Konrad Eisenbichler, Nicholas Terpstra, eds. The Renaissance in the Streets, Schools, and Studies: Essays in Honour of Paul F. Grendler. Essays and Studies Series. Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2008. Illustrations. 378 pp. $37.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-7727-2042-9.
Reviewed by Julie Tanaka (History Department, University of Puget Sound)
Published on H-HRE (May, 2009)
Commissioned by Tryntje Helfferich
Paul F. Grendler--Scholar and Teacher
Paul F. Grendler has done much to develop the broad, multi-perspective study of Renaissance history today. To honor his career, thirteen of his students and colleagues from the United States and Canada have contributed an array of essays that reflect the cultural, social, and intellectual history of the Renaissance. These essays represent the very spirit of Grendler's scholarship and offer a most fitting tribute to his continued influence.
The introduction first provides a brief overview of Grendler as an inquisitive young graduate student in French history falling in love with Italy--an event that set him on a new course of study--and then offers detailed summaries of each of the essays in the volume. A bibliography of Grendler's writings from 1962 to 2007 follows the front matter, and the volume is further adorned with sixteen illustrations and eight color plates.
Arranged topically under rubrics reflecting the range of Grendler's work, the essays commence with part 1, "The Varieties of Teaching," and its two essays, "The School of Infancy: The Emergence of Mother as Teacher in Early Modern Times" by Margaret L. King and "The Jesuit Institutionalization of the Studia Humanitatis: Two Jesuit Humanists at Naples" by Mark A. Lewis. King explores the writings of European authors between 1400 and 1800 to argue that in these years mothers in the Western world emerged as the key teachers of children, but that with the rise of a formal classroom, the kindergarten, they lost this distinction. Anchored in the history of early modern Europe and critical textual analysis, this essay also steps into the realms of cultural anthropology, child development, biology, and education. In contrast to King's broad approach, Lewis situates his study in formal institutions of learning, the Jesuit colleges. Lewis argues that Jesuits only slowly started to realize how teaching the studia humanitatis could aid their efforts to reform the church. As part of this argument, he briefly surveys the careers of Francesco Guerrieri and Niccolo Orlandini to show how these two fifteenth-century Jesuits helped establish the studia humanitatis as an important part of the Jesuits' reforming arsenal. This, he argues, was the first step in the development of the reputation of Jesuit schools and of teaching as a Jesuit profession.
Part 2 offers essays by Ronald G. Witt, Mary Hewlett, and Nicholas Terpstra that follow in the tradition of Grendler's work exploring the intersection of humanism and politics. "The Early Communal Historians, Forerunners of the Italian Humanists," by Witt, is an addendum to his own earlier work on the origins of Italian humanism. Here, he shows that, particularly after the Peace of Constance (1183), notaries composed communal histories that integrated their increased appreciation of ancient Roman literature and history into their accounts of contemporary history. As notaries drew on an education that had steeped them in ancient Roman authors, so too did the central figure in Hewlett's study, "Fortune's Fool: The Influence of Humanism on Francesco Burlamacchi, 'Hero' of Lucca." In this essay, she reassesses the career of Francesco Burlamacchi and contextualizes him in the political and religious events of his day. She argues that he was not a lunatic but a humanist steeped in Roman history and with a vision to unite Tuscany. Turning away from histories, Terpstra delves into a manual written for the conforteria of S. Maria della Morte and shows how lay comforters drew on both the education methods taught at Schools of Christian Doctrine and the spiritual methods presented in the many contemporary manuals on the Ars Moriendi or "Art of Dying Well." He argues convincingly that the variety of motives--anxiety over public order, pride in their cultic role, and charitable sympathy--that attracted the comforters to their occupation represented the integration of religion and politics in early modern lay spirituality and civic religion.
In part 3, the authors turn to the archives and their treasures to reassess three major theories prevalent in early modern historical scholarship. First, Thomas Deutscher examines the Diocese of Novara in his essay, "The Bishop's Tribunal and the Laity: The Diocese of Novara, 1563-1615." He tests theories of confessionalization and questions the assumption that sacraments and the courts were the main instruments used to enforce social discipline. In a similar vein, the other two contributions, "'Your Indies': The Jesuit Mission and the Santa Casa di Loreto in the Sixteenth Century," by Paul V. Murphy, and "The Origins and Development of Censorship in France," by James K. Farge, use archival research to counter stereotypes about the Jesuits and censorship in France, respectively. All three essays offer important case studies from archival materials that, by themselves, may not be sufficient evidence to overturn the theories they address. The essays do serve as a reminder, however, of the vast wealth of information still in the archives that can, and in many cases probably will, reshape long-held assumptions and theories.
As a tribute fitting to where Grendler began his work, the next three contributions by Konrad Eisenbichler, Anthonio Santosuosso, and Erika Rummel turn their attention to the interaction of high and low culture. In his essay, "How Bartolomeo Saw a Play," Eisenbichler shifts his focus from the academic analysis of the composition of Renaissance dramas to the entertainment value a play had for a Renaissance audience. Santossuosso takes up the work of satirical poets and mannerist painters in his "A Society in Disarray: Satirical Poets and Mannerist Painters in the Age of the Italian Wars”; while Rummel, in "Cardinal Cisneros as Dramatic Hero: Enlightened Statesman or Miracle Worker," shows how the same Spanish lawyer, humanist, and cleric, Jimenez de Cisneros, was fashioned by two playwrights, one from the seventeenth century and one writing about a century later, into two different heroes who displayed verisimilitude to their model, but who were also very much heroes particular to their authors’ respective eras.
Grendler's many monographs, articles, conference papers, lectures, encyclopedia entries, edited volumes, and reviews do not merely fill out his impressive vita nor do they only reflect his broad contributions to Renaissance studies and to the discipline of history. John O'Malley's essay, "Paul Grendler and the Triumph of the Renaissance: A Reminiscence and Some Thoughts," thus brings this volume back to the topic of education and to the subject of Grendler's recent work regarding when the Renaissance ended. The answer O’Malley gives is that the Renaissance never ended; its legacy has been preserved by Latin schools, humanist curriculums, and institutions that produce scholars like Grendler.
To close, William J. Callahan, Grendler's colleague at Toronto, leaves readers with a picture of a scholar, colleague, friend, husband, father, and teacher. It is this Renaissance man who inspired both those he knew and strangers, and the thirteen contributions in The Renaissance in the Streets, Schools, and Studies represent the broad interests and approaches Grendler has brought to his field. His influence shines through, for the essays provide, each in its own way, a glimpse of this prolific scholar and inspirational teacher.
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Julie Tanaka. Review of Eisenbichler, Konrad; Terpstra, Nicholas, eds, The Renaissance in the Streets, Schools, and Studies: Essays in Honour of Paul F. Grendler.
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