Jan Papy, born in Mortsel, Belgium, in 1965. Ph.D. from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Senior Lecturer of Neo-Latin Studies at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
VNC Fellow (1 September 2008 – 31 January 2009)
SEIT EIN GESPRÄCH WIR SIND… MEDITIATION AND INNER DIALOGUE IN HUMANIST LETTER-COLLECTIONS
Within the framework of the NIAS theme group “Discourses of meditation and self-reflection in art and literature, 1300-1600”, I tackled the forms of meditation and ‘inner dialogue’ in Petrarch’s letter collection Epistolarum Familiarium Libri XXIV, the only letter collection which the Italian humanist himself finished and prepared for ‘publication’ between 1345 and 1366. This collection, consisting of rewritten pieces, fictitious letters and literary essays alike, functions specifically both as a form of self-presentation and as a unique medium of self-reflection. As such, my research opened up a new way of looking at the “Augustinian” conversio and meditatio present in Petrarch’s life and thought.
A second part of my research concerned Justus Lipsius’s Epistolarum Selectarum Centuria Prima Miscellanea (1586) which appears to be an ingenious construction of his persona and intellectual profile, and which propagates his humanist and Neostoic programme as set out in the De Constantia of 1583/4. Furthermore, it depicts how the young humanist scholar practised his «Neostoicism» himself, and how his readers are urged to live up to the programme of the De Constantia.