Variants in the Poetry of Johannes Secundus:
Genetic Studies

Doctoral research at the Radboud University of Nijmegen (the Netherlands) and the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium)

This doctoral research focuses on the Neo-Latin poetry of the Dutch poet Johannes Secundus (1511-1536), and mainly on his working manuscripts and other genetic materials. The hypothesis is that meaningful information about the development of Johannes Secundus' poetic ideal can be extracted from variants found in autographs of Secundus' works. The central question of the research project is:

What can drafts and earlier versions of Secundus' poetry add to (1) the our knowledge of Secundus' poetic ideal and the development of this ideal (especially in relation to the material and social contexts of the work in different formal presentations), and (2) to the interpretation of books of poems and individual poems in these books.

The research will be restricted to the two most famous books written by Secundus, the so called Julia (consisting of fourteen elegiac love poems) and the Basia (nineteen poems in different meters about kissing). This restriction is not only prompted by the importance of these literary contributions but also by the fact that relatively many drafts and earlier versions of the poems in these books have been preserved.

The first step of the project will be to determine and edit (digitally) the relevant variants from the available source material. Thereafter these variants will be analyzed for each book separately. The results will be presented in separate chapters of the thesis. The chapters will culminate in an overview of (the development in) Secundus' poetic ideal. The introduction of the thesis contains a description of the source material and a methodological discussion about the applicability of genetic criticism to early modern Latin texts.