A Culture of Teaching: Early Modern Humanism in Theory and Practice

By Rebecca W. Bushnell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5 Tradition and Sovereignty

The aesthetic of "corporal" form, which would transform humanist reading and writing, put new pressures on humanist education when it tried to balance the demands of freedom and control, copia and restraint. It was fundamentally a neoclassical aesthetic informing the composition of paintings and literature, buildings and gardens. As such, for artists and poets, teachers and gardeners, it signalled a way of perceiving the natural world and one's relationship to it quite different from that of humanist aesthetics and poetics.1. This chapter steps outside the walls of the humanist schoolroom to consider the early modern. British battles over neoclassical literary form, which was understood either as the copying of antique poetic models or as an aesthetic of unity and symmetry ever present in nature and waiting to be "discovered" through poetic invention. In the end, however, this argument will return us to the schoolroom because such differences over classicism and imitation always involve questions about how the scholar's and poet's freedom may be rooted in the study of the past.

Just as twentieth-century historians have debated whether Renaissance humanism was revolutionary or conservative, sixteenth-century

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1.
For a comprehensive general discussion of notions of a "humanist poetics" in prose, see Arthur F. Kinney, Continental Humanist Poetics: Studies in Erasmus, Castiglione, Marguerite de Navarre, Rabelais, and Cervantes ( Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1989) and Humanist Poetics: Thought, Rhetoric, and Fiction in Sixteenth-Century England ( Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1986).

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A Culture of Teaching: Early Modern Humanism in Theory and Practice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Note on Text and Translations xiii
  • Prologue the Trials of Humanism 1
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction: Humanism Reconsidered 10
  • Chapter 2 - The Sovereign Master and the Scholar Prince 23
  • Chapter 3 - Cultivating the Mind 73
  • Chapter 4 - Harvesting Books 117
  • Chapter 5 - Tradition and Sovereignty 144
  • Epilogue Contemporary Humanist Pedagogy 185
  • Index 203
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