Neo-Latin Reading Group: John Selden

December 7, 2010

As a follow-up to the recent Selden conference, Thomas Roebuck introduced John Selden’s address to the reader in his Jani Anglorum facies altera (1610) to the Neo-Latin Reading Group (2 December). Selden’s early Latin prose has often been described as over-mannered, and the group agreed that this piece of writing is indeed difficult and challenges its readers. It is remarkable for combining intense verbal playfulness and allusiveness with an aggressive attack on those whose love of verbal elegance blinded them to the importance of the roughly written medieval documents he was examining. Roebuck demonstrated different ways in which Selden’s style in this preface was calculated to appeal to the international ‘late humanist’ scholarly community he was addressing.

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