The Mirror of Minds or John Barclay's "Icon Animorum"

The Mirror of Minds or John Barclay's "Icon Animorum"

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In this essay from 1614, the Neo-Latin poet, translator, and commentator John Barclay describes the manners and mores of his European contemporaries. He derives the sources of an individual's peculiarities of behavior and temperament from the "genius"--the individual character created by each person's upbringing, time of life, and profession. Barclay likewise describes each nation's genius, its national character, and provides some of the geographical and historical background from which he claims this genius arose. The essay is a valuable study, not only for the illustration it offers of a pre-Romantic view of Europe, but for a glimpse into the continuities that mark European civilization.

The introduction describes the Classical and Renaissance background to Barclay's work, with a detailed biography of the author. The Latin text reproduces Barclay's first edition, with the necessary corrections. The English translation (1631) is that of Thomas May, a skillful translator of Vergil, Lucan, and other classical authors, as well as a playwright in the manner of Ben Jonson. The book features illustrations of selected pages from early editions of the text, and includes contemporary portraits of Barclay and May.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 172 x 242 x 28mm | 879.99g
  • Leuven, Belgium
  • English, Latin
  • Bilingual edition
  • Bilingual
  • 5 Halftones, black and white
  • 9058679454
  • 9789058679451

Review quote

"Mark Riley's edition of John Barclay's study of national and temporal mores provides a text that will enhance the reading experience of classicists, historians, and literary scholars who wish to gain a balanced understanding of this work and the place it holds in wider Latin literature. . . . Mark Riley has successfully brought together a good standardized Latin text, a parallel English translation of range and ingenuity, and an erudite introduction. . . . [T]his edition provides the reader with the necessary tools to enjoy and appreciate the literature and its message (in Latin and/or English). The result should be warmly welcomed and enjoyed."--David M. McOmish, Renaissance Quarterly (Winter 2014)
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