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Reviewed by:
  • The Renaissance in the Streets, Schools, and Studies: Essays in Honour of Paul F. Grendler
  • Frances Muecke
Eisenbichler, Konrad, and Nicholas Terpstra, eds, The Renaissance in the Streets, Schools, and Studies: Essays in Honour of Paul F. Grendler (Essays and Studies, 16), Toronto, Centre for Reformation & Renaissance Studies, 2008; paperback; pp. 373; 15 b/w illustrations, 8 colour plates; R.R.P. US$25.00; ISBN 9780772720429..

The primary purpose of this volume is to honour, as scholar, teacher and lover of his subject, Paul Grendler, the distinguished North American historian of the Renaissance. Secondly, by tracing his seminal contributions to the field, during his time at the University of Toronto (1964–98) and after, the book provides an overview of the changes that have taken place in it. The contributors are friends, colleagues and former students, all of whose work intersects with the honorand’s wide range of interests.

In this respect, a better guide to the contents than the book title are the section titles: The Varieties of Teaching, Humanism and Politics, Shaping Reform, Art and Life, The Renaissance in the Modern World. Framing the book, the Introductory Note and the concluding sections include affectionate narratives of Paul Grendler’s intellectual development – how he came to the Italian Renaissance, the sometimes serendipitous directions he followed, and the institutional and professional changes he has lived through, during what John O’Malley calls ‘our renaissance of the Renaissance’ (p. 329).

That ‘our’ is probably the key to the differences between the Australasian and North American experiences that this reviewer began to wonder about. She also regretted how little notice is taken of the work of southern hemisphere scholars. For example, anyone writing on Francesco Berni in his context in Rome in the 1520s, as Antonio Santosuosso does in his ‘Society in Disarray’, should know Anne Reynolds’ Renaissance Humanism at the Court of Clement VII (New York, 1997). In fact, only Nerida Newbigin is cited, in Eisenbichler’s ‘How Bartolemeo Saw a Play’, and her name is misspelled in one of the references (p. 271 n. 19).

The chapters devoted to Grendler, with a bibliography 1962–2007, are of general interest. Otherwise, specialists will seek out what they need. In keeping with O’Malley’s argument in ‘Paul Grendler and the Triumph of the Renaissance’, that, through the role of studia humanitatis in education, the Renaissance persisted long after the old notional termination date of 1517, most of the essays deal with the sixteenth century or beyond. An exception is Ronald G. Witt’s dense postscript to his book ‘In the Footsteps [End Page 170] of the Ancients’ (2000) in ‘The Early Communal Historians, Forerunners of the Italian Humanists’ where he presents ‘new evidence regarding the role of laymen and especially of the notariate as Latin historians’ in the period 1180–1245/8 (pp. 105–6).

Other chapters deal with the recognition in the West of the importance of mother as teacher (Margaret L. King); the Jesuits in schools and missions (Mark A. Lewis, S. J. Paul, V. Murphy); Francesco Burlamacchi’s quixotic plan in 1546 to liberate Pisa and set up a free state of the Tuscan cities (Mary Hewlett); the manual, mid-fifteenth century but much copied later, of the Bolognese conforteria of St Maria della Morte (Terpstra); the episcopal tribunal of Novara 1563–1614 (Thomas Deutscher); censorship in France in the sixteenth century between the Parlement of Paris, the Faculty of Theology and King Francis I (James K. Farge); audience reactions to Italian Renaissance theatre in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries (Eisenbichler); academies, the Berneschi and Mannerist painting in the 1520s and 1530s (Santosuosso); and two plays on Cardinal Cisneros (1436–1517), Archbishop of Toledo, Primate of Spain and Grand-Inquisitor, one Spanish c. 1699, the other English from the early 1780s (Erika Rummel).

As is usual with publications of the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, the volume is nicely produced.

Frances Muecke
Department of Classics and Ancient History
University of Sydney


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