I met Peter Dronke, the emeritus professor of medieval Latin at the University of Cambridge, only once, when he organized and hosted the International Medieval Latin Congress in 1998.
Dronke died earlier this month at the age of 85, it was announced last week.
I shall single out only two of Dronke's many important publications. His two-volume book Medieval Latin and the Rise of the European Love-Lyric brought attention to the importance of the Latin literary tradition, stretching back to classical antiquity, in understanding medieval "courtly love" poetry, which has far too often been examined solely in its vernacular manifestations. And he edited many examples of such poetry in Latin, creating a canon of texts that has been used by two generations of students and scholars.
I was in college when his Women Writers of the Middle Ages was published, and I remember its immediate influence on medieval studies. That Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim and Hildegard of Bingen are now regularly read in surveys of medieval European literature is in no small part due to the treatment they received in this book.
Peter Dronke was among the most eminent medieval Latinists of his generation, and his influence in medieval studies will be felt for years to come.