). It takes a bit longer to peruse the 'Indice dei luoghi di stampa' but that too generates insights into the spread of publishing (from Aboa, the old name for Turku, to Zwolle) and the dominance of some centres (London, Paris and Venice).

The heart of the book is in Volume 1. 'Introduction' is a bit of a misnomer for the nearly 300 pages, a book in itself, in which are discussed important aspects of the printing and reception history of Horace's works over four centuries. Iurilli's method is to follow the book: that is, he selects significant books from his chronological list, the 'Annali', and discusses whatever it is that makes them important and interesting, weaving them together into themes. Each book so selected opens a window onto its intellectual and cultural context. Part 1, on the fifteenth century, deals mainly with Italy; the first complete edition of Horace north of the Alps did not appear until 1492(p. 55) or 1498 (p. 79). Even so, of the fifty-four items that precede the 1492 edition in the combined list, about twenty come from northern Europe. A theme that unifies the sections on 'protoeditoria' in Italy and north of the Alps is the return of Horace as a favoured lyric poet after the medieval preference for moralizing/didactic hexameter poems. Before this comes the fascinating treatment of 'Horatian "ghosts"', suitably starting the book with a look at the beginnings of the whole bibliographical enterprise.

With the sixteenth century other themes come to the fore: critical editions, commentaries other than Italian, translations (in Italy, France, England, the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Spain) and the French hegemony (Lambinus, Muret, and the Estienne family). Christophe Plantin took his Horatian interests to Antwerp, where he produced a number of editions in collaboration with noted scholars in the second half of the century. A substantial sub-section is devoted to the separate story of the Ars poetica, editions, versions and interpretations of which burgeoned from the beginning of the century. Lastly, the absence of literary translations in Germany finds [End Page 219] compensation in the number of musical versions there. Horace held his own in a different way with the advent of the Baroque and anti-classicism in the seventeenth century, particularly through lyric poetry. A new fashion for...


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