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Dr Bobby Xinyue

Dr Bobby Xinyue is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow. His research areas are Latin literature of the late Republican and early Imperial periods; humanist Latin literature (c.1450-1550); and the reception of Graeco-Roman antiquity in modern Chinese culture. Dr Xinyue teaches Latin literature and languages and Roman history in the Department of Classics and Ancient History. He holds a PhD in Classics from UCL; and has previously held a lectureship at University of Exeter, as well as research positions at the University of Virginia (US) and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Neo-Latin Studies (Austria).

Research Interests

Dr Xinyue's has recently edited a collected volume on Virgil's Georgics, which examines the historical significance and enduring influence of Virgil's didactic poem.

Dr Xinyue is currently in the process of finishing a monograph for Oxford University Press, entitled Politics and Divinization in Augustan Poetry, which is based on his doctoral thesis. This study offers a new interpretation of one of most prominent themes in Latin poetry, the divinization of Augustus, and argues that this theme functioned as a language of political science for the Augustan poets as they tried to come to terms with Rome’s transformation from Republic to Principate.

Alongside the preparation of the monograph, Dr Xinyue is also working on a British Academy-funded research project entitled ‘Redesigning Time: Ovid's Fasti and the Politics of Renaissance Poetic Calendars’ (see below). This project explores how Renaissance writers from across Europe used the calendar as a literary form to advance rivalling ideas about cultural identity.

Between 2015-2020, Dr Xinyue was an investigator on the international research project “Globalizing Ovid: Translating the Complete Corpus of Ovid’s poetry into Chinese with Commentaries” (PI: Jinyu Liu). Dr Xinyue's work on this project has allowed him to conduct ground-breaking research on the reception of Latin literature in China and begin work on the first ever Chinese translation of Ovid’s Fasti.

Research Project

‘Redesigning Time’ explores how Renaissance writers from across Europe used the calendar as a literary form to advance rivalling ideas about cultural identity, religion, and political power in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Focusing on three as yet untranslated early modern Latin poems that reflect on and develop Ovid’s Fasti, ancient Rome’s most famous calendar poem, this project analyses these texts’ contributions to the intellectual culture of (Counter-)Reformation Italy, Germany and France around the time of the Gregorian calendar reform of 1582. By examining the poems’ creative engagement with ancient and contemporary discourses of time through a critical framework informed by recent theories on the ideologically embeddedness of the calendar, this study shows how Renaissance calendar poems interrogated and intervened in the cultural politics of competing temporal constructions. 

This project significantly expands current research on the Renaissance fasti poem by offering a comprehensive and comparative study of the entire genre – not limiting itself to only late-Quattrocento Christian calendar poems produced by Italian humanists, but including in its analysis later poems composed in Germany and France. Special attention will be given: (i) Sacri fasti (1547, Rome) by Ambrogio ‘Novidio’ Fracco; (ii) Fasti ecclesiae christianae (1594, Hanau) by Nathan Chytraeus; (iii) a six-book supplement to Ovid’s unfinished poem by Claude-Barthélemy Morisot (1649, Dijon). It will be show that, whereas close imitation and systematic Christianisation of Ovid’s Fasti enable Fracco’s poem to assert the new imperium of modern papal Rome, the ostensibly un-Ovidian character of Chytraeus’ fasti draws attention to its celebration of Protestant Reformers and German intellectual culture, while Morisot’s supplement recreates a version of the Roman calendar that notably coheres with the political ideology of the ruling French monarchy. The project thus uncovers the centrality of calendrical epistemology in the historical settings of three European nation-states, and in doing so emphasises the active part played by these neglected Neo-Latin poems in processing and influencing new agendas, political perspectives, and emerging national identities. 

The project’s three primary objectives are to examine: (1) why the Latin calendar poem became a literary paradigm for inquiries into the relationship between state/authority and time; (2) what impact the (Counter-) Reformation had on calendrical thinking; (3) to what extent Renaissance calendar poems intersected with the Gregorian calendar reform and stimulated the European obsession with time in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The outcome of this cross-disciplinary project will make a significant and original contribution to the understanding of calendrical poetry, especially Ovid’s Fasti, as an ideologically-charged cultural technology during the European Renaissance. My findings will be of use to scholars and students working in the vastly expanding fields of Neo-Latin, Classical reception and Renaissance intellectual history.

As part of the project, a major international conference, entitled 'Temporalities, Ideologies, Poetics: Ancient and Early Modern Perspectives' will take place on 12th and 13th September 2019, at the Venice Campus of the University of Warwick. Click here for more details.

Publications

Books

2019: Reflections and New Perspectives on Virgil's Georgics, edited by B. Xinyue and N. Freer (London, Bloomsbury).

(Under contract) Politics and Divinization in Augustan Poetry (Oxford University Press).

Peer-Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters

2020: ‘A Pastoral Exchange on the Treatment of Poets: Battista Spagnoli Mantovano (1447–1516), Adolescentia 5.1–23, 68–91, 111–25’’, in D. Haddas, G. Manuwald, and L. Nicholas (eds.), An Anthology of European Neo-Latin Literature (London, Bloomsbury), 25–39.

2020: ‘Commemorating the Sack of Rome (1527): Antiquity and Authority in Renaissance Poetic Calendars’, Papers of the British School at Rome 88: 215–35

2019: ‘Divinization and Didactic Efficacy in Virgil’s Georgics’, in B. Xinyue and N. Freer (eds.), Reflections and New Perspectives on Virgil’s Georgics (London, Bloomsbury), 93–103.

2018: ‘The Didos of book 4: gender, genre, and the Aeneid in Propertius 4.3 and 4.4’, Greece & Rome 65: 218–41.

2018: ‘Augustus in Book 8 of Morisot’s Fasti’, in P. Goodman (ed.) Afterlives of Augustus: AD 14 - 2014 (Cambridge), 198–218.

2017: ‘Imperatrix and bellatrix: Cicero’s Clodia and Vergil’s Camilla’, in D. Campanile, F. Carlà, and M. Facella. (eds) TransAntiquity: Cross-Dressing and Transgender Dynamics in the Ancient World (London, Routledge), 164–77.

Teaching Experience

Qualifications

PhD (University College London)

MSt (Merton College, Oxford)