Skip to Main Content

Neo-Latin Texts Written Outside of Europe: A Resource Guide

Print Materials

The Library of Congress’ collections hold a variety of Neo-Latin texts. The items listed here constitute a sampling of the Library's total non-European Neo-Latin holdings. These materials were selected to represent the diverse array of subject matter which can be found in the Latin literature of the modern period. They are located across many different reading rooms throughout the Library. The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog.

The majority of the Latin texts from Asia come to us from Jesuit hands. Jesuit missionaries traveled to the Far East and left behind grammar books in Latin and the native languages, dictionaries, and travel journals. These texts offer a tremendous insight into the interactions between Asians and Europeans and for the first time made information about East Asia available to Europeans on a broad scale. 

A varied body of Latin literature exists from the American colonies and early American Republic. Most of the texts are from the eighteenth century, with a handful dating to the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. These can be found in the Early American Imprints collection housed in the Rare Books Reading Room and in the general collections by searching the online catalog. Below is a representative sample of Latin writings from the United States.

The Early American Imprints collection contains books and pamphlets printed in the United States between 1640 and 1800 totaling 16,990 items. While the majority of these items are in English, there are a good many which were composed in Latin. A sample of these items are listed below. These items are held in the Rare Book and Special Collections Reading Room.

Listed below are some reference books on Neo-Latin literature. They provide an excellent starting point in your Neo-Latin studies.

Within the collection of Latin language and literature journals available at the Library of Congress, a small subset of these publish scholarly works on Neo-Latin literature. These are listed below.

The items listed here are curiosities, but are too few in number to warrant their own category. Two of these texts relate to Africa, the other contains the only two known Latin writings from Native Americans.

A large percentage of all Latin texts outside of Europe are Jesuit writings. As one of the most fervent enterprises of the Catholic Church's counterrevolution to Protestantism, the Jesuits sought to evangelize all corners of the globe. Often in the form of historical narratives and letters to Jesuit superiors, these documents describe the progress of their missions and the native peoples in these lands. They provide a wealth of information on European interaction with non-European peoples. These Latin writings can be found in the Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu, a massive collection of critically edited Jesuit Latin writings beginning with the foundation of the Society of Jesus up to the seventeenth century. Listed below are the writings made by Jesuits in non-European locales.

Work is still being done on this project. Up to now, the editions of Jesuit writings organized by region which are in possession of the Library include the items in the list below.