Anthony Grafton Biography
By Ann Blair, Harvard University, and Nicholas Popper, College of William and Mary
From the General Meeting Booklet, 2012 AHA Annual Meeting
There is a dragon by the steps leading into Anthony Grafton’s Princeton ranch home. Built by his wife Louise, who makes stage props, it hovers over the front door with a genial ferocity that suggests less the demand to stand guard than the desire to welcome. This dragon could breathe fire, but it prefers conversation. Next to the dragon is a standing Red British mailbox, the first in a series of communication technologies to which the dragon would like to usher you, for each has facilitated the owner’s lifelong effort to investigate, understand, and circulate valuable knowledge of the past. Inside the house, a book wheel (made to Renaissance specifications for a library exhibit) bears heavy tomes—early printed folios in Latin and Greek, and modern works open to pages of current interest—while nearby shelves bulge with books and papers, including countless binders of notes, taken in pencil in rare book libraries before the days of laptops, and carefully treated with spray to keep the pencil from smudging over time beyond legibility. Various electronic aids strewn about—laptop, Blackberry, iPad—attest to the fact that this historian of early modern European scholarship works not only with the traditional tools of human memory and ink on paper, but also with the digital tools of today.
Backing into the History of Classical Scholarship
At age ten, in sixth grade in the public schools of Ridgefield, Connecticut, Tony Grafton asked his parents if he could learn Greek. As first-generation Jewish immigrants they didn’t particularly share this enthusiasm, but they were supportive parents with sufficient means, so they hired a tutor. The extracurricular instruction in Greek continued through the family’s move back to New York, where Tony’s father Samuel Grafton (originally Lipschutz), a freelance writer, had been an editor at the New York Post. Tony attended the Trinity School by day and family dinner conversations featuring a number of New York’s liberal Jewish intellectuals in the evening—he was exposed early to the model of the public intellectual. He finished high school at Phillips Academy in Andover, where he won the Catlin Prize in Classics. Accepted at Columbia University and the University of Chicago, he chose the latter, only to find an undergraduate classics curriculum ill-equipped for a student with strong Greek and Latin but not yet ready for graduate work. Hanna Holborn Gray, a professor of history at the time who taught him in Chicago’s landmark Western civilization course, introduced him to the vast, understudied world of Renaissance Greek and Latin texts. Ever since, Grafton has devoted his career to reinvigorating the study of humanism and classical scholarship by demonstrating their importance to early modern European culture and by bringing to light complexity and vitality in fields and figures in which historians least expected to find them.
When Grafton graduated with a BA in history in 1971, the academic boom of the 1960s was on the verge of a crash. The Danforth fellowships—established in 1951 to stimulate the production of PhDs by funding graduate study for one hundred of the nation’s best students in all fields—would be suspended in 1979, after their endowment had dropped by two-thirds and the academic job market had shriveled. But with a Danforth in hand, Grafton was set for graduate school. He chose to stay at Chicago, supervised by Eric Cochrane, an expert on the late Italian Renaissance with a particular focus on historical thought. Those were the days of large graduate classes and massive attrition. Grafton was among some seventy-five admitted in history, and among the fifteen or so to receive a PhD—in his case, just four years later. For his dissertation, Grafton sought to examine the connections between humanism and science, two fields that historians had more often portrayed in hostile opposition. Noel Swerdlow suggested Joseph Scaliger (1540–1609), a French Huguenot who became one of the most widely respected and highly paid classical scholars of his time, only to be largely ignored in subsequent centuries even by intellectual historians. Though a “legendarily rebarbative subject,” Scaliger has proved a lasting source of inspiration for Grafton, from the publication of his first book in 1983, to the project funded by his 2002 Balzan Prize to identify and publish Scaliger’s scattered correspondence. Grafton’s mastery of Scaliger’s rich scholarly corpus has also informed many of his thematic books.
Grafton set out to recover what was so exciting about Joseph Scaliger to his contemporaries: why he was considered, with Isaac Casaubon and Justus Lipsius, as among the greatest philologists in Europe’s most philologically expert generation, and why he devoted his later life to chronology—the discipline of dating past events from all available sources, biblical and classical, literary and astronomical. Grafton alighted at the Warburg Institute in London, in summer 1973, for a year of research focused on Scaliger’s philology. Of the many luminaries there at the time (including Frances Yates and D.P. Walker), Arnaldo Momigliano proved the crucial guide. His advice spurred Grafton to recognize that contextualizing Scaliger’s contributions required recasting the history of textual criticism. The fourth-year graduate student immersed himself in an abundance of primary sources, first at the Warburg Library, then in various continental libraries, including Leiden, where Henk Jan de Jonge offered essential support to his work in the Scaliger manuscripts. Whereas Lorenzo Valla had typically been credited with founding humanist criticism in his unmasking of the Donation of Constantine, Angelo Poliziano emerged in Grafton’s account as the crucial figure, who systematized philology by basing it on technical comparisons between Latin and Greek and on a differentiated understanding of the historical contexts of ancient authors.
Instead of following the historiographical consensus among Americans that humanism had developed a deadly sclerosis by the early seventeenth century, or any one of the nationally inflected historiographies he encountered in Europe, Grafton insisted on building a historical account from first principles. He paid close attention to the citations and claims of the participants themselves rather than rely on historians’ truisms, and attended to sources that had often been left aside, notably manuscript notes, collations, and marginal annotations in printed books. By showing how those sources were themselves enmeshed within their authors’ intellectual, personal, and institutional circumstances, Grafton created a portrait of classical scholarship in action from mid-fifteenth to the mid-seventeenth century, and generated an expansive model for an intellectual history encompassing practices in addition to ideas. Characteristically, Grafton formulated these innovations as indebted to, rather than in conflict with, the existing historiographies, in a spirit of collaboration among scholars across different times and places.
Though he would later warn his students against doing so, Grafton billed his first book as Volume One of a two-part set. Volume Two appeared a decade later, in 1993, larger and more original still, for in it he created the first account of the discipline of chronology in early modern Europe in order to explain Scaliger’s contribution to it. This work reflected Grafton’s ability to master a wide range of scholarly tools. As with the first volume—and much of his subsequent scholarship—it highlighted his enviable grasp of Latin, not only its classical form, but also its early modern iteration which, given the lack of didactic aids, is acquired principally by extensive reading in original sources. As a result of his voracious reading and near perfect recall, Grafton can make sense as few can of both the crabbed and the polished imitations of classical Latin—from florid prefaces to acerbic polemics—and he recognizes irony and intertextual allusions as well as effects of style and subtle errors. But Scaliger II required a second set of even more recondite skills—mastery of the full range of calendrical and astronomical systems (Babylonian, Jewish, Greek, Roman, Christian, Saxon, and Arabic among them) from which Scaliger, along with many contemporaries, sought to date in one coherent timeline all the events of world history.
Grafton followed Scaliger from his entry into this field with a 1579 edition of Manilius’ Astronomicon, to his articulation of systematic procedures for critical evaluations, and finally to his own chronological syntheses of 1583 and 1606. After analyzing the extensive controversies these works generated, Grafton concluded that Scaliger became increasingly aware of the limitations of textual criticism, in the face of competing methods and claims advanced by newly confident astronomers. Scaliger II is more than a masterwork of exceptionally difficult historical and technical reconstruction. Intellectual historians had tended to see the significance of the late sixteenth century predominantly for its transformations in political and natural philosophy, and even sympathetic historians had frequently reduced the vibrant activities in more arcane provinces of the republic of letters to the desultory indulgences of petty squabblers. Grafton, by contrast, demonstrated the central place of chronology on the map of early modern European scholarly concerns, and his work will offer a lifeline for all those who venture into this challenging field.
The Renaissance and Beyond: Branching Out
As a student at Chicago, Tony met Louise Erlich while both were working at the Court, the outdoor Shakespeare Theater in Hyde Park. They were married in 1972. Louise taught at DePaul University while Tony took his first job as an instructor at Cornell before he had finished his dissertation, but they moved together to Princeton in 1975 when Tony was hired as an assistant professor and Louise as a prop maker for the New York Shakespeare Festival. Proud references to Louise’s work on countless productions—from the Big Apple Circus in New York to the Old Vic during a stay in London, to Rutgers where she works regularly now—and to their children Sam (born in 1980) and Anna (in 1982) have always featured prominently in Tony’s conversation.
Grafton arrived in the History Department at Princeton as an extraordinary cluster of early modern historians was forming. Lawrence Stone, Theodore Rabb, and Robert Darnton were already there; Natalie Zemon Davis arrived in 1978. Grafton did not share the others’ focus at the time on Annales school historiography and Geertzian anthropology, but he was known as a wunderkind. Grafton dazzled students with his lectures in Western civilization and colleagues with talks delivered in his characteristic style—in elegant, elaborate sentences that leave the listener thrilled by the contest between the volume of vivid detail to convey and the need to breathe, which does force the occasional concession of a short pause.
Forgers and Critics (1990) resulted from one such public lecture at Princeton. In it Grafton developed an insight that has proved crucial to subsequent interpretations of the “early modern”: that the impulses so often highlighted and valued as modern were also deeply intertwined with other, apparently opposite ones. In particular he showed how the rules of textual criticism for which Renaissance scholars were renowned were in fact indebted to practices of forgery and, moreover, that they had been used—even by some of the same people—for making forgeries as well as for debunking them. Grafton steered a nuanced course through the competing shoals of heroizing and demonizing the human figures at the center of his analyses. This work exemplified his affinity for the complexity of the past and his refusal to generalize about a cultural mentality to make it seem either familiar or foreign. Here, as in subsequent work, Grafton emphasized the inextricable connections between seemingly disparate scholarly practices, revealing the interconnections between the forgeries of Giovanni Nanni of Viterbo and Isaac Causabon’s debunking of Hermes Trismegistus. Similarly, in What Was History? (2007), Grafton pondered the coexistence of critical acumen and “credulousness” in early modern scholars who, for example, rejected the notion that descendants from Troy settled France but also asserted that “Walloons” had earned their name for asking “où allons-nous?” as they migrated to Flanders. By studying the practices of early modern history writing in conjunction with the ars historica, a peculiarly early modern genre offering advice on how to read and write history, Grafton traced the slow demise of history as a prudential search for moral and political advice. A genuine, if sometimes bemused, sympathy pervades Grafton’s attention to the foibles and confusions as well as the remarkable intelligence and seriousness of his subjects.
That same sympathetic outlook governs his engagement with other scholars. Grafton’s was a voice of calm amid the strident tones of the “culture wars” of the 1990s. He calls for and puts into practice an intellectual irenicism and eclecticism, which values above all solid, innovative research. In recent years he has written eloquently on the significance of scholarship driven not by ulterior motives but by the search for a fuller understanding of often forgotten corners of the world or of the past. In a 2010 issue of Perspectives he pointed out for example that “what members of one generation saw as a purely scholarly inquiry into Islam in South Asia turned out to be the next generation’s source of enlightenment on the origins of the Taliban.” His commitment to the value of scholarship that engages broader publics dates from early in his career. From the 1970s Grafton has been writing for The American Scholar, the magazine of Phi Beta Kappa. Starting in the mid-1980s he has written occasional review essays for TLS. His curation of an exhibit at the New York Public Library on New Worlds, Ancient Texts in 1992–93, accompanied by a very successful book of the same title (written with April Shelford and Nancy Siraisi), brought him to the attention of a broader public. Tony has also enjoyed writing for multiple journalistic venues—including the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and The New Yorker, but especially The New Republic, the New York Review of Books, and The London Review of Books—each of his eighty-plus essays becoming research forays into a vast array of topics.
Grafton began to develop a public profile in the early 1990s, but his path to wide scholarly celebrity was unintentional and began with a project borne of circumstance and improvisation: his Die tragischen Ursprünge der deutschen Fussnote (1995), composed during a year at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin and published in a revised version in English in 1997. On arriving in Berlin for a year of research in 1993—in the days before online library catalogs—Grafton discovered few primary sources relevant to his planned research on Girolamo Cardano’s astrology. Instead, after a casual discussion of the history of footnotes elicited enthusiasm from a reporter for the Frankfurter Rundschau, Grafton plunged into the Ranke archives and opened the way for the studies of methods of working that have since multiplied, as scholars have mined the historical architecture and structural transformations of their own practices.
His original Berlin project, strengthened by his contact there with Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann, returned to the fore during subsequent research stays in Vienna, Jerusalem, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, and he published Cardano’s Cosmos: The Worlds and Works of a Renaissance Astrologer in 1999. Grafton tracked Cardano through the phases of his career from small-time doctor to court physician, university professor and contentious author, showing how for this versatile multi-tasker, humanist reading and writing was also shaped by pragmatic concerns. Similarly, Leon Battista Alberti, Master Builder of the Italian Renaissance (2000)—developed from a lecture Grafton was invited to deliver at Columbia—surveyed how ancient sources inspired Alberti not only to write in innovative ways about art and technology, but also to become an architect and master builder himself. By focusing on individuals like Cardano and Alberti, Grafton furthered his project of revealing the interdependence of disciplines too often treated separately by historians—most notably the role of humanism in technical fields like medicine or architecture—while offering an integrated analysis of ideas in relation to the practices of reading and writing, observing and inventing.
Grafton attended to manuscript annotations, drafts, and working methods well before interest in the history of the book was widespread. He has been instrumental in the development of that field, both by pioneering these methods of analysis in his own research (for instance, in his 1981 article on student annotations in a sixteenth-century Paris schoolbook) and by shepherding the projects of others into the public eye. Just as he has shown how early modern scholars invested their antiquarian study with contemporary urgency, so too he has explored and reflected on the impact of electronic technologies to facilitate scholarly communication and communion with texts—from his beautifully crafted Codex in Crisis (2008) to a session he organized at the AHA on the Google Ngram project.
Grafton has never worked on just one project at a time—at any given moment he has multiple publications in press (currently a book on the role of correctors in Renaissance print shops), others in manuscript in progress (Faustus and Friends: Magic in Renaissance Germany and a history of Renaissance Europe), and still others as talks (“How Jesus Celebrated Passover: Some Early Modern Readings of the Last Supper”) or ideas floated in conversation pending further research. The succession of Grafton’s publications is astonishing beyond recounting in detail. The current count stands at about fourteen books (five of them co-authored), nine co-edited volumes, and four collections of articles (Defenders of the Text, 1991; Commerce with the Classics, 1997; Bring Out Your Dead, 2001; Worlds Made by Words, 2009), taken from his hundred or so scholarly articles, and more than eighty reviews and journalistic essays.
Constantly Working with Others
Alongside a solo virtuosity that is hard to match, Grafton has throughout played in duets and ensembles, beginning even from his years as a younger scholar, when historical writing was rarely collaborative. His collaborations with Noel Swerdlow on the history of astronomy and chronology started at Chicago. Those with Lisa Jardine, begun when they were both at Cornell, were carried on mostly through summers spent in London. Their masterfully erudite analysis of the practical implementation of humanist pedagogy, From Humanism to the Humanities (1986), caused considerable controversy for portraying humanist education as, among other things, a means by which an elite reproduced itself through the mastery of peculiar forms of Latin style. Some reviews were negative, which attested principally to the novelty of an account that departed from the single-minded lionization of that pedagogical program. Jardine and Grafton’s “Read for Action: How Gabriel Harvey Read His Livy,” Past and Present (1990)—widely cited and assigned as a model for the study of marginal annotations—showed from Gabriel Harvey’s notes in his copy of Livy’s histories that Harvey read to extract lessons from the classical past to inform the decisions of an early seventeenth-century “man of action.” With Glenn Most, who taught classics at Princeton in the 1980s, Grafton published an annotated translation of the work that started the debate over Homeric authorship (F.A. Wolf. Prolegomena to Homer, 1988). Joined by Salvatore Settis, they have just edited The Classical Tradition (2010), a massive reference work bursting with innovative entries and perspectives on the reception and impact down to the present of classical cultures, predominantly of Greece and Rome, with unusual attention to ancient Egypt and the Near East. Obelisk, written with Brian Curran, Pamela Long, and Benjamin Weiss, focuses on the long career of one classical icon in European imagination and urban design. Grafton’s co-editors and -authors run the gamut from those more senior than he (Nancy Siraisi, Natural Particulars, 2000) to students (Megan Williams, in Christianity and the Transformation of the Book, 2006, and Ann Blair in The Transmission of Culture in Early Modern Europe, 1990), and younger scholars (Daniel Rosenberg, Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline, 2010). Most recently, Tony joined forces with Joanna Weinberg to produce a beautiful book on Casaubon’s annotation and study of Hebrew books, which they pursued in four libraries on two continents over many summers (“I have always loved the Holy Tongue,” 2011). These ventures—so often into different areas and contexts than those typically associated with the classical tradition—exemplify his commitment to collaboration in the name of expansive scholarship.
In the Service of Others as Teacher and Mentor
His willingness to work as equals with collaborators of different ages and ranks reveals Grafton’s decidedly New World attitude to Old World erudition. Unpretentious and anti-hierarchical, he is exceptionally generous with his time and attention, particularly with students and younger colleagues. He has mentored countless undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral visitors to Princeton, in addition to those he has met during his travels and longer stays all over Europe. He has stimulated scholars whose pursuits quite often lay at the peripheries of his galaxies of knowledge. In over thirty dissertations supervised at Princeton, Grafton has encouraged students to blend and bridge intellectual history with subdisciplines such as history of the book, art history, and urban history into fruitful new syntheses. Accordingly, his students’ works have both opened up new avenues of inquiry and invigorated studies of canonical works. Their topics have ranged from the textual practices of Petrarch to the memory of the Renaissance in nineteenth-century Germany, from early modern martyrdom to Enlightenment philosophy, natural philosophy and antiquarianism, from the circulation of news in early modern Constantinople to the circulation of Moriscos into early modern New Spain, from British engineering to Spanish law. He treats those working on topics within his vast area of expertise—such as students of the historical revolution or of classical studies in the Renaissance—with infinite generosity and blessed patience, enduring draft after draft with equanimity, deftly guiding them to independent revelations without imposing his own certainties. More than one of his advisees has expressed astonishment at how ably he communicates what he has learned from their work, despite their conviction that he already knew what they had discovered. Leading by example, he strives to facilitate their scholarly autonomy and ability to navigate what scholarly challenges they choose for themselves. In recent years, an annual graduate conference that he co-organizes to alternate between Harvard and Princeton has served to enhance the sense of community within and across both programs.
Along with his expansive scholarly interests, this advisorial orientation has enabled Grafton to contribute to a broad range of graduate work within and outside Princeton. But it has also infused the whole scope of his pedagogical mission at Princeton, where “Tony the Tiger” has spent nearly all his teaching career. Tenured in 1979, he was Andrew Mellon then Dodge Professor of History; since 2000 he has been the Henry Putnam University Professor. He directed the Shelby Cullom Davis Center from 1999 to 2003, after directing Princeton’s interdepartmental committee on European cultural studies. As chair of the university’s Council of the Humanities, Grafton was instrumental in founding Princeton’s Center for the Study of Books in Media in 2002 and the Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows in 2009, as well as a new leave program for faculty who agree to contribute during their leave to intellectual life on campus. Grafton promotes the humanities at all levels, from a humanities outreach program for prospective freshmen to the postdoctoral Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts. On campus he is known as a talented intellectual impresario who masterminds innovative events open to a general public, and as the author of provocative blogs in the Daily Princetonian. He has also been instrumental in implementing institutional changes designed to intensify undergraduate exposure to a liberal arts education, serving as a strong force in developing Princeton’s freshmen writing seminar program.
Tony Grafton is a consummate teacher. His lecture courses are enthusiastically received and he has a deep love of seminar discussions. He views the classroom as a laboratory of new ideas and approaches to learning, and accordingly has encouraged the school to expand its undergraduate curriculum. His own teaching choices have been designed to enrich his knowledge of unfamiliar subjects. Grafton has frequently co-taught courses at the both the undergraduate and graduate level. Because he uses his graduate courses to investigate emergent strains of scholarship, each session is infused with the energy of new discoveries; his graduate seminars are events that enroll eager students from many departments. These courses he supplements with an unhealthily large dose of graduate reading courses, typically designed by his students, likely to push him to read less familiar scholarship. Long after other Princeton faculty desisted from the practice, he continued to serve as a teaching assistant for colleagues—even those junior to him—in undergraduate courses well outside his expertise. His commitment to undergraduate teaching has remained unwavering, and only someone with his talent for it could have inspired a former student to lampoon him, tongue in cheek, for stealing his students’ ideas in the 2004 novel The Rule of Four. As a constant advocate of liberal arts education, he encourages students to take small courses and regularly advises three or four senior theses per year, but is also a fan of the broad survey. This past year he has resumed teaching Princeton’s Western civilization lecture course after a hiatus of ten years.
Grafton has chosen his professional commitments carefully to ensure that he is able to play an active role in each. For Phi Beta Kappa, he served as a visiting scholar delivering lectures at colleges around the country, as president of the Princeton chapter, and is currently a PBK senator and member of the editorial board of The American Scholar. As co-editor of the Philadelphia-based Journal of the History of Ideas with Ann Moyer, Warren Breckman, and Martin Burke, he is helping this august journal weather the many changes striking the academic and publishing landscape. He served for ten years as a member of the board of the American Academy of Rome, and explains that he first became a regular at the AHA to support his students who were giving talks. Before he realized it, Grafton was vice president of the Professional Division of the AHA in 2004–07. During those years he helped set up and model best practices for graduate schools, from admissions procedures to posting placement records, and professional protocols for interviewing, hiring, and negotiating. By participating in the popular interviewing session at the annual meeting, Tony has regularly mentored job seekers and helped them through a most stressful time.
Among his countless prestigious honors and awards are the Balzan Prize (2002) and a $1.5 million Andrew Mellon Foundation Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities (2003), which Grafton used to support postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton. In 2005 he was the Trevelyan Lecturer at Cambridge; in 2006 the Camps Lecturer at Stanford and the Tanner Lecturer at Yale. After receiving an honorary degree from the University of Leiden in 2006, he is now looking forward to accepting a “Pour le mérite” medal from the German government—an order first founded in the eighteenth century, which features a blue-enameled cross. For every honor and award he has received, Grafton has helped others gain recognition, employment, and promotions, parlaying the respect he has earned into gains for others across many areas of specialization. Tony’s generosity is legendary: not only his students, but also dozens of recent PhDs and colleagues of all generations have benefitted from his advice and support.
Those who know him have often wondered how he does it all, and with such good cheer. He admits that he sleeps little and starts the day early, devoting his first hours to writing, following the ancient motto of “no day without a line.” His memory is prodigious and his working conditions have been excellent—whether at Princeton, in London or Oxford and Cambridge during the summers, or on research leave in a variety of institutes and libraries. Above all, Tony Grafton has a seemingly insatiable appetite for work, for the study of difficult texts, the teaching and writing about them. But work may be the wrong word. Tony does what he does with a joy undiminished by his accumulated experience—the joy of making new discoveries and new connections and in sharing them with others.
“I Have Always Loved the Holy Tongue”: Isaac Casaubon, the Jews, and a Forgotten Chapter in Renaissance Scholarship. With Joanna Weinberg. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011.
Worlds Made by Words. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009.
Obelisk: A History. With Brian A. Curran, Pamela O. Long, and Benjamin Weiss. Cambridge, MA: Burndy Library and MIT Press, 2009.
Codex in Crisis. New York: The Crumpled Press, 2008.
Christianity and the Transformation of the Book: Origen, Eusebius, and the Library of Caesarea. With Megan Hale Williams. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006.
What Was History? The Art of History in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Der Magus. Co-editor with Moshe Idel. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2001.
Historians and Ideologues: Essays in Honor of Donald R. Kelley. Co-editor with John H. M. Salmon. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2001.
Secrets of Nature: Astrology and Alchemy in Early Modern Culture. Co-editor with William Newman. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.
Bring Out Your Dead: The Past as Revelation. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.
Leon Battista Alberti: Master Builder of the Italian Renaissance. New York: Hill & Wang, 2000.
Natural Particulars. Co-editor with Nancy Siraisi. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000.
Cardano’s Cosmos: The Worlds and Work of a Renaissance Astrologer. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999.
The Footnote: A Curious History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997.
Commerce with the Classics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997.
Joseph Scaliger: A Study in the History of Classical Scholarship, vol. II: Historical Chronology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
Defenders of the Text: The Traditions of Humanism in an Age of Science, 1450–1800. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991.
The Transmission of Culture in Early Modern Europe. Co-editor with Ann Blair. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990.
Forgers and Critics: Creativity and Duplicity in Western Scholarship. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.
The Uses of Greek and Latin: Historical Essays in Memory of A.D. Momigliano. Co-editor with A.C. Dionisotti and Jill Kraye. London: Warburg Institute, 1988.
From Humanism to the Humanities: The Institutionalizing of the Liberal Arts in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-century Europe. Co-editor with Lisa Jardine Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986.
Prolegomena to Homer : A Translation with Introduction and Notes , by F.A. Wolf. Translator with Glenn W. Most and James E.G. Zetzel. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.
Joseph Scaliger: A Study in the History of Classical Scholarship, vol. I: Textual Criticism and Exegesis. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983.
History under Attack (Perspectives on History, January 2011)
A Discussion Continues (Perspectives on History, February 2011)
Loneliness and Freedom (Perspectives on History, March 2011)
Historians at Work 1: Rutgers-Camden (Perspectives on History, April 2011)
The Imperative of Public Participation (Perspectives on History, May 2011)
The Arc of Writing History (Perspectives on History, September 2011)
No More Plan B A Very Modest Proposal for Graduate Programs in History (Perspectives on History, October 2011)
Plan C (Perspectives on History, November 2011)
Historians at Work, III: Public History (Perspectives on History, December 2011)