The Poetic Works of Helius Eobanus Hessus

Volume 4: Between Erasmus and Luther, 1518–1524


In this volume, Eobanus Hessus turns from passionate Erasmian into staunch defender of Luther, only to find himself caught in the no-man’s-land between the two titans. Under Erasmus’ spell, he writes "Itinerary of My Journey to Erasmus," "On the Restoration of Studies at Erfurt," epigrams against Edward Lee, and "Short Preface to the 'Enchiridion.'" Changing course in 1521, he publishes "Elegies in Praise and Defense of Luther" and "Letter of the Afflicted Church to Luther." Thereafter, amid tumults and academic collapse, he battles the radical preachers in "Some Letters of Illustrious Men Concerning the More Humane Studies" and "Three Dialogues." Two elegies serve as intermezzos: a "Consolation" to the imprisoned William of Brunswick and a patriotic "Invective" against Johannes Dantiscus.

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Harry Vredeveld, Ph.D. (1970) in German, Princeton University, is Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University, Columbus. Besides the Hessus edition and numerous articles on Neo-Latin authors, he has edited Erasmus’ poems for Collected Works (1993) and Opera omnia (1995).
“As in previous volumes Vredeveld has produced a lively and accurate translation and has expertly provided all the necessary aids and accoutrements for the understanding of the text. He gives precise descriptions of all first editions and the printing history of all the works, some of which were available online while others were inspected in situ in various libraries in Europe and America. Some notes, essential to understanding the context, are conveniently placed at the foot of the page, while a great abundance of the sources of Eobanus’s poetic diction and allusions is contained in the supplementary notes at the end of the volume. Besides the usual identification of classical sources there are multiple references to Renaissance poets, such as Poliziano, Pontano, Mantuan, Konrad Celtis, and many other less known writers, a truly extraordinary feat of documentation. This is another exemplary edition of Germany’s finest Renaissance poet.”
Charles Fantazzi, East Carolina University. In: Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 4 (Winter 2017), pp. 1645-1647.
All those interested in Neo-Latin and German literature, Erasmus, Luther, the history of humanism in Germany, the Lutheran Reformation, the University of Erfurt, early modern history, satire.
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