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On Discovery (I Tatti Renaissance Library)

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The Italian humanist Polydore Vergil (1470-1555) was born in Urbino but spent most of his life in early Tudor England. His most popular work, On Discovery (De inventoribus rerum, 1499), was the first comprehensive account of discoveries and inventions written since antiquity. Thirty Latin editions of this work were published in Polydore's lifetime, and by the eighteenth century more than a hundred editions had appeared in eight languages, including Russian. On Discovery became a key reference for anyone who ...
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Overview


The Italian humanist Polydore Vergil (1470-1555) was born in Urbino but spent most of his life in early Tudor England. His most popular work, On Discovery (De inventoribus rerum, 1499), was the first comprehensive account of discoveries and inventions written since antiquity. Thirty Latin editions of this work were published in Polydore's lifetime, and by the eighteenth century more than a hundred editions had appeared in eight languages, including Russian. On Discovery became a key reference for anyone who wanted to know about "firsts" in theology, philosophy, science, technology, literature, language, law, material culture, and other fields. Polydore took his information from dozens of Greek, Roman, biblical, and Patristic authorities. His main point was to show that many Greek and Roman claims for discovery were false and that ancient Jews or other Asian peoples had priority. This is the first English translation of a critical edition based on the Latin texts published in Polydore Vergil's lifetime.
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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement

The Loeb Classical Library...has been of incalculable benefit to generations of scholars...It seems certain that the I Tatti Renaissance Library will serve a similar purpose for Renaissance Latin texts, and that, in addition to its obvious academic value, it will facilitate a broadening base of participation in Renaissance Studies...These books are to be lauded not only for their principles of inclusivity and accessibility, and for their rigorous scholarship, but also for their look and feel. Everything about them is attractive: the blue of their dust jackets and cloth covers, the restrained and elegant design, the clarity of the typesetting, the quality of the paper, and not least the sensible price. This is a new set of texts well worth collecting.
— Kate Lowe

Il Sole 24 Ore

An aristocratic devotion to our culture continues to manifest itself even today in the most prestigious centers of study and thought. One has merely to look at the very recent (begun in 2001), rigorous and elegant humanistic series of Harvard University, with the original Latin text, English translation, introduction and notes.
— Vittore Branca

Choice

Important and engaging...Beautifully produced from quality materials, the book maintains the exceptionally high standards of the I Tatti Renaissance Library series. Highly recommended.
— K. Gouwens

Renaissance Quarterly

Brian Copenhaver's edition and translation of the first three books of the De inventoribus rerum (1499) of the humanist Polydore Vergil is especially useful because of its copious annotations...Copenhaver's translation helps in reminding us that most Renaissance writers were bricoleurs rather than scholars, and compendia like that of Polydore Vergil most certainly had a greater currency in Renaissance culture than less readable works such as Perotti's Cornucopiae or Guillaume Budi's De asse et partibus.
— W. Scott Blanchard

New York Review of Books

[Polydore Vergil] brought a keen sense of ambiguity to his breakthrough book—a vast study of inventions that went through thirty editions in Latin in his lifetime. As Brian Copenhaver shows in the introduction to his superb edition of Vergil's complex, learned book, On Discovery, some ancient authorities denounced human inventions as a source of corruption; others saw them as a continual source of improvement in the human condition...On Discovery, as Copenhaver shows, had a profound and lasting impact. It proved to be one of the principal channels through which the antiquarian methods of the fifteenth century reached the ethnographers and historians of religion of the next two centuries.
— Anthony T. Grafton

Times Literary Supplement - Kate Lowe
The Loeb Classical Library...has been of incalculable benefit to generations of scholars...It seems certain that the I Tatti Renaissance Library will serve a similar purpose for Renaissance Latin texts, and that, in addition to its obvious academic value, it will facilitate a broadening base of participation in Renaissance Studies...These books are to be lauded not only for their principles of inclusivity and accessibility, and for their rigorous scholarship, but also for their look and feel. Everything about them is attractive: the blue of their dust jackets and cloth covers, the restrained and elegant design, the clarity of the typesetting, the quality of the paper, and not least the sensible price. This is a new set of texts well worth collecting.
Il Sole 24 Ore - Vittore Branca
An aristocratic devotion to our culture continues to manifest itself even today in the most prestigious centers of study and thought. One has merely to look at the very recent (begun in 2001), rigorous and elegant humanistic series of Harvard University, with the original Latin text, English translation, introduction and notes.
Choice - K. Gouwens
Important and engaging...Beautifully produced from quality materials, the book maintains the exceptionally high standards of the I Tatti Renaissance Library series. Highly recommended.
Renaissance Quarterly - W. Scott Blanchard
Brian Copenhaver's edition and translation of the first three books of the De inventoribus rerum (1499) of the humanist Polydore Vergil is especially useful because of its copious annotations...Copenhaver's translation helps in reminding us that most Renaissance writers were bricoleurs rather than scholars, and compendia like that of Polydore Vergil most certainly had a greater currency in Renaissance culture than less readable works such as Perotti's Cornucopiae or Guillaume Budi's De asse et partibus.
New York Review of Books - Anthony T. Grafton
[Polydore Vergil] brought a keen sense of ambiguity to his breakthrough book--a vast study of inventions that went through thirty editions in Latin in his lifetime. As Brian Copenhaver shows in the introduction to his superb edition of Vergil's complex, learned book, On Discovery, some ancient authorities denounced human inventions as a source of corruption; others saw them as a continual source of improvement in the human condition...On Discovery, as Copenhaver shows, had a profound and lasting impact. It proved to be one of the principal channels through which the antiquarian methods of the fifteenth century reached the ethnographers and historians of religion of the next two centuries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674007895
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2002
  • Language: Latin
  • Series: I Tatti Renaissance Library Series , #6
  • Edition description: Bilingual
  • Pages: 752
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian P. Copenhaver is Professor of History and Philosophy and Director of UCLA’s Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

Letter to Lodovico Odassio

First Letter to Gian Matteo Vergil

Second Letter to Gian Matteo Vergil

"On Polydore," by Simon Grynaeus

On Discovery

Book I

Book II

Book III

Note on Chronology

Note on the Text

Notes to the Text

Notes to the Translation

Bibliography

Index

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