Rhetoric and Pedagogy: Its History, Philosophy, and Practice: Essays in Honor of James J. Murphy

By Winifred Bryan Horner; Michael Leff | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
The Lectures of Guarino da Verona
on the Rhetorica ad Herennium:
A Preliminary Discussion

John Ward
University of Sydney

Guarino da Verona and Jerry Murphy have much in common. Both have been inspired teachers of rhetoric for many generations of students and both have gone down or will go down in history as great facilitators and promoters of their disciplines. Both have combined a deep concern for the classical sources of rhetorical theory with more modern didactic and practical preoccupations. In one major respect, however, they differ. Surprisingly, perhaps, in view of the publishing record of contemporaries such as Leonardo Bruni or Poggio Bracciolini,1 Guarino da Verona published little: "Ancorché dottissimi" Eugenio Garin wrote of the great humanist teachers of the early 15th century,2"non scrissero libri originali; prepararono solo qualche sussidio al loro insegnamento: Vittorino un trattatelo d'ortografia, Guarino delle regole grammaticali, edizioni di testi, versioni, orazioni. Consegnarono, come Socrate, la loro parola non alle pagine mute, ma alle anime vive."3

____________________
1
See G. Griffiths, J. Hankins, and D. Thompson, trans., intr. The Humanism of Leonardo Bruni: Selected Texts ( Binghamton, NY, 1987); J. W. Oppel, "Peace vs. Liberty in the Quattrocento: Poggio, Guarino, and the Scipio-Caesar controversy", The Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 4 ( 1974): 221-265; and P. W. Gordon, Two Renaissance Book Hunters: The Letters of Poggio Bracciolini to Nicolaus de Niccolis ( NY, 1974).
2
Eugenio Garin, L'Educazione in Europa 1400-1600 ( 1957; Bari, 1976) 129-130.
3
J. Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, trans. S. G. G. Middlemore ( NY, 1960) 169. Burckhardt seems astray in his assertion that despite his teaching preoccupations, Guarino "still found time to do translations from the Greek and to write voluminous original works." Guarino's publications include some 900 letters (Poggio left behind some 600), never collected as such by him and written across a 55-year period ( 1405-1460). See R. Sabbadini, Epistolario di Guarino Veronese, vols. 1-2 testo, 3 commento (Miscellanea di Storia Veneta ser. 3, vols. 8, 11, 14, 1915,

-97-

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