Medieval -- Language and Learning in Renaissance Italy: Selected Articles by John Monfasani

Article excerpt

Language and Learning in Renaissance Italy: Selected Articles.

By John Monfasani.

Vatiorum Collected Studies Series, CS 460.

(Brookfield, Vermont: Variorum, Ashgate Publishing Company. 1994. Pp. xxi 338. $89.95.)

John Monfasani himself notes that this collection reflects two of his interests, Renaissance rhetoric and the cultural world of his earliest subject, George of Trebizond. Vatiorum has given him a chance to collect these studies and to update them with Addenda et Corrigenda. Since some of these articles are very technical, it is well that he has placed the studies of most general interest at either end to frame the rest. Readers unwilling to embark on discussions of topics like Anti-Quintilianism should, nonetheless, read the first study, "Humanism and Rhetoric." For the ecclesiastical historian, the pay-off comes at the end, where rhetoricians prove to have written on homiletics and where rhetoric plays a role in the earliest curriculum for Jesuit schools. On the way to the last article, readers might want to read the two reviews of editions of Lorenzo Valla, whose writings from his Neapolitan days challenged not just the pretensions of the religious but even the filioque. (Interested scholars also should read Riccardo Fubini, "Lorenzo Valla tra il Concillo di Basilea e quello di Firenze, e il processo dell'Inquisizione," in Conciliarismo, stati nazionali, inizi dell'umanesimo

Sploeto: Centro di Studi sull'Alto medieoevo, 1990

.) Also of importance are "A Description of the Sistine Chapel under Pope Sixtus IV," which helps us date the construction and the earlier works of art more accurately, and "Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite in Mid-Quaftrocento Rome," which casts light on "the Renaissance unmasking of the Dionysian corpus as apocryphal. …