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HUMANITIES 401 consecutive short syllables influenced the choice of words at 21, 39 mxpexwu, 42, 100 lI1TaTo\J, 93 6tfL'Pl1TO;"o\J, and the positioning of 11.;"01T0<; (95). A brief general introduction might have set out the date of the poem, its place in Pindar's career, the importance of the commission from Hieron, and the astonishing fact that in Bacchylides' third ode we possess a poem written to commemorate the selfsame victory. Lastly, a short evaluation of the poem would have served to show at a glance why Gerber subscribes to Lucian's view that this is 'the most beautiful of all [Pindar'sJ odes': the commentary serves admirably to elucidate difficult passages but fails to convey the sheer excitement of the poem. (DAVID A. CAMPBELL) Orpheus: the Metamorphoses of a Myth, John Warden, editor. University of Toronto Press. xiii, 238, ilIus. $35.00 As the prototype of the poet Orpheus has enjoyed (if that is the word) the vicissitudes in reputation that poets themselves have. One aspect of his myth concerns fame, and his fate at the hands of the Bacchants has something peculiarly hermeneutical about it. It is a legendary story about a legendary singer who is torn apaIt by his critics. When reading the Orpheus myth we implicitly re-enact his mutilation; in the act of critical reading we submit Orpheus to his ritual sparagmos. It is not greatly surprising that his myth never assumed the broad popularity of some other classical myths. There has always been something about Orpheus that limited his appeal, even for poets, lovers, and mystics - the groups most likely to empathize with his example. This collection of nine essays conveys a strong sense of the peculiarity of Orpheus's appeal over two millennia. Edited and introduced by John Warden, the volume does not pretend to be a history of the myth; nor does it enter the numinous world of Orphism or the vague one of 'orphic' patterns recapitulating their archetype. With eminent good sense the authors have restricted their study to the representation of Orpheus himself, in different forms and media at select periods from antiquity through the English Renaissance. The essays are widely varied, not only in discipline, but in their critical approach and historical scope, although they are arranged in chronological order so that we get an interesting (if sometimes somewhat distorted) view of how the myth evolved. In form, the essays alternate between historical surveys and detailed studies of the myth, so that the volume achieves a reasonable compromise between the general history and the speCialist's monograph. Thus, after Warden's introductory synopsis of the legendary origins of Orpheus, the first three essays present us with Emmet Robbins's survey and anal- ysis of the variants on the myth in antiquity, W.S. Anderson's study of its literary metamorphosis in Virgil and Ovid, and then a detailed examination of how Clement of Alexandria adapts the Greek myth to Christian typology in Eleanor Irwin's study of the Protrepticus. The scope then broadens again in Patricia Vicari's clear and accommodating survey of the surprisingly varied allegorical treatment of Orpheus in the Middle Ages. The transition to the Renaissance in Warden's study of Ficino's identification with Orpheus is not exactly seamless, but his analysis of the mystic singer's replacement of the allegorical Orpheus-Christ is in itself interesting. What follows is another broad view, of Orpheus's appearances in Renaissance Italian art from 1400 to 1600. Here, Giuseppi Scavizzi's survey is supplemented by twenty-eight illustrations and an appendix listing eighty works of art on the theme of Orpheus. The pleasure of such a study is its ability to make us see a body of work in a new critical light, and Scavizzi's essay accomplishes this, although in his discussion of a non-existent drawing by Mantegna and related questions of influence and provenance he introduces scholarly issues which are not appropriate for so long and so dense an article. The next three essays on aspects of the rediscovery of Orpheus in the Renaissance are again of a narrower scope. It is pleasantly unsurprising that, when opera emerged as a distinct form early in the seventeenth century, the first three operas were on the theme of Orpheus, and Timothy McGee's comparison of Jacopo Peri's Eurydice (1600) and Claudio Monteverdi's Orfeo (1607) analyses the formal difficulties of adapting the tragic form of the myth to festive occasions. Pedro Le6n's comparison of two of Calder6n's autos sacramentales on the Orpheus theme moves us forward to the second quarter of the seventeenth century and effectively demonstrates the tendency in the later Renaissance towards 'medievalizing interpretation[sl of the myth' (p 183), although like Scavizzi he succumbs to the temptation to raise some scholarly questions (about dating one of the autos) which cannot be dealt with convincingly in an essay of this sort. 'Orpheus in Spenser and Milton: the final essay by Patricia Vicari, succeeds with remarkable grace in comparing the two poets' treatments of the myth while also using them to suggest the range and focus of its interest for the English Renaissance, first when the enthusiasm for classical mythology was at its peak, and second, in Milton, when the fashion was in decline. With a scope at once particular and general. the paper is implicitly historical and serves as an appropriate conclusion to the volume. The volume grew out of an interdisciplinary undergraduate course taught by the contributors at Scarborough College at the University of Toronto. Each paper is written in a felicitous plain style that counterpoints the subject matter, and each has a clarity of thought and expression that, it is pleasant to think, is the result of good scholarship distilled HUMANITIES 403 through good teaching. Unpretentious and yet highly professional, the volume demonstrates the scholar's ability to present the fruits of research to an interdisciplinary audience. (W.H . HERENDEEN) Laurel Nichols Braswell. Western Manuscripts from Classical Antiquity to the Renaissance Garland Publishing Company, xxii, )82, $50.00 'The most important problems of manuscript studies today: says Laurel Braswell, 'appear to be the identity of documents and their relationship to others.' This uncontentious statement is applied with real pedagogical flair in her useful Handbook, a bibliography of 2074 collections, catalogues, and studies compiled to aid both beginning students and those trained in other areas who have to resolve a manuscript problem. The period surveyed is roughly 800 AD to 1450 AD, but much helpful material on classical antiquity (including papyrology) is assembled, and there is also coverage of Humanistic writing and manuscripts. Entries are commented on, and include publications well into the late 1970s. The rationale for inclusion is scrupulously presented; it is frankly Anglo-centric, for the book's ideal user is perhaps someone concerned with Middle English literary, doctrinal, or scientific works. Those investigating continental libraries and archives will make a good beginning here, but will be thrown on their own resources somewhat sooner. In quite a different sense, however, the volume is extremely comprehensive , for it stresses the interdisciplinary repertoire essential for the student of manuscripts, who needs to know the chemistry of ink, paper, and the illuminator's colours as thoroughly as he does the half-catalogued collections of no-longer-extant administrative units, or the gossip of eighteenth-century antiquaries. To steer the inexperienced through what amounts to a self-taught course in methodology, the entries are arranged in the order traced by the investigative procedure itself. from the search for a manuscript, through its identification, to its interpretation and eventual editing. As Braswell's flow-chart evolves (there is a convenient diagram), the controversial modern discipline of codicology takes its place beside the traditional one of palaeography, both literary and archival materials are given their due, and rival schools of textual criticism are impartially presented. Resources in art history and music are included , as well as the more general encyclopaedias helpful to the nonmedievalist , and there are up-to-date sections on microforms and computer applications. (There is, alas, no special treatment given to forgery and other forms of misappropriation, a topic which can be pursued for scholarly fun, as well as profit.) Within its declared range the volume has two limitations, one of bal- ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 401-403
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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