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  • The Renaissance in the Streets, Schools, and Studies: Essays in Honour of Paul F. Grendler
  • Christopher Carlsmith
Konrad Eisenbichler and Nicholas Terpstra, eds. The Renaissance in the Streets, Schools, and Studies: Essays in Honour of Paul F. Grendler. Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2008. 373 pp. index. illus. n.p. ISBN: 978-0-7727-2042-9.

Compiled by colleagues and former students of Paul Grendler, this volume of a dozen essays explores the intellectual, cultural, and social history of the Italian Renaissance. The specific topics —education, humanism, censorship, reform, and the definition of Renaissance, to name a few —represent those areas of inquiry to which Grendler has devoted his career. Readers of this journal will be familiar with Grendler's name from a variety of contexts: he was an editor of RQ (2000-06) and president of the RSA (1992-94), as well as editor-in-chief of Encyclopedia of the Renaissance (1999) and author of two well-known books on Italian education (1989, 2002).

Readers who wish to know more about Grendler's intellectual odyssey will enjoy William J. Callahan's biographical sketch as well as John O' Malley's reminiscence of Renaissance studies' development since World War II. These two informal essays situate Grendler within an academic context, demonstrating how the influence of Paul Kristeller, George Mosse, and others shaped his investigation of the past. Nicholas Terpstra's stylish introduction, in addition to summarizing each of the essays and linking them together, also touches briefly upon Grendler's intellectual path.

It seems appropriate that the first two essays in the volume explore the subject of teaching. Margaret King draws from her ongoing project about Renaissance mothers to describe how scholars and philosophers have viewed maternal instruction in the "school of infancy." This essay casts the widest net in the collection, incorporating Quintilian, Augustine, Erasmus, Barbaro, Montaigne, Comenius, Pestalozzi, Rousseau, and others to explain diverse viewpoints about when (and if) children should be instructed by mothers, fathers, or outside experts. King's broad perspective echoes Grendler's lifelong ambition, exhibited in his most recent book, to trace the legacy of the Renaissance even into the modern world. The second essay, by Mark Lewis, S.J., adopts a more narrow focus in portraying the careers of two Jesuit teachers of humanities (Francesco Guerrieri and Nicolò Orlandini) at the Neapolitan college. Lewis argues that their respective careers demonstrate the Society of Jesus's increasing acceptance of humanities teaching.

Ronald Witt's article on lay poets and notary-historians of the late medieval Italian communes opens part 2, subtitled "Humanism and Politics": here he expands upon his prior work on the origins of humanism and includes an annotated chronological list of historical texts. Mary Hewlett (Grendler's last doctoral student) tells the amusing story of Francesco Burlamacchi of Lucca and his failed [End Page 1210] plot to overthrow the Medici government. Hewlett's captivating microhistory is a blend of Lucchese historiography, intellectual history, and political machinations in sixteenth-century Tuscany. She argues that far from being a madman or a philo-Protestant, Burlamacchi's own confession makes clear that he was a Renaissance man inspired to act by his close reading of Plutarch's Lives. Nick Terpstra masterfully weaves together his knowledge of Bologna and of confraternal practices with surviving manuals and handbooks to raise provocative questions about how and why, even in the face of clerical objections, lay confratelli provided comfort and counseling to prisoners prior to execution.

Part 3, "Shaping Reform," reflects Grendler's interest in censorship and religion. Thomas Deutscher's review of episcopal tribunals in the diocese of Novara illustrates that while the Counter-Reformation of Carlo Borromeo and Carlo Bascapè was well-entrenched, the bishop's court was far more effective at disciplining clergy than in controlling the laity. Deutscher includes a series of entertaining anecdotes about immoral or illegal behavior drawn from the diocesan records. James Farge contends that censorship in sixteenth-century Paris increased substantially as the king, the parlement, and the university's faculty of theology learned to collaborate in the face of growing Lutheran influences and a new type of reading public. Both essays draw heavily upon archival research...


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Print ISSN
pp. 1210-1211
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2009
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