(Con)Textualising Maximilian. Interaction and intertextuality, visible and invisible networks in Latin literature from the circle of Maximilian I

Our purpose

This project examines Latin humanistic texts (in manuscript and printed form) to and about Maximilian, including panegyric in poetry and prose as well as dedicatory letters to works of various content. The aim is to provide an overview of the authors’ networks, both of their relationships to functionaries at court and within a supra-regional community of scholars. This delineates the networks in which Maximilian’s program of self-memorialisation (gedechtnus) were “managed” in Latin literature, and reveals the career opportunities of the author involved. The inventory of the persons mentioned in texts and paratexts (in conjunction with epitexts, such as correspondence) promises insights into information paths and patronage relationships. Additionally, by recording news about the oral performance of Latin panegyric, this project will investigate a further network of relationships, comprising the recipients of the performative presentation. In addition to their socio-historical function, dedicatory letters, especially when they contain statements about the interests, support and commissions of the ruler, have the further literary function of legitimising authorship.

The philological analysis of the panegyric texts is based on the premise that inscription in networks occurs even when individuals are not named explicitly. Maximilian’s own self-fashioning stands in a mutual relationship with an individual author’s own self-representation, the modelling of his literary persona as a writer or performer of panegyrics; at the same time, this relationship creates a field of contextualisation. The transformation of ancient models and literary allusions are aimed at a humanistically educated reading public able to decode such references: intertextuality implies interaction with its recipients.

Textual examples from three partially overlapping areas will form the basis for this philological network analysis: firstly, publications marking Maximilian’s presence in Vienna, in particular the multimedia staging of the Habsburg-Jagiellonian rulers’ meeting of 1515, which allows a close interconnection with the other project parts of ManMAX; secondly, dedications and panegyric by members of the University of Vienna; and finally, epic poetry and the fictional construction of the biographies of poets.