This book, which is the first comprehensive study of its subject, shows how one traditionally esteemed author, the Roman poet Virgil, played an unexpectedly significant role in the shaping of Venetian Renaissance culture. The author draws on reception theory, the sociology of literature, andhistory of the book to argue that Virgil's poetry became a best-seller because it sometimes challenged, but more often confirmed, the specific moral, religious, and social values its Venetian readers brought with them to their texts. The texts that are used are the printed books of the fifteenth andsixteenth century printed books in which readers of the period encountered Virgil, the prefaces and commentaries that guided their responses, and, the marginal notes that record those responses. How the Renaissance Venetians saw themselves when they looked into their literary past tells us a gooddeal about them, but it also illuminates a number of issues at the centre of humanistic studies today, ranging from how reading takes place to the role of class and gender in fashioning interpretation. The wide range of interests that are touched on should make this book of value to scholars in the disciplines of classics, history, Renaissance studies, and Italian studies, as well as English literature and cultural studies.