Kristi Viiding, Arranging the Early modern literary and book culture around the Baltic Sea

Termin: 17.10.2018
Miejsce: Kraków, ul. Gołębia 16, sala 42

Arranging the Early modern literary and book culture around the Baltic Sea in the beginning of the 17th century: the case of Livonian-Polish humanist David Hilchen

The writing, reading and collecting of books in the Early modern period comprise a phenomenon that has been researched from different points of view. The private and public book collections, probate inventories of the libraries and diaries give evidence of the intimate and sometimes unsocial attitude to the books. Yet the literary and book culture includes such aspects like preparation, production, ordering or distribution of books, which belonged to the most social activities of the Early modern literati, helping to establish and arrange the social networks and get feedback on their works across regions and confessions. However, the research of this part of the literary and book culture implies the analysis of very different sources, and the pieces of information are often quite fragmentary.

In my speech I will analyse the unpublished Latin correspondence, ca 800 letters, of the most famous Livonian-Polish humanist David Hilchen (Heliconius, 1561–1610). The letters were sent to and by him within the period from 1577 to 1610. His correspondents consisted of almost 200 people from Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Livonia, Denmark, England, the Netherlands, etc., including such leading humanists as Justus Lipsius, Johannes Caselius, Isaac Casaubon, Joseph Justus Scaliger, etc. Hilchen who was a humanist from the periphery of Europe referred to very various literary practices in his correspondence: to the reading and reception of the published books, ordering of dedications and gratulatory poems for books of others, sending of factual materials about famous persons and contemporary events to humanists in other regions for invention, mediation of opinions and remuneration between patrons and authors, consultations about the appropriate literary genres, etc. Hilchen’s remarks and discussions about the topics demonstrate that, in addition to his local fame as a politician and the author of the Terrestrial Law for Livonia (1599), he must have been considered an important actor in arranging literary and book culture at an international level.

Dr. Kristi Viiding is Senior Researcher in Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences and Secretary of the International Association of Neo-Latin Studies since 2018. Her main research interests are the Neo-Latin literature and the Latin Epigraphy from the Baltic Sea area. She has published the monograph Die Dichtung neulateinischer Propemptika an der Academia Gustaviana (Dorpatensis) in den Jahren 1632–1656, Tartu 2002; O Dorpat, urbs addictissima musis...Valik 17. sajandi Tartu juhuluulet [An anthology of Neo-Latin occasional poetry from the 17th century Tartu], Tallinn 2007 and many articles. Since 2016 she is preparing the inventory and edition of the correspondence of the Livonian-Polish humanist David Hilchen (


Data opublikowania: 05.10.2018
Osoba publikująca: Janusz Smulski