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Virgil's SchoolboysThe Poetics of Pedagogy in Renaissance England$
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Andrew Wallace

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199591244

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199591244.001.0001

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‘Virgilius poëtarum doctissimus’

(p.228) Conclusion
Virgil's Schoolboys

Andrew Wallace

Oxford University Press

The conclusion emphasizes that in the schools Virgil's poems were celebrated not just as objects to be imitated, but as spectacular images of mastery in subservience to mastery (chiefly, subservience to the example of Homer). The conclusion emphasizes once again how fully the poet had become a creature of the schoolroom during the centuries since Quintus Caecilius Epirota introduced his works to the pedagogical scene at Rome. As grammarians and schoolmasters from ancient Rome to Renaissance England wrapped their lessons around Virgil's hexameters, and as English schoolboys struggled with the octavo Virgils they held in their hands, they were studying poems that were already studying the schoolmaster's ambitions. In grammar schools all across Renaissance England ‘the book of Maro’ was a gateway to upper-form studies of the auctores. Even more significantly, it was a gateway to some of humanist pedagogy's most self-conscious meditations on the promise and fragility of the educational project.

Keywords:   Anchises, Ascanius, Creusa, fidelity, grammar school, Homer, imitation, Kempe, Lisle, Spenser, translation, Vergil

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