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BOOK REVIEWS93 into being through force might be overthrown by the same means, whUe governments that came about by the consent of the governed might be dissolved by the withdrawal of that consent (see p. 197). Brett closes the book with a chapter onThomas Hobbes, which sees him as"belonging to the same tradition of subjective right asVázquez.This right is primarily the natural Uberty of a person to do what he wiU: a liberty which is restricted but not entirely eliminated by the invention of the commonwealth or political power" (pp. 234-235). In closing, it must be stressed that Brett's work has substantiaUy increased our knowledge of late medieval rights discourse. She is at her most commanding in discussing the sixteenth-century Spaniards, but she provides her readers with valuable insights throughout. As noted above, one wishes that she would have paid greater attention to the canonistic sources of late medieval rights talk. But even with this qualification, we must reiterate our gratitude to Brett for an outstanding scholarly accomplishment. CharlesJ. Reíd,Jr. Emory University School ofLaw Pierpaolo Vergerio the Elder: The Humanist as Orator. By John M. McManamon . [Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies,Volume 163·] (Tempe: Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Arizona State University. 1996. Pp. xv, 224. $26.00.) Looking back on the history of the humanist movement from the third quarter of the fifteenth century, the Roman humanist Bartolomeo Platina describes Pierpaolo Vergerio the Elder (1368/70-1444) together with Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374) as preparing the way for the flourishing of good letters with Barzizza , Guarino, Bruni, Poggio, FiIeUo, and Vittorino.1 However, despite a sizable corpus of writings including his De ingenuis moribus, a tract on humanist education which became required reading for grammar school boys in the fifteenth century,2 until John McManamon's Pierpaolo Vergerio the Elder. The Humanist as Orator, we have lacked an extended analysis of this humanist's life and thought. The result of extensive study of the ancient and medieval rhetorical tradition, McManamon's thesis is thatVergerio's focus on Latin oration gave humanism a new dimension. He effectively shows that early in the 1390's Vergerio broke with traditional medieval oratorical forms and espoused imitation ofCiceronian oration, a part of Cicero's corpus of writings relatively neglected by previous generations of humanists. Conscious of paraUeling the visual arts, Vergerio in- 'De vita Victorini feltrensis commentariolus, in Eugenio Garin, /Z pensiero pedag ógico dell'umanesimo (Florence, 1958), p. 670. 2Paolo Cortesi, De hominibus doctis dialogus, ed. M.T. Graziosi (Rome, 1973), p. 28. 94BOOK REVIEWS sisted on the importance of ecphrasis in speeches. He created what was to become the standard portrait of Cicero, Roman patriot and scholar, who through his oratory defended the RepubUc. Deeply devoted to St. Jerome,Vergerio deUvered a series of orations praising die saint as serving the Christian repubUc both as an active man and a contemplative. In his De ingenuis moribus, essentiaUy directed to training boys for pubUc life, he put skiU in oratory at the center of the educational curriculum. McManamon's inteUectuaI biography takesVergerio from his youth in provincial Istria and his years of education in Florence, Bologna, and Padua, through his career as a papal burocrat and counselor of the Emperor. Particularly effective is the chapter onVergerio's role during the Great Schism and the Council of Constance. McManamon reveals through an analysis ofVergerio's speeches the deep reUgiosity and reforming zeal emboldening Vergerio to speak harsh but frank truths about the leadership of the Church. This is an important book. McManamon's thesis wiU change the way scholars approach humanism in the early fifteenth century. For one thing, McManamon's discovery of the oratorical orientation of humanism with its new emphasis on pubUc life helps us to understand why within the first decades of the fifteenthcentury humanism gained control ofupper-class education in Italy. My one criticism of McManamon's work is that he does not make clear that, although Vergerio espoused Ciceronian oration, he was unable styUsticaUy to imitate Cicero . It was probably this inabUity which caused later humanists like Platina to see him as a predecessor ofBruni, Poggio, Barzizza, and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 93-94
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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