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Holofernes' Mantuan

Italian Humanism in Early Modern England


Lee Piepho

Mantuan was the most widely read quattrocento writer in England. By considering the appropriation and uses made of his poetry, this book shows why. It breaks new ground by examining how educators like Erasmus mediated versions of his poems that were taught in the schools. Professor Piepho uses commentaries and annotated copies to illuminate how habits of reading taught by schoolmasters affected writers such as Robert Burton in his Anatomy of Melancholy. Finally, he discusses how Mantuan’s eclogues, appropriated by Protestant polemicists, became an allusive background by which Edmund Spenser and other writers examined abuses of the English church. This book is essential reading for all future discussions of the role of humanism in early modern European culture.