This volume investigates the various ways in which writers comment on, present, and defend their own works, and at the same time themselves, across early modern Europe. A multiplicity of self-commenting modes, ranging from annotations to explicatory prose to prefaces to separate critical texts and exemplifying a variety of literary genres, are subjected to analysis. Self-commentaries are more than just an external apparatus: they direct and control reception of the primary text, thus affecting notions of authorship and readership. With the writer understood as a potentially very influential and often tendentious interpreter of their own work, the essays in this collection offer new perspectives on pre-modern and modern forms of critical self-consciousness, self-representation, and self-validation.
Contributors are Harriet Archer, Gilles Bertheau, Carlo Caruso, Jeroen De Keyser, Russell Ganim, Joseph Harris, Ian Johnson, Richard Maber, Martin McLaughlin, John O’Brien, Magdalena Ożarska, Federica Pich, Brian Richardson, Els Stronks, and Colin Thompson.
Francesco Venturi, PhD (2012, University of Siena), is Associate Professor of Italian Literature at the University of Oslo. He has published widely in the field of early modern and twentieth-century literature and culture, including the monograph
Genesi e storia della ‘trilogia’ di Andrea Zanzotto (ETS, 2016).
Acknowledgements List of Illustrations Notes on the Editor Notes on the Contributors
Introduction Francesco Venturi
Alberti’s Commentarium to His First Literary Work: Self-Commentary as Self-Presentation in the Philodoxeos Martin McLaughlin
Elucidation and Self-Explanation in Filelfo’s Marginalia Jeroen De Keyser
Vernacular Self-Commentary during Medieval Early Modernity: Reginald Pecock and Gavin Douglas Ian Johnson
On the Threshold of Poems: a Paratextual Approach to the Narrative/Lyric Opposition in Italian Renaissance Poetry Federica Pich
Self-Commentary on Language in Sixteenth-Century Italian Prefatory Letters Brian Richardson
‘All Outward and on Show’: Montaigne’s External Glosses John O’Brien
Companions in Folly: Genre and Poetic Practice in Five Elizabethan Anthologies Harriet Archer
The Journey of the Soul: The Prose Commentaries on His Own Poems by St John of the Cross Colin P. Thompson
Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Annotation and Self-Exegesis in La Ceppède Russell Ganim
Can a Poet be ‘Master of [his] owne Meaning’? George Chapman and the Paradoxes of Authorship Gilles Bertheau
Critical Failures: Corneille Observes His Spectators Joseph Harris
Self-Criticism, Self-Assessment, and Self-Affirmation: The Case of the (Young) Author in Early Modern Dutch Literature Els Stronks
Reading the Margins: The Uses of Authorial Side Glosses in Anna Stanisławska’s Transaction (1685) Magdalena Ożarska
Mockery and Erudition: Alessandro Tassoni’s Secchia rapita and Francesco Redi’s Bacco in Toscana Carlo Caruso
Afterword Richard Maber
Academics and students interested in early modern literature and culture, comparative literature, classics, history of the book, literary theory, poetics, literary criticism, issues of authorship and readership, reception studies, and exegesis. Keywords: Renaissance, exegesis, interpretation, classics, canon, authorship, readership, poetics, reception, paratext, literary criticism, literary theory, self-fashioning.