Neo-Latin Poetry and Poetics

Quaelibet disciplina, ars aut scientia, ut res sibi vendicat ab aliarum facultatum materiis diversas, ita diversis loquendi ac scribendi modis utitur.

Each discipline, art or science, as it claims for a distinct object, also makes use of distinct ways of talking and writing.
(M. Sandaeus, Pro Theologia Mystica Clavis, 1640, Praeambula, III, 1).

    Neo-Latin poetry is more and more acknowledged as a major section in early modern European literature. Far from being a mere artificial and anachronistic resurgence of ancient Latin poetry, it develops a language fitted to sixteenth - and seventeenth - centuries’ society, that carries the great questionings of this period and that interacts with other contemporary modes of expression.

    Fed by the members’ personal research (on emblematics, epos, occasional poetry…) and enriched by the strong interdisciplinarity of the team (history of the vernacular literatures, of art, of music…), the common project of the GEMCA Neo-Latinists aims to question the specificities of Neo-Latin early modern poetic language, considering :
  • its codes and internal rules (mimesis, figurative language, generic conventions dictating the coherence between metre, length, subject, tone, patterns...) ;
  • its practical aspects : users, diffusion channels (the book of course, but also the public lectures, theatre, singing, affixiones, inscriptions…) ;
  • its place between the various languages practiced in early modern disciplines, arts and sciences, whether these languages are verbal (vernacular literatures, latin prose, and particularly the rhetorical, philosophical, theological and mystical ways of speaking) or non-verbal (plastic arts, music…); as well as its interactions with these other languages, in its expressive shape as well as in its expressed contents.


Associated members

Lambert Isebaert
Grégory Ems
Mathieu Minet

International collaborations

Perrine Galand (Paris, EPHE)

Team « Rome et ses Renaissances » (Paris IV)

Previous activities

11/12/2009 « La poésie néo-latine à haute voix (XVIe– XVIIe siècles) »
Study Day of GEMCA
27-28/10/2011 « Les Artes poeticæ aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles, et la tension entre théorisation et création  »
Conference of GEMCA


Future activities

10-11/10/2013 « Épigrammes et tableaux : un dialogue entre poésie et peinture »
Conference of GEMCA

Publications (published or in progress)

  • A. Smeesters, « Jean Vincart s.j., Sacrarum heroidum epistolae (1640) », in Jesuit Books in the Low Countries, 1540-1773. A Selection from the Maurits Sabbe Library, ed. B. Deprez, Leuven, 2009, p. 100-103.
  • Collective volume « Poésie latine à haute voix », eds L. Isebaert, A. Smeesters, Turnhout : Brepols (forthcoming).
  • Recueil d'emblèmes des Pieux Désirs de Herman Hugo (Anvers, 1627), facsimile des poèmes avec introduction, index et glossaire par A. Guiderdoni et A. Smeesters, Turnhout : Brepols (forthcoming).
  • Collective volume « Les Artes poeticae aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles », eds G. Ems, M. Minet, Turnhout : Brepols (forthcoming).


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