Preface

In the first volume of this biography we followed Erasmus of Rotterdam from his earliest years in Holland to his maturer years in Paris; and we witnessed the publication in 1500 of his first book, Adagiorum Collectanea. That little book of 152 pages may not now seem like a great achievement for an ambitious humanistic scholar of thirty-three, but a good deal of growth can be marked as we moved from the early letters and poems to this stage of his development. 1 Further, while there is some Greek among the 818 adages of the 1500 Collectanea it is fundamentally a work of Latin scholarship, drawing from the poets of the Latin canon, dramatists and a range of prose writers. Among the Fathers of the Church use was made especially of Jerome and Augustine. And we found that Erasmus also drew from such 'moderns' as Politian, Hermolaus Barbarus, and Filelfo. Except for a few Romans who were omitted or slighted, perhaps simply because they did not readily yield up adages for Erasmus' net -- Ovid and Lucretius notably -- Erasmus made use of the major authors of the renaissance canon, and he had established his remarkable familiarity with their texts. That range of authors will be extended much more widely, especially after 1508, to include more Greek writers. Along with Erasmus' rapidly developing style, everywhere remarked upon and everywhere imitated (but rarely with complete success) for its great ease and grace, the 1500 Collectanea indeed marked Erasmus' growth as a humanist.

By this time Erasmus was no longer primarily Dutch, and from time to time he referred to himself as German. At Paris he had belonged to the German nation of students, and his world was rapidly widening to include the Rhineland and, quite soon, Switzerland and Italy. He was becoming, in fact, homo Europaeus, 2 and very much a cosmopolitan. His home after 1500 would be where his books were, and his friends were no further away than a letter; and the time needed for letters to reach a correspondent in one of the major cities of western Europe could be little more than it is today. Another change can be marked: Erasmus did not want to continue as

-vii-

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Erasmus of Europe: - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Notes xiv
  • List of Abbreviations xv
  • List of ILlustrations xvii
  • 18 Return from England: the Years in Flanders and Paris, 1501-1502 1
  • 19 the Early Louvain Years, 1502-1504 14
  • Notes 24
  • 20 the Enchiridion: 'Philosophia Christi' 28
  • Notes 40
  • 21 1504, a Threshold Year 41
  • Notes 49
  • 22 Return to England, 1505-1506 51
  • Notes 59
  • 23 Italy, 1506-1509 62
  • Notes 71
  • 24 the Adages 74
  • Notes 82
  • 25 England Again, 1509: the 'Period of Silence' 86
  • Notes 92
  • 25 the Praise of Folly 95
  • Notes 105
  • 27 the Cambridge Years, 1511-1514 109
  • Notes 122
  • 28 the Changing World in 1514 126
  • 29 Vocation and Life-Style 140
  • Notes 147
  • 30 to Basel, Summer 1514 149
  • Notes 161
  • 31 1516, the Annus Mirabilis 165
  • Notes 173
  • 32 the New Testament: A Life Work 175
  • Notes 189
  • Notes 210
  • 34 the Rising Storm of Controversy: Erasmus and His Catholic Critics, 1517-1522 216
  • Notes 231
  • 35 the Colloquies 236
  • Notes 243
  • Erasmus and His Friends: His Audience and His Geography 247
  • Notes 259
  • 37 Reform and Reformation: Ecclesia Semper Reformanda 263
  • Notes 278
  • 38 the Basel Years, 1521-1529: the Reformation Storm Rising 283
  • 39 Erasmus and Luther: on the Freedom of the Will 298
  • Notes 306
  • 40 Language and Style 310
  • Notes 317
  • 41 the Basel Years: Humanism and Religion 320
  • Notes 333
  • 42 the Freiburg Years, 1529-1535 337
  • Notes 346
  • 43 the Final Act at Basel: Summer 1535 to July 1536 350
  • Notes 359
  • 44 the Achievement of Erasmus and His Place in History 362
  • Notes 377
  • Appendix C Erasmus' Dispensations 381
  • Notes 383
  • Appendix D Erasmus' Wills 384
  • Notes 385
  • Appendix E Portraits of Erasmus 387
  • An Erasmian Chronology: LIfe and Writings 390
  • Bibliography 393
  • Index of Names of Persons 408
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