Venantius Fortunatus, writing in the latter half of the sixth century, was not only a major Latin poet, but also an important historical figure. Educated in Ravenna, he travelled to Gaul and wrote substantially in a range of genres for Merovingian patrons, who were among the central political and ecclesiastical figures of his generation. In a period of cultural transition, he adapted and developed literary traditions, and influenced not only his contemporaries, but
also succeeding generations. He also played a personal role in events of national and international significance, and his verse allows us vivid glimpses of the individual lives and characters of his patrons. In this first major modern study of the poet, Judith George
illuminates all aspects of Fortunatus' work and the society in which he lived. She also provides the full text and a new translation of a selection of his poetry.
`long-overdue book ... It is a book which deserves to have a major impact on the historiography of early medieval France. As an incidental bonus, the eight poems translated in Appendix I, though plainly not conceived as literary translation in the Helen Waddell sense, are well chosen to illustrate the extrinsic interest of Venantius's poetry, and represented in vigorous and felicitous prose versions with facing text.'
'G. advances our understanding of Fortunatus's success as a poet in the treacherous world of Merovingian politics. G.'s book does make a contribution to the literature on Fortunatus ... specialists may find it worthwhile to examine G.'s commentary on individual poems.'
William E. Klingshirn, The Catholic University of America, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 4.1 (1993)
`Judith George ... deserves the thanks of all students of the early Middle Ages in the West for her most elegant and engaging study of a poet who wrote a whole series of occasional pieces for a variety of distinguished patrons ... for the readers of this book there is much pleasure and instruction in store.
J B Hall, The Classical Review XLIII.I 1993
'This volume is an impressive assessment of Fortunatus's technique as a poet and of his significance in society ... The book is high quality scholarship ... It can be recommended with entusiasm to persons who have the resources and interests.'
William G. Rusch, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Religious Studies Review, Volume 19, Number 3 / July 1993
`In this important study, the author puts hasty judgements to one side and sets out to conduct afresh a careful examination of Fortunatus's work and its significance in the context of his life and times. There emerges en route an interesting and nuanced picture of the world in which he moved and the conditions obtaining there. There is an extensive and informative select bibliography, thorough and accessible footnotes that make the book a joy to use, and a
good general index ... a rich study of great interest, which with finely-honed critical judgement and great fellow-feeling sheds new light on the person and motivations of Fortunatus and his secular work. It cannot fail to illuminate those whose interest lies more specifically in his religious poetry
Anthony Ward, SM, Ephemerides Liturgicae 107 (1993)
A second Orpheus; Fortunatus and the rhetorical tradition - panegyrics to kings, other poems; epitaphs and consolations; Merovingian bishops; Merovingian noblemen; Merovingian nobelwomen; Fortunatus - poet and person. Appendices: Text and translation of selected poems; Fortunatus' ordination as priest.
Number Of Pages: 248
Published: 23rd January 1992
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.0 x 14.6
Weight (kg): 0.43