Milton’s Cambridge Latin: Performing in the Genres 1625–1632
Milton’s Cambridge Latin: Performing in the Genres 1625–1632 follows Milton as a student, performing aloud in each of the Latin genres — required or voluntary — by which Cambridge defined itself in his time there. By taking readers inside his Latin scripts, this study shows his emerging personality, different from orthodox accounts. He seeks reputation, he is outgoing and politically alert, and where appropriate he is cheeky and bawdy. Methods used in this book include those of Latin scholarship, history, and anthropology. All the Latin is given in its original and in translation. A special feature is the first ever complete text and edition of Milton’s showy parody of Cambridge graduations, by which he presented his college’s freshmen at their induction-rite. For this reason in particular, the work is needed by all university libraries and Milton scholars.
Milton’s Cambridge Latin: Performing in the Genres 1625–1632 highlights the important ways in which Milton’s use of Latin during his Cambridge years acted as a means of enabling him to “fit in” to the university. In this regard this is very much a book about text, context, and genre: more specifically, about Milton’s Cambridge Latin texts, his “exercises” and “voluntaries” (in both prose and verse) in relation to particular university occasions and genres. As such it is the first of its kind. While several of the Latin pieces treated in this work have formed the basis of individual article-length discussions, this book is the first to bring all such “performance pieces” together in a single study, and to do so in a way that does them merit, rather than dismissing them as mere “university exercises”. I found the work very readable, well structured, and enhanced by the novelty of its anthropological approach.
— Professor Estelle Haan Sheehan, Queen’s University, Belfast