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New Series, Vol. IX, No. 1 Nouvelle Série, Vol. IX, No. 1 

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New Series, Vol. IX, No. 1 
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Nouvelle Série, Vol. IX, No. 1 
Ancienne Série, Vol. XXI, No. 1 

Contents / Sommaire 




Past/Present: Leonardo Brum's History of Florence* 

by Giuseppe Bisaccia 


Littérature politique et exégèse biblique 

(de 1570 à 1625) 

par Pierre-Louis Vaillancourt 


The Way of Caution: 

Elenchus in Bacon's Essays 

by K.J.H. Beriand 



Cobum Freer, The Poetics of Jacobean Drama, 

reviewed by A.R. BraunmuUer 

Approaches to Sir Thomas Browne: The Ann Arbor Tercentenary 
Lectures and Essays, ed. C. A. Patrides, reviewed by Paul E. Forte 


John E. Booty éd., Richard Hooker, "Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity": 

Attack and Response, reviewed by David Bevington 


Collected Works of Erasmus, Volume 6, The Correspondence of 

Erasmus: Letters 842 to 992 (1518 to 1519), 

reviewed by John F. McDiarmid 


George M. Logan, The Meaning ofMore's "Utopia, " 

reviewed by Elizabeth McCutcheon 

Past/Present: Leonardo Bruni' s 

History of Florence* 


I W "?Y 

JAN /^/ 

The importance of historical consciousness in thejRenaissance is a fact 
generally recognized by scholars of the period. From Petrarch on, it is 
possible to discern a growing awareness of the past "men became more 
and more conscious that all sorts of things — buildings, clothes, words, 
laws-changed over time."* As Panofsky puts it, men "were convinced that 
the period in which they lived was a 'new age' as sharply different from the 
medieval past as the medieval past had been from classical antiquity."^ 

This heightened sense of the past is itself one of the manifestations of a 
long civilizing process that still remains to be fully investigated. Some of 
the forces at work in shaping historical consciousness are to be identified in 
the progressive differentiation of social functions, which in turn favours the 
gradual spreading of literacy among laity. ^ Already in the 13th and 14th 
centuries the new demands of the communal civilization had redirected 
cultural activities toward more marketable professions: alongside theolo- 
gians, canonists, poets, physicians and scientists, we see more and more 
jurists (particularly those versed in Roman law) notaries, lay clerks and 
accountants — all people particularly sought out by the political leading 
class and by the entrepreneurial and manufacturing classes."* 

To meet the demand created by this progressive differentiation of social 
functions, the Florentine society of the time, composed, as it was, mainly 
of craftsmen and businessmen, sees to it that its children receive their 
education through commercial practice. On the other hand, travels to 
distant lands, contacts with different kinds of people, and lastly the mental 
habit acquired through recording commercial transactions in time will lead 
those very merchants to put down in writing much more than mere figures. 
Thus the transition from simple ledgers to "libri segreti," "ricordanze," 
diaries, annals, and chronicles, which record in a neat and orderly fashion 
events chronologically arranged in a well defined space. The place is 
Florence, and particularly the miUeu of the merchant's family; the time 

• A version of the first part of this paper was read at the meeting of the Canadian Society for 
Renaissance Studies, held at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, in May 1981. 

2 / Renaissance and Reformation 

is a quantifiable one, according to the daily, monthly or yearly human 
activity, which is now more precisely measured by the city's mechanical 
clocks. Thus the universal and eternal dimensions of earlier medieval 
chronicles are no longer to be found in the Florentine "ricordanze" of the 
end of the 14th century. The recital of the Forentine merchant-chronicler 
unfolds rather like a sequence of contemporary, or relatively recent, eco- 
nomic and social events, centred in the family's or city's life, and occa- 
sionally interspersed with ethical considerations.^ 

The Florentine humanist historiography of the early 15 th century moves 
instead on a different plane. According to Alberto Tenenti, there are 
similarities, but also marked differences in the way the merchant and the 
humanist, respectively, approach and write history: namely, the former 
writes chronicles, the latter historiae; the former easily accommodates in 
his narrative God and the Divine Providence, the latter excludes both; the 
former deals prominently with economic and social issues, the latter 
disregards them altogether and deals, instead, mainly with political and 
military matters, on a quite different level. ^ Furthermore, Tenenti, strongly 
disagreeing with Christian Bee and indirectly even with Yves Renouard, 
rejects the notion of these two scholars that there is merely a difference in 
degree between the humanist and mercantile cultures. He contends that, 
while it cannot be denied that at a certain time there was in fact a meeting of 
minds in Florence between merchants and humanists, it still remains to be 
fully investigated how and why this meeting of minds took place and which 
group was most affected, positively or negatively, by the other. ^ 

The following pages on Leonardo Brum's History of Florence are 
intended to help to bring into focus some modes of humanist thought, the 
level on which humanists operated, and more specifically the way in which 
Bruni himself related to the past 

♦ « ♦ 

While chroniclers seem to be content with recording in the vernacular the 
mere sequence of the family's or city's life without trying to grasp its 
underiying rationale, Leonardo Bruni writes instead in Latin and for a 
selective audience, in a more detached way aiming above all at recon- 
structing events.* He is quite aware of the difficulty of the task, "But writing 
history requires a method continuously applied to so many things at once, 
and calls for an explanation and judgment of each single fact."' In Brum's 
History of Florence, *° the scope of the narration has gained breadth 
compared with that of diaries and even most chronicles. No longer limited 
to city events, it also embraces the Italian and transalpine scene insofar as 
the internal affairs of Florence are considered intertwined and connected 
to those of other states. 
Bruni's narrative, in addition to expanding beyond the city walls, also 

Renaissance et Réforme / 3 

goes beyond the boundaries of individual memory, which was the source 
and object of diaries, annals and most chronicles: ^^ "As far as I am 
concerned, I have decided to write not only the present history, but also the 
past history of this city, going as far back as memory allows." ^^ Thus 
personal memory and written memory are essential to the reconstruction 
of the past; Bruni sees this task as an important civic duty too often shunned 
in the past.^^ 

Bruni, therefore, is about to weave the strands of the past, from which 
lessons spring for the present and the future, and relies upon archival 
documents whenever other sources — chronicles, annals or commentaries — 
are unconvincing or incomplete. As far as more recent events are con- 
cerned. Brum's main sources are obviously personal reminiscences and 
those of his contemporaries, on the one hand, or archival documents, on 
the other. The events narrated and handed down to posterity through 
written memory are, therefore, those concerning the people of Florence, 
more precisely the internal and external strife and other noteworthy peace 
and wartime developments, along two separate lines set by the author 

Indeed the annalistic framework of Bruni' s History is traditional, as is 
the selection of historical facts, according to a long-established histor- 
iographie criterion going back to Thucydides that dictates that only note- 
worthy civic and military achievements should be narrated. Nonetheless, 
following the example set by 14th-century Florentine chroniclers, other 
episodes and phenomena affecting in one way or another the life of the city 
are also recounted. The description of the "Whites' " processions, which 
took place at the very end of the 14th century, stands out for its effective- 
ness and sobriety. It was a spontaneous manifestation of popular piety 
originating in France and spreading to Italy, and it was all the more striking 
both for the author and the Florentines of the period because it marked, so 
to say, a natural pause in the middle of the struggle against Giangaleazzo 
Visconti. Swarms of men and women, garbed in white, went in procession 
from one city to the other, calling for peace and mercy and swelling their 
ranks with new proselytes. Yet Brum's description assumes in the course of 
the narrative a rhetorical function; it marks a pause — as was the case in the 
historical reality — between two phases of the war: "As long as the religious 
fervor lasted, warfare and its dangers were on nobody's mind, but soon 
after that fervor ceased, things got once again back to the previous cares of 
the mind."^^ 

We can say that such an ebb and flow of human behavior, which is 
equally present in the alternation of internecine conflicts and external 
struggles, of war and peace, of unity and disunity, runs through Brum's 
narrative and indeed constitutes the rhythm of historical time: 

4 / Renaissance and Reformation 

The external front had hardly quieted down when internal strifes, as never 
experienced before, disturbed the city. 

The following year everything was quiet on the external front, but inside 
serious disturbances arose, and the citizens took up arms for the reasons we 
are about to tell. 

I think therefore that, after the barbarians ceased lo constitute a threat, for a 
while peace prevailed among our cities; but pretty soon, as these cities were no 
longer threatened from the outside, they started to grow in power, and were 
beleaguered by envy and rivalry."* 

Turning now to the theme of liberty and tyranny that underlies Bruni's 
narrative, we find that the yearning for liberty becomes a tropism on a 
universal scale: whenever liberty remains stifled, all life consequently 
languishes; whenever it finds new space, life blossoms again: 

As larger trees hamper the growth of young plants growing close to them, so 
the overwhelming power of Rome in no way could tolerate that another city 
would grow to be greater. 

. . . little by littie the Italian cities began to turn their eyes to liberty . . . finally 
. . . they started also to grow, flourish and regain the former authority.^' 

If we consider now the rôle of classical models in Bruni's History, we 
notice that for certain aspects their presence is more immediately dis- 
cernible, namely in the few explicit references to ancient Rome and to 
some specific sources (Cicero, Sallust, Vergil and Livy), in the pro- 
minence of battle descriptions, in the use of fictitious orations (e.g. 
Thucydides, Livy, Polybius), in the annalistic framework and in the tex- 
ture of language — both derived from Livy — in the brevitas of the style, and 
finally in the selection of facts worthy of memory, which should be of great 
utility to the readers of the History: 

And all these events seem to me particularly worthy of being preserved in 
writing; and the knowledge of those facts, I thought, should be greatiy useful 
both to statesmen and private citizens. 

This entire story deserves indeed to be recorded, both as a lesson to citizens, 
and as a warning to princes.'' 

The presence of classical models in Bruni's History is at times less con- 
spicuous and obvious, as is the case for some reminiscences of Sallust' s 
Bellum Catilinae and Bellum lugurthinum. ^^ Such a presence becomes 
even more elusive whenever the ancient ethos finds itself in agreement with 
the present to the point of being absorbed by it. 
As far as the history of the communal period of Florence is concerned. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 5 

Bruni clearly outlines how far the people of Florence had progressed in the 
previous two centuries, and invariably highlights the strife that had torn the 
city apart and those instances where Florence, in spite of her ineptness, 
had had Fortuna on her side. But it is the mercantile spirit and values that 
clearly emerge from Brum's pages. In 1 329— and let us keep in mind that 
Bruni was writing those pages precisely one hundred years later, when 
Florence's designs on Lucca were once again manifest — the Florentines 
were presented with the opportunity of purchasing Lucca from a garrison 
of German mercenaries for 80,000 golden florins; but, in the end, the 
citizens could not come to an agreement and nothing came of it. Through 
Pino della Tosa, who supports the decision to purchase Lucca before the 
"consiglio del popolo," Bruni voices the legitimate ambitions of a mer- 
cantile society, which with its industriousness had brought prestige, power 
and honour to the city. The rationale of ever-increasing gain, prominent in 
Pina della Tosa' s address, exactly reflects the mentality of that society: 

Indeed, as one who is familiar with communal life and customs, so I must 
confess that I can't help being moved by all things which are commonly 
regarded as good: broadening territorial boundaries, increasing power, exalt- 
ing the glory and magnificence of one's city, providing security and profit: 
now, if we do not agree that these things should be sought after, then the caring 
for the republic, the love for our native land and indeed our whole way of life 
would be subverted . . . Our ancestors, the Romans, would never have domin- 
ated the world if, content with their lot, they had shirked any new military 
venture and relative expenses. On the other hand we certainly cannot say that 
the end of public and private life is the same one. Indeed the end of public life is 
magnificence, which consists of glory and greatness; the end of private life 
consists of modesty and frugality .^^ 

Such a mercantile cast of mind, operative on the socio-political level, sur- 
faces in a palpable way even elsewhere in BninVsHistory. In each case the 
assumption is identical: in pursuing a policy of growth or aggrandizement, 
one must have a great quantity of money that can be accumulated and 
gradually increased only by virtue of the spirit of initiative, the boldness, 
and the providence that are pecoiliar to a merchant. In the following 
passage, the Bolognesi apologize in 1 390 to the Florentines for not being 
able to sustain any longer the common war effort against Giangaleazzo 

The fact is that neither are our men endowed with the kind of ingenuity which 
would make them particularly industrious in earning money, nor do they 
travel over France and England for the purpose of trade; they are rather simple 
men, content with their lot, happily enjoying what they have at home. We can 
hardly say that such a style of life is conducive to wealth, which is accumulated 
by industriousness, and increased by diligence. ^* 

6 / Renaissance and Reformation 

That the spirit of gain and love for daring also permeate the speeches of 
Florentine orators shows how fully aware are the Florentines of their 
legitimate claims. In 1273, for instance, the Florentines refuse to readmit 
into the city the exiled Ghibellines as requested by Gregory X, rebutting 
one by one the Pope's arguments. Directly addressing the Pope, they say at 
a certain point. 

Please, do not bind us to a too strict and rigorous norm of life: the rules 
governing earth are not the same as those governing heaven . . . And that we 
stood firm by the Church can be proved not only by facts, but also by various 
letters of previous popes, filled with exhortations and commendations, which 
are kept in the public archives. ^^ 

The actions of the past, committed to the written memory of the archives, 
once again acquire a precise meaning in the context of the relations 
between the Church and the Florentine Republic. 

Almost one hundred years later, in 1 376, Florentine orators Alessandro 
dalla Antella and Donato Barbadori, speaking to Pope Gregory XI, will 
defend their city from the accusation of having helped in more than one 
way the people of Città di Castello, Perugia, Spoleto, Todi, Gubbio, Forli, 
Ascoli, Viterbo and Bologna to throw off the yoke of the apostolic dele- 
gates. There is indeed deference for the papal office, though tinged some- 
what by ostentation, but there is also full awareness of what is at stake, 
namely the defense of civic liberties, which in turn implies the defense of 
the economic interests and of the political and cultural heritage of Florence. 
Particularly cutting, in contrast to the generally conciliatory tone of the 
oration, is the following remark: "All the more your Holiness must lend a 
very impartial ear to us, because, being so far from the scene, you didn't 
think fit either to see with your own eyes or to listen with your ears to your 
delegates' wrong doings. "^^ 

In conclusion. Brum's background is broad and composite. He was 
particularly familiar with Cicero, Livy, Polybius, Thucydides, Plutarch, 
Plato, Aristotle, Xenophon, Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio; he had done 
extensive translation work, particularly from Plutarch, Aristotle and Plato, 
and had acquired intellectual and political experience while he was part of 
Salutati's circle and as a papal secretary and head of the Florentine 
Chancery. All these elements contribute to his intellectual formation, but 
equally so do his contacts with the Florentine mercantile milieu. We can 
say, therefore, that an osmosis between the system of values of the mercan- 
tile culture and that of Brum's humanistic culture enhances those values. 
Later on, Alberti will propose them as ideal norms governing everyday life. 
The merchant's mind, being so centered on profit and increasing gain, was 
rather inclined to exalt "utilitas," "ratio," "industria," "ingenium," "dili- 
gentia," "magnificentia," "modestia," and"frugalitas," all values that are 

Renaissance et Réforme / 7 

particularly prominent in Brum's History, and that he holds to be peculiar 
to man as actor and master of his earthly fate. In this connection, one 
should also keep in mind that the Florentine mercantile class was con- 
sidered the supporting framework of the Republic by many of Bruni' s 
generation. Since the mercantile culture is a constitutional part of Brum's 
ethical horizon, it is hardly surprising to find it reflected in his History, and 
more explicitly so in some of the fictitious orations. Furthermore, while in 
the diaristic ("ricordanze") prose the data of memory are arranged on the 
same level in a sort of unidimensional representation, in Brum's History 
they are arranged in a relation of interdependence and of cause and effect, 
placed on different levels, in a deeper temporal dimension. The selection of 
historical data is effected through a critical evaluation of past chronicles, 
as he chooses the more plausible accounts, or resorts when necessary to 
archaeological and documental material. Bruni focuses not only on Florence's 
internal and external affairs, but also on the social dynamics and the 
partisan passions that stir it, leading to a "tyrannical" or "free" regime, 
and on the origin and development of those civic institutions whose effects 
are still felt in the present.^"* The systematic exploration and reconstruction 
of the past actually serve to justify the present configuration of the Floren- 
tine world. 

The historiographie criterion of truth/ impartiality adopted by Bruni in 
Ids History does operate in more than one way: in his rigorous research and 
evaluation of sources; in his caution before reaching conclusions, when- 
ever the evidence is less than sufficient; and in his willingness to point out 
the ineptness and relative good fortune of the Florentines. How far we are 
from the spirit of panegyric of the Laudatio florentinae urbis! Bruni 
himself consciously distinguishes between the two genres: history is quite 
different from panegyric; history "must closely follow truth" ("quidem 
veritatem sequi debet"). ^^ 

It is also necessary to emphasize the narrowly political and mundane 
perspective through which the Church and its relations with Florence are 
regarded. Ethico-religious considerations are almost entirely missing in the 
Historiae. ^^ Bruni goes on with his story to the year 1 375 before incidentally 
remarking that since 1 342 the popes had been French and residing in France, 
and the only reason he mentions this fact is to expose the maladministration 
of the apostolic delegates in Italy." In short, nothing is said about the 
uneasiness that the faithful might have felt because of the remoteness of the 
Pope. On the other hand. Bruni does not fail to claim impartially privileges 
and prerogatives of Florentine ecclesiastics and citizens.^* Liberty and 
tyranny, oppression and civic life: these are in the final analysis the poles in 
Brum's historical narrative. 

* « « 

8 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Further discussion of some aspects of Bruni' s work will show to what 
extent he availed himself of the analytical tools common to his social and 
intellectual milieu, and to what extent, conversely, he forged his own 
analytical tools through the very process of reconstructing the past. In 
short, was he altogether conditioned by the political and social norms 
prevailing in the Florence of his day, to the extent of not being able to see 
the past except through the eyes of the present; or was he, instead, able to 
perceive the distance separating the former from the latter, so that he 
actually obtained a binocular, rather than a monocular view of past and 
present events? I think that, while dealing with past events in the frame- 
work of time and space relationships, Bruni got closer and closer to the 
specific conditions of the time in which such events were rooted, and 
consequently gained a better understanding of the present Florentine 
socio-political situation. For instance, the Florentine Guelfs' decision to 
abandon their city without resistance as a result of their party's defeat at 
Montaperti in 1 260 is for Bruni perfectly understandable, given the precise 
circumstances, and not reprehensible as others had thought because of 
unfamiliarity with those very circumstances.^^ Similarly, according to 
him, the final outcome of the same course of action might be determined by 
different circumstances, as when in 1280 Cardinal Latinus was able to 
accomplish what only a few years before had eluded Pope Gregory X.^^ 
Summing up: though Bruni' s historical perspective is obviously determined 
and shaped by present concerns, his evaluation of past events is based on 
his appreciation of the precise circumstances that affected them. On the 
other hand, past events are not considered by Bruni solely for their signi- 
ficance at the time they occurred, but also as starting points of an evolu- 
tionary process (for instance, an institutional change whose impact is still 
felt in the present social and political situation). ^^ 

This interplay between past and present, which cast light on each other, 
enables Bruni to grasp among other things the increasing inadequacy of a 
popular Florentine regime that still relied on obsolete communal political 
structures when confronted with the twofold problem of domestic stability 
and external expansion. The issue of competence in public office and 
effectiveness in the executive surfaces over and over again in the recount- 
ing of past failures. Lx)oking backward. Bruni could indeed fully appreciate 
the cumulative effect of recurring malfunctions in past Florentine govern- 
ments." It is fair to say that his very ideal of civic liberty was as much 
affected by his consideration and reconsideration of the past as by the 
present political mutations in Florence. His cognitive powers were certainly 
enhanced and his consciousness heightened by the gradual realization of 
the varied causes that had produced certain effects. Toward the end of his 
work, while Bruni was writing about the valiant Florentine resistance to 
Giangaleazzo Visconti's hegemonic bid in Northern and Central Italy, 
more and more things started to fall into place and the significance of those 

Renaissance et Réforme / 9 

years became clearer and clearer, offering him a better understanding of 
present-day Medicean Florence." It was no longer a question of whether 
political decisions, especially those concerning foreign affairs, should be 
the direct expression of the wishes of all citizens, but rather of how an 
efficient state could better provide for the needs and aspirations of a city 
that aimed at acquiring a larger territorial basis. ^'^ 

In the process of drawing up his History of Florence, Bruni continued to 
read the ancient authors over and over again, and also to take part in his 
city's intellectual and political debate. Both discourses, that with the past 
and that with the present, certainly helped to shape and refine his analytical 
tools and also to weaken or strengthen some of his ideas. As far as the 
dialogue with ancient authors was concerned, the reading of Thucydides 
must have been for him particularly illuminating.^^ Though the differences 
between Athens in the Peloponnesian war and Florence in its present 
struggles are in more than one way significant, still there was one striking 
similarity: both cities were quite conscious of their means and of their aims, 
while facing similar political realities. For instance, both cities needed to 
secure large sums of money to wage wars that would allow them to broaden 
their sphere of influence and at the same time guarantee the preservation of 
their cherished liberties, and both encountered, at times, the same obstacle — 
the reluctance of the citizens to contribute to the expenses. In either case, 
the citizens, in order to be persuaded, needed to be reminded of what was 
actually at stake, namely their cherished liberties, the very basis of their 
wealth. ^^ 

In this connection, the great prominence Bruni gives to wealth in the 
History of Florence needs to be emphasized. The almost inexhaustible 
ability of the Florentines to make and provide money for the sundriest 
enterprises at home and abroad becomes a leitmotiv in the narrative and a 
parameter of historical interpretation as well. ^^ Bruni the historian, obe- 
dient to his set criterion of impartiality, recognizes that the greatness of 
Florence cannot be accounted for without taking its wealth into proper 
consideration. Conversely, he cannot help noticing that many past short- 
comings of the city were the result of the incompetence of its public 
officers;^* hence, his implicit comment that only qualified men should be 
charged with pubHc responsibilities. 

The emphasis Bruni places on wealth and the use of qualified men in 
relation to the growth of Florence, pushes into the background the sub- 
stantial rôle that a communal force like the guilds, for instance, actually 
played in the development of the city.^^ Oddly enough, even the activity of 
trading, per se, is discounted by Bruni as a significant factor in such a 
growth.'*® Merchants are mainly seen by him as purveyors of money,'** 
lacking the political or military experience necessary to carry out public 
duties.'*^ In a way, their function is absorbed by the State.'*^ 

The dialectics between past and present that underlie Brum's historical 

10 / Renaissance and Reformation 

interpretation also reflect the kind of political debate that gradually devel- 
oped in Florence after 1 406, as shown by the protocols of the "pratiche.'"*"* 
The fact that the speakers of the "pratiche" would repeatedly re-evoke 
events of the past and point to their significance in relation to the present 
situation in order to lend more weight to their arguments is a demonstration 
of how broad and well-articulated the political discourse had become. 
Ideas that had until then been aired primarily in restricted intellectual 
circles like Salutati's or in writing'*^ could now be verified in the larger 
forum of public debate: their applicability to a concrete political situation 
was thus tested on the basis of a past experience adapted to present 
circumstances. A connection was established between theory and practice, 
and this in turn infused new blood into the intellectual and political dis- 
course. But most noteworthy is that the exchange of ideas and opinions 
among people of diverse background and experience stimulated and re- 
fined their analytical faculties, so that new contents found new modes of 
expression. In the "pratiche" a genuine need arose for each speaker to 
persuade his audience as well as he could, which made it necessary for him 
to construct his speech in an orderly, logical, and suggestive manner.'*^ 
Some of the orations in Brum' s History of Florence point directiy to this style 
and to the actual stimuli that prompted it in the Florentine "pratiche": 

"Please, let's put aside such 
pompous rhetoric; let's get, as 
I said, to the substance of the 

II -"As long as I can remember, 
time and again, in various oc- 
casions, because of our tend- 
ency to act slowly and take 
things lightly, we failed to make 
decisions and implement them 
at the right time. " 

III - "As a matter of fact it is not 
proper that issues concerning 
so many people be decided by 
a few, nor is it safe for the few 
who decide." 

-The speaker is Gino Capponi: 
"The proposal presented by Piero 
Baroncelli was very nice but \?ic\i- 
mg in substance.'' 
-The speaker is Sandro Altoviti: 
"Issues under consideration de- 
mand no long speeches but prompt 

-The speaker is Filippo Corsini: 
"As Sallust recounts in his Catili- 
naria, following Caesar's elegant 
oration, Cato said: 'Present circum- 
stances admit no delay: prompt ac- 
tion is vital to our success.' And 
because the Romans delayed their ac- 
tion, Hannibal overtook Saguntum." 

-The speaker is Agnolo Pandolfini: 
" It is neither proper nor wise to ignore 
decisk>ns made by and concerning so 
many people; in any case, it is worse 
to follow the advice of the few than the 
advice of the many, even when it is 
demonstrated that the implementa- 
tion of the decision might result in 
some inconvenience." 

Renaissance et Réforme / 1 1 

In each case the preoccupation seems to be the same: (i) the oration of the 
Florentine who recommends that the exiled Ghibellines not be readmitted 
into the city (year 1323) is a logically well-constructed and straightfor- 
ward speech, aiming at the substance of the matter Ç'ad solidum'') as 
much as Capponi's and Altoviti's speeches in the "pratiche"; (ii) the 
oration of Rinaldo Gianfigliazzi in 1 399 reveals a concern for prompt and 
substantive action similar to the one expressed by Filippo Corsini; (iii) 
finally, the oration of the old Florentine citizen in 1351 advocates the 
overall advantages of a broadly based decision process, as does Agnolo 
Pandolfini in the "pratica" held in April 1423. Thus it can be said that, in 
the composition of fictitious orations. Bruni was following not only an 
ancient model but also a present one, recapturing through the latter the 
ethos that pervaded the former. It can be added that the audience of the 
"pratiche" would have easily recognized in Brum's History of Florence 
the common conceptual fi^ame of mind and the common disposition to 
present different opinions. Bartolomeo Orlandini refers to such method of 
procedure in the "pratiche" when he says that ". . . all opinions should be 
expressed and aired in a large assembly of people, as has been the case so 
far. . . . "^^ Bruni, on the other hand, presents, in binary orations, the opposing 
views of disputing parties. ^° In addition, toward the end of his 
work, he transcribes fi-om documents two speeches uttered by Viscontean 
and Florentine orators in 1401, and invites the reader to use his own 
judgment in evaluating them: "I shall submit the arguments of our adver- 
saries along with our own reply, so that the reader might judge by 
himself "^^ Both Bruni and the interlocutors of the "pratiche," whether 
politicians or businessmen or lawyers or humanists, furthermore never 
seem to lose sight of the fact that without concrete social and fmancial 
support their personal aspirations, no matter how noble, are bound to 
founder. This heightened civic consciousness, which is wary of fumous 
projects and stands on the more solid ground of individual and collective 
claims, finds its expression in some of Brum's fictitious orations examined 
in the first part of this paper." That, in public affairs, the case should rest on 
solid arguments rather than on theory was also the opinion of Agnolo 
Pandolfini, who said in a "pratica," "The administration of public affairs 
may not be conducted on the basis of theoretical knowledge, since it 
primarily requires specific data."^^ 

After having considered the effects that education, reading, translating, 
writing and participation in political life had on Brum's historical outlook, 
only a few remarks remain to be made on his private life, vis-à-vis his 
intellectual and civic concerns. As we know, he was a civis novus in 
Florence, and consequently his steady effort through the years was to 
reach a status that would allow him to feel at ease in his adopted home 
towa The pursuit and attainment of honorary citizenship and of excep- 

12 / Renaissance and Reformation 

tional fiscal exemptions, his marriage with a woman belonging to a wealthy 
and prestigious Florentine family, his profitable investments, and his 
ability to walk a political tightrope when necessary, together with his 
intellectual talents and scholarly achievements, offered Bruni, at least to a 
certain extent, that material and psychological security also eagerly sought 
by many other Florentines of his day. In many ways Bruni was much less of 
an outsider in Florence than was Giovanni Cavalcanti, for example, who, 
though a native Florentine and of noble descent, felt little at ease in his 
city— indeed he felt like an outcast ^"^ At the opposite ends of the social 
ladder, both were vying for social recognition, attainable in their time 
mainly by entering the orbit of local influential families and by accum- 
ulating a substantial patrimony. On the other hand. Bruni was certainly not 
speaking casually, but showing awareness of what the privilege of being a 
Florentine citizen precisely implied, when he proudly wrote in a letter to a 
fiiend of his toward the end of 1416, " . . . ego, qui novus Florentinus civis 

sum "^^ Such a privilege represented a stepping stone toward a further 

climbing of the social and political ladder. Bruni was much better equipped 
than Cavalcanti for the ascent he had a superior culture — the kind in tune 
with the times — and legal, administrative and political experience, ac- 
cumulated through the years. The two were actually far apart in more than 
one way, but both wrote a history of Florence (Cavalcanti' s covered a 
short period and only contemporary events) and both bore witness to their 
times, though to a different extent and fk)m a different point of view. 
Looking at them together also helps to bring forth what links them to- 
gether, namely a common culture and common civic concerns, though by 
no means an equal vision of reality. Cavalcanti, cut off as he was from any 
direct participation in public life and rather immersed in self-indulgent 
grief, could hardly develop a broader view of things. Bruni could instead 
derive from his involvement in intellectual and political life a better com- 
prehension of past and present realities. On the other hand, any Florentine 
who kept minimally in touch with present realities had quite a clear notion 
of what was absolutely needed to succeed in private affairs and public life: 
personal, intellectual and political talents, strong ties with powerful fami- 
lies,'^ and last but not least, a substantial patrimony to start with. Caval- 
canti, echoing an old Florentine saying, said that "where prosperity is 
wanting, friendship is missing too."" With the help of Juvenal, Bruni saw 
broader implications in this deficiency: "Indeed wealth may be considered 
useful, whenever it brings prestige to those who have it and enables them to 
practise virtue. In fact, we may agree with our poet when he says that 'those 
whose talents are impeded by family poverty have a lesser chance to prove 
themselves in life.' "'* 

In conclusion, one can see that Brum's discourse in the History of 
Florence is permeated by various elements of the mercantile culture. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 1 3 

particularly by the logic of utility, which is applied to public life or private 
affairs or foreign policy. This cast of mind at first simply equipped Bruni 
with certain conceptual tools and values operative in the social and poli- 
tical life of his day. It goes to Brum's credit that, by continuously testing 
those tools inside and outside the political arena, and by repeatedly inter- 
rogating the past and the present, he was then able to place those ordinary 
values in the context of a long tradition, thus heightening their function in 
Florentine culture. Through the systematic exploration and reconstruc- 
tion of the past, the present configuration of the Florentine world became 
clearer and clearer to him. That this was also the case for contemporary 
readers is doubtful. They might indeed have shared with Bruni the same 
conceptual frame of reference, but could not— as he had done — seize the 
full implications of the reconstruction of the past They simply had not 
gone through the same experience of connecting and weaving together the 
strands of an entire tradition. 

University of Massachusetts at Boston 


1 P. Burke, The Renaissance Sense of the Past (London: E. Arnold, 1969), p. 39. (The assertion is 
supported by quotations from primary sources, on pp. 39-49.) 

2 E. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art (Stockholm: Almquist and Wiksell, 
1960), p. 36. 

3 For the progressive differentiation of social functions, see N. Elias, The Civilizing Process (Vol. 1: 
New York: Urizen Books, 1978; Vol. 2: New York: Pantheon Books, 1982). For the high level of 
literacy in a city Uke Florence around 1400, see D. De Robertis, '"La prosa familiare e civile," in E. 
Cecchi and N. Sapegno, eds., Storia delta letteratura italiana (Milano: Garzanti, 1966), III, 

4 For the contents of this page, I rely heavily on A. Tenenti's chapter "L'umanesimo italiano del 
Trecento e Quattrocento," in R Romano and A. Tenenti, // rinascimento e la riforma (1378- 
1598), (Torino: UTET, 1976), II, 349-352. 

5 On "ricordanze" literature see P.J. Jones, "Florentine Families and Florentine Diaries in the 
Fourteenth Century," in P. Grierson and J.W. Perkins, eds., Studies in Italian Medieval History, 
presented to Miss KM. Jameson (London: British School at Rome, 1956), pp. 183-205; V. 
Branca, "Ricordi domestici nel Trecento e nel Quattrocento," in Dizionario critico della let- 
teratura italiana (Torino: UTET, 1974), III, 189-192; F.W. Kent, Household and Lineage in 
Renaissance Florence (Princeton: Princeton U.P., 1977), pp. 272-278; F. Pezzarossa, "La 
memorialistica fiorentina tra Medioevo e Rinascimento" in Lettere italiane, 31 (1979), 97-138; 
F. Pezzarossa, "La tradizione fiorentina della memorialistica," in G.M. Anselmi, F. Pezzarossa 
and L. Avellini, La "memoria" dei mercatores: tendenze ideologiche, ricordanze, artigianato in 
versi nella Firenze del Quattrocento (Bologna: Patron, 1980), pp. 41-91. On the broader subject 
of historiography, see A. Tenenti, "La storiografia in Europa dal Quattro al Seicento," in Nuove 
questioni di storia modema (Milano: Marzorati, 1964), D. Hay, Annalists and Historians: 
Western Historiography from the Eighth to the Eighteenth Centuries (London: Methuen, 1977), 
and E. Cochrane, Historians and Historiography in the Italian Renaissance (Chicago: Univer- 
sity of Chicago Press, 1981). 

6 Above I have in part paraphrased and in part translated what A. Tenenti says on p. 1327 of his 
critical note "Les marchands et la culture à Florence (1375-1434)," in Annales E.S.C., 23 
(1968), pp. 1319-1329. 

14 / Renaissance and Reformation 

7 "Or, on ne saurait contester qu'à un certain moment il y ait eu à Florence une rencontre et parfois 
un accord entre mentalité et sensibilité marchande et humanisme. Mais plutôt que de célébrer cette 
alliance sans plus, il fallait préciser comment et pourquoi elle s'était effectuée, et surtout jusqu'à 
quel point, avec quels gains et pertes de part et d'autre" (Ibid., p. 1 325 ). In his critical note, Tenenti 
reviews Christian Bec's book. Les marchands écrivains: affaires et humanisme à Florence, 13 75- 
1434 (Paris- La Haye: Mouton, 1 967). Yves Renouard's ideas on the rapport between mercantile 
and humanist culture in Italy, and particularly in Florence, can be read in his Les hommes 
d'affaires italiens du moyen âge (Paris: Colin, 1968), pp. 217-247. 

8 Cf Tenenti's chapter "Le culture nazionali e la storiografia," in R. Romano and A. Tenenti, // 
rinascimento, II, 568. 

9 " Historiam vero, in qua tot simul rerum longa et continuata ratio sit habenda, causaeque factorum 
omnium singulatim explicandae . . . ," inL. Bnini,HistoriarumJlorentinipopuli libriXII, éd. E. 
Santini, in "Rerum Italicarum Scriptores" (Città di Castello: Lapi, 1 9 1 4), L XIX, part III, p. 3; cf 
Bruni's letter to Poggio Bracciolini (from Florence, Jan. 2, 1416): "Exegi Hbrum meum 
. . . sed tantus est labor in quaerendis investigandisque rebus, ut jam plane me poeniteat in- 
cepisse," in Leonardi Bruni Arretini Epistolarum libri VIII, éd. L. Mehus, (Florentiae: Ex 
Typographia Bemardi Paperinii, 1741), part I, pp. 110-111. (AU the EngHsh translations from 
Latin appearing in this paper are mine.) 

10 On Bruni's History of Florence, see: E. Santini, "Leonardo Bruni Aretino e i suoi 'Historiarum 
florentini populi libri XII,' " in " Annali della R. Scuola normale superiore de Pisa" (1910), XXII, 
3-173; B.L. Ullman, "Leonardo Bruni and Humanistic Historiography," in his Studies in the 
Italian Renaissance (Roma: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1955), pp. 321-344; D.J. Wilcox, 
The Development of Florentine Humanist Historiography in the Fifteenth Century (Cambridge, 
Mass.: Harvard U.P., 1969), pp. 1-129; N.S. Struever, The Language in the Renaissance: 
Rhetoric and Historical Consciousness in Florentine Humanism (Princeton: Princeton U.P., 
1970), pp. 101-143; R. Fubini, "Osservazioni sugli 'Historiarum florentini populi libri XII' di 
Leonardo Bruni," in Studi di storia medioevale e moderna per Ernesto Sestan (Firenze: Olschki, 
1980), I, 403-448. Fundamental is Hans Baron's work on Bruni and his time, particularly The 
Crisis of the Early Italian Renaissance (ItaUan revised edition: Firenze: Sansoni, 1970) and 
From Petrarch to Leonardo Bruni (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968). 

11 Cf R. Romano and A. Tenenti, // rinascimento. Vol. 2, p. 569. 

1 2 "Ego autem non aetatis meae solum, verum etiam supra quantum haberi memoria potest, repeti- 
tam huius civitatis historiam scribere constitui," in L. Bruni, Histor., ed. cit., p. 4. 

1 3 "Ita dum quisque vel quieti suae indulget, vel existimationi consulit, publica utilitas neglecta est, et 
praestantissimorum virorum rerumque maximarum memoria pene obliterata," ibid. This deeply 
felt public duty to transmit in writing the events of one's time goes back to the conversations held in 
Salutati's circle and echoed by Vergerius: "Memoria etenim hominum, et quod transmittitur per 
manus, sensim elabitur, et vix unius hominis aevum exsuperat Quod autem libris bene mandatum 
est ... . Nam sunt litterae quidem ac libri certa rerum memoria, et scibilium omnium communis 
apotheca," in P.P. Vergerius, De ingenuis moribus et liberalibus studiis adulescentiae, ed. A. 
Gnesotto, in " Atti e Memorie della R- Accademia di scienze, lettere ed arti di Padova," n. s. 34 
(1918), p. 120. 

14 "Nam, cum duae sunt historiae partes et quasi membra, foris gesta et domi, non minoris sane 
putandum fuerit domesticos status quam externa bella cognoscere," in L. Bruni, Histor., ed. cit , p. 

15 "Dum religio tenait animos, de periculis belli nihil cogitabatur; sed postquam fînis fuit dealba- 
torum fervori ad primas rursus curas animi redierunt," in L. Bruni, Histor., ed. ciL, p. 279. 

16 "Extemam pacem intestinae confestim discordiae subsecutae, quantum numquam antea civi- 
tatem turbarunt," ibid., p. 224; "Proximo dehinc anno quies fuit ab extemis bellis; domi autem 
seditiones insuper coortae graves, et a civibus arma sumpta ex huiusmodi causa," ibid., p. 101; 
"Atque ego puto per prima ilia tempora post barbarorum cessationem inter civitates nostras 
concordiam viguisse; mox vero, ut crescere coeperunt, vacuas ab extemo metu, invidia et con- 
tentione transversas agere," ibid., p. 25. See also following passage: " Secuta deinde quies ex pace 
aliquot menses hominum curas exemit . . . ," ibid., p. 191. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 1 5 

17 "Ut enim ingénies arbores novellis plantis iuxta surgentibus afficere soient, nec ut altius crescant 
permittere, six romanae urbis moles sua magnitudine vicinitatem premens, nullam Italiae civi- 
tatem maiorem in modum crescere patiebatur," ibid., p. 7; "civitates Italiae paulatim ad libertatem 
respicere . . . denique . . . crescere atque florere et in pristinam auctoritatem sese attollere coepe- 
runt," ibid., p. 23. 

1 8 "Haec mihi perdigna literis et memoria videbantur, ac earumdem cognitionem rerum utilissimam 
privatim et publiée artibrabar," ibid., p. 3; "Res enim digna est quae literis annotetur, vel pro 
admonitu civium, vel pro castigatione regnantium," ibid., p. 163. 

19 Cf. A. La Penna, "Il significato di Sallustio nella storiografia e nel pensiero politico di Leonardo 
Bruni," in his Sallustio e la rivoluzione romana (Milano: Feltrinelli, 1968), pp. 409-431. 

20 "Equidem, ut ista communi vita moribusque hominum utor, ita illa me moveri fateor quae bona 
apud homines putantur: extendere fines, imperium augere, civitatis gloriam splendoremque ex- 
tollere, securitatem utilitatemque asciscere: quae nisi expetenda dicamus, et cura reipublicae et 
pietas in patriam et tota pêne haec vita nobis fueritpervertenda . . . Populus romanus parens noster 
numquam orbis imperium nactus esset, si suis rebus contentus nova coepta impensasque refugis- 
seL Nec sane idem propositum est homini publiée et privatim. Nam publiée quidem magnificentia 
proposita est, quae in gloria amplitudineque consistit; privatim vero modestia et frugalitas," in L. 
Bruni, Histor. ed. cit., p. 140. 

21 "Non enim eo ingenio sunt homines nostri, ut industria multa in acquirendo utantur, nec uUi per 
Galliam et Britanniam negotiaturi discursant; simplices magis homines ac suis rebus contenti, eo 
quod habent domi laetis animis perfruuntur. In huiusmodi autem moribus, opulentia non fit, quam 
industria parit, diligentia exauget," in L. Bruni, Histor., ed. cit, p. 251. 

22 "Noli, quaeso, nos ad hanc scrupolosam vivendi normam vocare: aliter enim coelum, aliter terra 
regitur . . . Atqui stetisse nos pro ecclesia, praeterquam facta, literae quoque pontificum, quarum 
infinitus pene numerus in publicis servatur archiviis, cohortationum et commendationum plenae, 
testantur . . . ," ibid., p. 62. 

23 "Quo enim longius abes, ac minus vel oculis inspicere malefacta gubematorum tuorum, vel 
auribus percipere voluisti, eo magis debet tua sanctitas aures aequissimas nobis impertiri . . . ," 
ibid., p. 212. 

24 Speaking of the institution of the "collegia" in 1 266, Bruni concludes: "Ea res quamquamparva 
primo visa, tamen populum a dominantibus ad libertatem traducebant, arma capere et ad suum 
quemque locum iubens," ibid., p. 48. Referring to the first hiring of mercenary troops in 1 35 1 , he 
decries that decision for its dire consequences: " . . .parvis ab initio erratis permagna deinde 
pariunt detrimenta," ibid., p. 186. Bruni also marks down the momentous creation of a consoli- 
dated public debt in Florence, in 1344: "Eadem anno maximum est reipublicae fiindamentum, 
parvo ex principio iaci coeptum . . . Quantitatis vero ipsas in unum coacervatas a similitudine 
cumulandi wXgo Montent vocavere; idque in civitate postea servatum . . . ," ibid., p. 1 7 1 . See also: 
for the change in the electoral system in 1 323 and its impact on the political structure of the city, 
ibid., pp. 121-122; for the institution of the prior ate in 1282, ibid., p. 67; and for the institution of 
the Gonfalonier in 1289, ibid., p. 79. 

25 L. Bruni, Epistol., ed. cit, part II, bk. VIII, ep. IV, p. 1 12. 

26 The indignation for the lack of responsibility displayed by the cardinals during the long vacancy of 
the papal chair, from 1269 to 1272, and for the despicable behavior of the antipope in 1328, is 
scarcely reflective of a genuine piety. (Cf. L. Bruni, Histor., ed. cit., pp. 60, 135). 

27 Cf ibid., p. 2 10. Elsewhere, in relating the events of the year 1351, Bruni simply mentions the fact 
that the Pope and his court were in Avignon, when Florentine emissaries were sent to him (cf. ibid., 
p. 186). 

28 "Principio insequentis anni [1345], crescente in potentiores odio, leges duae ad populum latae 
sunt: una in clericos iniqua, per quam omnibus eorum privilegiis derogabatur; altera in 
cives . . . , ibid., p. 171. 

29 "... potius illorum conditionem temporum non satis notam reprehensoribus puto," ibid., p. 

30 "His de causis factum est, ut longe faciliorem viam ad res componendas Latinus haberet, quam 
dudum eadem in causa atque re Gregorius habuisset," ibid., p. 66. 

16 / Renaissance and Reformation 

31 Cf. supra n. 24. 

32 "Video enim, quantum ipse memoriam teneo, nos semper omnibus in rebus, ob tarditatem et 
negligentiam nostram, providendi agendique tempora ignaviter perdidisse," Rinaldo Gianfigliazzi 
says in 1399, and then adds: "... nos autem post res perditas remédia cogitamus" (L. Bruni, 
Histor., ed. cit., p. 277)— the same sad conclusion already voiced by an old citizen in 1 35 1 , while 
addressing the deliberative council during the war with Pistoia: "... vos autem (quod bona venia 
dictum est) post rem actam consilium postulatis" (ibid., p. 175). Especially in foreign affairs, 
where time factor and secrecy are paramount in any decision, "popular" regimes show their 
weakness: "Res enim plerumque celeritatem et silentium poscunt, quibus décréta multitudinis 
inimicissima sunt" (ibid., p. 277); "Civitates enim quae populariter reguntur neque celare sciunt 
quod factum est neque possunt: quippe multorum deliberatione et conscientia in singulis decretis 
opus est" (ibid., p. 236). 

33 In 1 439, while working on the last part of his History of Florence, Bruni outlined for a friend the 
constitution of the Florentine Republic. In this writing he is quite aware of the fact that in Florence 
there had been for a while a mixed form of government, partly democratic and partly aristocratic, 
that the process of change from a full democracy to a mixed form of government had gradually 
started in 1351, when mercenary soldiers were for the first time hired by the Republic, and that 
consequently the city relies now more than ever on the wisdom of the aristocrats and on the 
financial resources provided by rich citizens. In this connection see H. Baron, The Crisis of the 
Early Italian Renaissance (Italian rev. edition: Firenze: Sansoni, 1 970, pp. 464-465 ), and supra, 
n. 24. Once again the analogy between Periclean Athens and Medicean Florence must not have 
escaped Bruni: both cities could no longer be considered pure democracies: a first citizen had 
emerged, few qualified citizens held the most prestigious offices— or at least it was meant to be so — 
while a certain equality among citizens still existed (cf. Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, II 

34 Cf. L. Bruni, Histor., ed. cit, pp. 276-278 (Rinaldo Gianfigliazzi' s oration), and supra n. 32. 

35 Cf B. Reynolds, "Bruni and Perotti present a Greek historian," in "Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et 
Renaissance," XVI (1954), p. 112; R. Fubini, "Osservazioni ..." cit, p. 425, n. 69. Cf. also 
supra n. 33. 

36 In 1 390 the Florentines exhort the Bolognesi to continue to be their allies in the war against the 
Milanese tyrant: "Sunt enim pergraves omnibus belli sumptus, sed praesertim populis ac multi- 
tudini, quae futurapericula non discemunt. . . Amissa enim libertate, in potestatem victoris omnia 
transmigrant et insuper dedecus et infamia servitutis adest quae etiam morte est a generosis 
hominibus repellenda . . . Enimvero, non valet bononiensis populus onera belli perferre? at longe 
maiora feret, si libertatem amittet quae enim nunc gravia videntur, tunc levia fuisse putabuntur," 
in L. Bruni, Histor., ed. cit, p. 252 (cf. Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, II 62). 

37 Remembering how much money Florence had spent in the period extending from Charles I of 
Anjou to Charles II, Bruni comments "... inexhausta quaedam pecuniarum materia Florentia 
illis fuit ut si quis a Carolo primo Siciliae rege ad hunc alterum quem modo diximus Carolum 
pecunias numeret supra fidem supraque modum videatur populum unum tantis oneribus suf- 
fecisse" (in L. Bruni, Histor., ed. cit, p. 138). And again, recounting Florence's endurance and the 
amount of military forces and financial resources employed in the war against Giangaleazzo 
Visconti, he concludes: " . . . ut admirandum sit populum unum ad tantas res gerendas vel magni- 
tudine animorum vel opibus sufFecisse" (ibid., p. 246). 

38 "Haec et huiusmodi permulta rerumpublicarum a gubematoribus imperitis committuntur . . . ," 
ibid., p. 186. 

39 Cf. J. M. Najemi, " ' Arti' and 'Ordini' in Machiavelli's 'Istorie florentine', " in S. Bertelli and G. 
YLBûTcvdkxx^tds., Essays presented to Myron P. Gilmore (Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1978), 1, 164- 

40 "Mercaturae quoque, si quis forte earn partem ad incrementum civitatis attinere quidquam 
existimet non alibi per id tempus quam Romae commodius exercebatur," in L. Bruni, Histor., ed. 
cit, p. 7. See also R Fubini, "Osservazioni ..." cit, pp. 417, 428-429. 

41 "Societates Florentinorum permultae et maximae in Roberti Regno et Galliarum partibus . . . 
fidem abrumpere coactae sunt cum incredibili damno civitatis, " in L. Bruni, Histor., ed. cit, p. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 1 7 

160; "Ea res inopinata et gravis, cum multorum patrimonia afîlixisset, traxit post se ruinam 
minorum societatum . . . Decoquentibus itaque permultis, inaestimabilem iacturam civitas subi- 
vit, fidesque angusta in foro omnia perturbatur", ibid., p. 1 7 1 (in both instances, in 1 342 and 1 345, 
the bankruptcy of medium and small trading companies greatly reduces the influx of money into the 
city). See also the oration of the Bolognese envoys, exalting the entrepreneurial talents of Floren- 
tine merchants active in France and in England (ibid., p. 251). 

42 "... scientia enim rei militaris vix illis qui tota nihil aliud meditati sunt contingit, ne dum homines 
plebeii et otio mercaturisque assueti illam possideant," ibid., p. 200. 

43 On the other hand, as we will see toward the end of this paper, wealth is deemed indispensable by 
Bruni for the success of an individual, in private and public life. 

44 Cf. G. Brucker, The Civic World of Early Renaissance Florence (Princeton: Princeton U.P., 
1 977), pp. 283-302, especially pp. 289-295, 299-302. 

45 Cf. supra n. 13. 

46 Cf G. Brucker, The Civic World . . . cit., pp. 299-300. 

47 "Mitte, quaeso, hanc verborum pompam, ad solidum, ut ita dixerim accede," "Video enim, 
quantum ipse memoriam teneo, nos semper omnibus in rebus, ob tarditatem et negligentiam 
nostram, providendi agendique tempora ignaviter perdidisse," "Nam ea quae multorum sunt, a 
paucis determinari nee honestum est, nee illis ipsis qui determinant tutum" (in L. Bruni, Histor., 
ed. cit., pp. 120,277, 176). 

48 "Consilium Pieri de Baroncellis fuerat pulchrum sed parvum substantiae," "Sermones longos 
proposita non requirunt sed executionem citam," "Utrecitat Salustius in Catilinario, postomatam 
orationem Cesaris, Cato dixit 'Tempus non esse dilationem adhibere, sed cito ad rem, unde salus 
procédât venire.' Et propter dilationes Romanorum, Anibal Saguntum vincit," "A consultis tam 
unite discedere et pro tot non debemus nee convenit et quamvis ostensum sit quod id sequendum, 
ineonveniens sequi posset, tamen peius esse consilium paueorum sequi quam multorum." (In G. 
Brucker, The Civic World . . . eit, p. 286 n. 188, p. 293 n. 217, p. 307 n. 274. The original 
passages are to be found in Firenze, Archivio di Stato, CP, 39, f. 1 17r, ibid., 43, f. 15r, ibid., 42, f 
124r, ibid., 45, f lOlr.) 

49 "Quod opinionis est ut omnia dici et exprimi debeant in numéro copioso populi ut ad presens ..." 
(in G. Brucker, Tlie Civic World . . . cit., p. 307 n, 277: original passage in Firenze, Archivio di 
Stato, CP, 45, f 8v.) 

50 Some of these binary orations are: Gregory X addressing the Florentines and the Florentines' 
reply (year 1273); the Ghibellines in exile addressing the Florentines at home and a Florentine 
adviser's reply (year 1323); altercation between Castruccio Castracani and Guido Tarlati in the 
presence of Louis of Bavaria (year 1 327); the Perugini complaining with the Florentines and the 
Florentines' reply (year 1336); Alessandro dalla Antella and Donato Barbadori addressing 
Gregory XI and Gregory's reply (year 1376); the Bolognesi addressing the Florentines and the 
Florentines' reply (year 1 390); the Venetian ambassadors addressing the Florentine ambassadors 
and the Florentine ambassadors' reply (year 1401). 

51 "Subiciam vero quae tune obiecta ab adversariis et quae responsa sunt, ut iustitiae causa a 
legentibus examinari possit" (in L. Bruni, Histor., ed. eit, p. 284). 

52 They are the orations of the Florentines addressing Gregory X in 1273 (ibid., pp. 62-63), of a 
Florentine citizen in 1 323 (ibid., p. 120), and of Alessandro dalla Antella and Donato Barbadori 
addressing Gregory XI in 1376 (ibid., pp. 21 1-214). 

53 "Gubemacula rerum publiearum per scientiam haberi non possunt, cum particulariter requirant 
determinationes ..." (in G. Brucker, The Civic World . . . eit, p. 290 n. 204: original passage in 
Firenze, Archivio di Stato, CP, 42, f. 103r.) 

54 For Bruni, see L. Martines, The Social World of the Florentine Humanists. 1390-1460 (Prince- 
ton, N.J.: Princeton U.P., 1963), pp. 117-123, 165-176. For Cavalcanti, see my article "A 
proposito delle 'Istorie florentine' di Giovanni Cavalcanti," in Quademi d'italianistica, 1 ( 1 980), 

55 In L. Bruni, EpistoL, ed. eit, part I, p. 1 1 7. At a certain point (year 1 340), in his History, Bruni 
makes the remark that the punishment reserved to citizens for their misconduct should never be so 

18/ Renaissance and Reformation 

severe that one easily forgets that after all they are citizens: "Gives enim sic odendi sunt, ut tamen 
cives illos esse meminerimus," in L. Bruni, Histor., ed. cit, p. 158. 

56 For the family in Italy and in Florence, see R.A. Goldthwaite, Private Wealth in Renaissance 
Florence, a study of four families (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton U.P., 1968); E. Sestan, "La 
famiglia nella société del Quattrocento," in Convegno intemazionale indetto nel V. centenario di 
Leon Battista Alberti {Roma: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1974), pp. 235-258; F.W. Kent, 
Household ... cit ; G. Brucker, The Civic World . . . cit, pp. 1 4 and ff., 28, 29; and D. Kent The 
Rise ofthe Medici Faction in Florence. 1426-1434 (Oxford: OxfordU.P., 1978), pp. 15, 16-17. 
The social and political support that bonds— not only among close relatives but also among 
friends— could provide for the individual is a reality quite familiar to Bruni. In his reconstruction of 
the past (year 1291), he does not fail to see the negative aspects of such coahtions: "Homines 
longis stipati clientelis, et multis, ut par erat propinquitatibus subnixi, imbecillos honesta veluti 
servitute premehant; fréquentes ab his pulsatos mediocris fortunae homines, fréquentes bonis 
spoliatos, praediis ejectos fuisse constatabaf (one can almost hear G. Cavalcanti's similar 
complaints concerning other families' and his own predicament cf. my article "A proposito ..." 
cit, pp. 178-179 and notes 16, 17), in L. Bruni, Histor., ed. cit, p. 81. 

57 "dove manca la prosperità I'amicizia non si trova," in G. Cavalcanti, I storie florentine XIII 10, 
ed. G. Di Pino(Milano: Martello, 1944), p. 380. 

58 Bruni's quote is from Juvenal, Satira III, 164. The entire passage is taken from the preface to the 
Latin translation ofthe pseudo- Aristotle's £'conom/c5, addressed in 1420 to Cosimo de' Medici: 
''Sunt vero utiles divitiae, cum et omamento sint possidentibus et ad virtutem exercendum 
suppeditent facultatem. Prosunt etiam natis, qui facilius per illas ad honorem dignitatesque 
sublevantur. Nam 'quorum virtutibus obstat res angusta domi, haud facile emergunt', ut poetae 
nostri dictât sententia," in L. Bruni, Humanistisch-Philosophische Schriften, ed. H. Baron 
(Leipzig: Teubner, 1 928) pp. 1 20-1 2 1 . Bruni rehearses the same argument concerning the possi- 
bility of enhancing one's virtue, and more specifically "magnificentia" by means of wealth in a 
letter to Tommaso Cambiatore (from Florence: 1 420/28): "Nam de omamento quidem non bene 
accipis. Nam enim de spintere, aut fimbria, neque de histrionis auro, sed de magnificentia diximus. 
Haec enim virtus ad omatum pertinet adeoque divitias exigit, ut pauper magnificus esse non 
possit. Miror igitur, quid in me reprehendas, cimi et ob id utiles esse scripserim, quia ad virtutem 
exercendam facultatem praeberent etprodesse natis eadem ratione, ne illorum virtutibus rei 
familiaris obstaret angustia" in L. Bruni, Epistol., ed. cit, part II, p. 14. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 19 

Littérature politique et exégèe biblique 
(de 1570 à 1625) 


Le recours à la Bible 

A la fin de la Renaissance, la Bible n'est plus au coeur de la pensée 
politique, mais elle reste l'instrument de sa justification. Les traités poli- 
tiques se réclament sans cesse de la Bible pour confirmer la valeur de leurs 
théories. Même si la Bible est présentée comme la source apparente de 
celles-ci, elle sert plutôt à garantir leur validité. Les premiers écrivains de 
la Réforme, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin et Melanchthon avaient contribué, 
dans la première partie du seizième siècle, à redonner à la Bible une 
autorité éminente dans l'élaboration des concepts même sociaux et à 
assurer sa prépondérance sur les instances usuelles de la vérité: la tradi- 
tion, la papauté, l'Eglise, la scolastique. Parole directe de Dieu, la Bible 
redevient la pierre de touche de tout savoir, le lieu de résolution de toutes 
les controverses. Si Luther a accordé la priorité au Nouveau Testament, 
Calvin et Zwingli mettront sur le même plan Ancien et Nouveau Testa- 
ment, comme "règle unique de vraye et parfaite sagesse" {unica perfectae 
sapientiae régula)} Très tôt, les dangers de cette orientation apparurent, 
et les paysans révoltés, rappelant à Luther qu'ils ne trouvaient pas dans la 
Bible la dîme du bétail à payer, obligèrent celui-ci à accorder l'inspiration 
divine et le contexte social. L'entreprise de la Réforme détermina cepen- 
dant un respect prononcé pour la Bible qui s'étendit aux scolastiques 
catholiques, entraînés à répondre à la lettre des arguments de leurs adver- 
saires par d'autres puisés au même fonds, et aux penseurs les plus laïcs, 
soucieux de réconcilier l'influence antique, les faits contemporains et 
l'enseignement biblique. Le rétablissement marqué avec éclat de la Tradi- 
tion et de la Vulgate au Concile de Trente, témoigne a contrario de 
l'audience acquise par le livre sacré, sous l'impulsion des Réformés habi- 
tués à l'utiliser pour la recherche de toute vérité, religieuse ou politique. 
Cette primauté reconnue astreint à de subtiles adaptations les auteurs de 
toutes tendances, mais en particulier ceux dont les principes temporels 
semblent l'emporter sur les spirituels. Il n'est pas aisé, ni possible, déjuger 
erroné ou sans fondement une leçon biblique, comme pourrait l'être un 

20 / Renaissance and Reformation 

jugement d'Aristote. La Bible impose une direction d'interprétation. Dis- 
cutant de la punition des attentats commis contre François I^"" et Henri II, 
Bodin termine sa démonstration par ces mots: "Et à fin qu'on ne die point 
que les hommes ont faict ces loix, & donné ces arrests, nous lisons en la 
saincteEscriture, queNabuchodonosor. . . . "^ Le texte biblique toujours 
appelé à corroborer une opinion ne peut jamais être explicitement contre- 
dit Aussi Bodin dresse-t-il une liste des tyrans de la Bible envers lesquels 
les prophètes ont recommandé la soumission et ajoute: "Il n'ya rien de plus 
frequent en toute l'escripture saincte, que la defense, non pas seulement de 
tuer y attenter à la vie ou à l'honneur du Prince: ains aussi des Magistrats, 
ores (dit l'Escriture) qu'ils soyent meschans."^ 

Les partisans de la Réforme témoignent évidemment d'un attachement 
plus vif encore. Lorsque Bèze s'interroge à son tour sur les devoirs des 
sujets envers un roi devenu tyran, il passe en revue les prérogatives des 
citoyens de Rome, d'Athènes, du Danemark, d'Ecosse, de Lacédémone, 
d'Angleterre, de Pologne, de Venise, d'Espagne, en citant le rôle de 
différents corps pour limiter l'arbitraire du pouvoir, mais l'exemple égale- 
ment évoqué d'Israël commande un traitement particulier et plus élaboré. "* 
Il ne présente pas uniquement des exemples mais discute longuement des 
textes de la Bible consacrés aux monarchies divine et temporelle. Tous les 
théoriciens réformés partagent cette considération. Ainsi Buchanan mul- 
tiplie les nuances sur les concepts de l'autorité séculière dans le Nouveau 
Testament.^ Languet, cherchant s'il est légal de résister à un prince qui 
viole la loi divine, énonce les principes qui le guident: "si nous nous en 
tenons au dire de l'Escriture saincte, elle nous en résoudra."^ Lorsque plus 
tard Jacques P"" d'Angleterre désire tout au contraire prôner l'obéissance 
inconditionnelle et non pas la résistance conditionnelle, c'est au moyen de 
divers extraits de la Bible qu'il défendra le pouvoir des rois.^ Autre écrivain 
inspiré par la Réforme, Althusius utilise plus souvent la Bible que toute 
autre source parce qu'il croyait en la supériorité de l'organisation étatique 

Bien que plus liés à l'enseignement de l'Eglise et des Pères, les théori- 
ciens scolastiques subissent l'influence de cette vénération. Juan de Mar- 
quez, religieux de l'ordre de saint Augustin et prédicateur de Sa Majesté 
catholique, donne ce titre éloquent à son tiSLiié: L'Homme d'Estat Chres- 
tien, tiré des vies de Moyse et Josué Princes du peuple de Dieu. ' 

Et Suarez, une des gloires de la Compagnie de Jésus, apologiste des 
Pères et de la pédagogie ecclésiastique, apporte volontiers les diverses 
interprétations d'un passage biblique, pour les commenter, les réfuter ou 
en proposer de nouvelles.'® Absolutistes, monarchomaques huguenots et 
scolastiques exigent tous de la Bible une sanction favorable à leur parti 

Il est possible que tous les auteurs de cette époque n'aient pas eu une 

Renaissance et Réforme / 21 

conscience vive des rôles multiples et parfois contradictoires que jouaient 
les références bibliques mais cette situation n'a pas échappé à la clair- 
voyance d'un Du Perron, par exemple, qui souligne, mais sans ironie, la 
difficulté d'asseoir une position ferme et nette sur la Bible, car elle est 
brandie par tous les partis. 

Et donc quel article de foy ne sera point arraché du tribunal de l'Eglise, & 
exposé en proye à la présomption des hérétiques, s'il suffit de dire qu'il est si 
clair dans l'Escriture qu'il n'y eschet ny dispute ny jugement? A la vérité cela 
auroit quelque apparence, si ceux qui tiennent l'une des propositions alle- 
guoient l'Escriture pour eux, & que les autres ne l'alléguassent point Mais 
tant ceux que tiennent l'affirmative, que ceux qui tiennent la negative, argu- 
mentent par l'Escriture, répondent par l'Escriture, & répliquent par l'Escri- 

Mais du Perron tombe à son tour dans cette habitude lorsque, discutant de 
la forme des gouvernements dans les premières cités humaines, il écrit 
"Mais vray dire nul auteur gentil en peut avoir parlé avec certitude laquelle 
nous tirerons des sainctes escriptures."^^ 

La Bible devant F état 

Nombreux sont les textes qui dans les deux Testaments entretiennent un 
rapport plus ou moins étroit avec la constitution des sociétés, mais aucun 
n'avance une théorie spécifique sur l'origine des communautés. La Chute 
et sa conséquence, la nature déficiente de l'homme, ont servi à justifier la 
nécessité d'un ordre politique mais ont aussi alimenté la méfiance augus- 
tinienne à l'égard d'un ordre établi par une faute et dans la violence: la cité 
d'Enoch ayant été fondée par Caïn, un fratricide. ^^ Cette carence thé- 
orique permet à saint Thomas d'intégrer les idées aristotéliciennes d'une 
tendance innée au lien social chez les hommes et d'une finalité bénéfique 
du pouvoir, supposant, pour sa formation et son maintien, l'intervention de 
Dieu comme causa remota}^ La Bible ne présente pas non plus la théorie, 
chère à Bodin, d'une croissance naturelle de l'état à partir de la cellule 
familiale. Elle ne précise pas si les premiers rois de l'humanité ont été 
choisis ou se sont imposés par la violence. La Genèse mentionne brièvement 
que le premier potentat a été Nemrod, vaillant chasseur qui fonda im empire 
composé des villes de Babel, Ereq et Akkad. ^ ^ Seul est décrit en détail dans le 
Livre de Samuel l'établissement de la monarchie en Israël. 

S'ils ne présentent pas, sauf dans Samuel une conception élaborée de la 
société et du pouvoir, les textes sacrés comportent cependant maints faits à 
valeur exemplaire, notamment les tribulations des Israélites, dans le désert 
et en exil, et de nombreux conseils, en particulier sur le comportement du 
chrétien à l'égard des autorités civiles dans les textes des apôtres Pierre et 
Paul. Par leur caractère Umité et souvent conjoncturel, ces éléments se 

22 / Renaissance and Reformation 

prêtent plus aisément qu'une théorie organique à des manipulations idéo- 

Choix des textes et conditions historiques 

Les emprunts faits à la Bible par la littérature politique, de Bodin à Grotius, 
sont déterminés par les bouleversements en cours. La croissance des 
monarchies séculières, au détriment des autorités impériale et pontificale, 
la fin des particularismes locaux, l'émergence des états nationaux modi- 
fient l'horizon politique général. D'une façon plus particulière, la St- 
Barthélemy et l'avènement d'Henri IV en France, les dominations suc- 
cessives de souverains catholiques puis protestants en Angleterre et en 
Ecosse, avaient amené au centre des préoccupations l'obéissance ou la 
résistance des sujets en matière de conscience et de pratique religieuses. 
En ébranlant l'état, les guerres de religion avaient aussi fait naître en 
France un parti, celui des Politiques, voué aux intérêts de la monarchie 
temporelle contre les empiétements de la religion. Contesté ou renforcé, le 
pouvoir temporel devait se définir à l'égard du pouvoir papal. Ce fut le 
problème d'Henri IV, mais bien plus celui de Jacques P^ lors du serment 
d'allégeance réclamé à ses sujets après la Conspiration des Poudres. 
D'éminents scolastiques comme Bellarmin et Suarez prennent la plume, à 
l'incitation de Rome, contre ce roi polémiste et ses partisans. Les vari- 
ations, d'un règne à l'autre, entraînent l'échange des théories. Le climat de 
camps retranchés dans lequel vit l'Europe de l'Ouest et du Nord est fort 
propice à l'effervescence théorique, comme l'indiquent la prolifération des 
pamphlets, l'abondance (et la longueur) des traités politiques. Chaque 
camp pouvait trouver dans la Bible matière à contentement ou à préoccu- 

Les premières oeuvres marquantes de cette période furent écrites par les 
monarchomaques, tels Buchanan, Hotman, Bèze, Momay, Languet et par 
les auteurs anonymes des textes publiés dans les Mémoires de VEstat de 
France}^ Les monarchomaques, ouvrant une brèche à la désobéissance 
civile, se heurtaient, dans la Bible, aux appels à la soumission des apôtres 
Pierre et Paul. Dans un texte clair et précis, saint Paul demande que 
chacun se soumette aux autorités en charge, en soulignant que toute 
autorité vient de Dieu.^^ Toute rébellion est un rejet de Dieu. L'autorité 
étant instituée comme un instrument de justice, il convient de se soumettre 
tant par motif de conscience que par crainte du châtiment. Ce message se 
trouve renforcé par deux textes, l'un apparaissant dans une épître de saint 
Pierre,^* l'autre dans l'Ancien Testament, lorsque Jérémie demande à son 
peuple d'obéir à Nabuchodonosor, malgré les torts de ce dernier envers les 
Juifs qu'il déporta et réprima.'' Néanmoins il est appelé le serviteur de 
Dieu et Jérémie presse son peuple d'ignorer les injonctions faites par les 
faux prophètes de ne pas se considérer assujettis au roi de Babylone. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 23 

Bien sûr, Tépître aux Romains est l'un des textes les plus commentés, 
non seulement par les monarchomaques, mais par des absolutistes conmie 
Jacques l^^ et P. de Belloy, qui trouvent là un langage inespéré pour leur 
cause. La Bible est cependant tissée de contradictions; chaque allégation 
peut être confrontée à sa contradiction ou atténuée par diverses réserves. 
Un fragment d'une épître aux Corinthiens servira par exemple d'échap- 

L'Ancien Testament procure son contingent de textes. Des épisodes du 
livre de Daniel s'avèrent particulièrement propices à affaiblir la portée du 
message paulinien de l'obéissance "par motif de conscience." Outre sa 
théorie séduisante des quatre royaumes, ce livre raconte le refus de quatre 
jeunes Hébreux d'adorer la statue d'or érigée par Nabuchodonosor.^^ Ils 
furent jetés dans une fournaise de feu ardent et en sortirent indemnes. Sous 
Darius le Mède, Daniel fut jeté dans la fosse aux lions pour avoir trans- 
gressé un édit de pratique religieuse. ^^ Ces épisodes renforcent la thèse de 
la résistance à des ordres impies. Althusius y verra même une leçon de 
gouvernement pour les pays à confessions religieuses multiples. Le code 
deutéronomique contient de nombreuses prescriptions, morales, reli- 
gieuses, sociales et rituelles, pour le peuple juif. Une section est consacrée 
aux devoirs du roi, dans laquelle Yahvé interdit à ce dernier de multiplier le 
nombre de ses femmes, son or et son argent. ^^ 

Le texte le plus propre à soulever des controverses est celui du prophète 
Samuel sur l'établissement de la monarchie. A une époque où l'autorité 
monarchique occupe tous les esprits, où la contestation vise le détenteur, et 
parfois la forme, de ce pouvoir, l'épisode narré soulève de graves difficultés 
pour les consciences chrétiennes favorables à ce type de régime. 

Insatisfaits des fils de Samuel étabHs comme juges, les Anciens d'Israël 
réclament un roi, à l'instar des autres nations. Cette requête déplaît à 
Yahvé, qui se sent rejeté, mais il commande à Samuel de satisfaire à leur 
demande, tout en les avertissant de ce que sera "le droit du roi qui va régner 
sur eux": 

Les inconvénients de la royauté. 

Samuel répéta toutes les paroles de Yahvé au peuple qui lui demandait un 
roi. Il dit: "Voici le droit du roi qui va régner sur vous. Il prendra vos fils et les 
affectera à sa charrerle et à ses chevaux et ils courront devant son char. Il les 
emploiera comme chefs de mille et comme chefs de cinquante; il leur fera 
labourer son labour, moissonner sa moisson, fabriquer ses armes de guerre et 
les harnais de ses chars. Il prendra vos filles comme parfumeuses, cuisinières 
et boulangères. Il prendra vos champs, vos vignes et vos oliveraies les meil- 
leures et les donnera à ses officiers. Sur vos cultures et vos vignes, il prélèvera 
la dime et la donnera à ses eunuques et à ses officiers. Les meilleurs de vos 
serviteurs, de vos servantes et de vos boeufs, et vos ânes, il les prendra et les 
fera travailler pour lui. Il prélèvera la dîme sur vos troupeaux et vous-mêmes 
deviendrez ses esclaves. Ce jour-là, vous pousserez des cris à cause du roi 

24 / Renaissance and Reformation 

que vous vous serez choisi, mais Yahvé ne vous répondra pas, ce jour-là!" 
Le peuple refusa d'écouter Samuel et dit: "Non! Nous aurons un roi et nous 
serons, nous aussi, comme toutes les nations: notre roi nous jugera, il sortira à 
notre tète et combattra nos combats." Samuel entendit toutes les paroles du 
peuple et les redit à l'oreille de Yahvé. Mais Yahvé lui dit: "Satisfais à leur 
demande et intronise- leur un roi." Alors Samuel dit aux hommes d'Israël: 
"Retournez chacun dans votre ville."" 

Le livre d'Osée apporte un écho à ces propos, car la colère de Dieu devant 
la demande des Juifs est évoquée. ^'^ Les malheurs prédits par Yahvé ar- 
rivèrent dès le règne de Saûl mais aussi sous d'autres rois de Samarie et de 
Judée, comme Achab, qui s'empara de la vigne de Naboth, Jézabel, 
Athalie, Jéroboam P^." 

Le passage de Samuel soulève déjà des difficultés dans son contexte. 
Comme il est précédé par la victoire de Samuel sur les Philistins, il semble 
que les motifs invoqués par les Juifs soient nuls. La version apparaît alors 
anti-monarchiste. Mais un passage ultérieur fait état du danger représenté 
par les Philistins et de la nécessité d'un chef militaire, d'où l'élection de 
Saiil par Dieu pour défendre les Juifs alors affligés et persécutés par leurs 
ennemis. Cette version, pro-monarchiste, contredit certaines vues de la 
première. Pour expliquer ces contrastes, des théories de deux ou même de 
trois sources ont été avancées. A la Renaissance, seule la version dé- 
favorable à la monarchie est retenue, sans doute à cause de l'impossibilité 
d'ignorer cette vive désapprobation. La volonté exprimée par les Juifs est 
regardée par Dieu comme une véritable apostasie. L'affront subi par 
Samuel se transforme en offense à Dieu lui-même. Son courroux révèle 
une préférence pour un modèle théocratique de société. La monarchie 
constitue une punition infligée aux hommes pour avoir rejeté ce système. 
Aussi imploreront- ils en vain un retour à la situation antérieure. Mais la 
surdité divine et la vanité des implorations humaines plaident paradoxa- 
lement pour l'inutilité de toute rébellion et de toute résistance, une fois cet 
ordre instauré. 

Le texte biblique aborde indirectement d'autres aspects de la royauté. 
Les inconvénients annoncés constituent- ils une liste de pouvoirs ou 
d'abus? Tel est l'enjeu central. Les méfaits décrits sont-ils approuvés, ou 
voulus? L'absence apparente de limites aux exactions royales estompe la 
frontière séparant la monarchie de la tyrannie. Le texte indique le rôle du 
peuple dans ce changement. Les anciens d'Israël formulent la demande. 
Celle-ci manifeste la double finalité du pouvoir: régir, à savoir juger, puis 
conduire aux combats. La requête subit aussi l'influence d'un contexte, 
celui de "toutes les autres nations." La suite du livre précisera les moda- 
lités de sélection du roi. Saiil est à la fois choisi par Dieu et élu par le 
peuple, si l'on considère les deux sources ensemble. 

Malgré l'importance des textes de saint Paul et de saint Pierre, nous 

Renaissance et Réforme / 25 

limiterons cette étude à l'influence du texte de Samuel dans les écrits 
politiques à la fin de la Renaissance, réservant pour un autre moment les 
interprétations des passages du Nouveau Testament. 

La tradition critique sur le texte de Samuel: Le Moyen Age 

Déjà au Moyen Age, ce passage de la Bible avait retenu l'attention des 
Pères de l'Eglise. Saint Grégoire le Grand le commente longuement. ^^ Il 
estime qu'à cette occasion, les Juifs ont rejeté la domination spirituelle au 
profit d'une domination séculière.^'' Il montre que le déplaisir qu'eut 
Samuel à cette demande lui vint de ce qu'il anticipait le déplaisir de Dieu.^* 
Pour Grégoire, le discours de Samuel tendait à décourager les Israélites;^' 
ils auront donc bien mérité ce sort, par leur entêtement Mais ce discours ne 
signifie pas que les rois doivent tous se conduire de cette façon et Grégoire 
rappelle l'épisode de la vigne de Naboth pour le démontrer. Néanmoins, 
comme il s'agit d'un régime où triomphe l'esprit charnel contre le spirituel, 
il n'est pas étonnant que les rois cherchent à satisfaire leurs appétits,^® à 
oublier les vertus, à perdre leur intégrité. Et parce qu'ils ont maintenu leur 
demande après avoir été prévenus de ses conséquences, les IsraéHtes ont 
perdu tout recours contre cette dépravation, tout moyen de revenir en 
arrière. En même temps, ils ont rejeté l'intermédiaire de Dieu car Samuel 
était un adjuvant humble et soumis, qui rendait bien la justice et qui leur 
avait donné la victoire, alors que les rois n'auront pas le même bonheur 
dans leurs guerres. Semblable rejet attend parfois les fidèles pasteurs ou 
prélats de la sainte Eglise, car cette audace d'aller contre leur volonté et 
leurs saints conseils se retrouve encore. Ainsi Grégoire, tout en utilisant la 
version anti-monarchiste de la Bible, notamment par la mention des vic- 
toires remportées par Samuel, ne cherche ni à contester la monarchie ni à 
légitimer le droit des rois. Le passage de Samuel marque plutôt, conmie 
l'indique la fréquence des termes, un moment historique aux conséquences 
effroyables, celui d'un passage du spirituel au charnel. ^^ Le rejet de Dieu 
par les hommes répète l'épisode de la Genèse et entraîne une autre forme 
de châtiment Parce qu'elles n'apparaissent pas Hées à des situations 
politiques contemporaines, les explications conservent une saveur aca- 
démique. Les quelques allusions retrouvées chez d'autres Pères de 
l'Eglise manifestent des préoccupations toujours marginales, dans le pro- 
longement des idées de Grégoire. Chez Cyprien, saint Ignace et saint 
Chrysostome et dans les Constitutions des Saints Apôtres, le passage sert 
à illustrer les difficultés que rencontrent parfois les prêtres et les évêques, à 
cause de l'ingratitude et de l'hostilité des fidèles.^^ Si l'insulte est parfois 
leur gain, ils doivent se consoler de ces afflictions à la pensée que Dieu 
s'irrite et se venge lorsque ses prêtres sont flétris. Comme chez Grégoire, 
Samuel est traité à l'égal d'un prêtre et la supériorité des prêtres sur les 
gouvernants s'en trouve confirmée. 

26 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Saint Augustin reste muet sur ce passage dans sa Cité de Dieu. Mais 
saint Thomas s'en sert pour montrer que la royauté, théoriquement à 
considérer comme le meilleur régime, peut aisément dégénérer en tyrannie, 
qui est sa déformation. Saint Thomas signale donc que "dès l'institution, le 
Seigneur a investi le roi d'un pouvoir tyrannique."^^ 

Les Juifs étaient particulièrement cruels et enclins à la rapacité, et c'est par ces 
vices surtout que les hommes versent dans la tyrannie. C'est pourquoi le 
Seigneur ne leur assigna pas dès le début un roi revêtu de l'autorité souveraine, 
mais un juge et un recteur qui veillât sur eux. C'est plus tard, à la demande du 
peuple et sous le coup de la colère, qu'il leur accorda un roi, disant clairement à 
Samuel, comme on le lit au premier livre des Rois (8,7): "Ce n'est pas toi qu'ils 
ont écarté, c'est moi, ne supportant plus que je règne sur eux."^" 

Le texte apparaît à saint Thomas comme une simple tentative de dis- 
suasion de la part de Samuel: 

En fondant l'institution, Dieu ne donnait pas au roi un tel droit. C'est plutôt 
l'annonce du droit inique usurpé par des rois dégénérés en tyrans et en 
spoliateurs de leurs sujets. La suite du texte (I Rois 8,1 7) ne permet pas d'en 
douter: "Et vous serez leurs esclaves"; c'est le caractère même de la tyrannie, 
puisque les tyrans traitent leurs sujets en esclaves. En parlant ainsi, Samuel 
voulait donc dissuader le peuple de réclamer un roi; on lit d'ailleurs un peu plus 
loin (8, 19): "Mais le peuple refusa d'écouter la voix de Samuel" — Malgré 
tout, il peut arriver, même à un bon roi exempt de tyrannie, d'emmener les 
jeunes gens, de désigner des chefs de mille et des chefs de cinquante et 
d'imposer force contributions à ses sujets, en vue d'assurer le bien commun." 

Saint Thomas en déduit la supériorité d'un régime monarchique tempéré 
d'aristocratie, car la situation en Israël prouve que "les dispositions de la 
loi n'étaient pas satisfaisantes."^^ Celles-ci font pourtant partie du 
Deutéronome, dont il reprend les idées essentielles pour conclure que les 
méchants rois supporté par Israël servaient à châtier les révoltes fré- 
quentes du peuple. 

Abravanel, humaniste juif né au Portugal en 1437, livre le commentaire 
le plus exhaustif de ce morceau." Il l'utilise pour contredire la position des 
commentateurs bibliques juifs, lesquels estimaient que la Bible contenait 
des prescriptions imperatives pour établir une monarchie.^* Abravanel 
adopte une position assez proche de saint Thomas et il tire de la Bible une 
leçon défavorable à la monarchie absolue. 

Luther et Calvin 

Le renforcement des structures nationales coïncide avec la montée de la 
Réforme. Le soutien ou la condamnation de celle-ci par les autorités 
temporelles obligent Luther et Calvin à amorcer une réflexion sur l'ordre 

Renaissance et Réforme / 27 

civil. Les positions de Luther à l'égard de l'état ont fait déjà l'objet de 
nombreux commentaires.^^ Rappelons qu'elles ont varié selon les impéra- 
tifs stratégiques du moment. Par sa théorie des deux glaives, Luther se 
désintéresse en principe de l'autorité séculière, car le royaume d'ici-bas est 
disqualifié par rapport à l'au-delà, et il se contente de prôner une obéis- 
sance qui n'engage pas l'âme. Les révoltes des paysans, les débordements 
radicaux de ses disciples, en particulier des anabaptistes, le besoin de la 
protection des princes l'amènent à préciser sa doctrine, en cinq textes 
principaux. Intéressé surtout au Nouveau Testament, Luther maintient au 
coeur des principes régissant les rapports du chrétien à l'Etat l'enseigne- 
ment de l'épître de saint Paul aux Romains dont il a fait un commentaire. 
Toutes les admonestations et tous les appels de saint Paul et de saint Pierre 
à l'obéissance sont confirmée et renforcés, notamment dans son com- 
mentaire de l'épître de saint Paul."*^ Luther néglige le texte de Samuel alors 
que Calvin, qui traite longuement des gouvernements civils dans le ving- 
tième chapitre de son Institution le cite au moment où il s'interroge sur le 
meilleur régime."*^ Il observe qu'il est "bien vray qu'un Roy, ou autre, à qui 
appartient la domination aisément décline à estre tyran,'"*^ ce qui lui fait 
favoriser une direction multiple. Comme ses prédécesseurs, il estime 
qu'un "mauvais Roy est une ire de Dieu sur la terre (lob, 34, 30; Isa, 3, 4; 
Osée, 3, 1 1; Deut. 28, 29.)'"*^ Les exhortations de Jérémie de prier pour 
Nabuchodonosor et pour la prospérité de Babylone servent à faire valoir 
l'honneur dû à un roi même "pervers et cruel.'"** Abordant les méfaits 
prévus par Samuel, Calvin les explique ainsi: 

Certes les Rois ne pouvoyent faire cela justement, lesquels par la Loy estoyent 
instruits à garder toute tempérance et sobriété (Deut. 17,16 ss.). Mais Samuel 
appelloit Puissance sur le peuple, pourtant qu'il luy estoit nécessaire d'y obéir, 
et n'estoit licite d'y résister. Comme s'il eust dit: La cupidité des Rois 
s'estendra à faire tous ces outrages, lesquels ce ne sera pas à vous de réprimer, 
mais seulement vous restera d'entendre à leurs commandemens, et d'y 
obéir. '•' 

Le respect gardé par David envers Saûl témoigne du caractère inviolable 
de la majesté. "Nous devons tous à noz supérieurs, tant qu'ils dominent sur 
nous, une telle affection de révérence que celle que nous voyons en David, 
mesme quelsqui'ils soyent"*^ Calvin maintient en somme les mêmes exi- 
gences de loyauté que Luther, mais à l'aide de références à l'Ancien 
Testament. Ces longues exhortations à la patience s'achèvent cependant 
sur un ton ambigu et menaçant, par l'évocation des cas où le meurtrier du 
roi est l'instrument du châtiment divin et par l'approbation des résistances 
organisées par les magistrats inférieurs. 

28 / Renaissance and Reformation 

L'exégèse du texte de Samuel entre 1570 et 1625 

Afin de conserver le fil dans le labyrinthe des variations exégétiques autour 
du texte de Samuel, il conviendrait d'en présenter les données les plus 
significatives, en tenant compte des intérêts et des factions de l'époque. La 
première démarche consistera à reconnaître les positions extrêmes (et non 
pas extrémistes), c'est-à-dire celles qui s'opposent point par point les unes 
aux autres et, à partir de ces données, dresser une Ugne médiane. Glo- 
balement considéré, le texte de Samuel apparaît comme un désaveu par 
Dieu de la monarchie. Cette position de contestation aurait pu être adoptée 
par les monarchomaques; elle ne le fut pas. Mais leurs écrits nous per- 
mettent de retrouver le camp qui l'adopta. Dans \qs Mémoires de VEstat de 
France, un auteur anonyme tente de définir une position raisonnable en 
s' attaquant à deux abus présumés: celui des anabaptistes, s' autorisant de 
ce texte pour rejeter la monarchie, et celui des absolutistes, liant les droits 
des rois aux conséquences prévues par Samuel."*^ Ce renseignement pré- 
cieux compense faiblement la perte des nombreux écrits des anabaptistes 
mais il confirme l'existence, autrement hypothétique ou à inférer logique- 
ment, d'une opposition radicale aux énoncés des absolutistes. Mais l'op- 
position entre les deux interprétations se situe à des niveaux différents. 
Dans un cas, la désapprobation est déduite de la considération de tout le 
texte de Samuel, dans l'autre, de la partie intitulée Inconvénients de la 
monarchie, où Samuel présente comme des droits les malversations ex- 
ercées par le roi et termine sur l'impossibilité dans laquelle seront les 
Israélites de se plaindre ou de revenir en arrière. Dans cette perspective, il 
appert qu'un roi même tyrannique mérite une obéissance sans conditions. 
Selon l'argumentation anabaptiste, la plus contestatrice, un roi, de l'avis 
de Dieu, sera toujours un tyran (roi= tyran; toujours et partout). Bodin 
attribue à Melanchthon un énoncé de ce principe et lui reproche d' avoir tiré 
cette conclusion du texte de Samuel: "En quoy Melanchthon s'est mes- 
pris, qui a pensé que les droits de la majesté soyent les abus & tyrannies que 
Samuel dit au peuple en sa harangue.'"** 

Bodin semble avoir tiré cette réflexion des commentaires de Melanch- 
thon sur les Politiques d'Aristote. Dans ce passage, il est écrit: 

Dans les Histoires des Rois, où le droit des rois est décrit par Samuel, les 
formes les plus acerbes de commandement sont approuvées, ornées de ce titre: 
que cela soit le droit des rois. L'esprit saint signifie ainsi que le pouvoir 
légitime, même s'il est dur, est approuvé de Dieu/' 

Melanchthon se contente donc d'affirmer que Dieu a approuvé les formes 
les plus pénibles du pouvoir légitime. Son ouvrage contient d'ailleurs des 
incitations analogues à celles de Luther et de Calvin pour le respect des 
pouvoir établis. Il y soutient les distinctions habituelles du tyrannicide 

Renaissance et Réforme / 29 

commis par des magistrats en fonction, ou par des particuliers. L'opinion 
des anabaptistes ne trouve certes pas sa source chez ce théologien, auteur 
précisément d'un traité Contra Anabaptistas. ^° Mais les accusations de 
Bodin s'imposeront plus que les nuances de Melanchthon et Marquez les 
reprendra sans vérification: "Cete interpretation, comme dit Bodin, est de 
Melanchthon, & partant suspecte. "^^ 

Selon les argumentations de caractère absolutiste. Dieu recommande 
plutôt, dans ce texte comme dans d'autres, d'obéir même à un tyran. Donc 
à plus forte raison faut-il se soumettre à un bon roi (roi et/ou tyran). Les 
conséquences de ces interprétations sont aux antipodes. La désapproba- 
tion de Dieu d'une forme toujours tyrannique commande son rejet, selon 
les anabaptistes. La description des droits des rois implique au contraire 
une obéissance inconditionnelle, selon la thèse opposée. Cette dernière 
position pourrait être imputée à des absolutistes comme Bodin. Mais dans 
sa forme extrême, elle est surtout défendue par Jacques P»", par W. Barclay 
et par Adam Blackwood, défenseur de Marie Stuart contre Buchanan. 
Bodin, tout comme vraisemblablement le parti des Politiques qu'il repré- 
sente, apporte deux réserves. S'il admet qu'on doive respect même à un 
tyran, il refuse de considérer la liste de Samuel comme celle des droits et 
encore moins des habitudes d'un roi et il estime qu'il s'agit d'une liste 
d'abus d'un tyran. Cette position rejoint celle de la plupart des auteurs 

Comment se définit la place intermédiaire? Elle est d'abord adoptée par 
les monarchomaques réformés, conformément à leur situation ambiguë 
entre le respect et la contestation du pouvoir temporel, selon les circon- 
stances. Confiants en la dignité et en la valeur de l'autorité séculière mais 
parfois forcés de s'y opposer, les monarchomaques jouent sur les deux 
tableaux et n'excluent aucune partie du texte. Les anabaptistes les obligent 
à expliquer la colère de Dieu. Et les inconvénients annoncés ne leur 
paraissent pas des droits reconnus, mais de simples menaces faites par 
Samuel pour dissuader les Hébreux. Le texte révèle à la fois la facilité avec 
laquelle un roi devient un tyran (roi -^ tyran) et l'habitude des rois de cette 
époque et de cette région, l'Asie, de se comporter en tyran (Roi -^ tyran, 
alors-là). Les monarchomaques en déduisent la nécessité d'un contrôle, 
d'une Loi ou d'un système capable de brider les rois, comme les Etats. Les 
monarchomaques catholiques reprennent, quand ils s'intéressent à ce 
texte, ce qui est rare, cette ligne médiane d'une opposition à certains 
monarques plutôt qu'à la monarchie." Ils défendent, à l'instar des scolas- 
tiques, les avantages d'une monarchie tempérée, non par les lois fonda- 
mentales, comme le souhaitent les Réformés, mais par celles de Dieu et de 
l'Eglise. Guillaume Rose, dès son premier chapitre, insiste sur la supério- 
rité de la monarchie et renoue ensuite avec la version de saint Cyprien, à 
l'effet que le passage de Samuel contient des prédictions de ce que Saùl 

30 / Renaissance and Reformation 

allait faire, non des prescriptions de ce que les rois peuvent faire. 
Le schéma suivant illustre l'éventail des points de vue: 






protestante (et 










par Dieu 

(roi= tyran) 



Rejet de 




Beliarmin Suarez 

Lois de 

Dieu et 

de l'Eglise 

pour contrôle. 



et inconvénients 


de dissuasion 




(roi— tvran) 



Lois ou 

Etats pour 





tion des 
abus des 

Jacques I" 



Les inconvéniens 



des droits 
des rois. 

(roi et/ou tyran) 


Bien qu'en général fidèles à ces grandes lignes, les interprétations de détail 
peuvent varier et les catégories sont moins étanches que ne le suggère le 
schéma." Rien n'empêcherait par exemple les anabaptistes de relever la 
propension des rois à devenir tyrans. Les absolutistes de leur côté ont 
intérêt à reprendre à leur compte l'explication historique souvent pré- 
sentée chez les monarchomaques et à attribuer la colère de Dieu à des 
facteurs circonstanciels, ce qui atténue la portée du désaveu. Telle est bien 
l'argumentation développée par Belloy: 

Dont toutefois Dieu ne se courrouça pas contre son peuple; par ce qu'il ne 
ratiffîast & n'approuvast l'Estat Royal, mais pour le peu d'asseurance & 
deffîance des Israelites, comme si sa Majesté divine n'eust peu bien disposer 
de leur Estât, soubs autre police que souz la Royauté: ainsi qu'ils se mescon- 
tentoient de Samuel qui s'estoit monstre fidelle serviteur de Dieu & du public.*" 

Renaissance et Réforme / 3 1 

L'explication est reprise par Jacquer pr. 

La place des scolastiques catholiques reste à déterminer. D'une façon 
générale, ils pouvaient sans difficultés reprendre l'enseignement des Pères 
et prendre leurs distances à l'égard de la monarchie. Or la plupart étaient 
plus favorables à la monarchie, système bien établi, qu'à tout autre régime. 
A la suite des changements d'allégeance religieuse des souverains, ils 
durent passer bien contre leur gré dans le camp des ennemis de la royauté, 
devant la menace d'un roi huguenot en France et sous le règne d'Elisabeth 
en Angleterre. Leur opinion rejoint alors, même s'ils n'en ont pas toujours 
conscience, celle des monarchomaques, c'est-à-dire une opposition diri- 
gée bien plus contre la personne du roi que contre la monarchie. Marquez 
soutient par exemple que les calvinistes utilisent le texte de Samuel pour 
attaquer la monarchie, ce qui n'est le cas, on l'a vu, que des anabaptistes. 
La position des scolastiques varie aussi selon la situation géographique des 
auteurs. L'italien Bellarmin relève simplement qu'il n'a pas plu à Dieu 
d'accorder un roi à son peuple. Les espagnols Marquez et Ribadeneyra, 
ardents partisans de la monarchie, adoptent à peu près la solution de Bodin 
et des monarchomaques, et considèrent le texte comme une série de 
menaces, non de droits, s' appuyant pour cela sur les arguments de saint 
Grégoire le Grand. S' opposant à des monarques mais non à la monarchie, 
ils font valoir les avantages d'un système régi par les lois de Dieu et de 
l'Eglise. Le jésuite Nicholas Sanders en Angleterre et l'évêque Guillaume 
Rose en France abondent dans le même sens. 

Le livre de Samuel suscite enfin quelques commentaires marginaux. 
Lipse et Parsons se contentent de relever que la monarchie y est décrite 
comme la forme de gouvernement la plus répandue, "la plus ordinaire."^^ 
Surtout les modalités décrites d'accession au pouvoir par Saûl servent 
certaines causes. Enfin, le rôle de Samuel envers le peuple et envers Dieu 
n'est pas négligé. 

Examen détaillé des diverses thèses 

L'argumentation anabaptiste représentée dans le Politique comporte trois 
motifs pour l'exclusion de la royauté: le refus de Jésus de devenir roi, 
l'origine violente de la monarchie avec Nemrod,^^ la colère de Dieu dans 
Samuel et Osée. Un passage de VEpître aux Corinthiens incitant les 
chrétiens à régler entre eux leurs différends sans d'adresser à des juges 
couronne cet exposé. 

La conviction monarchiste atténuée des monarchomaques est égale- 
ment illustrée dans Le Politique. A l'appui de la thèse reconnaissant la 
monarchie comme le meilleur des régimes sont citées les opinions des 
philosophes anciens, les discussions des sages de Perse et de Venise, un 
extrait de la Genèse sur la domination d'Adam comme modèle d'économie 
domestique. Les excès sont cependant blâmés, et à propos du droit des 

32 / Renaissance and Reformation 

rois, il est dit que Samuel a été mal interprété "car ce n'est pas une 
ordonnance, mais une menace, que le peuple aurait au lieu de Roys des 
superbes tyrans."" Cela s'est vérifié par les règnes d' Achab et de Jézabel. 
S' intéressant à l'interdiction faite par Jésus à Pierre de tirer son glaive, 
l'auteur du Politique expose la thèse courante qu'un simple particulier, 
comme l'était alors l'apôtre Pierre, n'a pas la "vocation légitime"^^ de 
résister et de prendre les armes. 

Bodin s'intéresse peu au texte de Samuel. L'essentiel se trouve déjà 
exprimé dans saMéthode.^^ A son avis, dans les paroles de Samuel "ce 
n'est pas la royauté, mais bien la tyrannie qui est visée, n'en déplaise à 
Melanchthon."^® Bodin a tout intérêt à se démarquer d'un texte si négatif à 
l'égard des monarques. Dans saRépublique, il le mentionne surtout pour 
des problèmes fortuits, comme l'élection ou la succession, les devoirs des 
rois pour la justice et la guerre; il souligne la popularité du régime attestée 
par ce passage.^^ Pour Bodin, Dieu se sent rejeté lorsque ses lieutenants sur 
terre, rois ou princes, comme l'était Samuel, sont repoussés. ^^ Ses objurga- 
tions à l'obéissance enchâssent plutôt des extraits de Jérémie sur Nabuch- 
odonosor.^^ Il cite le respect de David pour Saiil et ajoute: 

Il n'y a rien plus frequent en toute l'escripture saincte, que la defense, non pas 
seulement de tuer, ny attenter à la vie ou à l'honneur du Prince: ains aussi des 
Magistrats, ores (dit l'Escriture) qu'ils soyent meschans.*'* 

La prudence compréhensible de Bodin lui est dictée par son désir de 
légitimer une monarchie puissante sans en évoquer les risques. 

Blackwood, polémisant contre Buchanan, illustre mieux la position des 
absolutistes. Il s'élève contre la "maligne interprétation" de l'Ecossais et 
ironisant sur les détours de l'exégèse de cet érudit pourtant grave et 
expérimenté, il rappelle que les Israélites ont bien demandé un roi, non un 
tyran, et qu'on ne saurait donc considérer le texte comme une liste d'abus 
tyranniques mais bien comme des droits royaux légitimes, accordés par 
Dieu.^^ Bien sûr, selon Blackwood, cela ne veut pas dire que les rois 
doivent faire tout cela, mais qu'ils peuvent le faire, quand les temps et les 
circonstances difficiles le commandent, et il n'y a rien dans cette formulation 
qui s'oppose aux prescriptions du Deutéronome. Pour Blackwood, le peuple 
a demandé un roi. Dieu a agréé cette demande et ceux qui régnèrent sur 
Israël furent des rois, non des tyrans. Ce qui veut dire qu'il faut également 
supporter des pouvoirs qui ont dégénéré car ils ont reçu l'aval de Dieu.^*^ 
Blackwood pousse l'interprétation dans un sens si favorable à la monar- 
chie qu'il utilise ce texte pour attribuer au roi la propriété des choses; leur 
usage et leur possession seuls revenant aux particuliers.^^ Une telle pré- 
tention fait contre elle l'unanimité à cette époque, aussi bien des Politiques 
que des scolastiques et des monarchomaques, réformés et catholiques. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 33 

Languet, Marquez, Du Perron, l'auteur du "Politique" dans \es Mémoires 
de VEstat de France et Guillaume Rose sont fort explicites la-dessus.^* Ce 
dernier par exemple s'indigne qu'une seule phrase de Samuel ait pu laisser 
croire que les rois pouvaient disposer des biens de leurs sujets, alors que 
l'indignation du Prophète lorsqu'Achab et Jézabel s'emparent de la vigne 
de Naboth illustre une situation toute opposée. 

P. de Belloy, dans son plaidoyer en faveur d'Henri IV, tombe dans 
l'ornière absolutiste. L'institution de la royauté chez les Juifs signifie à son 
avis l'approbation divine de ce régime. Cette institution avait d'ailleurs été 
annoncée bien avant, lorsque Dieu avait promis à Abraham et à Sara que 
leurs descendants porteraient le sceptre. William Barclay, autre adver- 
saire déclaré des thèses de Buchanan, suit de très près les énoncés de 
Blackwood. Il ne voit pas de contradictions dans la Bible, mais une 
différence de niveau: Samuel montre ce qu'un roi peut faire, le Deutéro- 
nome ce qu'un roi doit faire. ^^ Surtout, la réponse du peuple et l'acceptation 
de Dieu indiquent bien le caractère irréversible de l'institution et l'im- 
possibilité d'échapper aux contraintes parfois dures de la royauté. Barclay 
consacre plusieurs pages au passage de Samuel, s'élevant notamment 
contre l'intention de Buchanan de voir dans cette description uniquement 
des abus, à cette époque de rois généralement bien plus mauvais. Pour 
Barclay, les rois de ce temps étaient pourtant légitimes et le texte contient 
le droit royal tel que prescrit au peuple. ^^ Jacques P"" partage évidemment 
sans scrupules, en raison de ses fonctions, cet avis et il présente dans le 
Basilikon Doron une perspective carrément absolutiste.^^ Ecrivant en 
1599, il a pu connaître les opinions des monarchomaques et il aborde 
l'argumentation historique. Comme toute l'Ecriture est inspirée, cela 
signifie que les paroles de Samuel ne lui sont pas dictées par l'ambition de 
se maintenir au pouvoir en noircissant les rois, Samuel ne fait pas non plus 
une prédiction de ce que sera le règne de Saiil, puisque ce dernier a été 
désigné par Dieu pour ses vertus et qu'il n'a commis ensuite aucune action 
vraiment reprehensible. Il s'agit donc, dit- il, d'un discours pour préparer 
les peuples à obéir et à ne pas résister même aux tyrans intolérables, car 
Dieu seul a le pouvoir de faire et défaire les rois. Dieu prévient en effet le 
peuple qu'il ne servira à rien de murmurer, de rechigner car le renoncement 
est irréversible. Après ces énoncés généraux, Jacque P"" s'attache au détail 
des points de justice et d'équité qu'un roi peut transgresser impunément Si 
le peuple, après ces avertissements a continué à réclamer un roi, c'est qu'il 
acceptait ces divers inconvénients pour les avantages retirés au chapitre de 
la justice et de la guerre. Le texte présente donc l'étendue des pouvoirs 
possibles du roi, en comparaison desquels ceux des rois chrétiens s'avèrent 
fort modérés. Donc leur sujets ont encore moins de motifs légitimes pour se 
rebeller. Jacques P"" complète sa démonstration par les témoignages de 
respect affichés par David, par les appels de Jérémie, et par une longue 

34 / Renaissance and Reformation 

exposition de VEpître aux Romains. 

Le Politique résume assez bien les différentes thèses en présence et 
propose la version soutenue habituellement par les monarchomaques . 
Ceux-ci, tels Goodman, Buchanan, Bèze et Languet, accordent pour la 
plupart une attention aussi grande que Jacques P"" au passage de Samuel. 
Goodman, compagnon d'exil de John Knox à Genève, le cite au complet 
Il estime qu'il présente des menaces de punition pour avoir rejeté le règne 
direct de Dieu: 

Wherfore to avoyde the daungers upon both partes, it is more than necessarie 
that bothe be subjecte to that Rule, and with all diligent care, labour to reteyne 
it, wherby both maye leame their duetie, and be constrayned justly to execute 
the same.^^ 

Bèze développe la thèse historique à peine esquissée chez Goodman. Au 
commencement, 'i'Etemel seul lui-mesme ... a esté le Monarque.''^ 
Malgré leur chance d'avoir un roi "qui ne pouvoit jamais devenir Tyran,"''* 
les Israélites demandent un roi, alors que l'histoire enseigne qu'il n'y a 
point de roi qui n'ait abusé de son état 

Le Seigneur, justement irrité contre son Peuple et lui voulant enseigner ce qui 
lui devoit advenir de ce fol appétit qui les menoit, leur prédit par Samuel ce qui 
est nommé en ceste histoire là, le droit du Roi couché en termes merveilleuse- 
ment estranges, et portans en somme, que le Roi feroit tout ce qui lui plairoit 
tant des personnes que des biens de ses subjets: chose vraiment tyrannique et 
non point Roialle." 

Or, selon Bèze, Dieu seul peut exiger quelque chose de sa volonté sans 
avoir à se justifier, mais la volonté des hommes et des rois doit plier à la 
raison et être guidée par de bonnes et saintes histoires. 

Ceux-là donc se trompent grandement, qui prennent ces paroUes de Samuel 
comme si elles authorisoient les Rois en tout ce que bon leur semble, suivant 
l'exécrable parolle de ceste villaine incestueuse. Si libet, licet, qui n'a esté que 
trop souvent prattiquee de nostre temps. Ains il faut entendre les parolles de 
Samuel, comme s'il disoit à Israël, "Vous ne vous contentés point que Dieu 
soit vostre Monarque, comme il a esté jusques à present d'une façon spéciale et 
particulière, et voulez en avoir un à la façon des autres peuples. Vous en aurez 
un donc, mais voici la belle justice qu' il vous fera, et tout le droit duquel il usera 
envers vous."'' 

Bèze y voit enfin la preuve que les magistrats sont issus du peuple et choisis 
par lui. Quant aux relations entre Saiil et David, il reconnaît le déférence 
de ce dernier mais rappelle qu'il s'était armé légitimement, l'onction du 
Seigneur l'établissant comme "Officier du Roiaume": 

Renaissance et Réforme / 35 

Ce néant moins il appert que son intention a esté de se garantir, voire mesmes 
par les armes, à l'occasion que dessus. Car autrement, pourquoi se feust-il 
accompagné de gents de guerre?" 

Buchanan mène conjointement l'analyse des textes de Paul and de 
Samuel. Amateur de distinguos, il pose ainsi les cadres de son analyse: 

I desire you to consider first, what the people requested of God; next, what 
their reasons were for a new request; and lastly, what was God's answer?^* 

Leur requête, celle d'avoir un roi, était fondée sur la corruptions des fils 
de Samuel et sur leur désir d'avoir un juge et un chef de guerre. A cette 
époque régnaient en Asie, sur des peuple à l'esprit plus soumis, des tyrans 
non limités par les lois. Une telle situation augmenta la colère de Dieu. Le 
texte décrit les pratiques tyranniques en usage alors, et non les droits des 
rois, lesquels sont présentés dans le Deutéronome. Et cette dernière liste 
contredit 1' enumeration de Samuel. Buchanan balise de la même façon le 
texte de Jérémie, où "the prophet does not command the Jews to obey all 
tyrants, but only the king of the Assyrians. Therefore if, from a single and 
particular command, you should be inclined to collect the form of a general 
law, you cannot be ignorant . . . of what an absurdity you will be guilty."'^ 
Car un conseil spécifique ne saurait fonder une loi générale. Enfin, si les 
Israélites n'ont jamais renversé leurs rois, c'est que Dieu, les établissant, 
conservait le privilège de les destituer. En d'autres circonstances, les lois et 
les coutumes des royaumes doivent être respectées. Cela permet à 
Buchanan de motiver la déposition de Marie Stuart par la noblesse 

Languet s'arrête avec encore plus de minutie aux éléments du texte et sa 
synthèse est la plus achevée. Tous les voies ouvertes par les monarcho- 
maques se retrouvent: 

— la propriété des biens: non autorisée par le texte. 

— le motif de la requête: corruption des fils et exemple des nations 

— l'argument historique: le gouvernement direct de Dieu, indirect par 
Samuel. Le rejet de Samuel comme rejet de Dieu et sa colère. 

— les rôles respectifs du peuple et de Dieu dans le choix du roi: à Dieu 
l'élection, au peuple l'étabUssement Le scénario se répète pour le 
choix de David, désigné puis confirmé. Cet aspect longuement déve- 
loppé permet l'amalgame des deux sources bibliques contradictoires. 

— les buts poursuivis dans l'institution de la royauté: justice et guerre. 

36 / Renaissance and Reformation 

— le recours au texte du Deutéronome pour distinguer droits et abus; 

— r affirmation d'une propension naturelle à la tyrannie.*^ 

Languet reconnaît franchement les difficultés posées par cette description 
d'un roi tyrannique. Déplorant à son tour les interprétations qui légitiment 
les injustices, il propose la solution habituelle: le peuple ingrat s'est mérité 
un avertissement. 

En somme c'est comme si Samuel eust dit, vous avez demandé un Roy à 
l'exemple des autres nations, lesquelles pour la pluspart sont mastinees par 
des tyrans. Vous desirez un Roy qui vous administre justice: mais plusieurs 
d'entre eux estiment tout ce qu'ils veulent leur estre loisible. Cependant vous 
délaissez de gay été de coeur le Seigneur Dieu, la volonté duquel est l'infaillible 
reigle de justice."' 

Les scolastiques 

Quant aux interprètes fidèles de la tradition scolastique, ils auront plutôt 
tendance, comme le rapporte J.A. Maravall pour la période contem- 
poraine à notre étude, à esquiver le texte de Samuel, en raison de leur 
attachement à la monarchie.*^ En Espagne, l'un des plus illustres d'entre 
eux, Suarez, ne s'y intéresse pas. Quant à Mariana, il ne s'y attarde guère, 
et se contente de dire qu'on aurait tort de s'appuyer sur ce texte pour 
préférer le régime démocratique au monarchique. Mariana pousse l'es- 
quive à un point rarement atteint, soutenant qu'il en est des formes de 
gouvernements comme des goûts en matière de vêtements, de chaussures 
et d'habitation: les meilleures choses plaisent aux uns et déplaisent aux 
autres. Il conclut que les meilleurs raisons l'inclinent à favoriser le 
gouvernement d'un seul.*^ Quelques années auparavant, Ribadeneyra 
avait été plus sensible aux difficultés inhérentes du texte, en particuHer sur 
le droit de propriété. En s' appuyant largement sur les commentaires de 
saint Grégoire et de saint Jean Chrysostome, il conteste vigoureusement 
cette prétention, notamment, comme il est d'usage, par l'exemple de la 
vigne de Naboth. Il reprend aussi l'argument que certains rois, ainsi que le 
furent Sennacherib, Nabuchodonosor, Attila et Tamerlan, sont des fléaux 
de Dieu et les instruments de sa colère, comme le dit le prophète Osée, 
contre les péchés du peuple.*'' De tous. Marquez sera le plus prolixe, sans 
cependant innover beaucoup. Comme Ribadeneyra, il rejette la théorie du 
droit de propriété des rois sur les biens de leurs sujets en s' appuyant encore 
sur saint Grégoire mais également sur Bodin, pour lequel le texte relève les 
abus et non les droits des rois. Plus loin, il justifie la colère de Dieu selon 
l'argument habituel d'un gouvernement direct de Dieu. Marquez attribue 
les interprétations abusives d'abord aux courtisans flatteurs, puis dans son 
second livre, aux calvinistes comme Melanchthon, les premiers se 
servant de Samuel pour renforcer les pouvoirs du roi, le second pour 

Renaissance et Réforme / 37 

attaquer la "monarchie ecclésiastique," c'est-à-dire de "calomnier la 
souveraine puissance du vicaire de Jésus Christ."*^ Marquez représente 
ainsi le double tranchant du texte, à la fois utile et néfaste à la monarchie. Il 
fait enfin une recension erudite de tous les penseurs favorables à la 

En France, le cardinal Du Perron renoue avec une perspective de 
l'interprétation grégorienne, celle qui consiste à assimiler Samuel à un 
prélat, ce qui lui permet d'affirmer les droits du pape à déposer les rois.*^ 
Mais le détail du texte retient moins l'attention de Du Perron que la 
généralité des événements et leur similitude avec d'autres dépositions, 
faites par les prophètes, de Roboam et d' Achab. Cette question du statut 
"ecclésiastique" de Samuel sépare les absolutistes des scolastiques. 
Bodin présente toujours Samuel et les Juges comme des magistrats tem- 
porels, rempUssant des fonctions qui passeront ensuite aux rois. Barclay 
parlera du mandat extraordinaire de Samuel, qui n'était pas prêtre, 
argument que Du Perron se sentira obligé d'examiner.** 

Enfin d'Italie parvient une troisième voix officielle de l'Eglise, celle du 
cardinal Bellarmin, la plus détachée des controverses et des querelles qui 
agitent la période étudiée. Bellarmin lit dans toute la Bible une réserve 
générale de Dieu à l'égard du pouvoir temporel. "Nous devons première- 
ment remarquer, que dès le commencement, il ne luy plût pas que ses 
fidelles eussent charge des hommes hors de leurs familles, mais seulement 
du bestail, à cause peut estre du danger qu'il y a de gouverne les 

L'attribution du pouvoir à des Juges, et non à des rois, confirme cette 
méfiance. Aussi lorsque les Israélites demandèrent un roi. Dieu "leur fit 
parestre en plusieurs façons, qu'il n'avoit pas agréable la resolution qu'ils 
avoient prize de se soumettre tous à la volonté d'un seul, ainsi que les 
autres nations avoient fait."^° Dieu leur fit aussi connaître "combien étoit 
difficile à supporter le joug que les Roys avoient accoutumé d'imposer à 
leurs sujets."'^ Et Bellarmin de conclure: "Tout cecy montre évidemment 
que Dieu n'eust pas agréable que son peuple eust des Roys absolus, ainsi 
que les infidelles en avoient," car "Il prévoyait qu'ils abuseroient de leur 
puissance."^^ Bellarmin estime que les avertissements de Dieu n'étaient 
pas vains, comme le prouve le petit nombre de rois élevés à la sainteté 
(environ 20) depuis l'établissement de l'Eglise, en proportion de celui des 
évêques (environ 900). Bellarmin, proche des anabaptistes sur l'inter- 
prétation générale, ne tire cependant aucune conclusion et n'invite pas au 
rejet des régimes en place. Par sa simplicité et sa proximité de la Bible, son 
témoignage apparaît paradoxalement comme le plus radical, si bien qu'il 
aurait été quaJiifîé d'hérétique s'il avait été rendu par une autre personne. 

38 / Renaissance and Reformation 

La fortune du texte 

Bien que courte, l'interprétation de Grotius marque un tournant qui 
achève le cycle des transformations subies par le texte de Samuel. 
Maravall signale pour la période postérieure à notre étude que les penseurs 
espagnols du 17« siècle ont prolongé l'interprétation réservée et plutôt 
défensive des scolastiques, afin de sauvegarder leur adhésion au régime 
monarchique. Grotius, quant à lui, inaugure une présentation davantage 

A l'égard des paroles de Samuel, touchant le droit du Roi, si l'on examine 
bient le passage, on trouvera, qu'il ne faut l'entendre ni d'un véritable droit, 
c'est-à-dire, du pouvoir de faire quelque chose honnêtement & légitimement 
(car dans l'endroit de la Loi, qui traite des Devoirs du Roi, on lui prescrit une 
toute autre manière de vivre); ni d'un simple pouvoir de fait (car il n'y auroit-là 
rien de singulier, puisque les Particuliers se font aussi très-souvent du tort les 
uns aux autres): mais qu'il s'agit d'un acte, qui, quoi qu'injuste, a quelque effet 
de droit, je veux dire, qui emporte l'obligation de ne pas résister. C'est pour 
cela que le Prophète ajoute, que, quand le Peuple feroit opprimé par les 
mauvais traitemens du Roi, il imploreroit le secours de Dieu; comme n'ayant 
alors aucune ressource humaine. C'est donc xmdroit, dans le même sens qu'il 
est dit que le Préteur rend justice, lors même qu'il prononce un Arrêt 

Il se situe entre ceux qui ne voient dans ce texte qu'une annonce de 
malheurs et ceux qui prétendent qu'il s'agit d'une liste des droits. Cette 
voie moyenne est nouvelle, car si elle atténue ou rejette les prétentions 
juridiques à une puissance illimitée, elle n'en couvre pas moins ses effets et 
élimine les velléités de résistance à des contraintes fondées sur une légiti- 
mité précaire. L'euphémisme "effet de droit" n'empêche donc pas le 
retour à la vision de Jacques I«^ . Au siècle suivant, Pufendorf situera sa 
position dans la foulée de Grotius et en accentura les conséquences. 
Samuel avait eu raison, dit-il, de prévenir les Hébreux car un roi, pour son 
train royal, peut et doit prendre les garçons pour en faire des soldats, les 
filles pour en faire des cuisinières, parfumeuses, boulangères; il peut aussi 
s'emparer des champs, des vignes, et des oliviers s'il est pressé par des 
besoins d'argent Le discours de Samuel est encore une fois réduit à une 

En un mot, si vous voulez avoir un Roi, il faudra que vous l'entreteniez d'une 
manière convenable à sa dignité & que vois lui assigniez pour cela certains 
revenus. Mais, si dans la suite vous venez à trouver ces charges trop pesantes, 
vous aurez beau souhaitter d'en être délivrez, vous ne pourrez point le 
détrôner, parce qu'en le choisissant pour vôtre Souverain, vous lui aurez 
donné un droit, dont il ne vous sera plus permis de le dépouiller sans son 

Renaissance et Réforme / 39 

Les seules bornes de ces droits sont la loi ou le droit naturel, ou les 
conventions établies par les sociétés. 

La distribution des résultats de l'interprétation selon un axe délimitant 
des extrêmes et un centre, illustre l'éventail des exégèses possible entre 
1570 et 1625, et des médiations opérées. Mais les versions moyennes, 
selon le tableau, n'offrent pas de garanties plus sûres de vérité et cette 
questions de pertinence ou de justesse ne mérite pas d'être posée. Seule 
compte la présence des variantes et des invariants d'interprétation. L'écart 
obtenu et les compromis effectués nous dévoilent la dépendance de 
l'exégèse des conditions idéologiques globales et historiques particulières. 
La véritable dichotomie ne se situe pas dans les oppositions de thèses mais 
entre la volonté invariablement proclamée partout de respecter l'enseigne- 
ment biblique et cette autre volonté, moins prononcée, parfois occultée, 
d'accorder le sens de la Bible à des intérêts politiques précis. Révélatrice 
d'une mauvaise foi inconsciente, cette dichotomie illustre bien la difficulté 
qu'il y a à accorder un crédit illimité à un texte dont on néglige souvent le 
propre contexte historique et social. Elle manifeste aussi les obligations 
faites aux auteurs d'ajuster leurs perspectives ou de défendre leurs intérêts 
en fonction des contraintes du milieu et de l'évolution, alors accélérée, des 
conditions politiques. Cet écartement porte les germes d'un progrès car il 
oblige le lecteur étonné de toute ces divergences à s'interroger sur la 
capacité d'un livre, dont on prône unanimement le respect le plus total, à 
régir en détail l'activité humaine. L'influence directe et immédiate de la 
Bible, comme arbre de vérité, peut se trouver en apparence affaiblie par 
tous ces courants interprétatifs, mais cet affaiblissement peut renforcer la 
position de ceux qui sont plus attentifs à l'esprit qu'à la lettre et qui 
recherchent moins dans la Bible un code qu'une inspiration. 

Université d'Ottawa 


1 Paroles de Calvin citées par Samuel Berger, in La Bible au XVIe siècle. Etude sur les origines de 
la critique biblique (Genève: Slatkine Reprints, 1969), p. 38. (Réimp. de l'édition de Paris, 

2 Jean Bodin, Les Six Livres de la République (Lyon: du Puys, 1580), p. 303, (1* éd: Paris, 

3 Ibid., p. 305. 

4 Thédore de Bèze, Du droit des magistrats, Intr. et notes de Robert M. Kingdon (Genève: Droz, 
1970), p. 24 et ss, (1* éd: Genève, 1574). 

5 George Buchanan, De jure regni apud Scotos: A Dialogue concerning the Rights of the crown in 
Scotland, publié au sein de l'ouvrage du Rév. S. Rutherford, Lex, Rex, or the Law and the Prince 
(Edinburgh; Ogle & Oliver & Boyd, 1843), p. 268, (1« éd: Edimbourg, 1579). 

6 Hubert Languet, pseud. Etienne Junius Brutus, Vindiciae contra tyrannos, trad, franc, de 1581, 
édition de A. Jouanna et alii (Genève: Droz, Coll. Les classiques de la pensée politique, 1979), p. 
46. Le titre de la traduction française est De la puissance légitime du Prince sur le peuple et du 

40 / Renaissance and Reformation 

peuple sur le Prince. longtemps considéré comme l'oeuvre de Duplessis-Momay, le fameux 
Vindiciae a été attribué à Languet dans cette édition. Sur la série des diverses attributions, 
consulter la bibliographie de Myriam Yardeni, La Conscience nationale en France pendant les 
guerres de religion (1559-1598) ( Paris- Louvain: E. Nauwelaerts, 1971), p. 91 et ss. L'article le 
plus récent sur cette question est de M.P. Raitière, "Hubert Languet's authorship of the Vindiciae 
contra tyrannos," in II Pensiero politico,^* (1981), (!« éd: Bale, 1579). 

7 Cf. The Political Works of James I, Intr. de Charles Howard Mcllwain (New York: Russel & 
Russel, 1965). 

8 Johanes Althusius, Politica Methodice Digesta. Intr. de C.J. Friedrich (Cambridge: At the 
University Press, 1932). (1« éd: Groningue, 1603). 

9 Trad. D. Virion, Nancy, J. Gamich, 1621 (1« éd: Pampelune, 1615). 

10 Francisco Suarez, Selections from three works. Ed. par J. Brown Scott, (Oxford: Clarendon 
Press, 1944), I, 688 et ss. 

1 1 Jacques Davy, cardinal Du Perron, Haranguefaicte de la Part de la Chambre ecclésiastique, En 
celle du tiers Estât, sur l'Article du Serment (Paris: Antoine Estienne, 1615), p. 65. Discours 
prononcé le 27 octobre 1614 devant le Tiers Etat 

12 Ibid., p. 23. 

1 3 " La Genèse", 4: 1 7, in La Sainte Bible, traduite en français sous la direction de l'école biblique de 
Jérusalem (Paris: Ed. du cerf, 1961). Toutes les références et citations ultérieures renverront à 
cette édition. 

14 Cf Otto Gierke, Political Theories ofthe Middle Ages, Trad. F.W. Maitland( Cambridge: Atthe 
University Press, 1951), p. 89. 

15 La Genèse, 10, 9-10. 

16 Mémoires de TEstat de France sous Charles neuviesme (Meidelbourg: H. Wolf, 1 1, 1576-1577; 
LII, 1578; till, 1578-1579). 

17 S&int Paul, Epître aux Romains, 13: 1-5. 

1 8 Première epître de saint Pierre, 2: 13-17. 

19 Livre de Jérémie, 27: 1-1 1 . 

20 Livre de Daniel, 3: 1-51. 

21 Ibid., 6:1-25. 

22 Le Deutéronome, 17: 16-19. 

23 Premier livre de Samuel, 8: 1-22. 

24 De la royauté. 

Je vais te détruire, Israël; 

qui te pourra secourir? 

Ou donc est- il ton roi, qu'il te sauve? 

tes chefs, qu'ils te protègent? 

ceux-là dont tu disais: 

"Donne-moi un roi et des chefs." 

Un roi, je te l'ai donné dans ma colère 

et, dans ma fureur, je te l'enlève. Osée, 13,9-11. 

25 L'épisode souvent cité de la vigne de Naboth apparaît au Premier livre des Rois, 21: 1-16. 

26 Saint Grégoire le Grand, Primum Regum Expositiones, L. IV, chap. I-II, pp. 217-233, in 
Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Patres latini. Series prima, t 79, 1849. Le texte de Samuel 
permet à saint Grégoire de faire de nombreux exposés sur des sujets connexes, comme la distri- 
bution des châtiments et des récompenses selon les mérites des hommes, le rôle du Christ dans la 
rédemption depuis le péché d'Adam, etc. 

27 "His autem, qui vivebant sub spiritali regimine, regem petere quid aliud est quam eamdem 
spiritalem praelationem in saecularem dominationem transferre gestire."Op. cit., p. 219. 

28 Grégoire souligne qu'il n'est pas écrit "displicuitsermo Samueli," mais bien"inoculis Samuelis." 

Renaissance et Réforme / 41 

29 "Pro reproba voluntate maie petentes populi, petitus rex conceditur pro vindicta." Op. cit., p. 

30 ". . quia dum reprobam vitam laudant, camalem mentem tyranne ad exercendam pravitatem 
roborant." Op. cit., p. 227. 

31 Le terme carnalis et ses dérivés sont très souvent utilisés par saint Grégoire. 

32 Cf. The Anti-Nicene Fathers (New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1925). Saint Ignace (I, 60), saint 
Cyprien (V, 340, 366, 373), Constitutions des Saints Apôtres (VII, 412). Et The Nicene and 
Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, saint Chrysostome (XIII, 481). 

33 Saint Thomas d'Aquin, Somme théologique. La loi ancienne, t II, la Ilae, Q. 105, art 5. (Paris- 
Toumai-Rome: Desclée et cie, 1971), p. 238. 

34 Ibid., p. 243. La Bible hébraïque comprenait le livre de Samuel et celui des Rois, alors que la 
version grecque de la Septante intitulait les deux textes Règnes, amalgame repris par la Vulgate 
latine, citée par saint Thomas, sous le titre de Rois. Les versions modernes retiennent la division du 
texte hébreu. (Renseignements gracieusement communiqués par le professeur Jean Calloud de 
Lyon, dont les remarques ont également influencé la présente conclusion.) 

35 Ibid., p. 246. 

36 Ibid., p. 238. 

37 Abravanel, Commentary of the Bible. Texte traduit par Robert Sacks dans Medieval Political 
Philosophy. A Sourcebook, éd. parR. LemeretM. Mahdi( Toronto: Collier-Macmillan, 1963), p. 
262 et ss. 

38 11 écrit: "Ail of them accepted the notion that there was a positive commandment laid upon Israel to 
ask for a king. But I am not of this opinion." Op. cit., p. 265. 

39 Consulter notamment L.H. Waring, The Political Theories of Martin Luther (New York: Ken- 
nikat, 1968); Joël Lefebvre, Luther et l'autorité temporelle (Paris: Aubier Montaigne, 1973); 
Pierre Mesnard, L 'Essor de la ph ilosophie politique a u XVI^ siècle ( Paris: Vrin, 1 95 1 ), pp. 1 8 1 - 

40 Martin Luther, "Commentaire de l'épître aux Romains," 1 5 1 5-1 5 16, /« Luther's Works, éd. par 
F. Sherman (Philadelphia: Fortress Press), vol 47: "The Christian in Society," p. 109. 

41 Jean Calvin, Institution de la religion chrétienne (Paris: Vrin, 1961), t IV, Livre IV, chap. XX: 
"Du gouvernement civil," pp. 510-511. Sur la pensée politique de Calvin, voir aussi Marc- 
Edouard Chenièvre, La Pensée politique de Calvin (Slatkine Reprints, 1970), 383 p.; André 
Biéler, La Pensée économique et sociale de Calvin (Genève: Librairie de l'Université, 1 959), 562 
p.; Pierre Mesnard, op. cit., p. 235 et ss. 

42 Ibid., p. 512. 

43 Ibid., p. 530. 

44 Ibid., p. 532. 

45 Ibid., p. 531-532. 

46 Ibid., p. 533. 

47 "Le Politique. Dialogue traittant de la puissance, authorite, & du Devoir des Princes . . . , in 
Mémoires, L III, 1578-1579, pp. 69-70. 

48 J. Bodin, op. cit., L.I, chap. X, p. 212. 

49 "In Historis regum, ubi Samueli jus regni describitur, probatur acerbissima forma imperii, omatur 
hoc titulo, quod jus sit regum. Significat enim spiritus sanctus legitimum imperium, quamvis durum 
sit, tamen Deo probari". Philip Melanchthon, "In Aristotelis aliquot libros, (Philippi Melanch- 
thonis) Commentaria," in Philosophiae Moralis Epitome ( Lyon: Apud Seb. Gryphium, 1 5 38), p. 
60. La traduction est de nous. 

50 Melanchthon s'oppose dans ce texte aux thèses des anabaptistes sur le baptême. Il partage 
l'opinion de Luther sur l'autorité civile et cite deux fois dans \es Loci communes theologici l'épître 
aux Romains. Il fait cependant suivre le passage de saint Paul d'un extrait dts Actes des Apôtres (5, 
29), disant qu'il faut obéir à Dieu plutôt qu'aux hommes. 

51 J. Marquez, op. cit., p. 156. 

42 / Renaissance and Reformation 

52 Cf. par exemple Guillaume Rose, De Justa Reipub, christianae in reges impios et haereticos 
authoritate (Anvers: J. Keerbergium, 1592), pp. 8 et 103. 

53 Les interprétations des scolastiques et de Bodin seront expliquées plus loin dans le texte. 

54 P. Belloy, 0/7. cit., p. 19 

55 Juste Lipse, dans ses Conseils et exemples politiques, écrit dans le chapitre "De la principauté" 
(L. II, I): "Qu'elle est la plus ordinaire. - Pour le temps passé, les histoires sacrées le monstrent, là 
où les Juifs demandant un Roy, parlent en ceste sorte: Pourvoiez nous d'un Roy, comme TOUTES 
les nations en sont pourvues." (Paris: J. Richer, 1 606), p. 766. Cette constatation constitue aussi le 
seul commentaire du texte de Samuel fait par Robert Parsons, jésuite écrivant sur la succession 
d'Elisabeth, dans A Conference about the next succession to the crowne oflngland, (s.l.: R 
Doleman, 1 594). "When the children of Israel did aske a kynge at the hands of Samuel, which was 
a thousand years before the coming of Christ, they alleaged for one reason that al nations round 
about them had kings for their govemours, and at the very same tyme, the chiefest cyties and 
commonwealths of Greece," (p. 16). 

56 "Le Politique," in Mémoires, t III, p. 78 et ss. Bodin aussi estime que Nemrod fut le premier qui 
" assubjectit les hommes par force & violence." (Op. cit., p. 69). II soutient deux autres fois dans sa 
République l'origine violente de la royauté, toujours à l'aide de ce fragment (p. 504 et 511). 
Pourtant, il est seulement dit dans la Bible que " Kush engendra Nemrod, qui fut le premier potentat 
sur la terre, c'était un vaillant chasseur devant Yahvé, et c'est pourquoi l'on dit: "Comme Nemrod, 
vaillant chasseur devant Yahvé." Les prémices de son empire furent Babel, Ereq et Akkad, villes 
qui sont toutes au pays de Shinéar." Genèse, 1 0, 1 0. L'interprétation de Bodin est déjà contredite 
dès cette époque par Marquez, qui rappelle que la Bible qualifie Nemrod de vaillant chasseur et de 
fondateur de villes, "meu du désir de profiter à tous." Op. cit., p. 23. 

57 Op. cit., p. 79. L'auteur dxiPolitique continue ainsi: "Vous tiendrez pour flatteurs (comme dire le 
vray ils semblent bien en tenir) ceux qui alléguant le droit du Roy recité par Samuel . ..." Il est 
difficile de savoir qui sont ces "flatteurs" favorables aux droits illimités des rois sur les héritages, le 
bétail, les personnes mêmes, car les écrits de Blackwood et de Jacques l*^ sont postérieurs à ce 

58 Ibid., p. 125. 

59 J. Bod^n, La Méthode de l'histoire. Trad Pierre Mesnard (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1941).(l«éd: 

60 Ibid., p. 275. 

61 J. Bodin, La République, pp. 6 10-6 11, 970, 988. 

62 Ibid., p. 212. 

63 Ibid., p. 303-304. 

64 Ibid., p. 304-305. 

65 A. Blackwood, Adversus Georgii Buchanani dialogum, de Jure regni apud Scotos, pro regibus 
apologia (Pictavis: Apud Franciscum Pagaeum, 1581), pp. 229 et ss. 

66 "Nam quae disputantur eo loci, toleranda regum imperia significant, quamvis in tyrannos dégén- 
érant, & benignitate numinis, a quo potestatem acceperunt abutantur." Ibid., p. 238. 

67 "Regum enim onia sunt dominio, singulorum usu. Regum sunt omnia proprietate, singulorum 
possessione." Ibid., p. 232. 

68 Cf. surtout H. Languet, op. cit., pp. 162, 174-176; les Mémoires, p. 78; G. Rose, op. cit., p. 

69 "Moyses quid debeat Rex facere, Samuel quid posset enunciat" W. Barclay, op. cit., p. 64. 

70 "Utrumque jus regni est, & iisdem Regibus, populoque prescriptum." Ibid. p. 63. 

71 Jacques I«^ "Basilikon Doron," 1599, in op. cit., pp. 213 et ss. 

72 Christopher Goodman, How Superior Powers Oght to be obeyed of their subjects, and Wherin 
they may lawfully by God's Worde be disobeyed and resisted (New York: Columbia University 
Press, 1931), p. 151. (1« éd: Genève, 1558). 

73 T. de Bèze, Du droit, p. 28. 

74 Ibid., p. 29. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 43 

75 Ibid., pp. 29-30. 

76 Ibid., p. 9. 

77 Ibid., p. 22. 

78 G. Buchanan, op. cit., p. 268. 

79 Ibid., p. 270. 

80 H. Languet,op. cit., pp. 180-183. 

81 Ibid.,'p. 182. 

82 José-Antonio Maravall, La Philosophie politique espagnole au XVIIe siècle dans ses rapports 
avec l'esprit de la Contre-Réforme. Traduit et présenté par Lx)uis Gazes et Pierre Mesnard (Paris: 
Vrin, 1955), pp. 135 et ss. 

83 P. Juan de Mariana, Del Rey y de la institucion real, in Bibliotheca de autores espanoles 
(Madrid Ed. Altas, 1950), t. 31, p. 471. 

84 Pedro de Ribadeneyra, Traité de la Religion que doit suivre le prince chrestien et des vertus qu 'il 
doit avoir pour bien gouverner et conserver son Estât. Contre la doctrine de Nicolas Machiavel & 
des Politiques de nostre temps, trad. Antoine de Balinghem (Douay: Jean Bogart, 1610), pp. 480 
etss. (l«éd: Madrid, 1595). 

85 J. Marquez, op. cit., pp. 141-142. 

86 "Philonjuif, Platon, Aristote, Seneque, Plutarque, Isocrate, Hérodote, Xenophon, Saint Justin 
martyr, S. Atanaze, S. Cyprian, S. Hierosme, S. Thomas, Bartole, Dion Crisostome & autres 
immumerables." /Wi/., p. 141. 

87 Du Perron, op. cit., pp. 64-65. 

88 W. Barclay, op. cit., p. 38 1 . Un autre absolutiste, Belloy, pour montrer que Dieu s'irrite lorsque les 
rois sont méprisés, cite l'exemple de sa colère lorsque Samuel fut rejeté. Op. cit., p. 45 b. 

89 Robert Bellarmin, Le Monarque parfait ou le Devoir d'un prince chrétien, trad. Jean de Lannel 
(Paris: Sebastien Cramoisy, 1625), pp. 299-300. 

90 Ibid.,^.ZO\. 

91 Ibid., p. 302. 

92 Ibid., p. 305. 

93 Hugo de Groot, dit Grotius, Le Droit de la guerre et de la paix, trad. J. Barbeyrac (Basle: E. 
Toumeisen), t. I, p. 174, (!« éd: Paris, 1625). 

94 Samuel de Pufendorf, Le Droit de la nature et des gens, trad. J. Barbeyrac, (Amsterdam: Pierre de 
Coup, 1734), t II, p. 369. 

N.B.: Les recherches pour la rédaction de cet article one été rendues possibles par une subvention 
du Conseil de recherches en science humaines du Canada. 

44 / Renaissance and Reformation 

The Way of Caution: 
Elenchus in Bacon's Essays 


It is idle to expect any great advancement in science from the superinducing 
and engrafting of new things upon old. We must begin anew from the very 
foundations, unless we would revolve forever in a circle with mean and 
contemptible progress. 

— Francis Bacon, Novum Organum 

Bacon employs three literary modes or strategies of what he would call 
Tradition (i.e., transitive knowledge) in his prose: the Expository or 
Didactic, the Parabolic, and the Dialectic. The first of these modes is, of 
course, the conventional method of teaching. Much of Bacon's larger 
works, including The Advancement of Learning and most of the New 
Organon, consists of orderly sequences of investigations and definitions. 
Tradition here is straightforward, because Bacon's language is explicitly 
referential and pragmatic. 

The Parabolic mode consists of any literary effort in which the literary 
form is designed consciously to conceal (at least partly) the content of 
meaning beneath an initially acceptable literal level of meaning. Since the 
degree of concealment can vary enormously, interpretation is often tricky: 
"Parables have been used in two ways, and (which is strange) for contra- 
dictory purposes; For they serve to disguise and veil the meaning, and they 
serve also to clear and throw light upon it."^ Thus, all hieroglyphic forms, 
such as emblem, aphorism, similitude, and fable, add the pleasure of 
discovery to the satisfaction of knowledge gained, in that the form must be 
"opened" to be complete. The literal husk conceals a kernel of essential 
communication; knowledge cannot simply pass like a bubble from one 
mind to another; rather, it must emerge from the respondent's active 
involvement, a combined action of imagination and intellect. Bacon him- 
self states that knowledge should be delivered "as a thread to be spun on" 
(Advancement, 124). 

The enigmatical method of parabolic Tradition masquerades as a pro- 
tective screen for esoteric knowledge, but it actually serves to furnish a 

Renaissance et Réforme / 45 

reward for solving puzzles. Bacon explains that the assumed disguise is 
really a kind of challenge: "The pretence whereof is, to remove the vulgar 
capacities from being admitted to the secrets of knowledges, and to reserve 
them to selected auditors, or wits of such sharpness as can pierce the veil" 
(Advancement, 124-5). In the earlier works, when Bacon is busy devel- 
oping his program of inductive science, he regards the Parabolic mode with 
suspicion, although later (especially in The Wisdom of the Ancients) he 
employs it because it encourages individual discovery.^ "Discoveries are 
as it were new creations" (Novum Organum, 300). Bacon frequently 
refers to Solomon, the scriptural exemplar of wisdom, as the model dis- 
coverer, emphasizing what that great king chose to celebrate: "The glory of 
God is to conceal a thing; the glory of a king is to seek it out" (Novum 
Organum, 300). 

The Dialectic mode is not so easily defined. The task is immediately 
complicated by the fact that in the seventeenth century the term "dialectic" 
was understood to refer to the art of classifying information in spoken or 
written discourse.^ Ramus, for instance, considered it practically synon- 
ymous with "logic": "Dialectic is the art of discussing well and is also 
called logic.""* The particular use of this art was pedagogical, and it was 
turned to the discovery of probable explanations; Bacon's adversaries, the 
schoolmen, were dialecticians in this sense. The similarity of this dialectic 
to its sister art, rhetoric, rests in the common standard of success — a 
plausible, convincing effect. 

However, the process of seeking definitions ought to be accompanied by 
a parallel process of rejecting insufficient or fallacious material. 
Melanchthon thus included both elements in his definition of dialectic as 
"the art or way of teaching correctly, perspicuously, and in an orderly 
fashion, which is achieved by correctly defining, dividing, linking true 
statements, and unravelling and refuting inconsistent or false ones."^ The 
last part of this definition is particularly important if we are to consider 
dialectic as more than a mere subcategory of rhetoric. Dialectic is a mode 
of inquiry. The model is Socratic discourse, the starting point of which is a 
negative, antithetical movement, designed to attack those stubborn opin- 
ions which impede the progress toward wisdom. Certainly Bacon's end is 
radically different— Socrates directed his respondents toward an inward 
discovery of immanent, potential truth, while Bacon secularizes and in- 
verts the Socratic process, preferring external evidences. Nonetheless, at 
least one major component of Bacon's method draws on the Socratic 

Bacon's great debt to the Platonic Socrates is in his adoption of the 
Elenchus, the systematic reduction of false knowledge. Bacon seeks to 
replace both false information and the fallacious methods of attaining this 
so-called knowledge. He maintains that the forms of logic employed by the 

46 / Renaissance and Reformation 

schoolmen are excessively self-justifying: syllogistical arguments owe 
their structure and their outcome not to any verifiable connection to the 
subject at hand, but to codified logic, the very set of conceptual tools 
initially designed as aids to discovery. Logic has become a kind of de- 
corum, and the "invention of arguments" has supplanted true discovery. 
Because syllogistic logic establishes purely verbal premises, it depends for 
whatever truth it contains upon what is known already. Bacon's writings 
abound with censures of those who succumb to the temptation of easy 
victory, such as the syllogism can afford: "Some in their discourse desire 
rather commendation of wit, in being able to hold all arguments, than of 
judgment, in discerning what is true, as if it were a praise to know what 
might be said, and not what should be thought" ("Of Discourse," 775). 
Bacon considered such established methods of discourse to be part and 
parcel of the Idols that block the way of progressive certainty. 

* * * 

The Doctrine of Idols is to the interpretation of Nature what the Doctrine of 
the Refutation of Sophisms is to common Logic. ^ 

There are three ways of overcoming Idols. The ideal method, of course, is 
to start out right— that is, to begin by applying the inductive method: "The 
formation of ideas and axioms by true induction is no doubt the proper 
remedy to be applied for the keeping off and clearing away of idols." 
Should it already be too late for preventive measures, however, attempting 
to understand and name the idols is the next best thing: "The formation of 
ideas and axioms by true induction is no doubt the proper remedy to be 
applied for the keeping off and clearing away of idols. To point them out, 
however, is of great use" (Novum Organum, 164). 

The third option is more complex; it is the antithetical movement of 
dialectic, the elenchus. The original Socratic discourse (of which elenchus 
is a part) is essentially ironic. Pretending to complete ignorance, Socrates 
addressed his respondents, questioning them about received notions of 
virtue and wisdom that they prided themselves on knowing. He had an 
uncanny eye for fallacious reasoning, and undermined arguments on their 
own terms until they collapsed under the weight of their own absurdity. 
Richard Robinson defines the process: 

"Elenchus" in the wider sense means examining a person with regard to a 
statement he has made, by putting to him questions calling for further state- 
ments, in the hope that they will determine the meaning and truth- value of his 

first statement The whole essence ofthe elenchus lies in making visible to 

the answerer the link between certain of his actual beliefs and the contra- 
dictory of his present thesis. This link must be visible to the questioner before 
the process begins.^ 

Renaissance et Réforme / 47 

Because of its attritional nature, elenchus has often been criticized as a 
purely negative tactic; nonetheless, the ultimate purpose of elenchus is 
usually constructive. Robinson explains how this operates for Socrates: 

Of two ignorant persons ... the one who knows that he is ignorant is better off 
than the one who supposes that he knows; and that is because the one has, and 
the other has not, a drive within him that may lead to real knowledge. The 
elenchus changes ignorant men from the state of falsely supposing that they 
know to the state of recognizing that they do not know; and this is an important 
step along the road to knowledge, because the recognition that we do not know 
at once arouses the desire to know, and thus supplies the motive that was 
lacking before. Philosophy begins in wonder, and the assertion here made is 
that elenchus suppHes the wonder.^ 

Socrates, then, used the elenchus to produce a catharsis of humility, a 
purgation of false knowledge, and a desire for true knowledge. Such a 
process, which simultaneously demolishes old opinions and their method- 
ologies, and stimulates the wonder that drives philosophical inquiry, must 
have been immeasurably attractive to Bacon. It is clearly an ideal weapon 
in the battle against the Idols, in that it works explicitly against inherent 
contradictions in fallacious opinion. Indeed, Bacon's commitment to el- 
enctic tactics is everywhere apparent, and he discusses his use and advo- 
cacy of elenchus on numerous occasions: 

I begin the inquiry nearer the source than men have done heretofore, sub- 
mitting to examination those things which the common logic takes on trust 
("The Plan of the Work", The Great Instauration, 250) 

The "common logic" is used too often to bolster up the opinions of those 
who suppose they know. Bacon insists that the old must be cleared away to 
make room for the new: 

And therefore that art of Logic coming (as I said) too late to the rescue, and no 
way able to set matters right again, has had the effect of fixing errors rather 
than disclosing the truth. There remains but one course for the recovery of a 
healthy and sound condition; namely, that the entire work of the understanding 
be commenced afresh, and the mind itself be from the very outset not left to 
take its own course, but guided at every step, and the business to be done as if 
by machinery. (Preface, Novum Organum, 256) 

To commence afresh, it would seem, requires a sweeping change: 

The entrance into the kingdom of man, founded on the sciences, being not 
much other than the entrance into the kingdom of heaven, whereunto none 
may enter except as a little child. (Novum Organum, 274) 

48 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Bacon's program of preparatory negative guidance involves both elenctic 
means and dialectical end. His most complete acknowledgement of elen- 
chus comes in the section oïThe Advancement of Learning that deals with 
the Art of Judgment After he has questioned the value of syllogistic, he 
notes that Judgment may be divided into two parts, the first of which he 
calls "the way of direction," including analytic logic and exposition. The 
second part, "the way of caution," is elenchus; it will be useftil to quote 
Bacon's account at length: 

The second method of doctrine was introduced for expedite use and assur- 
ance sake; discovering the more subtile forms of sophisms and illaqueations 
with their redargutions, which is that which is iennedelenches. For although in 
the more gross sorts of fallacies it happeneth (as Seneca maketh the compar- 
ison well) as in juggling feats, which, though we know not how they are done, 
yet we know well it is not as it seemeth to be; yet the more subtile sort of them 
doth not only put a man beside his answer, but doth many times abuse his 

This partconcemingelenches is excellently handled by Aristotle in precept, 
but more excellently handled by Plato in example; not only in the persons of 
the Sophists, but even in Socrates himself, who, professing to affirm nothing, 
but to infirm that which was affirmed by another, hath exactly expressed all the 
forms of objection, fallace, and redargution. And although we have said that 
the use of this doctrine is for redargution, yet it is manifest the degenerate and 
corrupt use is for caption and contradiction, which passeth for a great faculty, 
and no doubt is of very great advantage .... 

But yet further, this doctrine of clenches hath a more ample latitude and 
extent than is perceived; namely, unto divers parts of knowledge; whereof 
some are laboured and others omitted. For first, I conceive (though it may 
seem at first somewhat strange) that that part which is variably referred, 
sometimes to logic, sometimes to metaphysic, touching the common adjuncts 
of essences, is but an clenche. For the great sophism of all sophisms being 
equivocation or ambiguity of words or phrase, specially of such words as are 
most general and intervene in every inquiry, it seemeth to me that the true and 
fruitful use (leaving vain subtilties and speculations) of the inquiry of majority, 
minority, priority, posteriority, identity, diversity, possibility, act, totality, 
parts, existence, privation, and the like, are but wise cautions against ambigu- 
ities of speech. So again the distribution of things into certain tribes, which we 
call categories or predicaments, are but cautions against the confusion of 
definitions and divisions. {Advancement, 117-118) 

Elenchus may be carried out with little or no apparent connection with a 
parallel positive movement; even Socrates has been misunderstood to 
imply that knowledge is not actually attainable. Bacon is clearly concerned 
that his readers should not similarly mistake his intention when he uses 
elenchus to expose ambiguous and confused language. He is careful to 
point out that the suspension of judgment he encourages in his readers and 
followers is not Acatalepsia, "a denial of the capacity of the mind to 
comprehend Truth," but Eucatalepsia, a "provision for understanding 

Renaissance et Réforme / 49 

truly" by means of induction {Novum Organum, 299). 

Bacon's dialectic moves through the antithetical reduction of elenchus 
toward a positive synthesis. He is confident that the purgation of Idols will 
result in the recognition of the superiority of induction, and in significant 
advances in learning and in the conditions of daily existence. There can be 
no doubt that he beheved in the ameliorative power of his philosophy. He 
projects a happy conclusion after the elimination of the Idols, celebrating 
the new age which will follow the comus marking the integration of man 
and universe: 

All that can be done is to . . . lay it down once for all as a fixed and established 
maxim that the intellect is not qualified to judge except by means of induction, 
and induction in its legitimate form. This doctrine then of the expurgation of 
the intellect to qualify it for dealing with the truth is comprised in three 
refutations: the refutations of the Philosophies; the refutation of the Demon- 
strations; and the refutation of the Natural Human Reason. The explanation of 
which things, and of the true relation between the nature of things and the 
nature of the mind, is as the strewing and decoration of the bridal chamber of 
the Mind and the Universe, the Divine Goodness assisting; out of which 
marriage let us hope (and this be the prayer of the bridal song) that there may 
spring helps to man, and a line and race of inventions that may in some degree 
subdue and overcome the necessities of humanity. ("Plan of the Work," The 
Great Instauration, 25 1 ) 

Bacon's grand scheme is laid out in all its breathtaking optimism. It is 
surely of the utmost significance that Bacon assigns such an important 
place to the three refutations, here emphatically linked to the preparations 
for the visionary marriage of mind and universe. 

« * He 

T\iQ Essayes or Counsels combine all three modes of literary presentation, 
but they are ftmdamentally dialectical, and particularly elenctic. That is, 
they involve all three of the reftitations, and operate upon the reader very 
much like aphorisms, which (Bacon explains) represent "a knowledge 
broken," that invite "men to inquire further." Bacon contrasts this with 
logical systems, which "carrying the show of a total, do secure men, as if 
they were at ftirthest" {Advancement, 125). 

Stanley Fish points out that aphorisms, for Bacon, are "seeds" as words 
are for Plato: "Their function is heuristic rather than expressive or mimetic 
and part of an effort to bring men 'to the highest degree of happiness 
possible' by putting them in direct touch with reality."^ Fish goes on to 
argue that Bacon's dialectic is severely limited because it only prepares 
man for truth about, not above, the phenomenal world (p. 153). He 
concludes that the limitations implicit in Bacon's insistence upon fine 
distinctions as a path to empirical verification must be judged in the light of 

50 / Renaissance and Reformation 

other philosophers and poets, for whom the empirical is merely something 
to be transcended. 

The error here is that Fish attempts to judge the success of Bacon's 
efforts by a standard that Bacon himself strove to render irrelevant. The 
higher truth for which Fish correctly notes that Plato, Augustine, and 
Donne all sought, is available only to those who subscribe to a traditional 
vision of cosmic order and unity. Bacon, on the other hand, after he has 
nodded toward the First Cause, turns toward the fragmented phenomenal 
world that he suspects is to be found after the concept of the cosmos 
originating in desire for order, not observation, has been shown to be an 
Idol, has been exposed and purged. Bacon's dialectic is designed for this 
purpose: "The human understanding is of its own nature prone to suppose 
the existence of more order in the world than it finds .... The human 
understanding is no dry light, but receives an infusion from the will and 
affections; whence proceed sciences which may be called 'sciences as one 
would.' For what a man had rather be true he more readily believes" 
{Novum Organum, 265, 267). 

It is Fish's contention that the effect ofBacon' s Essays on the reader is 
largely superficial, because it does not effect the kind of mystical transcen- 
dance Fish (on his own hobbyhorse, or, to use the apposite terminology, 
with his perceptions coloured by his own Idols of the Cave) is accustomed 
to discover: 

His words may be, as he terms them, seeds, Hving not so much in their 
reference as in their effects, but they will flower in other words rather than in a 
vision, and in words which do have the referential adequacy that is presently 
inavailable. For all their provisionality the Essays are finally objects; 
they . . . remain valuable as source material for future consultation, for they 
reflect quite accurately the partial (not irrelevant) understanding of the mind 
that fashioned them and of the minds that read them. (p. 154) 

Bacon's "vision" necessarily differs from the other models Fish presents 
in Self-Consuming Artifacts, all of which involve a dialectic based on 
medieval cosmology. Bacon is not content to act as a spokesman for 
received attitudes, as Fish implies when he states that the Essays reflect 
the minds of both author and reader. To be sure, they do contain some 
immediately valuable insights — I have already noted that the modes are 
mixed, and the presence of the Dialectic by no means precludes the 
Expository mode. Bacon's objective is not to produce the final word, but to 
establish a "way." He repeatedly insists that although induction has 
provided true and certain results in certain areas, he has no universal 
theory to propose. 

Despite such disclaimers, Bacon has at least an inkling of a universal 
theory that he expects the practitioner of induction will discover. Requisite 

Renaissance et Réforme / 5 1 

to the dialectic I have endeavoured to outline here is the conviction that 
with the application of the proper method, the necessary intellectual 
discipline, the respondent can make a similar discovery. That Bacon had 
such a faith in his philosophical tools is abundantly clear: 

I am now therefore to speak touching Hope, especially as I am not a dealer in 
promises, and wish neither to force nor ensnare men's judgments, but to lead 
them by the hand with their good will. And though the strongest means of 
inspiring hope will be to bring men to particulars . . . nevertheless that every- 
thing may be done with gentleness, I will proceed with my plan of preparing 
men's minds, of which preparation to give hope is no unimportant part. For 
without it the rest tends rather to make men sad (by giving them a worse and a 
meaner opinion of things as they are than they now have, and making them 
more fully to feel and know the unhappiness of their own condition) than to 
induce any alacrity or to whet their industry in making trial. {Novum Or- 
ganum, 287) 

With this background, we can see why attempts to extract a coherent 
program of sententious content from Bacon's Essays are generally 
doomed to failure. Bacon tends to talk around the nominal subjects, and, 
rather than coming to grips with abstract definitions, he surveys a variety of 
human attitudes toward the subject These he discusses from behind a 
mask of objectivity, but he often ironically undercuts the received notions 
he ostensibly wants to describe. As refutations, the Essays are designed to 
approach the problem of ambiguity and confusion of definition and divi- 
sion, not by replacing earlier versions, but by applying the way of caution 
to "sciences as one would" to make way for the advancement of learning. 
Fish, therefore, is completely off" the mark when he maintains that "the 
essays advocate nothing (except perhaps a certain openness and alertness 
of mind); they are descriptive, and description is ethically neutral, al- 
though, if it is accurate, it may contribute to the development of a true, that 
is, responsible, ethics" (p. 94). This evaluation is more than a little blimted. 
While the Essays may advocate very little directly, they are certainly not 
merely descriptive. Bacon simply does not describe the most readily 
discernible phenomena. The very selectivity of description is heavily 
weighted to produce varying degrees of elenctic response in the reader. 
Fish provides an important piece of evidence — although he does not follow 
the impHcation through — in Bacon's cancelled dedication to the 1612 
edition: "My hope is that they may be as graynes of salte, that will rather 
give you an appetite, than offend you with satiety" (p. 78). 

« « ♦ 

A close reading of seweral Essays , beginning with the essay "Of Truth" 
(736), will demonstrate the negative operation of this elenctic stage of 
Bacon's educational dialetic. 

52 / Renaissance and Reformation 

" What is Truthi said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer." 
It is ironic that, of all times in Christian history, the incident with which this 
essay (ostensibly concerned with establishing the nature of truth) begins, 
was the most opportune moment for a man to receive a divine answer to the 
question. However, Pilate only jests as he puts the question; from the very 
outset it is man's equivocal attitude toward truth — not truth itself— that is 
the object of scrutiny. Bacon insinuates, rather obliquely, that even when 
the means of achieving an understanding of truth are at hand, man seems to 
be constitutionally predisposed to turn away from it. This turning away is 
stylistically emphasized by the violent conflict in syntactic emphasis the 
first sentence makes by opening with such a strong interrogative move- 
ment, only to abandon it immediately. Man imposes his desire on the 
picture he allows himself to see, and Bacon attributes this to "a natural and 
corrupt love of the lie itself." Pilate's jest is itself a repudiation of the 
ordered universe accessible through understanding of truth. He is so 
complacent in his vision that he mocks truth incarnate — yet how could he 
be expected to recognize truth when he saw it? 

Bacon continues, observing that the world holds truth in poor esteem. It 
is a "naked and open daylight," perhaps a trifle banal or vulgar, coming 
only to "the price of a pearl." On the other hand. Bacon compliments the 
lie elaborately — it can be seen "daintily by candlelights" and is likened to a 
many-faceted diamond or carbuncle. But the implicit opposition here is 
between the naturally valuable and the artificially valuable, the pearl of 
great price and the meretricious attraction of the stone of "varied 

"A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure." This is indeed a very curious 
statement, delivered as it is in almost a "deadpan" tone. The full effect, 
however, is incremental, and can only be understood properly as part of the 
continuing affective pattern of the entire essay. It depends on the ironic 
inversion of what is truly valuable. Bacon has just commented on the 
common confusion of values; thus it should be clear that although a lie may 
bring pleasure, pleasure is a questionable goal in and of itself. The apparent 
benefits of falsehood are obliquely and subtly undercut, but not too subtly 
for the reader to catch. 

The next sentence ironically suggests the function of the essay itself: 
"Doth any man doubt that if there were taken out of men's minds vain 
opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, 
and the like, but it would leave the minds of a number of men poor shrunken 
things?" Bacon does not intend that this should be taken to apply to the 
mental faculties of mankind in general; the purgation he describes here is 
precisely what he wishes to effect in the cases of all who are blocked by 
Idols. Indeed, the list of things to be removed reads like a stock definition of 
Idols. Unfortunately, there remains in man the proclivity to puff himself up 

Renaissance et Réforme / 53 

with the flattering He "that sinketh and settleth in," and that can be counter- 
acted only by inquiry, knowledge, and the frank acceptance of truth in clear 
demonstrations. Bacon follows this declaration with an appeal to the 
authority of Scripture to provide himself with a mandate for his empirical, 
inductive method: just as God first created matter and then light, so for man 
reason must follow sense, judgment must follow perception. 

Bacon next lauds the great material benefits of possessing truth, cau- 
tiously tempering the advantage of the position by advocating charity. 
Then, with what might seem to be a prodigious leap (ornon-sequitur), he is 
suddenly weighing the pragmatic benefits of honesty on the business 
world, and just as suddenly he introduces the argument of the fear of God 
as inducement to truth-telling. The essay ends with a resonant millenarian 

What exactly has been said? Bacon has certainly not approached the 
nature of "truth" itself. Rather, while maintaining the mask of discussing 
truth, he endeavours to establish in the reader's consciousness the diffi- 
culty — or impossibility — of the task. The reader is caught up in the tension 
between the promise of the nominal subject and the commentary Bacon 
actually delivers. A study of truth that concerns itself primarily with lying 
should touch a sensitive area in the reader, implying as it does that man is 
often most familiar with truth obliquely, in his acquaintance with its 

Behind Bacon's discussion of the human tendency to embrace falsehood 

lies the Doctrine of Idols. The essay "Of Truth," then, is designed to 

undermine self-complacency, and to bring about careful scrutiny of the 

issues at hand by applying "wise cautions against ambiguities of speech." 

There is no explicit positive ethical reference within the discussion, except 

the moral tag at the end. Still, once the elenctic effect has come about, the 

respondent (or reader) should turn to a new way of looking for truth, a new 

way of seeing the world. 

« « * 

The essay "Of Death" (737) again concerns a variety of attitudes toward 
the titular subject The essay opens with a simple analogy: fear of death is 
like a child's fear of the dark, and Bacon demonstrates the similarity of the 
growth of fear in both instances. With the second sentence, the essay 
divides neatly in half— Bacon draws a distinction between religious con- 
templation of death and the weak (albeit natural) fear of death. The latter 
element is drawn out in a vivid passage, which purports to allay the fear of 
death by "reasoning" that the pain of accidental injury may be harder to 
endure than many ways of dying. Bacon "argues" that it is the "outward 
shows" of death, rather than death itself, which engender fear. None- 
theless, it is only through these outward shows that man can know anything 

54 / Renaissance and Reformation 

about death before experiencing it first hand. Bacon notes that other 
passions — love, honour, grief, fear, pity, even fastidiousness— can out- 
weigh the fear of death. 

There follows a series of loci classici, essentially ways in which people 
have turned death to suit their own purposes. The sentences that come after 
this return to the "rational" arguments ostensibly designed to reconcile 
man to death: death is as natural as birth; both birth and death may be 
painful; the distraction provided by the contemplation of "somewhat that 
is good" may diminish pain. 

Bacon's final argument is an appeal to the traditional solace of making a 
good end: "But above all, believe it, the sweetest canticle is nunc dimittis; 
when a man hath obtained worthy ends." In isolation, this sentence seems 
straightforward enough: well-dying is a fitting and welcome completion of 
well-Hving. But the way in which Bacon's style conditions this meaning is 
significant. While the rest of the essay is devoted to suggestions and 
assertions concerned with reconciling the reader to death's disadvantages 
in a general, abstract, coolly rational manner, the interjection, "beHeve it," 
is sudden, personal, and has the effect of isolating the concluding sentence 
as a matter of faith or speculation, as opposed to reason. This effect works 
backwards into the ostensibly consolatory parts of the essay, implying that 
the self-consciously careful structures of reason are not genuine. They are 
certainly not convincing, and the reader is left with the feeling that, after all, 
reason is incapable of mastering the fear of death, and that only faith can 

Finally, however, even the gravity of this observation is undercut by the 

closing comment that death is the gateway to fame and posterity. The faith 

that supersedes fear and other passions has itself been supplanted by the 

passionate ambition to survive in posterity. Reason, which has been given 

the upper hand in most of the essay, is ultimately debunked. The reader's 

complacent faith in the competence of received wisdom and traditional 

logic to reason away fear of death has been undermined to the point of 


« ♦ « 

The essay "Of Studies" (797) opens with a neat treble structure, which 
leads the reader to expect a regular and pervasive pattern. Such patterns 
are favourite devices of Renaissance authors, and, indeed, the 1597 ver- 
sion of this essay consists in a string of observations, all neatly divided in 
three. In the later versions, however, despite the highly stylized form that 
initially invites attention, there is no discernible pattern, no systematic 
ordering of ascent or descent. Furthermore, the triplicity of form is highly 

Renaissance et Réforme / 55 





chief use: 

and retiring 


judgment, disposi- 
tion of business 

excess, abuse: 


(crafty men 
condemn it 

(simple men 
admire it) 

eccentric judgment 
(wise men use 

why read? 

not to conftite 

not to take 

not to find talk 

but to weigh and consider 

books are to be: 



chewed and 

or read: 




reading makes 
a whole man 

a ready man 

writing an 
exact man 

It is already clear that this last triplet does not conform to the headings or 
divisions used previously; the next triplet introduces a peculiar negative 
inversion: without reading, a man must be cunning to seem to know what he 
does not/ without conference, a man must have wit to seem to know what he 
does not/without writing, a man must have memory to seem to know what 
he does not 

The treble pattern, already confusing, is then deliberately broken by the 
introduction of a fourth term in the next stage: History makes men wise, 
poets witty / Mathematics makes wise men subtle / Natural Philosophy 
makes men deep, moral, and grave / Rhetoric and Logic make men able to 

The effect of this stylistic disjunction is mildly disconcerting, especially 
if the reader has attempted to follow the pattern of division initially set out. 
The problem of connecting pattern and significance is further complicated 
by Bacon's use of an elaborate metaphor at the close of the essay. Just as 
"studies go to form character," so do they have a therapeutic value. Bacon 
draws a parallel with the therapeutic effects of various physical exercises: 
"Bowling is good for the stone and reins; shooting for the lungs and breast; 
gentle walking for the stomach; riding for the head; and the like." Each one 
of these appHcations is really an appropriation of use from the thing itself. 
Bowling, for instance, is primarily a game, and the effects Bacon describes 
are surely accidental and secondary, nothing to do with bowling qua 
bowling. By logical extension back into the essay, the careful reader will 
note thai every thing Bacon discusses is Ukewise an appropriation of sec- 


56 / Renaissance and Reformation 

ondary effect, in isolation from the true nature of studies. After all, though 
Bacon never touches upon this point, studies involve primarily a search for 
truth. They are only secondarily a useful discipline for improvement of 

The essay "Of Studies" makes use of its own complex form — highly 
artificial, with a structure implying significance but deliberately empty and 
misleading — to undercut stock assumptions about the social utility of 
learning. The whole effect is ironically, even viciously, underscored by the 
extension of the therapeutic analogy: 

So if a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics, for in demon- 
strations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again. If his wit 
be not apt to distinguish or find differences, let him study the schoolmen, for 
they are cymini sectores . If he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call up one 
thing and prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyer's cases. So 
every defect of the mind may have special receipt 

Bacon's readers may well find the light mockery of plodding mathema- 
ticians, hair-splitting schoolmen, ingenious lawyers, and their students 
somewhat amusing. Less welcome, perhaps, is the way in which Bacon 
implicitly turns the mockery against the readers themselves: Bacon's essay 
is itself a form of Study, and its readers are (to a certain extent) students. To 
what defect of the mind does Bacon address this receipt? 

* « « 

Thus it can be seen that a close reading oïXhQEssays forces us back to the 
question of whether Bacon is concerned with engendering Acatalepsia or 
Eucatalepsia in his reader. Despite the frequent appearance of individual 
bursts of clear didactic statement— eminently quotable apothegms — 
found throughout his prose, ihQ Essays do not hold together as systematic- 
ally didactic or expository means of tradition, whether we consider the 
collection as a whole or each essay separately. 

Too often this has been attributed to the history of stylistic influence, or 
to Bacon's intention to project a tone of muted skepticism or worldly 
wisdom. Accordingly, there has been too little effort to reconcile the 
essayist with the systematic philosopher. Did a different Bacon write with 
the left hand than with the right? Everywhere outside ihc Essays, Bacon is 
firmly committed to outlining or developing clear, verifiable systems. 
Surely the omission of this characteristic quality in ihe Essays ought to be 
sufficient in itself to place students of Bacon's method on their guard. 

Further exercises in close reading will corroborate what I have un- 
dertaken to demonstrate here. The strategy oïiht Essays is founded on the 
Doctrine of the Three Refutations. If the intellect is truly not qualified to 
judge except by means of induction, what are people to do with the vast 

Renaissance et Réforme / 57 

accumulation of mere prejudices, folk-tales, received opinions, "sciences 
as one would," and traditional logical demonstrations — all of which they 
have accepted as legitimate judgments? Bacon wishes to begin anew, to 
initiate a real progress. Elenchus serves to reduce "the great sophism of all 
sophisms," ambiguity, equivocation, and confusion of important terms. 
His dialectic begins when he launches the negative, elenctic movement of 
refutation, and directs his readers along the way of caution. 

The Pennsylvania State University 


1 Preface, The Wisdom of the Ancients, in The Philosophical Works of Francis Bacon, reprinted 
from the translations and texts of Ellis and Spedding, ed. John Mackinnon Robertson (London and 
New York, 1905), p. 823. Further references to this edition will be noted parenthetically in the 

2 See Paolo Rossi's account of Bacon's changing attitude toward the Parabolic mode, in Francis 
Bacon: From Magic to Science, tr. Sacha Rabinovich (London, 1968), especially Chapter III, 
"The Classical Fable." 

3 See Walter J. Ong,/?am«5,A/ef/io<i, and the Decay of Dialogue {C2imhnd%Q,M2iSS., 1958),p.42ef 
passim; cf Lisa M. Jardine, Francis Bacon: Discovery and the Art of Discourse (Cambridge, 

1974), p. 20. 

4 Dialectique {1555), as quoted by Rossi, p. 63. 

5 Jardine, p. 35. 

6 Jardine, p. 83. 

7 "Elenchus," in The Philosophy of Socrates, ed. Gregory Vlastos (New York, 1971), pp. 78, 

8 Ibid., pp. 83-4. 

9 Stanley Fish, Self Consuming Artifacts (Berkeley, 1972), p. 88. Further references will be noted 
parenthetically in the text. My reading of Bacon owes something to Fish, in that the seeds of some of 
my arguments are present in his observations. We see much the same evidence, but draw very 
different conclusions. 

Book Reviews/ Comptes Rendus 

Coburn Freer. The Poetics of Jacobean Drama. Baltimore and London: Johns 
Hopkins University Press, 1981. Pp. xix, 256. $22.50 

Schooling her son, Volumnia claims "Action is eloquence, and the eyes of th' 
ignorant / More learned then the eares." Coburn Freer would teach a very 
different lesson about Jacobean dramatic verse because it "bears a unique 
relation to the other elements of dramatic meaning" and "finally takes on the 
force of metaphor itself (p. xii). Identifying that "metaphoric" capacity would 
be much easier, if also more mechanical, if one could construct "a prosody 
relating verse patterns to the dramatic contexts in which they occur," but Freer 
rejects that project because "interpretation of the dramatic context of any given 
line would depend upon one's reading of the whole play, just as interpretation of 
the rhythm of a single line would depend upon hearing the rhythms present in 
similar lines, some of which will have the misfortune to occur in very different 
dramatic contexts" (p. xvi). Freer thus dismisses one version of the hermeneutic 
circle — the mutual interplay and inter-correction of part and whole in the 
progressive construal of a text (or dramatic performance)— but other versions 
will return. 

Chapter one, "Poetry in the Mode of Action," reviews previous studies (few 
and unsatisfactory), defines ''poetry in the drama" (p. 7: "the ten-syllable five- 
stress line in all its variations"), and discusses how dramatic verse differs 
from narrative or lyric verse (p. 24: "a dramatic speech . . . lives among many 
speeches"). Several important features of Freer's argument appear: his interest 
in dramatic character and the way narrative demands threaten coherence (p. 
17); poetry as a universal glue (p. 19: "There do seem to be many Jacobean 
plays that hang together chiefly in their verse"); poetry as the universal solvent 
(p. 26: "plot, the pattern of repetition of event as reflected in the current of the 
verse," for example, or "poetry as a function of physical movement"). 

Freer next takes up some central questions: can dramatic poetry validly be 
separated from other elements in a performance? Was it so separated in the 
Renaissance? What is the relation between the reader's experience of a printed 
text and the spectator's experience of a performed one? Misjudging the humor of 
Joseph Hall's attack on bad meter, an attack that deliberately mismatches its 
own meters. Freer maintains what he confesses "might seem to the modern 
reader a highly implausible fiction"— "that an audience could distinguish 

Renaissance et Réforme / 59 

among different metrical feet, while hearing lines from the stage for the very first 
time" (p. 36). This incredible claim sinks toward probability when we learn that 
a theatre audience could distinguish verse from prose (p. 41 , a capacity happily 
still extant), and, later, when the "attentive playgoer" is granted the ability to 
hear "the verse as rhythmic, metered speech, not simply as a subspecies of formal 
rhetoric, or as a vehicle for theme and plot, or as a local diversion" (p. 48). On 
these large issues, Freer adduces three categories of evidence: dramatic dis- 
cussion of dramatic speech; prefaces and puffs for printed texts; contemporary, 
ear- witness testimony. Hamlet's advice to the Players— "Speak the speech 
trippingly on the tongue" rather than mouthing it like the town-crier— leads to this 
generalization: "concern for the accurate transmission of the meter makes 
sense only if dramatic poetry is assumed to have an existence apart from 
performance" (p. 50). And when Hamlet tells Rosencrantz and Guildenstern 
(not the Players, as Freer states), "the lady shall speak her mind freely, or the 
blank verse shall halt for't," Freer believes "we know that the audience Hamlet 
imagines would be able to hear the lady's meter and tell when it was lame. If she 
is to "speak her mind," presumably her language will convey some agitation or 
disturbance; and that agitation must be very different from the agitation of 
halting and lame meters" (p. 34). Perhaps, but this "lady" is not Gertrude, only 
one of a stock collection of dramatic characters (king, adventurous knight, 
lover, humorous man, clown), and Dr. Johnson's note seems just: "The lady 
shall have no obstruction, unless from the lameness of the verse." Hamlet is 
here more literary critic than a student of actors and audiences. 

Many authorial prefaces and friendly blurb writers testify that "dramatic 
poetry" has "an existence apart from performance." The very circumstances 
make it inevitable that an author or his friends will defend, even exaggerate, the 
joys awaiting the buyer. One can, therefore, invert Freer' s argument and find it 
fairly remarkable that authors ever mention the performed play (as Chapman 
and Webster among others did) while trying to send the reader not to the theatre 
but to the study or St. Paul's, lighter by six pence or so. All this changed after the 
Restoration, according to Freer, when dramatists subordinated language to 
other qualities in a play and the reading of plays became more common. When 
John Dennis writes in 1702, "Tis not the Lines, 'tis the Plot makes the Play. / 
The Soul of every Poem's the design, / And words but serve to make that move 
and shine" (p. 52), he seems to reverse the equation Freer believes John Ford 
makes in a prefatory poem of 1632, "The Body of the Plot is drawn so faire, / 
That the Soûles language quickens, with fresh ayre, / This well-limb'dPoëm." 
(p. 39). Earlier evidence upsets the claim for an historical change. Marston's 
preface to The Malcontent (Q3, 1604) praises playing over reading and, like 
Dennis, makes action the soul: he entreats that "the vnhandsome shape which 
this trifle in reading presents, may be pardoned, for the pleasure it once afforded 
you, when it was presented with the soule of lively action." We may detect some 
privy marks of irony, but the tenor is undeniable. From the 1 647 Beaumont and 
Fletcher folio, Freer quotes James Shirley's remarkable lines on how readers 
find themselves "at last grown insensibly the very same person you read" (pp. 
59-60), but Freer does not quote Shirley's preceding paragraph. There we 
find— obliquely and politicly made— the standard concession: "And now 

60 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Reader in this Tragicall Age where the Theater hath been so much out-acted, 
congratulate thy owne happinesse, that in this silence of the Stage, thou hast a 
liberty to reade these inimitable Playes." For himself, for other dramatists, and 
for us, Shirley wishes the silenced stage were at liberty to perform plays, rather 
than the reader free to read them. 

Freer gleans a thin crop of contemporary, non-professional comment on 
dramatic poetry. Certainly audiences took away memorable scraps and re- 
peated them, and satirists claimed that would-be wits, poetasters, and feeble 
playwrights actually took their tables to the theatre. Yet Manningham at 
Twelfth Night or Forman at The Winter's Tale found plot and spectacle 
memorable, not the poetry. Indeed, E. A. J. Honigmann has recently suggested 
thatBen Jonson's contemptuous attitude toward Shakespeare changed marked- 
ly when he had the chance to read (about 1623, as he prepared his Folio 
tributes), rather than merely to see and hear, many of Shakespeare's plays (see 
Shakespeare's Impact on his Contemporaries [1982], pp. 36-37). Honig- 
mann' s speculation supports some of Freer' s argument (dramatic poetry is 
separable from performance), but it works against other parts (the contention 
that an audience— here Jonson— grasped powerful, refined, complex poetry at 
first hearing). This second chapter, then, is better at uncovering difficulties with 
the argument than solving them (and I have omitted Freer' s thoughtful con- 
sideration of several other points: the auditory base of Elizabethan education, 
for example, and the nature of actors' elocution). 

The bulk of the book studies, chapter by chapter. The Revenger's Tragedy, 
Cymbeline, Webster's two tragedies, and The Broken Heart, and Freer con- 
siders much more than the verse alone. These five plays have been chosen 
because of the varying ways their verse displays "congruence with dramatic 
situation and characterization" (p. 201): very close in The Revenger's Tragedy 
and The Broken Heart; very distant in Cymbeline; intermittent in Webster's 
plays, depending on whether he was copying his notebooks or writing for 
himself. Careful as many readings are, they often fall into a curious circularity. 
For example: "These two levels of style, the metaphors and the verse, are both 
aspects of the chief organizing agent, Vindice's mind" (p. 79) could logically be 
reversed: "Vindice's mind is chiefly organized and represented as mind through 
two levels of style, the metaphors and the verse." Elsewhere in the treatment of 
Vindice (e.g., pp. 70-71), one might object that the formal, prosodie elements 
are simply what they are and that the critic derives his interpretation of Vindice 
from other sources and then regards the verse's formal properties as supporting 
or conveying that meaning. Bosola and Flamineo are Freer's chief subjects 
when he turns to Webster: "Each is endowed with a different kind of reality, and 
this is emphasized by the different kinds of verse they are given" (p. 137), but 
"emphasized" saps the primacy verse had for the interpretation of Vindice. 
Observing of Posthumus that he "seems continually to break off, qualify, or 
chop at what he has just said," Freer acknowledges, "someone who is distraught 
does not automatically speak blank verse with a great many pauses; the verse 
might just as well tumble out in long gushes" (p. 1 1 6), as indeed do the speeches 
of distraught characters in Shakespeare's earlier plays. If distress can take two 
such prosodically different forms, then the verse itself does not clearly dis- 
tinguish among emotions. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 6 1 

The hermeneutic circle has come round again: one's interpretation of a 
character or a play does not usually (or perhaps ever) originate with the verse's 
formal properties; rather, those formal properties — if they are rigorously 
defined — may be seen to support and to create in an audience the predisposition 
to accept an interpretation arrived at by other means. Yet Freer does claim an 
originating power for the verse; for example, Fletcher's "control of an entire act 
originates in the choice of individual words" (p. 59). Although "control" is a 
murky word, the lines from Herrick's prefatory poem entered as evidence will 
not do: "Here's words with lines, and lines with Scenes consent, / To raise an 
Act to full astonishment." "Consent" sounds like the "perfect Harmony" 
Webster claimed among "Action," "decency [i.e., docorum?] of Language," 
and "Ingenious structure of the Scaene" {The Devil's Law-Case), and while 
"raise" may be a building image, metaphorically suiting Freer's claim, it also 
has "astonishment" as its object. More argument is needed before we may 
consent that "in verse drama as in other forms of life, ontogeny repeats 
phylogeny" (p. 59). 

Perhaps inevitably. Freer devotes his fullest attention to the problems 
knotted around the word character. When we read that "something goes out of 
Vindice as a poet after he has killed the Duke" (p. 62, italics original), we may 
recall, for example, Peter Ure's objections to the interpretation of Richard II 
as a poet (Arden edition [rpt. 1966], pp. Ixix and Ixxi). Like Shakespeare, 
Tourneur uses whatever media he commands, including "poetry," to achieve 
the ends he requires; creating Vindice and his mind's imagined variety are 
among those ends, but creating a Vindice characterized as a poet is not. Else- 
where, Freer wonders "how can Webster fragment a character's consciousness 
enough to justify feeding into his speeches all manner of tidbits from the author's 
voracious reading, yet still make the character seem real enough to be a 
plausible factor in the play's action?" (p. 136). But why should the "tidbits" 
ipso facto disrupt a character's coherence unless (perhaps not even then) we 
postulate an audience as well acquainted with Webster's reading as R. W. 
Dent? One answer is that Freer very much prefers "verse" that grows "out of an 
immediate situation instead of the author's library" (p. 164; cf. p. 160). A 
further reason might be that formal properties of " imported" text, whether verse 
or prose, cannot so easily be attributed to this character in this situation, 
although any reader-spectator who believes some human experience to be 
universal would not be dismayed to find that The Arcadia or Florio's Montaigne 
could help define life and death in an imaginary Amalfi as well as in London or 
southern France. 

Webster's characters are irregularly "deep," depending upon their engage- 
ment and their creator's resort to his library; Ford's are almost all subject to a 
"controlled thinness of characterization" (p. 188). While most of the cast of 
The Broken Heart are thin characters allowed only to "become more intense 
without having changed fundamentally" (p. 173), Bassanes and Penthea are 
different, and their relation "generates" the play's "most interesting poetry" (p. 
184). Freer's treatment of Bassanes' verse is an admirable tour de force and 
almost always convincing, although his very first speech, called "an extra- 
ordinary poetry" (p. 185), surely derives from Jonson's Corvino, a figure far 

62 / Renaissance and Reformation 

more conventional than Freer elsewhere shows Bassanes to be. Coherence, 
sincerity,plausibility, "depth" of character, and speech that arises from situation 
are the criteria Freer usually employs to match prosodie features with character 
and action, but he includes Cymbeline to show "how far it was possible to go in 
exploiting the gap between a character's poetry and that character's self- 
awareness, or between this gap and our own sense of the relations between the 
characters" (p. 209). lachimo introduces a different model of character, and 
Freer's bravura reading of lachimo's long concluding speeches finds him "the 
play's chief poetic ventriloquist" (p. 135), a character, as Richard Lanham 
would argue, without a " central self." Posthumus and Imogen develop, lachimo 
does not, and his character as well as a certain amount of "archaism" and "an 
older rhetoric viewed through a refracting prism" (p. 126) frame and distance 
the play's action. 

My review has not considered any examples of what the author might well 
claim as his major contribution, the patient and usually sensitive record of how 
the verse sounds and how it might affect us in each of these plays. Critics, 
teachers, and students of these plays will learn much from these analyses, but 
the careful study they deserve and reward cannot be undertaken in a review. 
Nor have Freer's many fine interpretations been fully noticed: the view that 
" Vindice is obsessed by his own experience of the court" (p. 64), for instance, or 
that Posthumus's "own consciousness of his failings and his distinct sense of 
being Imogen's inferior are attitudes he must shake, and by suspecting her of 
being unfaithful, that whole great weight can be canceled, that sense of perpetual 
obligation removed" (p. 11 3), or that "In the beginning Flamineo seems more a 
character of prose comedy than a verse-speaking tragic principal. Up to the trial 
scene he is close to being merely a stand-up comedian" (p. 1 38). Instead, I have 
sought to trace the argument's contours, and I find it to be a prosody of dramatic 
character, with all the difficulties that argument entails. 

A. R. BRAUNMULLER, University of California, Los Angeles 

Approaches to Sir Thomas Browne: The Ann Arbor Tercentenary Lectures 
and Essays. Edited by C.A. Patrides. Columbia & London: The University of 
Missouri Press, 1982, Pp. 187. 

Modern Scholarship on Sir Thomas Browne has tended to follow one of two 
traditions. The first seeks to establish Browne's credibility as a thinker, to 
remove any suspicion that he was not a serious and purposeful scientist. Its 
contributions include the great edition of Browne's works published by Sir 
Geoffrey Keynes (6 vols., London, 1928-31), which made available a critical 
text of his writings and correspondence; the essays of E. S. Merton, which 
evaluated Browne's experiments in plant reproduction, embryology, and diges 
tion; the monographs of R. R. Cawley and George Yost(Studies in Sir Thomas, 
Browne [Eugene, Oregon, 1965] ), which underscored Browne's wide range ol 
learning and his debt to Aristotle; and more recently, the edition ofPseudodoxi 
Epidemica or "Vulgar Errors" published by Robin Robbins (2 vols., Oxford 



Renaissance et Réforme / 63 

1981), which recreated the historic context of Browne's most ambitious work 
and defined the role Browne played in the scientific world of the late Renaissance. 
From these and other studies, we have come to understand better the purpose of 
Browne's investigations in such diverse fields as astronomy, mathematics, 
botany, zoology, physiology, mineralogy, chemistry, and of course, medicine. 
Browne, we now realize, was not a Baconian empiricist, much less a systematic 
philosopher, but a debunker of myth and a recorder of scientific discovery, an 
educator determined to clear away the residuum of fantastic learning though not 
able to resist the attraction that certain of its elements had for him. 

The second and more familiar tradition of Browne scholarship focuses on 
Browne the writer, the author of Religio Medici, Hydriotaphia. Ùrne-Burial, 
The Garden of Cyrus, and miscellaneous works of literary interest. This 
tradition, which includes Johnson and Cowper in the eighteenth century, 
Coleridge, Hazlitt, Lamb, Melville, and Pater in the nineteenth century, and 
Morris Croll, E. R. Curtius, and Jorge Luis Borges among others in our own, 
celebrates Browne as a craftsman and metaphysical wit. It views Browne's 
worth as lying not only in his style, one of the most original and brilliant in the 
language, but in his imagination, his half-whimsical, half-inspired genius for 
drawing connections between disparate phenomena. In the words of Coleridge, 
we "wonder at and admire his entireness in every subject which is before him — 
he is totus in illo\ he follows it; he never wanders from it, — and he has no 
occasion to wander; — for whatever happens to be his subject, he metamor- 
phoses all nature into it." 

This volume, which consists of fifteen lectures and essays commemorating 
the three hundredth anniversary of Browne's death in 1682, falls squarely 
within the second tradition. Its contributors are for the most part literary 
scholars and historians, with interests in politics, art, and religious culture. This 
is not to suggest that there is anything monotonous about the collection. The 
editor, C. A. Patrides, Professor of English Literature at the University of 
Michigan, has wisely refrained from imposing either theme or method on his 
colleagues, so that a variety of perspectives emerges. As in his earlier critical 
anthologies on Milton and Marvell, Patrides has arranged the essays "accord- 
ing to an order that coincidentally advances from general studies to particular 

Of the "general studies," two are especially worth noting, that by Patrides 
himself and that by Professor Frank Warnke of the University of Georgia. 
Patrides's essay focuses on what he calls Browne's "strategy of indirection," his 
use of irony and paradox to dramatize the complexity of truth. Patrides shows 
that like Erasmus, Browne distances himself from his "narrator." The result is a 
gravity "at once intensified and tempered by a playfulness assertive of a sym- 
pathetic response to the oddities of human behavior" (p. 47). For example, in a 
posthumous piece entitled Mw^ewm Clausam, or Bibliotheca Abscondita, a 
Rabelaisian catalogue of books, pictures, and rarities whose origins and where- 
abouts are dubious, Browne satirizes the mania for recondite objects that in his 
time was preoccupying many of the learned of Europe at the expense of true 
scientific research. A similar strategy is apparent in Hydriotaphia, which 
exposes the vanity and absurdity of man's quest for physical permanence even 

64 / Renaissance and Reformation 

as it discourses with vast erudition of the various burial customs of men 
throughout the ages. In these and other works, Browne balances the solemn and 
the joyful, the tragic and the comic in such a way as to contrast human folly with 
divine wisdom. 

Frank Warnke's essay is a critique of Stanley Fish's now-famous reading of 
Browne in Self-Consuming Artifacts ( 1 972). Warnke rejects Fish's verdict that 
Browne must ultimately be deemed a "bad physician" because he does not 
challenge our assumptions or confront our values like Donne or Bacon or 
Milton. Warnke acknowledges that Browne dwells on the surface level of our 
consciousness, spellbinding us with the pyrotechnics of his verbal art. But this, 
according to Warnke, is not the evil that Fish makes it out to be. What Browne is 
concerned with is the immortality of the soul and its relation to the deity, the 
paradoxical and mysterious world of being. This he accomplishes, explains 
Warnke, by means of an indirect method that "liberates us into the aesthetic" 
(p. 59). For Browne, it is not the matter of the sentence that counts, but the 
manner or experience of the sentence. Attention is focused not on the meaning 
communicated, but on a stylistic virtuosity that convulses and thrills the imagi- 
nation, shocking the mind out of common ratiocinative modes of thinking and 
awakening in it a sense of wonder at the extremes of human experience. Like the 
architectural feats of Bernini or the paintings of El Greco, Browne's prose 
stupefies its audience, dazzles them with a power they can only interpret as 
divine. Is such art good for us, Warnke asks? The answer, he submits, is yes, if 
we can move beyond the puritanical attitudes that continue to encumber our 
appreciation of literature and especially the baroque. 

The essays in the volume treating of particular problems and individual works 
within the Browne canon are without exception stimulating, and what is unfor- 
tunately too rare in literary criticism today, readable. It is impossible to discuss 
all of them here, but a few might be mentioned in passing. Murray Roston 
presents the thesis that Browne's style was not, as Croll and others have argued, 
expressive of the searching, tortuous mentality of the baroque movement, with 
its doubts concerning the possibility of knowledge, but rather emblematic of a 
more resolved sensibility, of the "achieved equilibrium of spirit" associated 
with classical art and with rationalistic writers like Dryden. D. W. Jefferson 
also notes Browne's "philosophical repose," explaining it, however, not as an 
individual phenomenon but as part of the larger social movement that found 
relief from the turmoil of the English civil war in the cultivation of the intellect 
and in the development of professional interests. Raymond Waddington and 
Michael Wilding adopt a different view of Browne. Writing on the Religio 
Medici, they see him as a more politically charged writer, mounting a subtle but 
deliberate defence of Anglican principles and institutions against Puritan 
"innovation." John R. Knott, Jr., and Frank L. Huntley both write on The 
Garden of Cyrus, the former considering Browne's fascination with the figure of 
the labyrinth as suggestive of an admiration for the divine creation and of a self- 
conscious recognition of man's capacity for error, the latter illumining an aspect 
of Browne that has hitherto gone undetected (or at any rate unexplored)— his 
prophetic and millenarian anticipation of the end of history and the establish- 
ment of the kingdom of heaven. These critics have opened up what has 

Renaissance et Réforme / 65 

proved to be Browne's most hermetic work, casting new light on Browne's use of 
symbol, allegory, hieroglyph, typology, and numerology. The last essay to be 
noted is that of Marie Boas Hall, who brings a wealth of historical knowledge to 
bear on Browne's connections with the scientific community of the seventeenth 
century. Professor Hall's essay adds immeasurably to the value of the volume, 
as it clarifies the nature of Browne's approach to scientific problems. Hall shows 
how, although Browne was a careful recorder of observed fact, he never lost his 
humanist love of authority and of books; how, although his studies brought him 
into close contact with the College of Physicians and the Royal Society, he 
remained apart from the new science of the century, which tended to divorce its 
aims from those of religion. It was for these reasons that he was indifferent to or 
unable to grasp the significance of certain scientific breakthroughs, such as 
Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood or Copernicus' s model of the 
solar system (he remained an adherent of the Ptolemaic astronomy throughout 
his career). According to Hall, Browne is best described as a "naturalist," an 
historian of natural and cultural facts, passing his informed judgment on all that 
came within his ken, but doing little to further theoretical understanding. 

Given the richness of the essays here collected, it will seem a little unreason- 
able to complain of omissions, but two areas might have been addressed with 
profit. First, Browne's philology. Though not of the rank of a Scaliger or a 
Bentley, Browne was a respectable grammarian and scholar. In addition to his 
mastery of classical and modem European languages, he was a forerunner of 
comparative linguistics, as his fragment "Of Languages, and particularly of the 
Saxon Tongue," and certain passages of the Pseudodoxia attest. He was 
especially intrigued by the origin of language, noting the effects of natural, 
technological, and historical events on its development. An inquiry into the 
extent of his research in this area would contribute greatly to an understanding 
of his humanism, as well as provide us with insights into the sources of his 

The other area is biography. No effort has been made to provide any new 
perspective on Browne himeself Although it is widely agreed that a large 
measure of the interest Browne's writings have for us derives from his per- 
sonality ("a fine mixture of the humourist, genius, and pedant," as Coleridge 
put it), little attention has been paid to Browne the man. One regrets the absence 
of a biographical essay reflecting the historic scholarship of this century. Much 
could be said of Browne's humanist education at Montpellier, Padua, and 
Leiden; of his friendships with Henry Power, John Evelyn, Nicolas Bacon, 
William Dugdale, and other distinguished scholars; and of his credulity, which 
had, at least on one occasion (the 1 664 witchcraft trial of Amy Duny and Rose 
Cullender), most unfortunate consequences. 

Aside from these caveats, however. Approaches to Sir Thomas Browne is a 
balanced and judicious volume. Certainly in terms of addressing the critical 
issues and concerns of contemporary literary scholarship on Browne it is un- 
paralleled. Professor Patrides and his colleagues have done a splendid job in 
putting before us a classic of English literature, and in showing us new ways to 
appreciate his achievement. 

PAUL E. FORTE, University of Massachusetts at Boston 

66 / Renaissance and Reformation 

John E. Booty, editor. Richard Hooker, ''Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical 
Polity'': Attack and Response. The Folger Library Edition of The Works of 
Richard Hooker, volume IV. W. Speed Hill, general editor. Cambridge, Mass., 
and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1 982, Pp. li, 274. 

Earlier volumes in the Folger Library edition of the works of Richard Hooker 
have provided us a solid critical edition of The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, 
including a discussion of the extraordinary textual problems and opportunities 
that are afforded us by Book V when we compare the carefully printed and 
proofread edition of 1 597 with the printer's manuscript in Hooker's own hand. 
This present volume offers us material no less unusual and challenging, though 
of a different sort. It provides a contemporary commentary on the Laws in the 
form of a polemical attack and Hooker's preparations for a rejoinder to that 
attack. As the editor, John Booty, remarks, rarely do we find autograph notes of 
this sort in the controversial literature of the sixteenth century, and rarely is such 
controversy based on a central document of such magnitude. 

Much of the present volume is taken up with^ Christian Letter of Certaine 
English Protestants (1599), written against Hooker by an individual clergyman 
or a group of Calvinist, anti-Arminian, reform-minded Anglican clerics moved 
by the necessity of refuting Hooker's purported errors in basic Christian 
doctrine. Interspersed in the text of ^ Christian Letter itself are Hooker's 
marginal observations, written in preparation for a more formal answer that was 
cut off by Hooker's death in November of 1 600. The letter and its marginalia are 
followed in this volume by Hooker's autograph notes toward a fragment on 
predestination (Trinity College, Dublin, MS 364, f. 80), and three longer 
sections in draft form also from Dublin (MS 121) on grace and free will, the 
sacraments, and predestination. Together these materials make up the only 
recorded refutation of Hooker's Law5, and the basis upon which he intended to 
reply. William Covel did publish in 1603, evidently with the authority and 
encouragement of Bishop Whitgift, A Just and Temperate Defence of the Five 
Books of Ecclesiastical Policie {STC 5881), though without access to Hooker's 
notes and fragments and relying heavily on Hooker's own words in the first five 
books of the Laws then in print. The materials in this present volume go far 
beyond Covel, for they provide the outline of Hooker's own answer to his 

What troubles these critics especially are Hooker's non-Calvinist views on 
grace and predestination and his seeming tolerance of Catholic doctrine. To the 
author or authors of^ Christian Letter, the two points are of course connected, 
for Hooker's insistence that in God's plan "all mankind should be saved, that 
did live answerable to that degree of grace which he had offered, or afforded 
them" (xxvi) suggests to Hooker's critics the Pelagian heresy of assuming that 
human will is itself capable of good. Hooker's doctrine thereby (in the reformers' 
view) encourages a Catholic emphasis on works. Hooker is of course no 
Pelagian, for he accepts the doctrine of original sin (as does the Catholic 
Church), but his allowance for some operation of human acceptance or non- 

Renaissance et Réforme / 67 

acceptance goes too far for the Calvinist or Calvinists who undertake to refute 

These reforming divines are not extremists. John Booty ably shows the 
nonconformist nature of their positions, and tentatively identifies one of them as 
Andrew Willet, a loyal Anglican who was Calvinist in theology, anti-Roman 
Catholic, a protester against the Act of Uniformity, and a questioner of the 
soundness of Hooker's doctrines. The author or authors, whether or not Willet 
was one of them, base their attacks against Hooker on the Thirty-Nine Articles, 
together with relevant passages of Scripture and the Fathers of the early 
Church. They admire the style and simplicity of the early Fathers and of 
Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Jewel, and others, as opposed to the ornate formality 
of Hooker's style and his reliance on Schoolmen such as Aquinas. Their 
greatest fear is that Hooker's erroneous doctrines signal a malaise in the very 
heart of the establishment upon which the spiritual health of the Protestant 
world must depend. 

Although we lack Hooker's polished response, the gist of his intended reply is 
fully apparent in his notes. In fact, they are so frank that they reveal to us a 
Hooker that the published version might have obscured. We see Hooker here as 
one openly contemptuous of Calvinist zealots who are never content with the 
authority of the Church Fathers until "they find out somewhat in Calvin to 
justify them selves" (3). Hooker is determined to maintain a compassionate and 
dignified tone no matter how much "this fellow" (1, 47) may goad him into 
anger. He bridles at "pettie quarrels" and at being asked to attend to "every 
particular mans humor" (xxix). "Ignorant asse!" he exclaims. "It is not I that 
scatter but you that gather more then ever was let fall" (22,24). "What bedlam 
would ask such a question?" (30). "You ly, sir" (41). "How this asse runneth 
kicking up his heeles as if a summerfly had stung him" (42). The pungent wit and 
asperity of Hooker's replies are prompted no doubt by the suggestion that he, 
"under the shewe of inveighing against Puritanes," broaches many "chiefest 
pointes of popish blasphemie" (7). One suspects that some of Hooker's satirical 
tone would have found its way into his published reply, since a reply of this sort 
is by its nature more directly controversial than the Laws, but we are still given 
insights by these marginal notes that are refreshingly candid. 

As Booty observes, Hooker's "Notes toward a Fragment" are contained on 
one leaf of MS 264, Trinity College, Dublin, previously identified by P. G. 
Stan wood as Hooker's and transcribed in Volume III of the Folger Library 
edition. Their importance here is to show an intermediate process between the 
marginal notes to A Christian Letter and the drafts in the so-called Dublin 
Fragments. We have, in other words. Hooker's working notes at various stages 
of development and expansion. The Dublin Fragments are the closest we have 
to a completed answer, and in them the tone is more restrained. The longest of 
the three essays, on predestination, may actually have been drafted earlier, 
between 1595 and 1600, in response to Walter Travers (a leader of the 
disciplinary Puritans) rather than to A Christian Letter, though it serves its 
purpose here, redrafted for the present occasion, and is indeed the culmination 
of what Booty justly calls "the most detailed and sustained exposition of grace 

68 / Renaissance and Reformation 

and predestination in Hooker's works" (xxxvii). Together, the Fragments 
outline an important treatise on free will, grace, and predestination, the most 
vexed topics raised by A Christian Letter. This material is an expansion and 
clarification of Hooker's earlier work rather than a new departure, but it repre- 
sents the cause to which Hooker fervently devoted his last energies. He clears 
himself especially of the charges of urging too great a freedom of the will, and of 
teaching the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. He shows a rever- 
ence for Calvin along with a profound distrust of Calvin's followers who, like 
many Roman Catholics, make of their church an institution that professes to be 
above human error. 

Hooker's marginal notes, at times very difficult to read, are here scrupulously 
transcribed with the help of two seventeenth-century transcriptions, themselves 
not always reliable. The sole sixteenth-century quarto of ^4 Christian Letter 
itself poses no special textual difficulties. The copy text for the Dublin Frag- 
ments is evidently a seventeenth- century transcription. Variants between copy 
text and adopted reading throughout this volume are nonsubstantive, such as the 
correcting of obvious misprints or changing Italian font to roman. An appendix 
records all such departures from copy text. A learned and thorough commentary 
deals chiefly with Church authorities and clarification of doctrinal points. The 
editor is sympathetic toward Hooker but without scholarly bias. The volume is 
handsomely and generously illustrated with sample pages, chiefly showing 
Hooker's careful writing in the margins and his alteration of words as he 
proceeded. This is an attractively prepared volume, and a fitting commentary on 
those that have gone before. 

DAVID BEVINGTON, University of Chicago 

Collected Works of Erasmus, Volume 6, The Correspondence of Erasmus: 
Letters 842 to 992 (1518 to 1519). Translated by R.A.B. Mynors and D.F.S. 
Thomson, annotated by Peter G. Bietenholz. Toronto, Buffalo, London: Uni- 
versity of Toronto Press, 1982. Pp. xxii, 448. $75.00. 

The glory of this volume is the quality of the translation, for which the Preface 
assigns specific responsibility to R. A.B. Mynors. Only a few of these letters have 
been translated into English previously, some by Francis M. Nichols {The 
Epistles of Erasmus, 3 [New York: Longmans, 1918]), by Marcus A. Haworth, 
S. J., ( in Erasmus and his Age: Selected Letters ofDesiderius Erasmus, ed. Hans 
J. Hillerbrand [New York: Harper and Row, 1970]) and by Barbara Flowers 
(appended to the English edition of Huizinga's Erasmus of Rotterdam [New 
York: Phaidon, 1 952]). These earlier versions involve intelligent scholarship and 
writing. However, in comparison with them Professor Mynors' work clearly 
stands out as that of an exceptionally gifted English stylist, whose talent for 
English fluently transmits Erasmus' for Latin. 

Mynors continually produces a vivacious English that corresponds to the 
stylistic regions through which these letters mainly range. Many sentences come 
fast, with syntax that (only) seems unstudied. Over four and a half centuries later, 
the reader feels the impulse of that ' ' running hand which I use to keep pace with the 

Renaissance et Réforme / 69 

flow of my ideas" (letter 990: 65). The translator shares with his author a taste for 
breadth, raciness and vividness of diction, and Mynors reaches for drama and 
concreteness when he can. "Eloquentia, quam divus Augustinus non vult usquam 
ab hera sua [i.e. sapientia) digredi" is for Nichols ''that eloquence" which is 
''never to be parted from" Mistress Wisdom (p. 435); for Haworth, a maid who 
"never wants to be separated from her mistress" (p. 1 3 1 ); for Mynors, a handmaid 
whom Augustine "wishes never to leave her mistress' side" (862: 49). Mynors 
exploits more than the other two the phrase's physical, imagistic possibilities, 
including those in digredior's etymology. (The Latin, of course, is that of P.S. 
AWen' s Opus Epis to larum, 3, [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913]; letter numbers in 
Allen and the volume under review correspond.) An even smaller variation: "hie 
meus labor . . . molitur mendas sacrorum voluminum" — my labor "corrects the 
mistakes" in Scripture for Nichols (p. 43 1 ), "removes the errors" for Haworth (p. 
129) — becomes "this labor of mine . . . removes blemishes from" Scripture in 
Mynors (860: 55). Again, physical presence in the translations arises, in echt 
Erasmian fashion, from comprehension of all a word's meanings: "menda" is a 
blunder in writing for Aulus Gellius but a defect of body for Ovid (see Lewis and 
Short). Small choices like these, much more than renderings of developed 
metaphors, make Erasmus' normal epistolary text in Mynors' English what it is in 
Latin: a lively, peopled scene. 

Mynors responds not only to Erasmus' most characteristic note but to his and 
his correspondents' full stylistic range (see e.g. 850, 914). Most worth quoting, 
Mynors can rise with Erasmus to eloquence, for instance in characterizing St. 

He maintained the rights of the kingdom of heaven with heavenly weapons and fought 
the battles of the Gospel with the resources which the Gospel supplies. Tentmaker and 
pontiff, offscouring of the world and chosen instrument of Christ, who picked this 
sublime humility, this tongue-tied eloquence ... to spread the glory of his name. . . . 

The intelligence, and the power of figured balances in the passage not only carry 
over the strong Latin frame Erasmus had constructed: 

Coeleste regnum coelestibus armis asservit, et Evangelicam militiam Evangelicis 
opibus gessit. Coriarius pontifex, peripsema mundi, sed electum organum Christi. . . . 

Mynors' practice summarizes much of what English gained, from the sixteenth 
century on, from its writers' sharing in Latin classical tradition. 

Almost the only slightly troubling feature of the edition related to the translation 
is the absence of systematic notice of uses of Greek in the letters. Even for the non- 
specialist audience whom the Toronto edition should reach, the sense of the texts' 
participation in a non-modem world of learning, their pastness and absence from 
us, needs to be suggested as well as their potential immediacy. It should quickly be 
said that many other aspects of the edition do help with this historical task, and the 
Greek is a tricky problem: regular indications in the letter introductions or foot- 
notes might help, for letters containing substantial Greek passages. (Sometimes 
especially sensitive passages appear in Greek, e.g. 911: 58ff., 872: 13ff.; some- 
times the footnotes indicate these. Would it be worthwhile for the editors to 

70 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Central among the activities that these letters portray is the clear sequence of 
tasks related to the promulgation of the Gospel. The bulk of actual revision of the 
1516 New Testament text had been finished when this volume opens. The next 
step, equally important for the Humanist orator- in-print, was insuring that the text 
reached its audience in the clearest and most potent form possible. Hence the work 
of the summer of 1518, the trip up the Rhine to supervise the work of Froben's 
press whose types were "the clearest and most elegant and agreeable that one can 
image" (925: 20). Hence also the pursuit through several letters of a papal brief, 
whichshouldunderminethenewwork'spossibleopponents(860, 864, 865,905). 
Back in Louvain, while he waits through the winter for publication, and while he 
consider an appendix on such use of Greek for a future volume of the corres- 

In other respects besides the translation, this volume is adapted to the range of 
purposes and audiences the Toronto editors have set for themselves. The very few 
emendations of Allen's datings of letters and identifications of correspondents are 
sensible. In the notes. Professor Bietenholz does a good job of boiling down 
available data to what most readers need to know, but also supplements what 
could be gained from Allen with revised citations and cross-references and 
selected references to recent secondary works. He is especially strong on the 
historical articulation of controversies that increasingly enmeshed Erasmus in 

The volume could be better served by its index. Careful use of the text (not a 
specific check of the index) yielded about a dozen cases in which the index missed 
page references or gave wrong ones. The volume's two really important references 
to St. Cyprian (pp. 385-386, 396) are not indexed under the saint's name, but only 
in the listings of Erasmus' works. One wonders why Erasmus' servant Hovius 
goes by the name Thomas under the index entry for Maarten Lips, while every- 
where else in the volume he is Johannes. About another dozen misprints similarly 
emerged in and immediately around the text itself. For instance, the date of Ulrich 
of Wùrttemberg's conquest of Reutlingen given in a note on p. 263 clearly should 
be 1 5 1 9, not 1 5 1 8; a cross-reference in the introduction for letter 926, concerning 
Erasmus' stay in Mechelen, should be to letter 952, not 951. 

The scholarship of Professors Mynors and Bietenholz has in this volume been 
engaged on letters that document continuity and a culmination in Erasmus' 
intellectual life, but also an early stage in the second great clearly-defined 
modification of its course. About twenty years earlier, Erasmus had definitely set 
out on his intellectual and spiritual way of choice, that of ethical and rhetorical 
Humanism oriented by Christ's philosophy, the Gospel. The work of publishing 
his revised edition of the New Testament controlled Erasmus for the first half of 
the period this volume reflects. He regarded the edition as his career's triumph: 
with Froben completing the printing, Erasmus could say "I have . . . built a 
monument to bear witness to posterity that I existed" (867: 293). Fulfillment was 
qualified in 1519, however, by some vicissitudes of fairly familiar kinds, but 
increasingly by the more and more distinctive impact of Luther. Change generated 
by Luther and his associates began to invade Erasmus' life, unlike the earlier 
change that had been chosen, and Erasmus began clearly to figure in his ultimate 
rôle as maker and subject of a complex period. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 7 1 

undergoes illness and is jolted by new traditionalist attacks, nevertheless Erasmus 
moves on to sequels and postscripts of the climactic New Testament publication: 
more paraphrases to simplify access to Scripture for many (916, 952, 956); 
further editorial work on the Fathers, guides to Scripture's meaning whom 
Erasmus has used and now will introduce to a wider public (844, 860, 9 1 6, 975). 
Perseverance with Christian Humanism's essential positive program, in spite of 
distractions and controversy, is Erasmus' basic course over these months— one he 
repeatedly advises younger scholars also to pursue (941, 967 A). 

Other important publications of these months were also revised editions, of the 
Institutio principis christiani and the Enchiridion, strengthening one's impression 
of this as a time of culmination and completion (853, 858). On the other hand, 
Erasmus for the first time tries to grapple with publication of his colloquies (909). 
Besides prefacing or alluding to publications, the letters also embody other kinds 
of Humanistic activity, notably interaction with fellow scholars. Erasmus fulfills a 
growing responsibility to encourage a whole movement finding inspiration in him, 
particularly, as Professor Bietenholz points out, to German Humanists, who 
receive over a third of the letters ( see p. xvii). Erasmus' prestige by this time is such 
that men travel across Germany simply to see him. He deprecates these pil- 
grimages in the same terms as he did those to religious shrines: he tells the young 
men from Erfurt that they could see more of him in his writings than in his physical 
presence, just as in Paraclesis (1516) he had told Christians to meet Christ in 
Scripture instead of going to touch His relics {LB VI, *4^). 

Although a climax for Erasmianism in some ways, however, 1518-1519 
brought no resolution of conflicts between it and the older intellectual and religious 
forms; instead, battle on long-fought lines intensified. A surprisingly major worry 
was criticism from Edward Lee. Erasmus' major letter to the intermediary Lips 
( 843 ) suggests little in the content of this disagreement that did not go back through 
the 1514-1515 exchange with Dorp (see CWE 3) — indeed the issues were 
essentially still the ones addressed in Erasmus' 1 505 letter to Christopher Fisher 
defending Valla ( letter 1 82, in C WE 2). The difference with Lee drags on through 
these months' letters and beyond. Early in 1 5 1 9, basically more serious problems 
arise, a series of attacks by Louvain theologians directly or indirectly threatening 
the Collegium Trilingue, with which Erasmus was identified. The rather sudden 
upsurge of menaces could seem to make Erasmus' whole achievement insecure: 
repeatedly in early 1519 he portrays the good new studies as jeopardized (930, 

A letter of 1518 expresses a rather non-specific, floating sense that "a great 
change in human affairs is under way, and there must be danger in it" (855: 78). 
Luther's work, which was to affect powerfully Erasmus' affairs as well as 
Europe's, first becomes a frequent topic in this volume's letters. The complexity of 
Erasmus' attitude towards Luther becomes evident quickly. In the first place, 
Erasmus expressed support especially for Luther's early writing on indulgences, 
and still make favorable comments on Luther's ideas even as the latter' s conflict 
with Rome developed greater impHcations (858, 872, 939, 947, 980). In May 
1519 Erasmus expressed sympathy with "Luther's idea of liberty" (983: 1 1); as 
Professor Oberman has pointed out, Humanists found common ground with 
Lutherans in the idea of freedom from medieval ecclesiasticism, whereas the will's 

72 / Renaissance and Reformation 

bondage was later to appear clearly as the Lutheran certainty that Erasmus could 
not accept {Luther and the Dawn of the Modern Era, ed. Heiko Oberman, 
Leiden: Brill, 1974, pp. 46ff.). 

In the 1518-1519 letters, that intellectual opposition had not explicitly 
developed; however, Erasmus (and Luther) already knew there was difference as 
well as some sympathy and overlap between their positions (for Luther, cf. Allen, 
introduction to letter 933). Specifically, Erasmus knew Luther's basis was not 
"the ancient tongues and good writing and humane culture" (939: 57, 948: 96). 
Luther notices that he is a stranger to the correspondences' sphere of stylistic 
exactness and classical learning, as he comes into it for the first time in a letter of 
March 1519 (933). Furthermore, Erasmus is highly critical not only of Luther's 
intemperate, obscurantist opponents (939, 980, 983) but also of Luther's own 
combativeness, because of its potential for disruption of Christendom (872, 947, 
980, 983). 

Beyond the sympathy and separateness Erasmus feels towards aspects of 
Luther's thought and strategy, however, one more factor enters into his complete 
response: namely, the commitment and fears for Christian Humanism that we 
have seen him expressing in the rest of his letters. The old interpretation of 
Erasmus' qualified response to Luther as merely timid (cf. e.g. Huizinga, p. 131) 
missed the fact that he was defending something he deeply cared for, and which he 
knew was not Luther's deep concern — also the fact that Erasmus' reform was 
potentially, like Luther's, a radical and comprehensive new theology (cf. Charles 
Trinkaus, "Erasmus, Augustine and the Nominalists," ARG 67 [1976], pp. 
5032). Erasmus repeatedly expresses the fear not just that Luther will disrupt 
Christendom but that he will provide more opposition to all kinds of reform and 
thus make Erasmianworkmoredifficult(936, 948, 967, 980)— as in fact began to 
happen soon after this volume's close. From Erasmus' point of view, Lutheranism 
was shaping up as another problem like Reuchlinism: thought about which he had 
reservations (like Reuchlin's interest in the Cabbala), tactics he deplored, a 
hazard to the large program he himself was pursuing with determination and 
sophistication (967). The volume ends before it had become clear that the 
Lutheran problem, while it would remain theoretically aligned towards Erasmus 
in the way outlined, would grow to have a much larger impact. We know that for 
Erasmus an unending difficulty is beginning. 

The large categories of Erasmus' concern in these letters, with Christian 
Humanism and its intellectual and rehgious surroundings, have become the 
categories of sixteenth-century intellectual history. An attraction of collected 
letters, as Erasmus pointed out, is that in them concerns that have "gone public" 
are set back into their original (and, for Humanists, most genuine) context, the 
ethos of an individual (Allen, letter 1206, translated in Hillerbrand, Haworth, pp. 
1-3). Undoubtedly the most entertaining letter in Volume Six is 867, in which the 
Humanistic career goes forward through a mass of irrelevant, lively personal 
experiences on the road from Basel back to Louvain. The character that may be 
abstracted from the letters in general is first of all a determined and an extremely 
energetic one. The achievements and controversies described earlier were efforts 
made through a "black" year of illness (887). Erasmus' pace of work was not only 
rapid, but unremitting: a correspondent corroborates our impression of "the 
indefatigable energy with which you work" (932: 14). 

Renaissance et Réforme / 73 

Part of this energy could be otherwise analyzed as unease, and nervousness and 
sensitivity certainly emerge here. Very little else emerges, indeed, in the long, 
tedious correspondence with Budé: in substance, these letters consist almost 
entirely of accusations about what you said about what I said about what you said. 
Erasmus is working out left-over severe anxiety about his disagreement with 
Lefevre {seeClVE 5). Untoward anxiety is also aroused by Edward Lee, after all 
a very junior figure in relation to Erasmus. 

Along with these symptoms of distortive nervous energy, however, there are 
convincing images in these letters of a much more friendly nature. The letters keep 
in touch with old friends, and recall happy personal scenes from years before 
(868). Of course they respond favorably to praise; they also respond warmly. 
Erasmus is not only gratified, but touched by the enthusiasm of Christoph 
Eschenfelder, customs officer on the Rhine, who when he discovers he is meeting 
Erasmus drags him home to be seen by wife, children and neighbors, and bribes the 
boatmen with wine to make them tolerate the delay (867: 50ff.). Erasmus writes a 
friendly letter back to him a few weeks after the encounter, teUing a good story 
about the remarkable effects of Eschenfelder' s wine on the boatman's wife 

The volume portrays not an untroubled but an ulfimately positive personality. 
Through Erasmus' choices and in the midst of his other vicissitudes, Christian 
Humanism develops to an important point and begins to undergo one of its greatest 
stresses. Professors Mynors and Bietenholz transmit this material to us as 
classical e/ocwr/o directs, clearly, aptly and elegantly. They are excellent students 
and Humanistic imitators of Erasmus, and encourage us to imitate them. 

JOHN F. McDIARMID, Behrend College, Pennsylvania State University 

George M. Logan. The Meaning of More' s "Utopia." Princeton: Princeton 
University Press, 1983. Pp. xv, 296. $27.50. 

In this boldly titled book, George Logan has set out to solve two of the most vexing 
problems in Morean scholarship. What were More's intentions in writing Utopial 
And what kind of work is it? Despite a plethora of studies in the many relevant 
disciplines, More's Utopia has proven so resistant to even the most brilliant and 
rigorous analyses to which it has been subjected that there is no agreement on a 
solution for these (and other) problems. Professor Logan begins by telling us what 
the Utopia is not. It is neither a. Jeu d'esprit nor a mirror of normative political 
ideas, he claims. Nor is it to be viewed as satire, whether directed at England and/ 
or Europe or at itself, and, more particularly, its second book and its narrator, 
Raphael Hythlodaeus. Logan is especially adamant in attacking the latter notion. 
He takes issue, then, with the many literary critics (who are otherwise too diverse 
in the critical principles they follow to be called a school in any formal sense) 
who — aware of the incongruities, real and apparent, in the presentation and 
substance of Utopia — have come to see the work, in part or whole, as undermining 
the radical idealism that the Utopia, read at face value, seems to espouse. If this 
view is followed to its logical conclusion, indeed, the Utopia becomes an anti- 

74 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Utopia. But how then can we interpret the cry for justice that animates the text? 
For this and other reasons, Logan argues that we cannot understand Utopia 
without understanding its context, by which he means Western poHtical theory. 
And he ahgns himself with the ''humanistic" school of interpreters, that is, those 
who are in some sense historical in their orientation. The most important such 
interpreters, for his purposes, are J. H. Hexter, Edward Surtz, S. J., and Quentin 
Skinner. But their assumptions and specific interpretations are often more diverse, 
and more at odds with one another, than Logan altogether acknowledges. Both the 
achievements and the limitations of his own study, then, partially depend upon the 
degree to which he successfully modifies and integrates such different perspec- 
tives with a more explicitly literary analysis of a text that he reads as a piece of 
political theory. For Logan, in short, the Utopia is "a serious work of political 
philosophy" (p. ix) that takes the strict form of a best-commonwealth exercise and 
"deserves a place among the most advanced and creative political writings of its 
era" (p. x). 

Logan rightly insists upon reading "consecutively" (p. x) in developing his case, 
and he treats the three parts of Utopia in the order in which More arranged them. 
Chapter One is devoted to the too-frequently ignored prefatory letter to Peter 
Giles, viewed as an introduction to the whole work. Logan points to puzzlements 
with respect to chronology, etc., and sketches some of the many questions the text 
raises about its matter, order, style, and purpose. He also acknowledges the 
peculiar mode of the work, noting how the latter both calls attention to itself as 
fiction and mocks itself, an observation that could have been pursued, since it 
raises questions about the idea of Utopia as political philosophy that are not 
wholly worked out. But Logan's major concern, a crucial one, is to clarify Utopia's 
original audience. This is characterized as humanists, that is, "sophisticated 
literary scholars" (p. 23) who shared More's ideas and concerns. It follows, for 
Logan, that Utopia cannot be a speculum principis, for it would be absurd to 
imagine More offering "a disguised rehash of humanist prescriptions" (p. 26) to 
such an audience. The point is valid so far as it goes, but Logan's sense of audience 
seems to me too narrow. Most of More's fellow humanists were administrators as 
well as literary scholars: Peter Giles was secretary of Antwerp and the title-page 
of the Utopia identifies More as a citizen and sheriff of London. Additionally, 
More wrote to Erasmus in September, 1516, asking him to obtain letters of 
support from well-placed statesmen as well as intellectuals. It seems, then, that the 
Utopia was intended for persons with first-hand experience with problems of 
governance in an autocratic and power-hungry period. This is a point with far- 
reaching implications; for Logan, the Utopia is an abstract and rigorous intel- 
lectual construct, rationally following its own premises independent of the con- 
temporaneous situation, whereas I think More expected readers who would bring 
a strong sense of political and social actualities to a work which impresses, in part, 
by its feignings and concreteness. 

Logan's second chapter juxtaposes sections treating portions of the dialogue in 
Book I with sections where political theories are described at length. The con- 
nections between foreground and background are not always obvious, especially 
when the proof offered is more speculative than textual. But Logan's sense of 

Renaissance et Réforme / 75 

More's "systemic" or liolistic view of society and his concern with the methods 
More used are salutory. Arguing that More anticipated modern model theory, he 
turns to Renaissance theorists in Northern Italy and to classical political thinkers 
to explain More' s preoccupation. He divides the former into two groups, the pre- 
humanists, who stressed the need for the virtuous citizen, and the scholastics, who 
stressed the good institution and the machinery of government, and he maintains 
that Hythlodaeus has affinities with the latter. I am not convinced by this apparent 
parallel, since it is not clear that public interest meant the same thing to both 
parties and since the particular system that Hythlodaeus describes seems quite 
opposite to the political model assumed in Italy, where class structure remained 
and factions were controlled, not eliminated. In any case, Logan admits that there 
is no real evidence for More' s famiharity with these Italian theorists. He does, 
however, argue for the influence of Greek and Roman political theorists, whom he 
divides into two groups: one, rhetorical, Roman, and Stoic, he portrays as in- 
fluencing the early humanists; the other philosophical, Platonic, and Aristotelian, 
as influencing the scholastics. Asking the crucial question — what is the best form 
of the polis — this second tradition led to the city-state preoccupations of the 
Italian humanists. By contrast, the Northern humanists remained true to a Stoic 
and normative point of view. But such distinctions, it appears, are broken down in 
the course of Utopia. For Logan argues that More is trying "to fuse humanist and 
scholastic political theory" and to grapple with the classical works behind them ( p. 
94). The conclusion he draws is twofold. On the one hand, he remarks that More is 
less original than he is usually viewed. On the other, he grants that More signi- 
ficantly deviates from this classical pattern of political analysis. Unlike the 
Greeks, in other words. More is interested in testing the experiment and in the use 
of imaginative models. And he is preoccupied with the question of what is 
expedient and what is moral. These differences seem to me even more radical than 
they do to Logan. In fact, I think that one of the most important contributions this 
chapter makes is its repeated recognition of More' s vital concern with the relation- 
ship between honestas and utilitas. 

When he comes to Book II oï Utopia, Logan abandons his consecutive reading, 
choosing instead to define and discuss the constituents of the best-commonwealth 
exercise that, he believes. More is both replicating and criticizing in his Utopian 
republic. Logan identifies four steps in this exercise, which finds its prototypes in 
Herodotus, Plato's Republic andLaw^, and Aristotle's Politics, and has "at its 
core the conception of the polis as a system of reciprocally- affecting parts" (p. 
132). Step 1 is the determination of the best life for the individual; step 2, the 
overall goal of the commonwealth; step 3, the elaboration of the component parts; 
and step 4, the forms these must take (p. 136). We could recognize this pattern 
immediately, Logan maintains, were it not for the form More adopted. By sub- 
stituting a model for Greek dialectics and by presenting that model "as a fictional 
travelogue" (p. 139) More has doubly suppressed or disguised his dialectical 
substructure and reorganized his topics "for the rather different order ( or disorder) 
of the traveler's tale" (p. 1 40). Logan subsequently recreates the "cornerstone" or 
step 1 of More's model, namely Utopia's moral philosophy. This philosophy of 
virtuous pleasure (or pleasurable virtue) is inherently paradoxical. Logan grants 
this, but aims to reduce it to a "logical sequence" (p. 147). It seems to me that he 


76 / Renaissance and Reformation 

has paraphrased its constituent parts instead, for as paradox it often relies on 
verbal sleights and errors in logic. To put this another way, not only is Utopia's 
Epicureanism ''contaminated" (p. 155) by Stoicism; it is radically altered by 
concealed Platonic and Christian concepts that could lead us to ask what 
Epicureanism comes to mean in Utopia. I am, then, less convinced than Logan is 
that "purely rational considerations" (p. 180) operate here (or at those points in 
Book II where More seems to be creating red herrings), although I would agree 
that this section of Utopia is central to our understanding of what Utopia is. 

Logan further argues that "the main aspects of the Utopian constitution" follow 
from Utopian conclusions about the best life (p. 1 82) and that a// the substantial 
features of Utopia are related to the section on moral philosophy (p. 185). He 
insists, then, that there is no necessary connection between England (or Europe) 
and Utopia: only in "indifferent features" (p. 193) may the two agree, as in the 
case of Utopia's location in the new world. Here and elsewhere I think Logan 
discounts evidence, both intrinsic and extrinsic, regarding relationships (which 
are sometimes inverted or reversed mirror-images) between the actual world and 
More's fictive one. Utopia's geography is deliberately antipodean, and Erasmus' 
point (in his letter to Ulrich von Hutten) about More's writing Utopia with the 
English constitution in mind deserves consideration, as do the marginal glosses. 
But if Logan is not much interested in the details of life in Utopia or in the nature of 
Utopian negation, and virtually ignores the first half of Book II, he does not ignore 
the unpleasant aspects of this state, wrestling, for example, with the thorny 
problems of war and foreign policy. Admitting that these are unsolved (and 
perhaps unsolvable), he sees them as the logical result of More's best-common- 
wealth exercise. He argues, too, that More is well aware of the tensions between 
Utopian values and Utopian actions; national security and the need to equalize 
pleasure collide, as do the goals of freedom and stability (and this explains 
Utopia's repressiveness). His own final view of Utopia is double. As a best- 
commonwealth exercise of "unprecedented sophistication" (p. 248) it is, he says, 
both " a protest against the ideas of secular theorists" and " a corrective to the naive 
optimism" of More's fellow Christian humanists (p. 249). It is deeply indebted to 
classical political theory, and is preeminently a product of Renaissance humanism. 
But it cannot be read as prescriptive theory. Rather, it is a thoughtful critique of 
humanistic ideals and an attack upon realpolitisch tendencies. 

This is an ambitious interpretation of a perplexing text, and it would be Utopian 
indeed to expect complete agreement from any one reader. I find More's Utopia a 
much funnier (though no less serious) work than Logan does, and accordingly 
would interpret individual passages rather differently. I worry about his tendency 
to treat the fictive elements as so much sugar-coating; like other aspects of the 
work, the aesthetic too is unusually sophisticated and accomplished. And I would 
urge a much less restrictive sense of context; More's intentions, I believe, were 
more complex, and the resulting work more protean, flexible, and fully imagined 
and felt than the one portrayed here. But The Meaning of More's "Utopia " is a 
significant exploration of theoretical political aspects. Bringing an enormous 
amount of material to bear upon our understanding of Utopia, it reopens funda- 
mental issues that much recent criticism has evaded. Logan's concern for a 
historical perspective and his determination to redress readings that may trivialize 

Renaissance et Réforme / 77 

or otherwise diminish a major work impress, as does his willingness to tackle the 
truly tough, central questions. And I would agree that a "primary purpose of 
Utopia was to stimulate political thought" (p. 252), or, more particularly, to 
exercise the mind, imagination, and moral sense of the reader on the question of 
the best commonwealth. 

ELIZABETH McCUTCHEON, University of Hawaii 

News / Nouvelles 

CSRS - A Call for Papers for Montreal, 1985 

At the General Meeting we decided on the following broad areas for sessions 
our meetings at the University of Montreal in the spring of 1 985 . The deadline foJ 
the submission of papers is February 1 . The subjects proposed for the informal 
discussions and papers are: Pierre Ronsard, The Historical Imagination, Sym- 
posia on Major Research Projects in Canada, Open Topics. 

Members are urged to submit proposals or suggestions for papers, colloquia, 
or panels exploring different aspects of the suggested topics. In particular, sug- 
gestions are invited for sessions involving several participants who will either 
present position papers, or otherwise act as respondents or collaborate in their 
approaches to a topic. Members are also asked to make suggestions for a guest 
speaker who might be invited to speak on an appropriate topic. Proposals should 
be sent to: Robert Melançon, Etudes françaises et littérature comparée, 
University of Montreal, P.O. Box 6128, Station A, MONTREAL, (Québec), 
H3C 3J7 

SCER- Un appel pour des communications, Montreal, 1985 

A l'Assemblée générale nous avons décidé d'adopter certain grands sujets pour les 
sessions lors de nos rencontres au printemps de 1985 à l'Université de Montréal. 
La date limite pour présenter des communications est le l^"" février. Les sujets de 
communications pour nos réunions seront: Pierre Ronsard, L'Imagination 
historique. Symposiums sur de grands projets de recherches au Canada, Sujets 

Nos membres sont invités à soumettre des propositions ou des suggestions 
pour les conférences, les colloques, ou les tables rondes afin d'explorer les diffé- 
rents aspects des sujets suggérés. En particulier, nous voulons des suggestions de 
sessions qui impliqueront plusiers participants. Ceux-ci présenteront des con- 
férences ou, autrement, ils agiront de discussion. Les membres sont aussi priés d< 
proposer le nom d'un conférencier qui pourrait traiter d'un sujet approprié. TouU 
proposition devrait être envoyée à: 

Robert Melançon, Études françaises et littérature comparée. Université d< 
Montréal, C.P. 6128, succursale A, MONTREAL, (Québec), H3C 3J7 

RSA Annual Meeting 

The Renaissance Conference of Southern California will be host to the annua 
meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, March 21-23, 1985 at th 
Huntington Library, Art Gallery, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino. Seventy 
five papers on the Itahan and Northern Renaissance will be presented in a variet 
of sessions. Evening events will include a Renaissance banquet at Occidents 
College, Los Angeles, and a reception and gallery exhibit at the J. Paul Gett 
Museum, Malibu. The Conference will feature the RSA interdiscipUnary pane 
the Josephine Waters Bennett Lecture, and the Francis Bacon Foundatio, 
Lecture. For further information write to Wendy Furman, Secretary TreasureiL 
Renaissance Conference of Southern California, Whittier College, WhittieiP 
California 90608. "^ 

RenaissancB 1^ 


>r» * - ^ *■! 

^/5 is» «^ 



oa3iW85 1^ c^l 


</» î£ 




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New Series, Vol. IX, No. 2 
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Contents / Sommaire 


19- to 3 
Towards a Study of the Tamiglia' of the Sforza court at Pesaro 
by Sabine Eiche 


La Description de la nouveauté dans les récits 

de voyage de Cartier et de Rabelais 

par Jean-Phillipe Beaulieu 


Daniel, Rainolde, Demonsthenes, 

and the Degree Speech of Shakespeare's Ulysses 

by Clifford J. Ronan 



Elizabeth A. Chesney, The Countervoyage of Rabelais and Ariosto. 

A Comparative Reading of Two Renaissance Mock Epics, 

reviewed by Madison U. Sowell. 


Jonathan Goldberg, Endlesse Worke: 

Spenser and the Structures of Discourse, 

reviewed by G.L. Teskey 


Jacques Krynen, Idéal du prince et pouvoir royal 

en France à la fin du moyen âge, 

compte rendu par Suzanne Gaumond 



Peter Martyr Vermigli and Italian Reform, ed. Joseph C. McLelland, 
reviewed by Konrad Eisenbichler 


Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe, The Practice of Piety. 

Puritan Devotional Disciplines in Seventeenth-Century New England, 

reviewed by James F. Ccx)per, Jr. 


Joyce Main Hanks, Ronsard and Biblical Tradition, 

reviewed by Thomas Thomson 


The Entry of Henri II into Paris 16 June 1549, 

introduction and notes by I.D. McFarlane, 

reviewed by Nigel G. Brooks 


R. V. Young, Richard Crashaw and the Spanish Golden Age, 

reviewed by Antony Raspa 


Jules Brody, Lectures de Montaigne, 

compte rendu par François Paré 

Brian Tiemey, Religion, Law, and the Growth of Constitutional Thought, 

reviewed by Gary J. Nederman 


Pierre- Victor Palma-Cayet, L 'Histoire Prodigieuse du Docteur Fauste, 

introduction et notes par Yves Cazaux, 

reviewed by Ellen S. Ginsberg 


Nancy Lindheim, The Structures of Sidney's Arcadia, 

reviewed by Margaret Smart 


The Renaissance and Reformation in Scotland: 

Essays in Honour of Gordon Donaldson, 

ed. Ian B. Cowan and Duncan Shaw, 

reviewed by Thomas F. Mayer 


Towards a Study of the 'Famiglia' 
of the Sforza Court at Pesaro 


In recent years, scholars of the Italian Renaissance have revived an 
interest in the social customs of the period, directed towards a better 
understanding and evaluation of the modes of Ufe of the Renaissance 
individual. Contemporary biographies, diaries and correspondence, as 
well as account books and inventories, which already had greatly stimu- 
lated the curiosity of our nineteenth- and early twentieth-century pre- 
decessors in the fîeld, are once again being assiduously studied and 
gleaned for insights. 

Another potential tool for these investigations has been overlooked 
more often dian not: the structure of a courtly household, thefamiglia.^ It 
should be said at this point that the iermfamiglia was an elastic one in the 
period under consideration, and that as a result its precise meaning in a 
given context is not always immediately clear to the modem reader. With 
reference to a courtly establishment such as that in Milan, Ferrara, 
Mantua, Urbino, Pesaro, and so forth, the ûûefamiglia describes not only 
the family and relatives of the lord, but also the attendants, and will be used 
by me in the sense of all those who served the lord. 

Thefamiglia, then, was composed of staff", who assisted thesignore in 
the running of his state, and of domestics, whose concern was the lord's 
personal well-being. The size and complexity of afamiglia depended on 
the political and economic rank of the court, but a basic framework will 
have been common to most. From the types offamigliari employed we can 
gain an idea of the administrative policies of the ruler, of his activities and 
social pretensions. The relationship between thefamiglia and the lord was 
effective in both directions; that is, just as they served him, so he too had 
certain obligations on their behalf. Therefore, by studying the household, 
we can also learn something about how the court, in the narrower sense of 
the palace, functioned as a domestic unit. 

The list offamigliari serving at the Pesaro court in the fifteenth century 
was compiled by me from a variety of sources (see Appendix below). Quite 
different and more fortunate is the situation in neighbouring Urbino. At the 

80 / Renaissance and Reformation 

beginning of the sixteenth century, a page who had once been in the employ 
of Federigo da Montefeltro, made a list of the former Duke' s famiglia , the 
names arranged under the headings of the appropriate offices.^ Probably 
not all two hundred members noted by the page were in service at the same 
time; and the same applies to a chronicler's statement thatLo Ill.o Signor 
Duca Federico Feltrio Duca d'Urbino . . . teneva alii serviti sui, bocche 
No. 800 . . . ^ The Pesaro list covers an even wider time span than that of 
Urbino (the Sforza ruled in Pesaro 1445-1512; Federigo was lord of 
Urbino from 1444-82), and thus cannot reflect the actual structure of the 
court at any specific moment. It is ahnost certainly incomplete, since we 
can expect that documents which I have not yet had the chance to examine 
will reveal still more names. Nevertheless, for reasons pertaining mainly to 
the financial and political standing of the court, the Pesaro register, for the 
period of any one of its Sforza signori, will always be surpassed by that of 

Names and titles are little more than statistics until we know something 
about the duties of thefamigliari. Once again Urbino enters into the 
picture, for there survives from the Renaissance an enlightening treatise 
entitled Ordini et ojjïtij alla corte del Serenissimo Signor Duca 
d*Urbino.* The author, who remains anonymous although he must have 
been one of Federigo's court, painstakingly describes the responsibiUties 
of various functionaries, mainly domestic, down to details concerning their 
personal hygiene. The states of Urbino and Pesaro were structured similarly 
and were closely linked, not only geographically and politically, but also 
through inter-marriages, and therefore in an examination of the Sforza 
court we can safely be guided by some of the instructions written down in 
the Ordini et offitij of Urbino. 

Before embarking on a discussion of the Fesaxofamiglia , it will be useful 
to introduce the court by way of a historical sketch of the town and its 
rulers.^ A port on the Adriatic to the south of Rimini, Pesaro had been a 
free commune since the late twelfth century. From the late thirteenth until 
mid-fifteenth centuries, the town was ruled by a branch of the Malatesta 
family, first in the guise of Podestà, and then as Papal Vicars. In 1445 the 
inept Galeazzo Malatesta sold the town to Francesco Sforza on the 
condition that Francesco's brother, Alessandro, just married to Galeazzo's 
granddaughter, Costanza Varano, be installed as a ruler. The negotiation 
was in fact highly irregular, since Pesaro was a vicariate of the Church, and 
it resulted in Pope Eugenius IV excommunicating all parties to the 
contract. But Alessandro, determined not to relinquish his newly acquired 
state, persevered and in 1447 Eugenius's successor, Nicholas V, removed 
the ban and appointed him Papal Vicar. 

Alessandro's wife, Costanza, died that same year, leaving him with two 
children, Battista (future Countess of Urbino) and Costanzo, who were to 

Renaissance et Réforme / 8 1 

be his only legitimate offspring. In 1448 he married again, choosing Sveva 
da Montefeltro, half-sister of Federigo, Count of Urbino. The alliance was 
disastrous and after a few years ended as so many did, with the wife seeking 
refuge in a convent 

Like his father and brother, Alessandro was a professional soldier, an 
occupation that denoted long absences from home. While his two consorts 
were at the court, they could take care of whatever matters, state or 
otherwise, appeared on the agenda.^ By 1457 Sveva had fled, and the 
responsibility devolved upon Alessandro' s son, ably guided during the 
early years by members of the staff. 

Costanzo became Signore of Pesaro after Alessandro died in 1473. 
Two years later he contracted a brilliant marriage with Camilla d'Aragona, 
niece of King Ferdinando of Naples. Costanzo outlived his father by only 
ten years, and, having no legitimate children, was succeeded to the rule by 
his bastard son, Giovanni. Camilla, by many accounts a wise and chari- 
table stepmother, shared the government of the town with Giovanni until 
he attained his majority in 1489. In May 1490, when he married Mad- 
dalena Gonzaga, Camilla left the court forever, withdrawing to the estate 
of Torricella, near Parma. 

Giovanni married three times, his second union ( 1493-97) being the ill- 
fated one to Lucrezia Borgia. In October of 1500 he temporarily lost his 
state to his former brother-in-law, Cesare Borgia, but with the assistance of 
Venice was back in power in 1503. Giovanni ruled without further inter- 
ruptions until his death in 1510. 

The new Lord was the infant Costanzo II, a son Giovanni had with his 
third wife, the Venetian Ginevra Tiepolo. According to the terms of his 
will, Giovanni's natural brother, Galeazzo, was to be appointed regent 
until Costanzo II was of age. The heir, however, died within two years of 
his father's demise, after which Galeazzo prepared to assume power in his 
own name. But Pope Julius II, long interested in Pesaro, bought out 
Galeazzo, and added the town to the dominions of his nephew, Francesco 
Maria della Rovere, for whom he had already previously ( 1 504) managed 
to secure the succession to the Dukedom of Urbino. 

By the time Alessandro Sforza ruled the town, the government of Pesaro 
can be described as a co-operative effort between the commune and the 
lord. Two councils, the consiglio générale and the consiglio di credenza 
(of nobles), constituted the main bodies of communal authority. The lord 
of Pesaro for his part, invested with the rule as Papal Vicar, governed in the 
name of the Church, at least in theory if not always in deed. However, clear 
distinction between communal and vicarial/seigneurial power is not in fact 
possible since the lord, if and when he chose, could have regulated the size, 

82 / Renaissance and Reformation 

and therefore the executive potential, of the two municipal councils. Fur- 
thermore, and the situation is not peculiar to Pesaro, an officer of the 
commune could at the same time have been in the employment of the 
signore.'' Thus it is not surprising to learn that the lord could intervene even 
in the appointment of municipal servants.* 

When compared to the organization of the administrative offices of the 
Duchy of Milan, the relative simplicity of the personnel at Pesaro is clearly 
indicative of the court's secondary role in the political structure of 
fifteenth-century Italy.^ The staff* assisting the ruler of Pesaro in running 
his state was headed by three ministers: the luogotenente, the segretario or 
cancelliere, and the referendario. ^^ The auditore, who counselled and had 
jurisdictional powers, also will have been an important functionary. Ap- 
pointments do not seem to have been restrictive, for we read in the docu- 
ments that an individual could serve in more than one high capacity 
simultaneously; and in at least two instances the Sforza's personal doctor 
performed ministerial duties: Benedetto Reguardati da Norcia was phy- 
sician and luogotenente of Alessandro, and Giovanni's doctor, Bernardo 
Monaldi, was also his segretario^ not to mention occasional agent in 

Essentially the signore's principal representative, the luogotenente ob- 
viously had to be someone ftilly in the ruler's confidence. If satisfactory, he 
held his post for a long time and could survive a change of signori. For 
instance, the name of Niccolô della Palude is encountered frequently in the 
documents, first serving Alessandro, then Costanzo. Being one of high 
rank in the lord' s famiglia, the luogotenente was clothed and housed by his 
employer. ^ Mn a debit account of Alessandro' s we can read that he had paid 
two lire, ten soldi, to a shoemaker for Niccolô' s boots, and ftirther down in 
the same list is an entry amounting to twenty lire that he had given for 
clothes for Niccolô and Angelo (de Probis d'Atri, segretario ?). Niccolô 
lived in a room iuxta camera domicellarum of the Sforza residence. ^^ 
Giovanni's luogotenente, Dulcius, still had his quarters in the ruler's 
palace, but by the time of Guidobaldo della Rovere, in the mid-sixteenth 
century, the Duke's luogotenente was assigned rooms in the newly con- 
structed Palazzo Comunale.^^ 

Cancellieri, and the segretario, a superior cancelliere, handled cor- 
respondence and related matters. As the Urbino Ordini et offitij tells us, 
such officers should be pochU pratichi, boni, svfficienti et fidelissimi 
quantopiù sepossessedire, Tht segretario kept the seal, which could also 
be delegated to a trusted cancelliere. Letters sent fi-om the court did not 
leave without being checked by him, and he kept and filed incoming 
correspondence per modo che omne una, per minima, bisognando se 
retrovasse.^* Giovanni, in his will, echoes some of these recommenda- 
tions: Item voglio, che tutte le expeditioni importante del Stato, passino 

Renaissance et Réforme / 83 

per mano de* Turricella (his segretario/cancelliere), et che sotto lui se 
toglia uno Cancelliero per le expeditioni occorenti, le quai tutte si 
habbiano ad expedire seconda Vordine et commissione di mio Fratello 

The referendario (sometimes called re v/^ore), third of the three top state 
officials, administered the finances.^* Helping him and the cancellieri in 
the execution of their duties were the computista, cassiero, avvocato 
fiscale, scrittore, depositario, tesoriere, and maestro delle entrate. 

Many of the officials engaged in state affairs had their working quarters 
in the palace. The cancelleria of the Pesaro court initially was located on 
the ground floor of the Sforza palace, near the entrance portico. By the 
early sixteenth century it had been moved to the upper storey of the 
residence, although still in the front wing, into the former music room. Near 
the ground floor cancelleria was the audientia of the referendario. It was 
most efficient to have the offices of the staff concentrated in one part of the 
palace, but the Pesaro residence, unlike that of Federigo da Montefeltro, 
was not built anew with few restrictions, and thus never achieved the ideal 
organization of spaces prescribed by Renaissance architectural theorists. 
In fact, documents reveal that in the 1 450's the room of the computista , at 
that time the Florentine Giovanni Battista dell'Antella, was in the rear 
wing of the residence, on an upper floor, close to the private apartment of 
the young Costanzo Sforza.*^ 

A courtly staff was not limited to internal functionaries; important roles 
were played also by the oratori, or ambassadors, in foreign centres. They 
served primarily as diplomats and informers. We know that Alessandro 
had a man, Roberto Ondedei, in Venice; Costanzo sent Domenico di 
Barignano and Giacomo Probo d' Atria to Rome as oratori; Giovanni as 
well kept ambassadors at those two courts, and also in Milan. Like the 
luogotenente, the ambassadors were men of the utmost confidence, so that 
when they served well, they served long. Or, as Giovanni phrased it in his 
will: Item si mantenga sempre un * Ambasciadore résidente in Roma il 
quale per esserestatofedele, et haver diligentemente servito, non mi pare, 
se habbia ad mutare}* 

Before turning from state to domestic officials, reference should be made 
to the Sforza' s other occupation as mercenary soldiers. It was a profession 
that in time of war required the maintenance of a large retinue of men-at- 
arms. When Alessandro was hired by the Venetian Republic in 1 467, it is 
said that his contract stipulated 600 calvary and 2,000 infantry.*' Top 
officers were chosen from among the Sforza intimates. Costanzo, for 
instance, selected as two of his capi di squadra or squadreri, Niccolô di 
Barignano, his segretario , and Raniero Almerici, equitis, who in 1 468 had 
been created Count Palatine, probably at the urging of Alessandro. 

The Sforza court employed a large body of personnel, whose tasks ran 

84 / Renaissance and Reformation 

from the purely banal to the intellectual and spiritual. Household chores, 
for example the putting in order of rooms in the morning, were carried out 
by massari, as we can read in a letter of 1457 reporting on a domestic 
crisis. ^° Their status cannot have been too low, however, for as is written in 
another letter of 1 45 8 directed by Pier Sante da Samano to the Duchess of 
Milan, the twelve-year-old Battista during her father's absence from the 
court was attended by numerous ladies-in-waiting and massare da bene}^ 

A variety of servants were occupied with the preparation and serving of 
food at court The Urbino Ordini et offitij recommended separate cooks 
for thefamiglia, the guests, and the lord. We cannot be certain that the 
Sforza followed the prescribed arrangement since the documents found to 
date are virtually silent on this aspect of daily life at the court. The name of 
only one cook, Giovanni di Pietro alias Riccio del fu Scaramuccia di 
Torricella parmense, serving in 1493, has come to Hght. The only other 
information we have is that the kitchens in the Sforza residence were 
located below ground level." To inspect these quarters in the morning and 
at night was the duty of the scalco or siniscalco , who had to ensure that the 
lord was served according to his tastes. All matters pertaining to the lord's 
table were his responsibility. The scalco was rated superior to all other 
servants, with the exception of the maestro dicasa, ragioniere, andfattore 
générale, this latter in charge of the numerous country estates." Revealing 
for the confidential position of the scalco is a remark by the above men- 
tioned Pier Sante in the same letter of 1 45 8: for the six-month period when 
Alessandro was away on a mission to France and the Netherlands, Marco 
Monaldi, his scalco , was the one who had la cura principale de Constantio 
ad ogni ora . Benedetto Reguardati da Norcia confirms this when he writes, 
likewise in a letter of 1458 to the Duchess of Milan: Persuo (Costanzo's) 
gubemo sta Marco Monaldi scalco. ^^ The eleven-year-old Costanzo at 
the same time had his own personal scalco, Francesco de maestro 

Assisting the scalco at the table was the credenziere, who saw to it that 
the silver and table linens were impeccably clean. He furthermore had to 
guard the silver and other precious things consigned to his care by the 
maestro di casa, scalco and maestro di guardaroba. In view of his extra 
duty as watchman, it was suggested that he live in a conveniently located 
room in the palace." 

A splendid picture of the ritual at table can be gained from the descrip- 
tion of Costanzo's wedding celebrations in 1475. At the banquet, two 
siniscalchi, in this case the young relatives Carlo Sforza and Ercole 
Bentivoglio, were deputed to the head table. Each carried a golden baton to 
mark his elevated status among the attendants, and brought to the seated 
guests a golden basket filled with cutlery and napkins. Thirty garzoni and 
servitori helped the siniscalchi to wait^* 

Renaissance et Réforme / 85 

On the occasion of such great feasts, and at times also for more ordinary 
events, musicians, singers and dancers would entertain. Costanzo's 
wedding meal was enlivened by pijferi, trombetti, tamburini, an organist 
and thirty-six singers." History has remembered the names of only two 
fifteenth-century ballerini at the court of Pesaro. Guglielmo ebreo was 
choreographer of the dances at Alessandro's wedding in December 1 444, 
and later in 1463 he dedicated a dance treatise to Galeazzo Maria Sforza 
of Milan. The services rendered at Pesaro by the second ballerino, 
Giovanni Ambrogio, are not known, although a treatise by him figures in 
the Sforza library inventory drawn up in 1 500. A letter written in 1 466 by 
Giovanni Ambrogio reveals that shortly before that date he had come from 
the court of Milan to that of Naples to instruct the young Eleonora 
d'Aragonaa/o ballare lombardi.^^ 

Valet of the signore was the cameriere maggiore, assisting him to dress 
and undress, and ascertaining that everything in the lord's room was to his 
satisfaction. Should the signore decide to wear jewels, the cameriere 
maggiore was held responsible for their safety until they were restored to 
their place in the guardaroba .^^ 

The Urbino Ordini et qffîtij laid great stress on cleanliness and hygien- 
ics, and one of the people engaged to maintain the desired standard at court 
was the barbiere. Whereas the barber ofthefamiglia was required to be 
able to pull teeth and treat cirrhosis, the personal barber of the lord, uno 
giovene pulito, discreto, concerned himself with washing the hair of the 
pages, or of anyone else sent to him by the signore. He had to make sure 
that the cloths designated for use by the lord were kept white and clean, and 
the razors and other instruments in good working order. It was recom- 
mended that he have a shop in the palace, and in the case of Alessandro we 
know that his barbiere was assigned a room on the courtyard of the 

The maggiordomo, or maestro di casa, oversaw the entire domestic 
staff. Representing the authority of his master, he had to ensure that all the 
lord's orders were carried out. Accordingly, he was to be given a room in 
the palace in honorato loco, dove el discorso de tucto sia facillissimo ?^ 

Administering to the religious needs at court was the cappellano. We 
learn from the letter of Pier Sante, describing the situation at Pesaro during 
Alessandro's extended absence, that the young Battista and Costanzo had 
el capellano che ogni di gli dice messa in casa. ^^ When necessary the 
chaplain could also act as confessor. Regarding Alessandro, this service 
would not have been required after 1 470 because on 29 May of that year he 
had been granted SiBolla con uno breve apostolica depossere hautre dui 
confessori religiosi apresso se.^^ The cappellano was fiirthermore m- 
structed to give the maestro di casa and the scalco two days notice of tucte 
le vigilie comandate et quatro tempore et quaresima.^* 

86 / Renaissance and Reformation 

An essential member of the famiglia was the humanist tutor. Instead of 
sending his children to be educated at a foreign court, such as that of 
Ferrara where he himself as a young boy had attended classes, Alessandro 
hired grammar masters to instruct Battista and Costanzo at home. One of 
these was Matteo da Sassoferrato, father of the famous Pandolfo Col- 
lenuccio. Perhaps Matteo, also trained as a notary andcancelliere, did not 
possess all the himianistic skills desired by Alessandro, since in 1459 
when the children had reached the ages of twelve and thirteen he replaced 
him with the more illustrious Martino Filetico, pupil of Guarino Guarini. 

Like the Montefeltro, the Sforza of Pesaro owned a notable collection of 
manuscripts and employed a librarian to take care of them. Vespasiano da 
Bisticci, in his biography of Alessandro, wrote that he had uno uomo 
dotissimo con buona provisione sopra questa libreria?^ It is the only 
mention I have found to date of the Sforza librarian, and not even his name 
is known to us. A chapter in the Ordini et offîtij outiining the librarian's 
responsibilities can also serve to shed light on the Sforza man's daily 
routine. Besides keeping an inventory of all the manuscripts, and a record 
of those lent out, the bibliotecario was required to shelve the works 
according to an orderly system so that any manuscript would always be 
easy to locate. He should endeavour to prevent thefts, of which there was 
always the danger when many people (multitudine) thronged in the lib- 
rary. The manuscripts were to be guarded from the silly, the ignorant, the 
filthy and the disgusting. Care was to be taken that no one creased pages or 
turned back to the same page too often, et, quando se mustrano a persona 
ignorante che per curiosità li volesse vedere, se non è di troppo auctorità, 
basta una ochiata^^ 

Federigo da Montefeltro maintained a team of scribes and illuminators, 
but there is no evidence that Alessandro did the same. Probably he had to 
content himself with commissioning artists at foreign courts to produce the 
manuscripts for him. It is not until the time of Costanzo that we encounter 
the name of sicopista at court, and it is still unclear if he was alone or part of 
a workshop." 

Housing Federigo's Hbrary in the palace at Urbino was a room of 
modest dimensions, located at ground level between the entrance vesti- 
bule and the stairs to the upper storey.'* Also Alessandro built a library in 
his town palace, but it does not survive and once again Vespasiano's words 
remain the only reference to its appearance: . . .fecefare uno degnissimo 
luogo nel suo palagio con armarii intomo dove erano per ordine tutti 
quegli libri?^ Further evidence for concluding that the design and organ- 
ization of the Sforza library must have been admirable is provided by a 
letter that Vespasiano addressed to Alessandro, requesting his highly- 
valued opinion on a new arrangement of the Medici library.*® We cannot 
be absolutely sure of the room's location in the Sforza palace, but I have 


Renaissance et Réforme / 87 

proposed elsewhere, on the basis of a late fifteenth- century document, that 
already from the time of Alessandro the library had been one of the rooms 
overlooking the garden near S.Agata/^ 

Another part of the famiglia was occupied with construction and repair 
work at the court. Under the heading oïlngegneri, etArchitetti the Urbino 
Ust proudly includes Luciano da Laurana and Francesco di Giorgio, two 
names difficult to surpass in the 1460' s and MTO's.'*^ Although Alessan- 
dro sometimes requested Laurana' s intervention in building projects at 
Pesaro, he never engaged him as court architect '^^ The situation changed 
with Alessandro's son. From 1476 until his death in 1479, Laurana, who 
by then had left Urbino, figures in the documents as the engineer of 
Costanzo Sforza. It is to him that the design of the Rocca Costanza is 
attributed, the most important construction underway in Pesaro during 
those years. Cherubino di Milano was another of Costanzo' s engineers, 
and he continued to work for Giovanni. A document of 1 492 describes him 
as the superintendent of all work on fortifications, bridges, roads, dams, 

Finally, a word can be said about the recruitment of individuals for the 
household. In at least two instances, that of Francesco Becci and that of 
Marco Citara, we know that the servants had been merchants prior to their 
employment at court. Although to us such social mobility may suggest an 
enUghtened tolerance, the procedure could have been simply the most 
expedient way of satisfying a need. The names of thefamigliari at the 
Sforza court reveal that often members of the same family continued to 
serve for more than one generation, or that more than one individual of the 
same generation was engaged. In this regard, the most prominent family 
was that of the Ahnerici, who could boast at least six famigliari at the 
court, and who remained one of the most important aristocratic families of 
the town long after the Sforza had died out. 

The purpose of this essay has been twofold. On the one hand, I have tried 
to indicate the useftilness of studying the organization of a noble house- 
hold, in the hope of encouraging similar examinations for other Italian 
courts. Furthermore, with the focus on Pesaro, I have wanted to begin to 
remove some of the obscurity that shrouds so many aspects of Renaissance 
life in that town, and to stimulate the search for more documents which 
would broaden and clarify our picture of the Sforza court 

Kunsthistorisches Institut, Florence 

88 / Renaissance and Reformation 


1 Cardinal'syàmi^/ze, on the other hand, have received considerable attention; see, for instance, A. 
Paravicini Bagliani, Cardinali di Curia e "Familiae" cardinalizie . . . 1227-54, 2 vols., Padua 
1972, especially pp.443-516; N. Zacour, "Papal Regulations of Cardinals' Households in the 
Fourteenth Century," Speculum, (1975), pp. 434-55; K. Weil-Garris and J.F. D'Amico, The 
Renaissance Cardinal's Ideal Palace: A Chapter from Cortesi'sDe Cardinalatu, Rome, 1980; 
ly Aim\co,Renaisance Humanism in Papal Rome, Baltimore, 1983, pp.3 8flF. An examination of a 
royal household, but primarily from the administrational point of view is included by A. Ryder, The 
Kingdom of Naples under Alfonso the Magnanimous, Oxford, 1 976, pp.54-90. Some stirrings of 
interest in die functions of a Renaissance courtly household can be found in W. Gundersheimer, 
Ferrara, Princeton, 1973, pp.5 Iff, 285-96. An excellent and stimulating account of noble house- 
holds, but in England rather than Italy, is in M. Girouard,L(^ in the English Country House, New 
Haven, 1978. 

2 Vatican Library cod. Urb. lat. 1 204,Memoriafelicissima deU'illustrissimo signorduca Federico 
e delta suafamiglia che tenea, cc.97v ff. The author is Susech of Casteldurante. G. Zannoni 
pubUshed it, but not without mistakes, in Scrittori cortegiani dei Montefeltro, Rome 1 894, pp.80- 
85; the errors are corrected by L. Venturi in "Studi sul Palazzo Ducsie," L'Arte vol. 17,1914, pp. 
470-71 . Also G, Ermini printed it, as the Appendix to his publication of the Vatican Library cod. 
Urb. lat. 1248, Ordini et offttij alia corte del Serenissimo SignorDuca d'Urbino, Urbino 1932. 
See also C.H. Clough, "Federigo da Montefeltro's Patronage of the Arts, 1 468-82," /ottma/ of 
the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes vo\M, 1973, pp. 131-32 and n. 17. At the Cowve^/iorfj 
studi su Federico da Montefeltro, Urbino 3-8 October 1 982, P. Peruzzi delivered a paper entitled 
"Ordine et officij: lavorare a Corte," stressing the poUtical significance of the household. A list of 
court officials exists also for Ferrara in the fifteenth century, contained in the chronicle of Ugo 
Caleffini, Vatican Library cod. Chig. LL4; see Gimdersheimer, Ferrara, pp.285ff. 

3 Clough, "Federigo," pp. 13 1-32. The chronicle is published by G. Baccini, "Ristretto di fatti 
d'ltalia e specialmente d'Urbino dal 1404 al 1444," Zibaldone, Florence 1888, p.93. 

4 See n.2 above. All my references to the Ordini et offitij will be to the Ermini edition. 

5 For what follows see my dissertation, .4/e55andro Sforza and Pesaro: A Study in Urbanism and 
Architectural Patronage, Princeton 1982. 

6 See for instance Pesaro, Biblioteca Oliveriana (hereafter Bibl.Oliv.) 45 5, vol. 1, cc. 129-31: Sup- 
plica di Nofria moglie del fu Niccolô delli Balignani {sic. ) da Pesaro a Costanza, moglie di 
Alessandro Sforza, che govemava in assenza del marito a Roma (22 March 1 447); c. 1 90: Ordine 
di Sveva Sforza, in assenza del marito Alessandro, al Conte Vano dei Bonifazi da Samano, 
Podestà di Pesaro per I'appello d'una causa che verteva tra Bonaccursio di Pietro de' Monaldi e 
Madonna Raffaella figlia di Giovanni di Oddo di Taddeo delli Ranieri (22 April 1450); c.326: 
Madonna Sveva, moglie d'Alessandro Sforza, sottoscrive una supplica del Dottore Antonio 
Silvestri per alcuni beni comprati da forestieri (2 January 1455); 455, vol.11, cc.153-63: La 
Contessa Sveva dispensa della guardia per l'età Pietro Buxio (22 May 1456). 

7 Clough, "Sources for the Economic History of the Duchy of Urbino, 1474-1508," Manuscripta 
vol.10, 1966, p.9; Gundersheimer, /'errara, p.292. 

8 For instance, on 9 December 1488, Giovaimi and Camilla nominated Vincenzo de' Fedeli di 
Pesaro and Alberto Alberti as the Ufficiali dei Pupilli; see Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol. VI, c.422. On 8 
March 1496 Giovanni appointed Pier Matteo Giordani as Ufficiale dei danni, reconfirmed in 
1498, 1499, and 1503; see Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.IX, cc.136-37. 

9 For Milan see the excellent modem study by C. Santoro, Gli uffici del dominio ^orzesco ( 1 450- 
1500), Milan 1948, especiaUy the introduction, pp.xv-xxxiii, where she defines the duties of the 
various officers. Also useful here is G. Rezasco, Dizionario del linguaggio italiano storico ed 
amministrativo, Florence 1881, rpt. Bologna 1966. 

10 B. FeliciangeU, Sull'acquisto di Pesaro fatto da Cesare Borgia, Camerino 1900, p.53 n.2. 

1 1 See the Ordini et offttij, pp.36, 37-39. 

12 The accounts page is published in my dissertation (see n.5), pp.478-79; for the reference to 
Niccolô's room in the palace see my dissertation, p.483, docs. 17, 18. 


Renaissance et Réforme / 89 

13 For Dulcius see my dissertation, p.496 doc. 70, p.497 doc.73, p.498, doc. 76. For the Duke's 
luogotenente see G. Waccai, Pesaro, Pesaro 1909, p. 123. 

14 Ordini et qffîtij, pp.76-80. The cancellieri and segreterio should be "few in number, capable, 
superior and as faithful as possible;" the segretario filed the letters "systematically so that they 
could always be easily found again." 

1 5 "I want Turricella to be in charge of all important correspondence pertaining to the affairs of state, 
and he should have a cancelliere to help him, and everything must be carried out according to the 
orders of my brother." Giovanni's testament will be fully transcribed by me in a forthcoming 

16 But cf. Gundersheimer, Ferrara, p.56: the referendarius served as head of the cancelleria. 
Giovanni's will makes it clear that in Pesaro he was in charge of the accounts: Item che '1 faccia 
rivedere tutti i conti vecchi da qui in dreto, et chi hà ad dare dia, et chi hà ad havere sia soddisfatto, 
talmente che ogni uno habbia il suo credito, et se '1 non si potesse cosi al présente, satisfacciati 
quando si potrà, purche una volta sieno contenti, et ch'el se striga tutti li conti vecchi, et ad questo 
sarà buono Marco Cithera (his referendario and maestro délie entrate) per essere instrutto. 

17 See my dissertation, pp.166, 171, 480-81 doc.5, 487 doc.31, 490 does. 44, 46, 491 doc.50, 492 
doc.51, 493-94 doc.59. 

1 8 "There should always be a resident ambassador in Rome, and if he is faithful and serves diligently, 
it is not necessary to replace him." 

19 G. Soranzo, Cronaca di Anonimo Veronese 1446-1488, Monument! di Storia Patria, ser.3. 
Cronache e diarii, vol.IV, Venice 1915, p.243. A very useful study, explaining condottieri' s 
contracts, is that by M. Mallett, "Venice and its Condottieri, 1404-54," in Renaissance Venice, 
ed. Hale, London 1973, pp. 12 1-45. 

20 A. Madiai, "Nuovi document! su Sveva Montefeltro Sforza," Le Marche vol.IX, 1909, p.l 11. 
But cf. Ordini et offitij, pp.58-59, on the massaro. 

21 Feliciangeh, Alcuni documenti relativi all'adolescenza di Battista e Costanzo Sforza, Turin 
1903, p.9. 

21 Ordini et qffîtij, pp.5 1-54; for the Pesaro kitchens see my dissertation, p.l67. 

23 Ordini et offitij, PP.3-6, 54-57. 

24 Feliciangeli,5amsto, pp.10, 13. 

25 Ordini et offitij, pp. 1 0- 1 1 . 

26 M. Tabarrini, Descrizione del convito e delle feste fatte in Pesaro, Florence 1870, p.l4. 

27 Tabarrini, Descrizione, pp. 1 1 , 1 2, 1 3, 37; see also Ordini et offitij, pp.64-65 . Interesting in this 
connection is an article by M. Mamini, "Documenti quattrocenteschi di vita musicale aile Corti 
Feltresca e Malatestiana," Studi Urbinati n.s.B, anno XL VIII, 1974, pp.1 15-28. 

28 Guglielmo's treatise is in the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris, cod. ital. 973; see G. Mazzatinti, 
Inventario dei manoscritti italiani delle biblioteche di Francia, vol.1, Rome 1886, p. 172. On 
Guglielmo see also E. Motta, "Musica alia corte degli Sforza,"^rcAmo Storico Lombardo ser.2, 
vol.IV, anno XIV, 1887, pp.62-63 n.2; E. Rodocanachi, La Femme Italienne à l'Epoque de la 
Renaissance, Paris 1907, p.l98; F. Malaguzzi Valeri,La corte di Lodovico il Moro ,\o\.\. Milan 
1913, ^.5^9; Arte lombarda dei Visconti agli Sforza, exhibition catalogue. Milan 1958, p.89 
no.271; E. Pellegrin, La Bibliothèque des Visconti et des Sforza, Supplement, Florence 1969, 
pp.40-41 . The inventory of the Sforza library is in Bibl.Oliv. 387, see on c.36 the work entitled/o. 
Ambrosio ballarino . A. Vemarecci has published the inventory: "La libreria di Giovanni Sforza," 
Archivio Storico per I'Umbria e le Marche vol.III, 1886, see p.518. A treatise by Giovanni 
Ambrogio is in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, cod. ital. 476; see Mazzatinti,//ive«rano, p.98. 
The letter by Giovanni Ambrogio is published by Motta, "Musica," pp.6 1 -62; see also Storia di 
Milano, vol.IX, Milan 1961, p.814. 

29 Ordini et offitif, pp.16-19. SeealsoSuscch'scommeniontheCambrieridelDuca (as published by 
Zannoni, Scrittori, p.82): per tenere a ordine le camere e le sale et ad invitare le donne per le 

30 For a discussion of the principles of sanitation and neatness to be observed, see especially pp.20- 
22 of the Ordini et qffîtij; for the barber, pp.22-23. Regarding the location of the room in 
Alessandro's palace, see my dissertation, p.481 doc.7. 

90 / Renaissance and Reformation 

31 Ordini et offitij, pp. 1-3. The maestro di casa should be given a room "in an honourable place, 
where it will be easy to discuss all matters." 

32 Feliciangeli, Battista , p. 1 0. The children had "the chaplain who says the mass for them at home 
every day." 

33 "Bull with an apostolic brief allowing him to have two personal religious confessors." See the 
inventory of Alessandro's private papers in Bibl.Oliv. 44 1 , c,20, but without the year; the date is 
given in Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol. VII, c.84. 

34 Ordini et offitij, pp.63-64. The chaplain had to remind them of "all the fast-days ordered by the 
Church, the Ember Days, and Lent." 

35 Le vite, éd. A. Greco, vol.1, Florence 1 970, p.423: "a most learned man, well paid, who is in charge 
of this library." 

36 Ordini et offîtij, pp.75-76. And when the librarian "shows a manuscript to someone ignorant who 
wants to see it out of curiosity, if he is not an important person a quick glance will do." 

37 See my dissertation, p. 142. 

3 8 After having been closed for many years, and subsequent to a thorough restoration, the library was 
re-opened to the public on the occasion of the Convegno di studi su Federico da Montefeltro. P. 
Dal Poggetto gave a paper discussing this among other restorations: "Nuove letture di ambienti e 
opere d'arte federiciane: la Biblioteca, il Bagno della Duchessa, la Neviera." See also Clough, 
"The library of the Dukes of Urbino," L/7>ran«/n vol.IX, 1966, pp.101-104. 

39 Le vite, p.423: "he had a noble room built in his palace, with shelves all along the walls on which the 
books were set in a well-ordered fashion." 

40 A. Cagni, Vespasiano da Bisticci e il suo epistolario, Rome 1969, p. 159. 

4 1 See my dissertation, pp. 179-81. 

42 Zannoni, Scrittori, p.82; Ordini et offitij. Appendix p.v. 

43 See my dissertation, pp. 190-94. 

APPENDIX: The Sforza 'famiglia' 


ASF: Archivio di Stato of Florence 

ASPN: Archivio di Stato of Pesaro (Notarile) 

Bibl.Oliv.: Biblioteca Oliveriana, Pesaro 

Cinelli: C. CmeWx, Pandolfo Collenuccio, Pesaro 1880 

Feliciangeli, Battista: B. Feliciangeli, Alcuni documenti relativi all'adolescenza di Battista e 

Costanzo Sforza, Turin 1903 

, Costanza: Notizie sulla vita e sugli scritti di Costanza Varano Sforza, Turin n.d. 

, Elisabetta: Notizie della vita di Elisabetta Malatesta Varano, Ascoli Piceno 1911 

^^—, L'itinerario: "L'itinerario d'lsabella d'Este Gonzaga attraverso la Marca e I'Umbria 

nell, apriledel 1494," Atti e Memorie della Deputazione di Storia Patria per le Marche n.s. vol. VIII, 

, Lettere: Lettere di Galeazzo Sforza alfratello Giovanni signore di Pesaro ottobre - 

novembre MDII, Sanseverino-Marche 1915. 

, Lucrezia: II matrimonio di Lucrezia Borgia, Turin 1901 

, SulVacquisto: SulVacquisto di Pesaro fatto da Cesare Borgia, Camerino 1900 

, Sveva: Sulla monacazione di Sveva Montefeltro, Pistoia 1903 

Gregorovius: F. Gregorovius, Lttcrezio Borgia, Stuttgart 1874 

Madiai: A. Madiai, "Nuovi documenti su Sveva Montefeltro Sforza," Le Marche IX, 1909, 

pp.94- 142. 

Miniature: Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Miniature del Rinascimento , exhibition 

catalogue 1950 

Renaissance et Réforme / 9 1 

Olivieri, Appendice: A. Olivieri, Appendice aile memorie di Alessandro Sforza, Pesaro 1786 

__, Diplovatazio: Memorie di Tommaso Diplovatazio, Pesaro 1771 

. , Gradara: Memorie di Gradara, Pesaro 1775 

_, Lettera: Lettera sopra un medaglione non ancor osservato, Pesaro 1 781 . 

, Michelina: Delia patria délia B. Michelina e del B. Cecco, Pesaro 1772 

, S. Tommaso: Memorie délia badia di S. Tommaso in Foglia, Pesaro 1778 

, Sforza: Memorie di Alessandro Sforza, Pesaro 1785 

,Zecca: Delia zecca di Pesaro e délie monete pesaresi dei secoli bassi in G. A. Zanetti,iV«ova 

raccolta délie monete e zecche d'Italia, vol.I, Bologna 1775, pp. 179-246. 

Paltroni: P. Paltroni, Commentari délia vita etgesti deU'illustrissimo Federico Duca d'Urbino, éd. 

W. Tommasoli, Urbino 1 966 

Pellegrin: E. ^é[\Q^n, La Bibliothèque des Visconti et des Sforza, Supplement, Florence 1969 

Ratti: N. Ratti, Delia famiglia Sforze, vol.I, Rome 1794 

Rodocanachi: E. Rodocanachi, La Femme Italienne à l'Epoque de la Renaissance, Paris 1907. 

Sajanello: G.B. Sa}ane]lo,Historica Monumenta Ordinis Sancti Hieronymi Congregationis B. Petri 

de Pisis, vol.II, 2nd éd., Rome 1760 

Saviotti: A, Saviotti, "Giacomo da Pesaro," i4/rAiv/o Storicoper VUmbria e le Marche IV, 1888, 


Soranzo,>4«o/i/mo: G. Soranzo, Cronaca di Anonimo Veronese 1446-1488, Monument! di Storia 

Patria, ser.3, Cronache e Diarii, vol.IV, Venice 1915 

Soranzo, Cronaca sconosciuta: "Di una cronaca sconosciuta del secolo XV e del suo anonimo 

mtore,'' Nuovo Archivio Veneto XIII, 1907, pp.68-103 

Tabarrini: M. Tabarrini, Descrizione del convito e délie feste fatte in Pesaro, Florence 1870 

Vaccai, Ginevra: G. Vaccai, "Il quadro votivo di Ginevra Tiepolo," Rassegna Marchigiana VII, 

1928-29, pp. 167-72 

^ , Le nozze: "Le nozze di Costanzo Sforza con Camilla di Aragona," Picenum XIX, 1922, 


, Le ville: "Le ville del monte Accio e la societa pesarese nel secolo XVI," Picenum XVin, 


, \9Q9: Pesaro, Pesaro 1909 

, 1 928: La vita municipale sotto i Malatesta, gli Sforza e i Delia Rovere, Signori di Pesaro, 

Pesaro 1928 

Vemarecci, L'incendio: A. Vemarecci, "L'incendio délia libreria di Giovanni Sforza," Archivio 

Storicoper l'Umbria e le Marche III, 1886, pp.790-92. 

— - , La libreria: "La libreria di Giovanni Sforza," Archivio Storicoper l'Umbria e le 

Marche m, 1SS6, pp.501-23 


Allevato: one raised at the court Cappellano: chaplain 

Armigero (Uomo d'arme): man-at-arms Cassiero: treasurer 

Auditore: a counsellor with jurisdictional powers Castellano: commander of the fortress 

Avvocato fiscale: magistrate of the revenue Cavalière: knight 

Balestriero: crossbowman Commensale: one who ate at the lord's table 

Ballerino: dancer Commissario: commissary 

Barbiere: barber Computista: accountant 

Bibliotecario: librarian Connestabile: constable in command of the 
Cameriere maggiore: head manservant, valet town gates 

Cancel Here: chancellor Consigliere: counsellor 

Consultore: counsellor 

92 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Copista: scribe 

Corriere: messenger 

Credenziere: head servant overseeing the table; 

originally one who tasted all the food to be 

served to the lord 
Curiale: courtier 
Damigella (Domicella, Donna di compa- 

gnia): lady-in-waiting 
Depositario: treasurer 
Dispensiere: steward of the household 
Equitis: knight 

Fattore générale', steward of the estates 
Fomaio: baker 

Fomiciaro: one who bakes bricks, etc. 
Garzone: young servant 
Giureconsulto: iurisconsuli 
Luogotenente: lieutenant 
Maestro di casa (Maggiordomo): majordomo 
Maestro delle entrate: master of the revenue 
Maestro di guardaroba: master of the wardrobe 
Maestro di stalla: head of the stables 
Marescalco: farrier 
Massaro: domestic steward 
Muratore: brick-layer 

Notaio: notary 

Oratore: ambassador 

Procuratore: procurator, agent 

Piffero: piper 

Ragioniere: accountant 

Rappresentante: delegate, representative 

Referendario (Revisore): comptroller 

Sagitarrio: archer 

Scalco (Sescalco, Siniscalco): head servant 

overseeing the meals; originally denoted a 

Scrittore: official writer 
Scudiero: equerry 
Segretario: secretary 
Sopraintendente: superintendent 
Soprastante: overseer, usually of construction 

Squadrero (Capo di squadra): leader of troops 
Stqffîere: messenger 
Tamburino: dnunmer 
Tesoriere: treasurer 
Trombetto: trumpeter 
Vicario delle gabelle e delle appellazioni: 

officer in charge of taxes and appeals 


N.b. The order is alphabetical by first name. Included are members of the Malatesta court at Pesaro 
who continued to work for the Sforza. The dates given are those found in the documents. Where 
there is more than one year per entry, the archival and bibliographical references are arranged 
chronologically according to these dates. 

Alberto Albergati da Bologna 

procuratore for Giovarmi Sforza, to borrow 
money for the restitution of the Rocca Costanza 
Feliciangeli, LeWere, p.41 n,20 

Alessandro di Matteo dei Collenucci di Pesaro 

1489, 1493 

capitano of Montelevecchie 

Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.VI,cc.421, 418 

Alessandro Pugliano (Pogliano) de Interamna 
(Introcinis, Introcinio) de Benevento (Rieti) 

famigliare of Alessandro Sforza 
Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.1, cc.440v-441; SajaneUo, 
p.377; Olivieri, Sforza, p.LXXXIV 

Ahnerico Ahnerici 
1464, 1470, 1490; died 1492 
vicario delle gabelle e delle appellazioni for 
Alessandro; podestà of Pesaro; avvocato fis- 
cale della camera for Giovanni 
Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.11, cc.630v-631; Bibl.Oliv. 
376, vol.I, c.442v; Bibl.OUv. 376, vol. VI, c.412; 
Olivien, Diplovatazio , p.XI 

Almoro Brandolin da Mestre 


oratore for Giovanni in Venice 

Feliciangeli, SuU'acquisto, pp.3 1-92, 32 n.l 

Alo, detto Battaglino del fu Ranaldo di Arquata 


servo of Alessandro 

Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.11, c.396 

Renaissance et Réforme / 93 

Alovisio (Aloisi, Luigi) Basicaretri 


credenziere and dispensiere of Alessandro 

Feliciangeli, Sveva, p.56; Madiai, pp.95,97 

Mro Andrea di Girolamo de S. Angelo 
1509; dead by 1512 
ingegnere of Giovanni 

Bibl.Oliv. 455, vol.11, c. 1 39v; ASPN, Domen- 
ico Zucchella, vol.47, 2 April 1512, page un- 

Angelo de Probis d'Atri 

1457,c.l463, 1467 

s^retario, cancelliere, famigliare of Alessandro 

Olivieri, Michelina, p.LIX; idem., Sforza, 

p.LXXIII; Madiai, p.96; Soranzo, ^non/mo, 


Antonello del fii Matteo Panzano 


curiale of Giovanni 

Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol. VI, c.370 

Antonello Picinino 


one of the servants named as having the care of 

Battista Sforza during Alessandro's absence 


Feliciangeli, Battista , pp. 10, 1 2 

Antonello da Tortona 


siniscalco of Giovanni 

Bibl.Oliv. 455, vol.11, c. 17 

Ms Antonio 
Barbiere of Giovaimi 
Cinelli, p.57 

Ser Antonio de Tabbate (family came fh>m 

Brescia to Pesaro in 1 393) 

1458; died 1478 

cancelliere of Costanza Sforza, then served 

Alessandro and Costanzo; named as having the 

care of Battista during Alessandro's absence 


Feliciangeli, 5am.sto, p. 10 

Antonio dalla Badia 


balestriero of Giovanni 

Bibl.Oliv. 455, voULc. 106 

Antonio da Brescia (same as Ser Antonio de 

rabbate ?) 

C.1457, 1460s 

cameriere, cameriere scalco of Alessandro 

Madiai, pp.94, 97; Bibl.Oliv. 374, vol.1, c.57- 


Antonio Ferrarese di Francesco Forzate 


allevato of Alessandro (he carried letters back 

and forth between Alessandro and his mistress) 

Feliciangeli, Sveva, p. 17; Madiai, p.l 12 

Antonio di Gaspare gia di Montecicardo 


capitano of Monte Gaudio 

Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.VI, c.425 

Ser Antonio de StruUis da Coldazzo 
1430s; died c. 1460 

grammar instructor to Costanza Varano 
Feliciangeli, Battista, p.6; idem., Costanza, 
p. 17 note 

Arcangelo Ayberti (d'Ayberto da Trevi) 
scalco of Giovanni 

Feliciangeli, Lttcrezia, p.78; idem., Sull'acquisto, 
p.47no.3, p.72n.l 

Ser Baldo del fu Paolo di Urbiiio 


maggiordomo of Camilla and Giovanni 

Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.VI, c.383v 

Bartolommeo dei Cavalière da Ferrara 


Giovaimi's oratore at the court of Milan 

Feliciangeli, Lucrezia , p. 32 n. 1 

Mro Bartolomeo di Zanno da Vigevano (M. 
Bartolo Janini de Vigena) 
1463, 1470 

fomiciaro of Alessandro 
BibLOliv. 937, vol.IV, Sq.S, c.39; ASPN, 
Matteoli, vol.3, 13 January 1470, page un- 

Battaglino da Rieti 

famigliare of Alessandro 
Madiai, p. 109 

94 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Battista di Leilo degli Almerici da Pesaro 


capitano of the port 

BiblOliv. 455, vol.1, c.534; BibLOliv. 455, 

vol.II, C.137 

Battista de' Moregni di Mantova 


cappellano of Maddalena Sforza dei Gonzaga 

in Pesaro 

Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.11, c.567 

Battista PoUato 


cameriere of Galeazzo Sforza 

ASF, Urbino, Cl.III, Fa. 38, c.209 

Benedetto Reguardati da Norcia 

bomc.1398/99; 1453, 1457, 1458 

doctor of Alessandro and Sveva; ministro and 

luogotenente of Alessandro; had the care of 

Battista during Alessandro' s absence 1457- 


Feliciangeli, Sveva, p.l2; idem., Battista, p. 10 


died 1467 

squadrero of Alessandro 

Paltroni, p.225 

Berardino Samperoli 


companion to Costanzo (brother of Mattea, 

Alessandro' s mistress before Pacifica) 

Feliciangeli, Battista, p.l 3 

Don Bemabeo di Giovanni 


soprastante of construction on Alessandro' s 


BibLOliv. 937, voI.IV, Sq.S, c.l4v; ASPN, 

Sepolcri, vol.2, c.235v 


died 1510 

fomaio di corte of Giovanni 

Bibl.01iv.455, vol.II, c.l61; Cinelli, p.l33 



servant of Galeazzo 

ASF, Urbino, Cl.III, Fa. 38, c.209 

Ser Bernardino di Ser Gaspare Fattori 


procuratore for Galeazzo for the rendering of 

the Rocca Costanza; segretario of Galeazzo 

(also cancelliere of Pesaro) 

Feliciangeli, Lettere, p.43 n.27 

Bernardino Superchi 


tesoriere of Giovanni 

BibLOliv. 376, vol.IX, c.221 

Bernardo detto Abbate dei Bossi del fii Pietro 

famigliare of Costanzo 
BibLOliv. 376, voLII, c.455 

Bernardo Monaldi 

1503, 1504 

segretario and medico of Giovanni; his agent in 


Feliciangeli, Lettere, p. 42 n.21; idem., Lucre- 

zia, p.43; Vaccai, Ginevra, p. 168 

Bertolda di Perugia 


donna di compagnia of Sveva 

Madiai, p. 108 



servant of Galeazzo 

ASF, Urbino, Cl.III, Fa.38, c.209 

Camillo Leonardi 



Feliciangeli, Sull'acquisto, p. 44 

Camillo Samperoli 


ambassador sent to Rome by Galeazzo 

Feliciangeli, Lettere, p. 10 

Carlo del q. messer Benedetto delli Reguardati 

da Norsia 


cava//ere of Costanzo 

BibLOliv. 937, voLV, Sq.AB, c.l3v 

Renaissance et Réforme / 95 

Carlo Sforza 

bomc.1461; 1475, 1481 

siniscalco at Costanzo's wedding banquet 

Tabarrini, p. 14; ASPN, Sepolcri, vol. 10, c.407v 

Cesare Alberti 
scalco of Giovanni 
Vaccai, Ginevra, p. 172 

Mro Cherubino di Milano 
1476, 1478, 1479, 1483, 1491, 1492; died 

muratore, muratoris ac etiam ingegnerii of 
Costanzo; given patent of ingegnere by Gio- 
vanni (1491); sopraintendente di tutti i lavori 
difortificazione, ponti, strode, chiuse, ecc. , for 

ASPN, Sepolcri, vol.8, cc.l62v, 242; vol.9, 
cl 90; ASPN, Matteo Lepri, vol. 10, c.l38v; 
Bibl.Oliv. 384, c.229; ASPN, Sepolcri, vol. 1 1 , 
ce. 137, 146; Vaccai, 1909, p.80; Bibl.Oliv. 
376, vol.1, C.64; Feliciangeli, SuU'acquisto, 
p.58; BibLOliv. 376, vol.I, cc.258, 259v-260 

Chiarelmo de Spoleto 


segretario of Galeazzo 

ASF, Urbino, Cl. III, Fa. 38, c.208v 

Christoforo delli Perusini 

1479, 1481 

luogotenente of Costanzo 

ASPN, Matteo Lepri, vol. 10, c.l38v; Vaccai, 

1928, p.202 



maestro di stalla of Galeazzo 

Feliciangeli, SuU'acquisto, doc. VIII, p.83 

Domenico di Barignano 
1474, 1481, 1490 

sent by Costanzo to the Patriarch of Aquilea to 
announce his forthcoming marriage; ambassa- 
dor in Rome for Costanzo; procuratore for 

Bibl.Oliv. 455, vol.I, c.330; Bibl. Oliv. 376, 
vol.VI, CC.325, 325V-326, 332v-333 

Ser Dominico 


cancelliere of Alessandro 

Olivieri, Sforza, p.C 

Donato Stephano da Cotignola 


cameriere and sescalco of Galeazzo 

Bibl.Oliv. 387, c.38v; Vemarecci, Libreria, 

p.523; ASF, Urbino, CI. Ill, Fa.38, c.208 



luogotenente of Giovanni 

ASPN, Matteo Lepri, vol. 37, c.lO; Domenico 

Zucchella, vol. 39, c.l07 

Ercole Bentivoglio 

bomc.1461; 1475, 1481 

siniscalco at Costanzo's wedding banquet 

Tabarrini, p. 14; ASPN, Sepolcri, vol 10, c.407v 

Ercole Sforza (illegitimate brother of Costanzo?) 
bomc.1461; 1475 
Tabarrini, p. 13 

Factorino Picinino 


one of the servants who had the care of Battista 

during Alessandro' s absence in 1457-58 

Feliciangeli, Battista, p. 10 



cameriere of Costanzo 

ASPN, Sepolcri, vol.8, c.l56 

Federico del fu Ser Gualtiero di Bartolomeo da 

S. Angelo in Vado 


siniscalco of Camilla and Giovanni 

BibLOliv. 376, vol.I, cc.383-85 

Filippo de Neapoli 


depositario denariorum for construction of the 

Rocca Costanza 

ASPN, Sepolcri, vol. 8, c.256 

Fra Francesco d'Ancona 


confessor of Alessandro 

Olivieri, Sforza, p.XC 

96 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Francesco di Andrea delli Piccini da Todi 
1464, 1465, 1467, 1479, 1480, 1487 
referendario o revisore of Alessandro; vice 
podestà of PesaTo;giureconsulto andpodestà 
of Pesaro; auditore of Giovanni 
Bibl.Oliv. 937, vol.IV, Sq.T, cc.21v, 42; ASF, 
Urbino, Cl.I, Div.B, Fa. 10, c.1042; Olivieri, 
Sforza, p.XCVI; Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.11, c.461 ; 
ASPN, Germano Germani, vol.4, c.249v 

Francesco di maestro Angelo 


scalco of Costanzo 

Feliciangeli, Battista, p. 13 

Francesco Arduini 


ambassador sent to Rome to plead for Galeazzo 

Feliciangeli, Lettere, p. 10 

Francesco del fu (Orlandino ?) di Borgo S. 



curiale of Giovanni 

BibLOliv. 376, vol. VI, c.368v 

Francesco di Bartolomeo da Crespolano 


servitore of Costanzo 

BibLOliv. 455, vol.1, cc. 138-39 

Francesco del q. Stefano Becci (Bezio) da 


1473, 1486, 1493; died C.15 10 

a speziale (spice merchant) who became mag- 

giordomo of Giovanni 

BibLOliv. 937, voL V, Sq.AB, c. 1 3v; BibLOliv. 

455, voLI, C.37 1 ; Olivieri, Diplovatazio, p.XIV; 

Gregorovius, Appendix p.3 1 , doc.9; Bibl.Oliv. 

376, voLI, C.327 

Francesco delli Beni 


referendario and revisore of Costanzo 

Vaccai, 1928, p.202 

Francesco di Bonadia de' Zanchis 

famigliare of Alessandro 
BibLOliv. 455, voLII,c.l03v 

Francesco da Cotignola 

1470, 1473 

cassiero of Alessandro and Costanzo 

BibLOliv. 374, vol.I, c.106; BibLOliv. 937, 

voLV, Sq.AB, c.l3v 

Francesco di Gerolamo da Monte Milone, 

detto Milone 


stqffiere andfamigliare of Camilla 

BibLOliv. 376, voLVI, c.362v 

Francesco di Guglielmo Verità di Verona 

famulus familiaris, marescalchus of Alessan- 
Soranzo, Cronaca sconosciuta, pp.96-97 

Francesco del fti Orlandino di Borgo (same as 

Francesco di Borgo S. Donnino ?) 


connestabile for Giovanni 

BibLOliv. 376, voLVI, c.385 

Francesco da Palude (son of Niccolô) 
1479, 1480, 1490-93, 1494/95, 1497; died 
before 1501 

siniscalco of Costanzo; oratore of Giovanni at 
Milan ( 1 490-93); maestro dicasa and maestro 
delle entrate of Giovanni (1494/95, 1497) 
Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.11, c.462; Feliciangeli, Lm- 
crezia, p.32 n.l; Bibl.Oliv. 376, voLVI, cc.423- 

Galeotto Agnesi da Napoli 

after 1459; died 1462 

segretario and luogotenente of Alessandro 

Feliciangeli, Battista , p. 1 3 



cappellano of Sveva 

Oliviery, Sforza, p.L 

Gaspar de Cesena 


servant of Battista 

Feliciangeli, Battista, p. 12 

Renaissance et Réforme / 97 

Gasparino Ardizij (de Mediolana) 

1465, 1473 

doctor of Alessandro (who marries him to his 

mistress, Pacifica); then doctor of Costanzo, 

and also for the town of Pesaro 

Olivieri, Sforza, pp.XCV-XCVI; Bibl.Oliv. 

937,vol.V, Sq.AB,c.l3v 

Giacometto da Caiazzo 


capitano dei balestrieri e sagitarri of Giovanni 

Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.1, cc.389-90 



cameriere of Alessandro 

Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.X,c. 149 

Giacomo (Jacomino) (same as the above ?) 
1497; died 1510 

cameriere. cameriere maggiore of Giovanni 
Feliciangeli, Lucrezia, p.43; Bibl. Oliv. 455, 
vol.n,c.l61;cinelli,p. 133 

Giacomino di Ferrara 
died before April 1493 
curiale of Giovanni 
Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol. VI, c.406 

Giacomo di Ancona 


curiale andfamigliare of Giovanni 

Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.VI, c.374 

Ser Jacomo delli Bagarotti da Piacenza (da 


1473, 1475, 1485 

cancelliere and segretario of Costanzo; segre- 

tario of Camilla and Giovanni 

Bibl.Oliv. 937, vol.V, Sq.AB, c.l3v; Ratti, 

p.155; Vaccai,Le nozze, p.35; Bibl.Oliv. 455, 

vol.11, c. 11 

Giacomo Biancuccio 

1498; died 1510 

depositario del porto and tesoriere for Giovanni 

Bibl.Oliv. 455, vol.1, c.243; Bibl.Oliv. 455, 

vol.11, c. 16 l;Cinelli,p.l 33 

Mro Jacomo di Ser Guido da Verona 


scrittore, scrivano, segretario of Alessandro 

Bibl.Oliv. 937, vol.IV. Sq.R, c.29v; Soranzo, 

Cronaca sconosciuta, p.97 

Mro Jacomo del q. Bartolomeo da Norsia 

1463, 1464, 1465, 1468, 1473 

ministro, fattore of Alessandro 

Olivieri, Sforza, p.LXXI; Bibl.Oliv. 376, 

vol. VIII, cc.226-27; Bibl.Oliv. 937, vol.IV, 

Sq.R, c.43v; Sq.T, c.42; vol.V, Sq.Z, c.8v; 


lacomo di Pero Banzo da Fossombrone 


castellano (with seven pages) of the Rocca of 


Olivieri, S. Tommaso, p. 88 

Giacomo da Pesaro 

1430s- 1450s 

humanist and notary 

Saviotti; Feliciangeli, Costanza, p.l9 n.3 

Jacomo Piccinino 


allevato of Alessandro 

Feliciangeli, Sveva, p. 17 

Giacomo Probo di Atria (de Probis d'Atri, son 



ambassador for Costanzo in Rome 

Bibl.01iv.376. vol.VI, cc.325, 325v-326 

Mro Jacomo delli Scotti da Marignano 


barbiere of Alessandro 

Bibl.Oliv. 937, vol.IV, Sq.Q, c.25v 

Giacomo Venuti 


luogotenente of Giovanni 

Bibl.Oliv. 455, vol.11, cc.260-61 

Gian Antonio da Cremona 


credenziere of Giovanni 

Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.VI, c.385 

Gian Francesco detto Riccio di maestro Tom- 
maso (Bettini da Urbino) barbiere 
1481, 1482 

cameriere of Costanzo 
Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.11, cc.467, 469 

98 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Gian Pietro del fu Mro Tomasso calzolaio 


trombettiere of Alessandro 

BibLOliv. 376, vol.1, c.374 




Olivieri, Lettera, p.V 



servant of Galeazzo 

ASF, Urbino, CI. Ill, Fa.38, c.209 

Giorgio Attendolo da Cotignola 



Feliciangeli,Lettere,pAl n.l6;idem., Sull'ac- 
quisto, pp.39, 45, 46, 47 

Giorgio Ayberti 
scalco of Giovanni 
Wemarecci, L'incendio, p.791 

Giovanni Andrea da Gambarano 


auditore of Galeazzo 

ASF, Urbino, CI. Ill, Fa.38, c.209 

Giovanni di Antonio Guglielmini di Bellinzona 

1491, 1493 

cameriere of Giovanni 

BibLOliv. 376, vol. VI, cc.384, 413v 

Giovanni Antonio de Bresani da Cremona 

cancelliere of Alessandro 
Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.X, cc.l45v, 146; Bibl.Oliv. 
937, V.IV, Sq.T, c.40; Olivieri, Sfona, p.LXX; 
BibLOliv. 376, vol. VII, cc.81, 346-48 

Giovanni Antonio del Tonso 


carrière of Alessandro 

Olivieri, Sforza, p.Cin 

Giovanni Battista dell'Antella 


computista of Alessandro 

ASPN, Sepolcri, voLl, c.l45 

Giovanni Battista de Nami 


cancelliere of Alessandro 

Olivieri, Sforza, p.XCVII; Soranzo, Anonimo, 

p2Al n.2 

Giovanni Benevoli (Bonavoglia) da Mantova 


segretario of Giovanni 

Feliciangeli, Sull'acquisto, p.56 n.3 

Giovanni Germani 
1490s, 1497 

cancelliere of Giovanni; notaio of Pesaro; se- 
gretario del comune (1497) 
Olivieri, Gradara, p.97; Feliciangeli, LucrezM, 

Giovanni di Giontarello da Pesaro 
Olivieri, Sforza, p.XLV 

Giovanni da Lacha (dal Lago) 


one of Costanzo's squadra 

BibLOliv. 376, voLI, c.344 

Giovanni Maria Dino da Castelfidardo 


luogotenente of Giovanni 

Feliciangeli, Sull'acquisto, p.53 n.2, p.57 n.l 

Giovanni Ondedei 


capitano of Monte Baroccio 

BibLOliv. 455, voLI, c.344 

Giovanni di Padovani 

fattore of Costanzo; astrologer 
ASPN, Sepolecri, voLlO, c.407v, Vaccai, 1909, 
pp. 84-85 

Mro Giovanni di Pietro alias Riccio del fii Scar- 

amuccia di Torricella parmense 


cuoco of Giovanni 

BibLOliv. 376, voLVI, cc.411v-12 

Giovanni de Roxellis da Aretrio 


luogotenente of Pesaro for Alessandro 

Olivieri, Sforza, p.CV 


Renaissance et Réforme / 99 

Giulio di Piersante Bosi da Samano 


ministro of Alessandro 

Madiai, p.109 

Giustiniano Castelli da Cremona 


luogotenente of Pesaro for Alessandro 

Vaccai, 1909, p.43 

Guglielmo da Pesaro 
1444, c.1463 

ballerino, choreographer of dances at Alessan- 
dro' s wedding; dedicated dance treatise to 
Galeazzo Maria Sforza of Milan 
Rodocanachi, p. 198; Pellegrin, pp. 40-41 

Guido Antonio da Sajano 
borne. 1479; 1499 
cameriere of Giovanni 
Cinelli, p.93, and p. 161 document 

Hieronyma da Pesaro 


domicella of Ginevra Bentivoglio Sforza, wife 

of Galeazzo 

ASF, Urbino, Cl.III, Fa.38, c.209 



cameriere of Galeazzo 

ASF, Urbino, Cl.III, Fa.38, c.209 

Lanfranco de Corvis 


cancelliere of Alessandro 

Olivieri, Sforza, pp.LXVI-LXVII; Bibl.Oliv. 

374, vol.1, cc.56-57 

Lelio dei Maddaleni Capodiferro 


oratore of Giovaimi at Rome 

Feliciangeli, Lucrezia, pp.24, 40 

Leonardo qm Giovanni Botta da Cremona 

1465, 1467, 1471 

cancelliere and segretario of Alessandro 

Bibl.Oliv. 937, vol.IV, Sq.T, c.41v; Bibl.Oliv. 

376, vol.X, C.146; Olivieri, Sforza, pp.XCV, 


Leonardo dal Colle 


copista of Costanzo 

Vaccai, Le nozze, pp.28-29; Miniature, p.43 

Lionino Giovanni di Bergamo 


armigero of Giovanni 

Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol. VI, c.392 

Lorenzo de (...) 


cancelliere of Galeazzo 

ASF, Urbino, Cl.III, Fa.38, c.209 

Lorenzo Lauti da Siena 


segretario of Giovaimi; consigliere and pro- 

curatore for Lucrezia Borgia 

Feliciangeli, L«crez /a, pp.30, 31 n. 3 

Luciano da Laurana 

1476, 1478, 1479 

ingegnere of Costanzo 

ASPN, Sepolcri, vol.8, c.242; vol.9, c.l90; 

Matteo Lepri, vol.10, c.l38v 

Ludovico Bergolini da Bologna 

famigliare and commensale of Alessandro 
Feliciangeli, Sveva, p. 18; Madiai, p.97 

Ludovico de Cardanis da Torricella di Parma 
1493, 1497-1500, 1510; died 1510 
cancelliere and segretario of Giovanni; drew 
up Giovanni's will (1510) 
Gregorovius, p. 31 document 9; Feliciangeli, 
Lucrezia, p.67; idem., Sull'acquisto, p.53 n.2; 
Bibl.Oliv. 455, vol.11, cc.l61, 199v; Cinelli, 
p. 133 

Ludovico da Pexia 


castellano of the fortress of Pesaro 

Olivieri, Zecca,p.2 12 

Luigi di Bonabello da Sale 


sent by Giovanni to "ritirare certa quantité di 

perle lasciate dal padre Costanzo in deposito a 

Bonifacio Manerba di Brescia" 

Feliciangeli, Sull'acquisto, p.41 

100 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Maddalena del q. Petrozorzo de Almerici da 



servant of Battista 

Feliciangeli, Battista, p.9 

Marco Citara 

1494, 1497, 1498, 1503; died 1510 
mercante who became referendario, maestro 
delle entrate and maestro di casa for Giovanni 
Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol. VI, c.411v; Feliciangeli, 
SulVacquisto , p.5 3 n.2; ASPN, Giovanni Ger- 
mani, vol. 1 6, C.224; BibLOUv. 455, voin, c. 1 6 1 ; 
Cinelli, p.133 

Marco de Monaldi 

1458, 1459, 1465 

scalco of Alessandro; councillor, soprastante 

for construction on Alessandro' s palace 

Feliciangeli, Battista, p. 10; Olivieri, Sforza, 

p.XLVIII; BibLOliv. 937, vol.IV, Sq.S, c.l4v; 

ASPN, Sepolcri, vol.2, c.235v 

Marcone del fti Giacomo 

1486, 1495 

uomo d'arme of Giovanni (before 1495) 

BiblOliv. 376, vol. VI, c.415v 

Margarita de li Ardoino da Pesaro 


servant of Battista 

Feliciangeli, Battista, p.9 

Margherita da Marzano di Napoli 


damigella of Camilla (married Francesco, son 

of Niccolô della Palude) 

Feliciangeli, Lucrez /a, p.32n.l 

Mariano di Tassolo alias il Perusino 


lived in the palace with Costanzo; occupation 

not known 

Bibl.Oliv. 937, vol.IV, Sq.T, c.l8 

Marino Grisanti 


rappresentante andprocuratore of Alessandro, 

fc»* the wedding between Alessandro and Sveva 

Feliciangeli, Sveva, p.9 

Martino Filetico 


Roman humanist; teacher of Battista and 


Feliciangeli, Battista, p.6 

Matteo di Antonio de Callio 


cappellano of Costanza Varano Sforza 

Sajanello, p.375 

Matteo del fti Giovanni di Sale 


connestabile of Pesaro 

BibLOliv. 376, vol. VI, C.41 3 

Matteo da Sassoferrato dei CoUenucci 

1458; died 1465 

grammar instructor to Battista and Costanzo; 

notaio and cancelliere 

Feliciangeli, Battista, pp.6, 14 

Ser Michèle ( is he identical with Ser Michèle de 
Covardi, father of Vittoria, donzella of Cos- 
tanza and Sveva ? See Olivieri, Appendice, 

cancelliere of Alessandro 
Paltroni, p. 115; Feliciangeli, Sveva, p.76 

Michèle de Vittorini 


worked for Costanzo 

Bibl.01iv.376, vol. VII, cc.98-99 

Niccolô di Barignano 

1467, 1473, 1474, 1475; died 1484 in Fano 
famigliare of Alessandro; se^retono and^^wa- 
drero of Costanzo 

Soranzo, Anonimo, p.243 n.1; Ratti, p. 155; 
ASPN, Sepolcri, vol.7, c.l50; Tabarrini, p.4; 
BibLOliv. 455, voLI, c.336 

Nicolô Pacediano 
segretario of Galeazzo 
Ratti, p.l72n.lO 

Niccolô della Palude 

1465, 1474 

luogotenente of Alessandro and Costanzo 

BibLOliv. 937, voLFV, Sq.S, c.l5; voLV, Sq.AB, 


Renaissance et Réforme / 101 

Niccolô Pietro da Perugia (Nicolaus Petri de 
Perusio; Nicole Perusino) 
1457, 1475, 1476, 1478, 1481 
famigliare of Alessandro; revisore of Costanzo 
Feliciangeli, Sveva, p.80; Madiai, p.96; ASPN, 
Sepolcri, vol.8, cc.68, 256; vol.9, cl 90; Vac- 
csà,Le ville, p.265; idem., 1928, p.202 

Niccolô Porcinari de Aquila 


luogotenente of Pesaro for Alessandro 

Olivieri, Sforza, pp.LXV, LXXX 

Niccolô da Saiano 
1481, 1491, 1493,1500 
famigliare of Costanzo; vicario délia gabella; 
commissario and consultore for Giovanni; 
orator et procurator acspecialis nuntius for the 
marriage between Giovanni and Lucrezia Bor- 
gia; oratore spéciale sent to Venice 
Bibl.Oliv. 455, vol.II, c.320v; BibLOliv. 376, 
vol. VI, cc.372v-73; Gregorovius, Appendix 
p.3 1 , doc.9; Feliciangeli, Sull'acquisto, pp. 1 6, 

Nicolô delli Savini da Santa Vittoria 
1464, 1467, 1468, 1478 
podestà of Pesaro; dottore in diritto and audi- 
tore of Alessandro; luogotenente for Alessan- 
dro and Costanzo 

Bibl.Oliv. 455, vol.II, c.120; Soranzo, ^no/ï/- 
wo,p.243 n.l; Vaccai, 1928, p.202; Bibl.Oliv. 
376, vol.II, C.457 

Nobilia da Parma 


donna di compagnia of Sveva 

Madiai, p. 109 

Ser Orlandino di Ser Bartolino dei Superchi da 

Pesaro (da Tomba) 

1447(48), 1458; died C.1471 

cancelliere of the Malatesta and of Alessandro; 

drew up the marriage contract of Alessandro 

and Sveva 

Feliciangeli, Sveva, p.9 al; idem., Battista, 


Pandolfo Collenuccio 


humanist; ambassador of Giovanni and Camilla 

in Rome 

Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol. VI, cc.328, 329 

Pasquale Maripetro ( Malipiero) 

borne. 1447; 1458 

companion of Costanzo (cousin of the Doge of 


Feliciangeli, Battista, p. 13 



servant of Galeazzo 

ASF, Urbino, CI. Ill, Fa.38, c.209 

Petro de (...) (not same as above) 


cameriere of Galeazzo 

ASF, Urbino, Cl.III, Fa.38, c.208 

Pier Giorgio Almerici 
1440s, 1457; died c. 1468 
famigliare of Elisabetta Malatesta Varano in 
^ts^To; famigliare ana commensale of Ales- 

Feliciangeli, £//5aZ)er/a, p.201; Bibl.OHv. 376, 
vol.IX, CC.177, 182 

Piergiorgio Almerici 


ambassador in Rome for Galeazzo 

Feliciangeli, Lettere, p. 10 

Piergiovanni di Alessandro da Camerino 


armigero of Giovanni 

BibLOliv. 376, vol. VI, c.374v 

Piermatteo Giordani 
1492, 1508, 1512 

capitano ofNovilara; Count Palatine; ambass- 
ador in Rome for Galeazzo 
BibLOliv. 376, voLIX, cc.l36, 80; FeliciangeU, 
Lettere, p. 10 

Piero da Comazzano 


cameriere and scudiero of Alessandro 

Feliciangeli, Sveva, p.23; Madiai, pp.94, 97 

Piero Gentile di Varano (is he identical with 
Pier Gentile da Camerino, born c.1461, who 
carried the baldachin at the wedding of Costan- 
zo and Camilla? Tabarrini, p. 13) 
C.1503; died 1508 
oratore of Giovanni in Venice 
Vaccai, Ginevra, p.l68; Feliciangeli, L'/ft/ieA^ 
ario, p.34 n.2 

102 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Piero Lodovico Piemontese 

died 1456 

cameriere of Alessandro (first husband of his 

mistress, Pacifica) 

Feliciangeli, Sveva, p. 15 

Pier Ludovico Saraceni da Pesaro 


dottore and cavalière; oratore straordinario 

sent to Venice by Giovanni 

Feliciangeli, Sull'acquisto, pp.22, 23 

Pier Sante di Marino Bosi da Samano 


ministro of Alessandro 

Feliciangeli, Battista, p.9 

Pietro Barignani da Brescia 


canonico; procuratore for Giovanni to borrow 

money for the restitution of the Rocca Costanza 

Feliciangeli, Lettere, p.41 n.20 

Prospero Montani da Fermo 


luogotenente for Giovanni 

Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol. VI, cc.360, 37 Iv 

Raniero Almerici 

bom 1430, 1458, 1468, 1475, 1484, 1498, 
died 1499/1501 

nominated cavalière aurato by Francesco 
Sforza; Count Palatine (1468); served Ales- 
sandro; capo di squadra for Costanzo; equitis 
serving Giovanni 

BibLOliv. 376, voLIX, cc.l77v-78; Feliciangeli, 
Costanza, p.39 n.2; Tabarrini, p.4; Bibl.Oliv. 
376, vol. VI, C.426; ASPN, Giovanni Ger- 
mani, vol.16, c.224 

Riccio del fu Ambrogio di Milano 

famigliare and curiale of Giovanni 
BibLOliv. 376, vol. VI, c.409 

Roberto Ondedei 

1464, 1467, 1468 

commisario for Alessandro; his luogotenente 

and segretario, and ministro in Venice 

BibLOliv. 376, voLVIII, c.220; ASF, Urbino, 

CLI, Div. B, Fa. 10, c.1042; Soranzo, Ano- 

nimo, p.242 n.2; Olivieri, Sforza, p.CII 

Sebastiano Spandolini > 

1500, 1503 I 

famigliare of Giovanni ' 

Feliciangeli, Sull'acquisto, p.41 n.3; Olivieri, î 
Diplovatazio, p.IX j 

Mro Silvestro di Marco Sozzi dei Graziani da 


1476; died c. 1491 ) 

castellano of the fortress of Gradara ] 

BibLOliv. 376, vol.11, c.453; BibLOliv. 376, I 

voLVI, C.370 

Simone da Pesaro | 

1462 i 

depositario for Alessandro and for Pesaro | 

Olivieri, Sforza, p.LXVI \ 

Spilimbertus Bartholomei de Crispolano \ 

1476 t 

famigliare of Costanzo I 

ASPN, Sepolcri, voL8, c.242 | 

Staxio q. Staxii de Cotignola \ 

1473, 1476 I 

suprastantibus deputatis supra fabrica of the 
Rocca Costanza | 

Bibl.Oliv. 937, voLV, Sq.AB, c.l3v; ASPN, j 
Sepolcri, vol.8, c.242 

Sveva \ 


damigella of Sveva Montefeltro Sforza 

Feliciangeli, Sveva, p. 3 5 n.2 


died 1510 

dispensiere for Giovanni 

BibLOliv. 455, voLII, c.161; Cinelli, p. 133 



servant of Galeazzo 

ASF, Urbino, CLIII, Fa.38, c.209 



cancelliere of Giovanni 

Feliciangeli, Sull'acquisto, p.78 doc.III, p.79 

doc. IV 

Renaissance et Réforme / 103 

Tommaso di Coldazzo 


capitano générale of the contado of Pesaro 

Bibl.Oliv. 376, vol.VI, c.422 

Tommaso Diplovatazio 

1489, 1492, 1506 

called to Pesaro by Camilla in 1489 "per eser- 

citarvi la carica di vicario delle appellazioni e 

gabelle;" avvocato fiscale della Camera for 

Giovanni; ambassador sent by Galeazzo to the 

Marquis and Cardinal of Mantua 

OXWxQÛ, Diplovatazio, pp.V, X, XI; Bibl.Oliv. 

455, vol.1, C.372 

Vittoria (daughter of Ser Michèle de Covardi) 
died 1488 

donzella of Costanza and Sveva (married to 
Count Monaldino di Montevecchio) 
Olivieri, Sforza, p.LlH; idem., Appendice, p.IV 

Zongus q. Jacobi Lodovici de Pisauro 


one of the suprastantibus of the Rocca Costanza 

ASPN, Sepolcri, vol.1 1, c.l46 

La Description de la nouveauté dans les 
récits de voyage de Cartier et de Rabelais 


On estime généralement que les récits de voyage du XVI® siècle ont 
participé de façon importante à la transformation de l'image du monde qui 
s'est opérée progressivement chez les Européens de la Renaissance.^ 
Lieux de rencontre du connu et de l'inconnu, ces récits cherchaient à 
transmettre à un lecteur souvent limité par ses systèmes de référence, les 
impressions et les interrogations des voyageurs relativement aux objets et 
aux êtres nouveaux rencontrés dans le cadre de cet élargissement du 
champ "expérientiel" que constituait le voyage d'exploration. 

La description de la nouveauté, composante verticale de ces relations, ^ 
semble être l'un des éléments les plus susceptibles d'avoir amené des 
changements sur les plans langagier et épistémologique, en grande partie 
parce que la pause descriptive est l'endroit du récit où sont énoncées les 
données linguistiques et référentielles qui révèlent le rapport établi avec le 
monde nouveau par le rédacteur - que ce dernier soit le voyageur ou son 
secrétaire.' C'est au niveau de ce rapport "expérientiel" que l'on peut 
identifier les éléments discursifs qui ont participé à la création d'une 
nouvelle épistémè au cours des XVI^ et XVII® siècles, épistémè "analy- 
tico-référentielle," pour reprendre l'appellation de Timothy Reiss, dont les 
éléments de base consistent en la valorisation de la connaissance empirique 
de l'univers, au moyen de modèles conceptuels capables de saisir et de 
formuler les lois naturelles qui sont censées présider à l'organisation du 

On peut par conséquent supposer que les récits du XVI« siècle qui se 
présentent au lecteur comme des narrations de voyages effectués dans des 
régions inconnues offriront des différences notables sur le plan de la 
description de la nouveauté, selon que les voyages relatés sont réels ou 
imaginaires. Les récits basés sur des périples historiquement vérifiables 
posséderaient ainsi des caractéristiques stylistiques que l'on peut rap- 
procher du discours analytico-référentiel établi définitivement au XVII* 
siècle par Francis Bacon. ^ Les relations imaginaires, quant à elles, moins 
influencées par les expériences nouvelles, se rattacheraient davantage aux 
traditions épistémologiques médiévales, où la cosmologie et les modes de 

Renaissance et Réforme / 105 

connaissance s'inscrivent dans un discours conjonctif (ou théocentrique).^ 

L'influence ainsi supposée de l'expérience nouvelle sur le discours 
descriptif se vérifie lors de l'examen comparatif de la composante des- 
criptive de deux textes presque contemporains, qui ont souvent été rap- 
prochés, dans le passé, pour des raisons de ressemblances thématiques. Il 
s'sigitduBriefRécit de 1 545, attribué à Jacques Cartier, et du Quart Livre, 
de François Rabelais, qui a été publié dans sa version intégrale en 1552.^ 
L'étude stylistique de ces deux textes révèle que les descriptions du Brief 
Récit sont organisées de façon épistémologique, tandis que celles du Quart 
Livre le sont de manière rhétorique, c'est-à-dire que les descriptions de 
Cartier se préoccupent surtout de mettre ou valeur le signifié, c'est-à-dire 
l'information, tandis que celles de Rabelais accordent une importance 
particulière au signifiant, c'est-à-dire aux différents procédés de présen- 
tation de l'information. On peut en effet constater que les descriptions du 
Brief Récit s'articulent conmie des définitions qui tentent de cerner la 
nature de l'objet décrit au moyen d'une diversification des éléments infor- 
matifs, alors que les descriptions du Quart Livre esquissent une image 
globale de l'objet décrit en utilisant un minimimi de renseignements qu'elles 
mettent cependant en évidence par des procédés rhétoriques. Les pauses 
descriptives provenant du récit de Rabelais sont par conséquent plus 
proches de l'illustration que de la définition. 

Les différences d'orientation, que nous venons de situer en termes de 
définition et d'illustration, trouvent leur prolongement dans d'autres as- 
pects des moments descriptifs et concourent ainsi à mettre en évidence ce 
qu'on peut considérer comme la principale différence stylistique, soit, 
d'une part, l'organisation unifiée des descriptions de Rabelais et, de l'autre, 
la diversité dont font preuve les pauses descriptives provenant du Brief 
Récit. Cette polarité unité/diversité caractérise les deux séries de des- 
criptions tant sur le plan de l'énoncé que sur celui de renonciation. 

Sur le plan de l'énoncé, les descriptions de Rabelais se centrent sur un 
nombre réduit de renseignements, qu'elles exploitent cependant de façon 
maximale au cours d'une démarche textuelle qui répète et amplifie les 
renseignements de départ en leur adjoignant des détails synonymiques et 
en leur faisant subir des métamorphoses de présentation. On peut ainsi 
reconnaître, dans les descriptions du Quart Livre, une récurrence de 
"l'identique" toutefois transformée par des procédés rhétoriques qui créent 
une progression de l'effet. L'énumération est le principal outil stylistique 
qu'utilise le narrateur afin de présenter les différentes métamorphoses de 
l'information thématique qu'il a choisie de mettre en relief. Il peut s'agir 
d'une répétition de sons, de mots ou de phrases syntaxiquement iden- 
tiques. En conjonction avec d'autres procédés, tels l'intensification des 
images, l'absence de verbes et l'abondance d'adjectifs souvent hyper- 
boliques, cette succession de propositions synonymiques qu'est l'énu- 
mération crée une image thématiquement unifiée, mais peu détaillée, de 

106 / Renaissance and Reformation 

l'objet ou de l'être décrit. La dynamique centralisatrice de cette esquisse 
descriptive, pléonastique sur le plan de l'énoncé, est de plus renforcée par 
une énonciation unifiée quant à l'effet, bien que variée en ce qui concerne 
les moyens utilités pour créer cet effet. Dans l'ensemble des descriptions 
du Quart Livre, le rédacteur fait effectivement appel de façon continue au 
registre subjectif pour signaler au lecteur l'ampleur et la nature des réac- 
tions émotives que lui et les personnages ont éprouvées devant les réalités 
nouvelles rencontrées au cours du voyage. Qu'il s'agisse de crainte, dans 
l'épisode du Physetere, ou d'étonnement, dans la description des habitants 
de Ruach,^ l'émotion se manifeste du début à la fin de la pause descriptive, 
par la présentation et l'accumulation de mots qui possèdent une conno- 
tation émotive, ainsi qu'au moyen d'interpellations et de commentaires du 
narrateur qui indiquent non seulement l'existence d'émotions, mais aussi 
l'origine et la nature de ces dernières. 

Les descriptions de Rabelais sont donc unifiées tant sur le plan de 
l'énoncé que sur celui de renonciation, unité rhétorique qui ne cherche pas 
à cerner l'essence de la "chose" à décrire, mais illustre certaines carac- 
téristiques de cette dernière, en insistant particulièrement sur leur rapport 
avec la subjectivité des voyageurs. 

Comme nous venons de l'indiquer, il est possible de percevoir distincte- 
ment, dans le Quart Livre, l'orientation "monothématique" et unidirec- 
tionnelle qu'adopte la démarche descriptive du conteur. Il s'agit d'une 
dynamique paradigmatique, où l'élan descriptif est suscité par une conti- 
nuelle permutation du "semblable." Les descriptions de Cartier, par contre, 
se situent sur le plan syntagmatique du langage où le "différent" succède 
au "différent," tant sur le plan de l'énoncé que sur celui de renonciation, 
pour offrir une image composite de l'objet décrit. Au lieu de se superposer, 
comme dans le Quart Livre, pour arriver à un patron idéel de la "chose" 
dont on parle, les informations fournies par le relateur se juxtaposent les 
unes aux autres de façon linéaire à l'intérieur d'un mouvement du regard 
descriptif qui renseigne le lecteur sur plusieurs aspects de la nouvelle 
réalité rencontrée. 

On peut ainsi reconnaître, dans le Brief Récit, une diversification de 
l'information qui projette dans l'espace textuel une image détaillée et 
plutôt complexe de l'objet décrit. Ce dernier n'est pas représenté au moyen 
d'une esquisse linguistique pléonastique, mais plutôt à l'aide de divers 
procédés stylistiques qui créent une image nettement différenciée de la 
nouvelle réalité. Dans le moment descriptif portant sur l'adhothuys,' par 
exemple, on retrouve des renseignements sur les dimensions, la couleur, le 
lieu d'habitation, la répartition géographique et même le goût de cet animal 
marin, présentés au moyen de comparaisons, d'évaluations perceptuelles 
et de compte-rendus. Cet inventaire rapide signale bien la variété du 
matériel linguistique inscrit dans un espace textuel limité. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 107 

Une telle constatation révèle l'effort que fait le "relateur" pour trans- 
mettre au lecteur un ensemble varié de signifiés qui correspondrait à 
l'image cognitive que les voyageurs se sont faits de la réalité nouvelle. 
Quoique l'on puisse sentir ici une volonté de définir, donc de cerner 
l'essence de ce qui est décrit, le texte, en multipliant les détails et les 
procédés stylistiques, donne naissance, non pas à une image précise et 
intégrée de l'objet, mais à une création linguistique hétérogène, qui pré- 
sente une "chose" hybride dont l'essence et l'existence prennent appui, du 
moins dans le texte, sur une juxtaposition de caractéristiques appartenant 
à d'autres objets de l'univers. Dans la description de l'adhothuys, par 
exemple, l'animal que le texte évoque semble ainsi être la résultante d'une 
combinaison de traits physiques appartenant à d'autres éléments de l'uni- 
vers que connaît le "relateur." Ce dernier nous présente en effet un poisson 
sans nageoires, qui ressemble à un cétacé et à un chien, blanc comme neige 
et qui vit entre deux eaux. La juxtaposition de ces attributs nous fait voir 
l'animal plus par ses contours analogiques, c'est-à-dire par les correspon- 
dances avec l'univers que l'humain croit retrouver dans la bête, que par ses 
caractéristiques propres. 

À cette diversité de l'énoncé correspond une diversification des registres 
de renonciation qui rend compte du sentiment d'ambiguïté entourant le 
statut des objets nouveaux dont parle le "relateur." Ce dernier présente 
certaines informations avec objectivité, tandis que pour d'autres, le ton 
qu'il utilise devient lyrique, admiratif ou méprisant. La présence d'un tel 
mouvement de va-et-vient entre le registre objectif et le registre émotif 
souligne la nature changeante de l'attitude du "relateur" face aux réalités 

La polarité unité/diversité, qui caractérise, d'une part, les descriptions 
du Quart Livre et, de l'autre, celles provenant du Brief Récit, peut 
s'exprimer dans les termes d'une autre opposition qui tient compte de 
façon plus globale de la dynamique interne des moments descriptifs. Il 
s'agit de la dualité centrifuge/centripète, modèle conceptuel binaire qui 
nous semble intéressant parce qu'il indique que l'ensemble des éléments 
qui forment les descriptions de Cartier possèdent une tendance à l'ex- 
pansion, tandis que ceux qui composent celles de Rabelais font preuve 
d'une énergie centralisatrice. Cela signifie que même si certaines carac- 
téristiques des deux séries de descriptions se ressemblent, leur façon de 
s'organiser les oppose selon une importante différence d'orientation. 

Une telle polarité peut s'expHquer par la correspondance du choix 
organisationnel des éléments styHstiques et d'un mode de connaissance de 
l'univers. Dans la perspective où le texte représente un microcosme dans 
lequel les deux écrivains transcrivent les composantes du macrocosme 
(l'univers) au moyen d'un réseau de correspondances analogiques, ^° on 
peut considérer la transcription du "grand" au "petit" comme une opéra- 

108 / Renaissance and Reformation 

tion de médiatisation qui met en évidence la vision du macrocosme que 
possède le rédacteur. Il est par conséquent possible de rapprocher les 
caractéristiques stylistiques d'une description - cette dernière étant la 
transcription linguistique d'une "chose" appartenant au macrocosme - et 
la conception que se font les deux écrivains du langage comme outil de 
transposition. Une telle inscription des données descriptives dans un 
discours épistémologique global permet d'expliquer les différences qui 
caractérisent les deux récits, en identifiant l'épistémè à laquelle appartient 
le langage de chacun des rédacteurs.^* 

Comme nous l'avons déjà noté, les descriptions du Quart Livre font 
preuve d'une grande force de cohésion interne qui se traduit par une 
présentation pléonastique des éléments linguistiques. L'impression d'ordon- 
nance et de stabilité qui résulte de cette organisation textuelle suggère que 
Rabelais propose au lecteur une transcription Unguistique univoque et 
fidèle du monde qu'il décrit. Ce procédé de transposition, dans lequel 
l'ordonnance centripète des éléments stylistiques semble reproduire une 
ordonnance similaire du macrocosme, nous indique que le rédacteur du j 
Quart Livre reconnaît, d'une part, le pouvoir de représentation du langage \ 
par rapport à son univers imaginaire et, de l'autre, la possibilité de réduire ! 
la correspondance macrocosme/microcosme à un principe premier vers ■ 
lequel tendent toutes les composantes de ces deux systèmes analogiques. ! 

La place et l'importance de l'attribution de noms dans les pauses des- ^ 
criptives du Quart Livre indiquent en effet que, pour le rédacteur, le mot i 
possède le pouvoir d'évoquer directement une réalité précise: à chaque î; 
"chose" - même nouvelle sur le plan de l'imaginaire - correspond un mot | 
capable d'englober la nature et la fonction de cette "chose." Rabelais I 
admet donc que le langage est à même de transcrire le macrocosme en lui 
imposant toutefois, au cours du processus de transcription, l'encadrement 
d'une logique rhétorique plus conceptuelle "qu'expérientielle," qui est 
d'ailleurs censée refléter les lois et l'organisation de l'univers, où tout 
concourt à la reconnaissance de la présence première et ultime de Dieu. 

Dans une telle perspective, la description de la nouveauté ne présente 
aucune difficulté particulière pour le conteur. Même s'ils sont péri- 
phériques par rapport à l'univers connu, les mondes nouveaux explorés par 
les voyageurs du Quart Livre sont soumis aux mêmes lois universelles 
d'ordre divin et, par conséquent, au même système analogique qui permet 
d'assimiler linguistiquement le "différent" au "semblable" en l'inscrivant 
dans une organisation hiérarchique pyramidale dont Dieu est le sonmiet et 
la condition d'existence. L'économie centripète des descriptions de Rabelais 
reflète donc une dynamique épistémologique conjonctive dont les éléments - 
tout comme ceux du texte - tendent vers un point conmiun en reproduisant 
l'organisation théocentrique de l'univers. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 109 

Comme cette conception du langage et du cosmos relève d'un principe 
unificateur qui trouve son origine dans le symbolisme universel énoncé par 
saint Augustin,* 2 nous pouvons donc conclure que les descriptions de 
Rabelais participent de l'épistémè médiévale. 

Les descriptions du Brief Récit, pour leur part, se caractérisent par la 
variété des moyens stylistiques mis en oeuvre pour décrire la nouvelle 
réalité. La transcription de cette dernière dans le microcosme du texte 
s'avère ainsi une opération linguistique qui se distingue plus par l'ex- 
pansion de ses éléments constitutifs que par leur concentration. Il s'agit 
d'une stratégie textuelle qui met en évidence la difficulté qu'éprouve le 
"relateur" à décrire brièvement la nouveauté au moyen de procédés stylis- 
tiques univoques. Cartier reconnaît en effet le caractère approximatif de 
son langage descriptif, en ne cessant d'ajouter des renseignements à son 
texte, de façon parfois anarchique, afin d'appréhender une réalité qui 
semble continuellement se dérober à son effort langagier. 

Le Nouveau- Monde ne semble guère vouloir s'assimiler à l'Ancien sur 
le plan analogique, d'où la nécessité de singulariser les choses à l'aide de 
procédés épistémologiques qui constituent en fin de compte un aveu partiel 
de l'impossibilité du langage à saisir directement la réalité. Bien que l'ordre 
universel de similitude et de hiérarchie des choses semble ainsi rompu de 
façon irrémédiable, le "relateur" réussit néanmoins à situer le "différent" 
en l'incorporant à un discours descriptif dont les prémisses, qui s'inscri- 
vent dans la tradition analogique médiévale, mènent à des constructions 
scripturaires qui tiennent de plus en plus compte de l'individualité des 
choses, saisie par l'expérience immédiate. De ce fait, Cartier fait preuve 
d'une orientation intellectuelle "renaissante," car tout en étant conscient 
de l'arbitraire relatif du langage, le "relateur" tente de cerner la nature des 
choses avec le principal outil de communication qu'il connaît Cette attitude vis- 
à-vis de la réalité du Nouveau- Monde, qui donne naissance à un discours 
descriptif diversifié, se rapproche ainsi "de l'ouverture à la variété des 
choses" que Jérôme Cardan identifiait comme caractérisant la révolution 
intellectuelle que les Européens du XVI* siècle ont eu conscience de 
vivre. ^^ 

À partir des informations présentées précédemment, il apparaît donc 
fort probable que les contraintes " expérientielles" du voyage ont influencé 
le rédacteur du Brief Récit en lui imposant la problématique de la descrip- 
tion de la nouveauté, problématique que Rabelais, en décrivant son univers 
imaginaire, n'a pas rencontrée, et dont la résolution textuelle se présente 
chez Cartier comme une des étapes importantes menant à la formation 
d'une nouvelle épistémè. 

Université d'Ottawa 

110/ Renaissance and Reformation 


1 II faut insister ici sur le mot "progressivement," qui souligne l'étendue temporelle d'un processus 
épistémologique dont les effets culturels ne se sont manifestés que peu à peu. À ce sujet, voir Lucien 
Febvre, Le Problème de l'incroyance au XVI' siècle (Paris: Albin-Michel, 1942), p. 422-423; 
John H. Elliott, "Renaissance Europe and America: a Blunted Impact?" in First Images of 
America, éd. Fredi Chiappelli (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), I, p. 17. 

2 Gérard Genette, "Frontières du récit," in F/^wres// (Paris: Seuil, 1969), p. 56. 

3 La problématique de l'influence de l'expérience sur la description de la nouveauté est énoncée par 
Alexandre Cioranescu, "La Découverte de l'Amérique et l'art de la description," Revue des 
Sciences Humaines, 106 (1962), p. 161. 

4 Timothy Reiss, The Discourse of Modernism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1982), p. 31. 

5 Pour un exposé des éléments qui constituent l'empirisme de Bacon, voir Reiss, chapitre 6, "The 
Masculine Birth of Time," p. 198-224. 

6 Reiss, p. 72; Peter Haidu, "Repetition: Modem Reflections on Medieval Aesthetics," Modem 
Language Notes, 92 (1977), p. 878-879. 

7 Bri^ Récit in The Voyages of Jacques Cartier, éd. H. P. Biggar (Ottawa: Publications of the 
Public Archives of Canada, 1 924); François Rabelais, Le Quart Livre, éd. R. Marichal (Genève: 
Droz, 1 947). Nous utiliserons le nom de Cartier comme un "vocable" qui désigne l'auteur du^ne/ 
Récit. Au sujet de la paternité de ce texte, voir André Berthiaume, La Découverte ambiguë 
(Montréal: Pierre Tisseyre, 1976), p. 40. 

8 Rabelais, p. 152 et 182-183. 

9 Cartier, p. 117. 

10 Guy Demerson, "Rabelais et Vanaio^qat," Études Rabelaisiennes, 14 (1977), p. 25. 

1 1 Reiss, p. 32. 

12 Johan Chydenius, "La Théorie du symbolisme universel," Poer/gwe, 23 (1975), p. 325; Alfonso 
Maierù, "'Signum' dans la culture médiévale," in Sprache und Erkenntnis im Mittelalter, éd. J. 
Beckman et L. Honnefelder (Beriin: De Gruyter, 1981), I, p. 57. 

1 3 Cité par Michel Mercier, Le Roman féminin (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1976), p.34. 

Daniel, Rainolde, Demosthenes, and the 
Degree Speech of Shakespeare's Ulysses 


Gayley, Muir, and the editors of the Variorum, Cambridge, and Arden 
Shakespeares carefully consider the numerous influences, direct and in- 
direct, upon Ulysses' magnificent oration On Degree in Troilus and 
Cressida I.iii.* Hints of the underiying premise of the speech- a threat to 
the universal binding power of the Cosmos - have been found in numerous 
Western writers, commencing with Homer, Plato, Ovid, and the apo- 
calyptic authors of Holy Scripture. Shakespeare undoubtedly encountered 
the idea frequently in his reading and listening. But beyond his favourite 
Ovid, there can be scarcely more than two sources to which Shakespeare 
would be incontrovertibly exposed. One is Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, 
which would be Shakespeare's locus classicus for the Troilus story. There, 
in Boethian terminology, man is urged to live in harmony with that univer- 
sal "bond of thynges" (III. 1261), Love.^ Another indisputable source of 
On Degree is the official homily "Of Obedience" ( 1 547), which Shakespeare 
would have heard as often as thirty times before the date of composition of 
this play (entered in the Stationers' Register early in 1 603).^ "Of Obedience" 
seems to be imitated and even echoed in several of Ulysses' phrases, 
particularly his "Take but degree away . . . / And . . . Discord" or "Chaos" 
"followes"(ll. 115-33): 

Entry degree of people, in their vocacion, callyng, & office, hath appoynted to 

them, their duetie and ordre . . . and euery one haue nede of other For wher 

ther is no right ordre, there reigneth all abuse, camall libertie, enormitie, syn, 
& babilonicall cor\fusw. Take awaye kynges, princes, rulers, magistrates, 
iudges, & suche states of Gods ordre, no ma shall ride or go by the high waie 

vnrobbed . . . and there must needesfolow all mischief and vtter destruccio 

("Of Obedience," /rom///e5, italics supplied) 

Other works that On Degree has plausibly been said to echo include 
Cicero's Tusculan Disputations and, from more modem times, Elyot's 
Governor (1531) and Hookef s Ecclesiastical Polity ( 1 593). It is here my 
purpose to suggest at least two additional verbal sources, neither of which 
seems ever to have been mentioned in connection with this play before. Both 

112/ Renaissance and Reformation 5 

of these likely sources are concerned with rhetoric: Samuel Daniel's \ 
"Musophilus" (1599), a dialogue delineating functions of literature; and ^ 
Richard Rainolde's Foundacion of Rhetorike (1563), a collection of; 
original essays designed by the author to illustrate (for teachers, students, ' 
and general readers) a wide variety of rhetorical strategies/ That Shakespeare |^ 
should be alert to the ideas and locutions of Daniel would not be a sur- \ 
prising discovery, as he seems to have reacted to or borrowed from Daniel's 
treatment of Marcus Antonius and the War of the Roses. But if Shakespeare 
can be found contemplating Rainolde about 1 600, there may be something \ 
more worth noticing: the interestingly tight cluster of dates (1597-1603) 
when Shakespeare seems most to echo - and presumably thus to show a 
renewed interest in- the rhetorical textbooks of his age.^ 

The chief point of significant resemblance that I am proposing between 
Daniel's "Musophilus" and Ulysses' speech involves a hunting image and 
the apocalyptic phrase universal prey, which both authors use to describe 
the confusion and Armageddon that will occur if a great bond is missing - 
Degree, for Shakespeare; Literary Excellence, for Daniel. According to 
Daniel, "Presumption" and "interiangling Ignorance" produce literature 
so ephemeral that poets cannot 

hold out with the greatest might they may, 
Against confusion, that hath all in chace. 
To make of all, a vniuersall pray. 

("Musophilus," 11. 243-45) 

Shakespeare seems to have substituted the word "Chaos" for "Confu- 1 

sion," and for the generalized image of a "chace," the particular image off 

the self-devouring "Wolfe": J 

Appetite (an vniuersall Wolfe[)] 

Must make perforce an vniversall prey. 
And last, eate vp himselfe. 

This Chaos, when Degree is suffocate, 
Followes the choaking. 

{Tro. I.iii. 127-33) 

So fond does Shakespeare here become of the word universal that he uses 
it twice, applying it to the wolf as well as (with Daniel) to its primary 

Daniel, too, seems to have contributed to impulses, experienced by 
Shakespeare in many quarters, to speak of cosmic harmony (or its ?b- 
sence) in musical terminology. Hooker, it is often said, is the chief source: 
for Ulysses' reference to the "Discord" that follows when the "string" of* 


Renaissance et Réforme / 1 1 3 

"Degree" is" taken[n] away" or" vn-tune[d]"(I. iii.l 15-16). And in a long 
passage on the threat of disorder in the Cosmos, Hooker does indeed make 
an explicit musical analogy: 

See we not plainly that obedience of creatures unto the lawe of nature is the 
stay of the whole world? Notwithstanding with nature it commeth somtimes to 
passe as with arte. Lei Phidias have rude and obstinate stuffe to carve, though 
his arte do that it should, his worke will lacke that bewtie which otherwise in 
fitter matter it might have had. He that striketh an instrument with skill, may 
cause notwithstanding a verie unpleasant sound, if the string whereon he 
striketh chaunce to be uncapable of harmonic. 

(Ecclesiastical Polity, I.iii.2-3) 

In Hooker the "string" "uncapable of harmonie" is implicitly ill-tuned, but 
only implicitly. In two interrelated passages in Daniel's "Musophilus," 
however, the author comes one step closer to speaking of a string that 
sounds out of tune. In Daniel we read of jarring poetic "discords" made by 
the "unhallowed string" - a term that may have helped inspire Shakes- 
peare's reference to the "vn-tune[d] . . . string" of degree-less "Discord": 

so many so confusedly sing. 
Whose diuers discords haue the Musicke mar'd, 
And in contempt that mysterie doth bring, 
That he must sing alowd that will be heard: 
And the receiu'd opinion of the thing, 

For some unhallowed string that vildely iar'd 

("Musophilus," 11.62-67; italics supplied) 

The musical image of a Cosmos of poetry is repeated a hundred and fifty 
Unes later in Daniel's reference to the "divers disagreeing cordes/ Of inter- 
iangling Ignorance" (11 .234-36). Similarities of Daniel to Shakespeare in 
no way weaken the case for the dramatist's simultaneous use of Hooker 
here in Troilus (or for a use in such contemporary plays as Hamlet and 
Measure for Measure).^ Instead, Hooker's influence would appear to 
reinforce, rather than surmount, that of Daniel in at least the musical 
imagery of these Ulyssean lines. 

The opening of Hooker's First Book resembles Ulysses' speech not just 
in individual phrases but also in its broad, sweeping survey of an ordered, 
yet endangered, universe. Another evident resemblance between these 
two is shared also with such forebearers as Elyot's Governor, Rabelais' 
Gargantua, and the homily. This is only natural, because all five parti- 
cipate in an international traditioa What seems to have gone unremarked 
in the criticism of Troilus and Cressida, however, is that this tradition is a 
Renaissance one in the strictest sense: a revivifying of an ancient custom. 
When Hooker posits so eloquently a dissolution of our orderly universe — 

114/ Renaissance and Reformation 

Now if nature should intermit her course, . . . if the frame of that heavenly arch 
erected over our heads should loosen and dissolve it selfe: if the . . . seasons 
. . . blend themselves by disordered and confused mixture, . . . what would 
become of man himselfe . . .? 

{Ecclesiastical Polity , I.iii.2) 

- Hooker is, in fact, translating word for word (without acknowledgement) 
from a patristic source, Amobius' Against the Pagans (1.2).^ 

A similar but more ancient and prestigious occurrence of this hallowed 
trope can be found in a popular speech often ascribed in the Renaissance to 
the great Demosthenes, the First Oration against Aristogiton} There, 
too, we read of a hypothetical future disorder that will occur when some 
protective and unifying bond is loosed. In pseudo-Demosthenes, the verb 
is lu-ô ("luthentô" and "lethutai"), which means (and shares the same 
Indo-European root as) loosen. The word thus corresponds to ''relaxata 
autdissoluta'' in Amobius, "loosen and dissolve" inHooker, andthe"vn- 
tuned" or loosened string in Shakespeare (cf. "loose" 1. 124). 

[If] the laws and the obedience that all men yield to the laws were done 

away with [luthentôn] and every man were given license to do as he liked, not 
only does the constitution vanish, but our Ufe would not diflfer from that of the 

beasts of the field For vice is . . . daring; . . . probity is . . . liable to come 

off second-best. Therefore . . . juries ought to protect and strengthen the 

laws If not, all is dissolved [Mutai], broken up, confounded, and the city 

becomes the prey of the most profligate and shameless. 

{IstAristogiton 20, 24-25) 

After reading this speech about man's proclivity to political disease and 
psychological brutalization, we need not agree with the Victorian editor' of 
Demosthenes, who, in silently citing a parallel with Troilus, seems to 
encourage a belief in Shakespeare's direct indebtedness. But this much is 
clean pseudo-Demosthenes and Amobius fall within the same subdivision 
of a classical tradition as do the Renaissance writers already cited. 

Yet another such author, an Englishman who would have had to listen to 
the homily and could also have read Elyot, is Richard Rainolde, adapter 
and only Tudor translator of the most popular elementary composition text 
in Renaissance Europe, Aphthonius' Progymnasmata.^^ Rainolde re- 
words and retitles this originally Hellenistic book, calling it the Founda- 
cion ofRhetorike (1563). In his "Oration" "against thieues," Rainolde, 
unlike other adapters oftheProgymnasmata, makes a point of mentioning 
and speaking highly of the pseudo-Demosthenean Aristogiton, which we 
have just examined. Moreover, Rainolde quotes from it and writes varia- 
tions of its section on a hypothetical chaotic future. Rainolde's antici- 
pations of Shakespeare's phraseology are in many regards as striking as 
Elyot's and the homilist's. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 1 1 5 

Elyot, the anonymous author(s) of the homily, and Rainolde share with 
Shakespeare three speech patterns seen in no other purported source of the 
motif of universal dissolution. All four writings employ the phrase take 
away, place some universal bonding agent as direct object of take away, 
and speak in very similar language of the dire eventuality forthcoming. 
Specifically, each writer says that what "follow[s]" (homilist, Rainolde, 
Shakespeare) or "ensue[s] (Elyot) is a "Chaos" (Elyot, Rainolde, 
Shakespeare) or "confusion" (homilist, Rainolde). Of all these three 
possible sources of the Ulysses' speech, Rainolde alone anticipates 
Shakespeare in dividing the phrase takeaway into its two halves, and in his 
precisely similar choice of both the words Chaos andfollow(s): 

Take but Degree away, vn-tune that string. 
And hearke what Discord followes: 

This Chaos, when Degree is suffocate, 
Followes the choaking. 

{Tro. I.iii.l 15-16, 132-33, italics supplied) 

7aÂ:^lawesâwa/é, all order of states faileth [Bjothelawes and the Prince, 

hane that honour and strength, that without them, a Chaos a confusion would 


{Foundacioriy sig. I3r; italics supplied) 

Other of Rainolde's phrases, pallid though they are in comparison with 
those in some alternate sources and in Shakespeare, seem also to anti- 
cipate Shakespeare and probably provide reinforcement for tendencies 
and devices he was already adopting under pressure of Platonic and other 
influences. (Book VIII of The Republic, for instance, describes psycho- 
logy, sociology, and political science in terms drawn from medicine, 
music, and animal-lore, including wolf-lore.^*) Specifically, Rainolde 
shares with Shakespeare the use of medical analogies in describing the 
Mesocosm, a conventional device present also in Elyot and the pseudo- 
Demosthenes.^^ Also, Rainolde, like Daniel, uses some musical imagery 
(e.g. "harmonie," "concorde," sig. I2r) and the word prey, Rainolde, 
however, is especially emphatic about the idea of beastly prédation when 
the universal force is loosened. In a few consecutive pages of his long 
oration, Rainolde touches upon the bestiality motif a dozen times, of which 
the following is a fair sample: 

Lawes . . . kepe backe, the wilfull, rashe, and beastlie life of man, ... for 
. . . of ill maners came good lawes, that is to saie, the wicked and beastlie life of 
man, their iniurius behauiour, sekyng to frame themselues from men to beastes 
.... If the labour and industrie of the godlie, should be alwaie apraie to y 
wicked, and eche mannes violence and iniurious dealyng, his owne lawe, the 
beaste in his state, would bee lesse brutishe .... 

{Foundacion, sigs. Ilv-2v; italics supplied) 

116/ Renaissance and Reformation 

In addition, Rainolde, unlike all the other purported sources, uses much 
imagery of the cutting down or uprooting of growing things. Disorders like 
earthquakes or tempests in the Mesocosm threaten, in Shakespeare, to 
"crack," "rend," and "deracinate" from its "fixure" the peaceful tree of 
state (11. 103-107). Such images are analogous to Rainolde's many 
remarks about criminal elements as "weedes" in need of being "plucked 
vp" (sig. I2r) or "cut of where they "roo[t] out" virtue (sig. K2r). And 
lastly, in his use of contending abstractions, Rainolde is closer to Shakespeare 
than are Daniel, Hooker and other followers of Prudentius. Shakespeare's 
excitingly phrased psychomachia of "Force," "Justice," "Power," 
" Strength," "Will," and "Appetite" (I.iii. 1 20-28) seems to be anticipated 
in Rainolde's pseudo-Demosthenean passages, where this device is handled 
with a concentration and vibrancy approaching the dramatist's: 

For, as Demosthenes the famous Orator of Athènes doeth saie. If that wicked 
men cease not their violëce . . . If dailie the heddes of wicked men, cease not to 
subuerte lawes, . . . oppression and violence should bee lawe, and reason, 
and mlfull luste would bee in place of reason, might, force, and power, 
should ende the case. Wherefore, soche as no lawe, no order, nor reason, will 
driue to hue as members in a common wealthe, to seme in their ftmctio. Thei 

are as Homère calleth theim, burdeins to the yearth 

{Foundacion, sign. I4r; italics supplied) 

In both Rainolde and Shakespeare, it seems likely, the tune of these 
remarks is meant to seem Grecian or antique. 

Shakespeare's resort to Rainolde may seem less credible than other of 
his borrowings. But Rainolde does write on rhetoric, a subject in which 
Shakespeare seems to have taken a remarkably clear professional interest 
in the years inmiediate before Troilus and Cressida (c. 1602). Puttenham 
is echoed, for instance, inLove J LaZ>or'5Lo5r(c. 1597); and Peacham, in 
Much Ado About Nothing , (c. 1598). Another rhetorical anthology Hke 
Rainolde's, Sylvain's Orator, is wsté m Merchant of Venice (c.l598). 

Still, Rainolde is the most graceless and redundant of the four rhe- 
toricians mentioned above, a writer whose prose is in the limping styles of a 
half century before the date of Troilus, Yet if young Shakespeare really 
had been, as rumored, "a Schoolmaster in the Countrey,"^^ with a less 
thorough command of Latin and Greek than would be deemed appropriate, 
might he not have once been interested in this little teaching guide? After 
all, Rainolde comments also upon several subjects to which Shakespeare's 
writing interests brought him: Venus and Adonis, Helen, Hecuba, Men- 
enius, Junius Brutus, Cassibelan, Caesar, Cato, Nero, Richard III, Henry 
VIII. Also Rainolde's pages resound with a salvo of Greek words and 
names: "Thesis," "Rhétorique," "Eidolopoeia," "Prosolopoeia," "Prog- 
inmasmata," "Democratia," and "tokos" (Greek for i/jwry); and Thebes, 

Renaissance et Réforme / 1 1 7 

Athens, Lacedaemon, Boeotia, Aphthonius, Aesop, Cadmus, Aristotie, 
Plato, Isocrates, Solon, Thucydides, Diogenes, Alexander, Lysimachus, 
Epaminondas. It is not inconceivable that Shakespeare would have turned, 
or returned, to this school text when he was contemplating formal rhetorics 
in the late 1590s. Then, remembering that Rainolde claimed to imitate 
Demosthenes at some length, Shakespeare might have come back to make 
specific borrowings when he needed to devise an antique speech for the 
greatest of Homeric orators. Perhaps Rainolde's version of the famous 
Demosthenes looked "Greek" enough to the dramatist. And if he checked 
the Greek original or one of the Latin translations, ^"^ Shakespeare would 
have found that Rainolde is faithful to the ancient rhetorical topos of the 
threatened return of chaos - a tradition whose classical associations and 
connotations were probably as well known to Shakespeare and his audi- 
ence as they were to Elyot, Cranmer and associates, Hooker, and Daniel. 

Southwest Texas State University 


1 Shakespeare citations are to the New Variorum Troilus and Cressida , Harold N. Hillebrand and 
T. W. Baldwin, edd. (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1953). Besides the above (pp. 51-59, 389-410), 
the chief extended discussions of the sources of On Degree include Charles Mills Gayley, 
Shakespeare and the Founders of Liberty in America (New York: Macmillan, 1 9 1 7) pp. 1 62-90, 
234-59; Alice Walker, éd., Troilus and Cressida (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 
1 969), p. 1 53; Kenneth Pahner, éd., Troilus and Cressida (London: Methuen, 1 982), pp.320-22; 
and Kenneth Muir, The Sources of Shakespeare's Plays (New York: Yale University Press, 
1 978), pp. 1 5 1-57. It should be noted that this last work, a standard authority, erroneously states 
that Hooker formulates Shakespeare's phrase "Degrees in Schooles" (I.iii.l 10). Hillebrand, p. 
391, on the contrary, follows Gayley and quite rightly stresses that Hooker could have provided 
the "figure" of academic ranks; nowhere does the phrase degrees in schools occur in Hooker, even 
though a discussion of such degrees is to be found in Hooker's Preface. The Hooker passage in 
question is some 8,000 words, or 1 8 folio pages, prior to the passages on the Cosmos in Book I, the 
portion of Hooker with the best claim to underlie Ulysses' speech. Below, unless otherwise 
specified, Richard Hooker is cited in Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Vol. I, ed. Georges 
Edelen, Folger Library Edition (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1977). 

2 Chaucer is cited in F. N. Robinson's ed. oïThe Works, 2nd ed. (Boston: Houghton, 1 957); see also 
the binding "cheyne of love" in Knight's Tale (a source of MND), 11. 2988ff. 

3 In 1602, Shakespeare (b. 1564) would have been a churchgoer for some 30 years. Alfi-ed Hart, 
Shakespeare and the Homilies (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1934), p. 73, reminds 
us that attendance was compulsory in Tudor parishes and that "Of Obedience" would be read 
annually. A recent writer on this subject. Professor Ronald B. Bond of the University of Calgary, 
has communicated to me privately his opinion that this crucial homily would have been read more 
than once a year. Bond, too, believes that the "controlling hand" in "Of Obedience" is Cranmer's; 
see Bond's "Cranmer and the Controversy Surrounding Publication of Certayne Sermons or 
Homilies (1541)," Renaissance and Reformation, 12 ( 1976), 28-35, especially 30. My citation 
of the Tudor "Of Obedience" is firom the readily available excerpts in the Variorum Troilus, 
though I have also consulted a full text in Certaine Sermons or homilies . . . , intro., Mary Ellen 
Rickey and Thomas B. Stroup (1623; Gainesville: Scholars' Facsim., 1968). 

4 The Daniel and Rainolde citations are from Samuel Daniel, Musophilus, ed. Raymond Himelick 
(West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Studies, 1 965 ) and Richard Rainolde, The Foundation of 
Rhetorike, The English Experience, no. 91 (1563; facsim. rpt. Amsterdam: Da Capo, 1969). 


118/ Renaissance and Reformation 

5 For Shakespeare's use of formal rhetorics, see below; Sister Miriam Joseph, Shakespeare 's Use of \ 
the Arts of Language (New York: Columbia University Press, 1947) pp. 44, 1 1 3; and Kenneth i 
Muir, "Shakespeare and Rhetoric," Shakespeare-Jahrbuch (Heidelberg) 90 (1954), 49-68. ! 
Troilus is usually assigned to 1601-02. Commenting on the likely use of rhetorical works in, | 
respectively. Merchant of Venice (1596-97), Much Ado (1598-99), and Love's Labor's Lost 

( 1 594-97), Muir believes that Shakespeare "seems to have read Pyott's translation ofThe Orator, 
Peacham's Garden of Eloquence, and Puttenham's ^/te of English Poésie" (Muir, "Rhetoric," 

53). : 

6 Gayley (pp. 187-89) argues for an especially strong influence of Hooker on Hamlet. To me, it | 
seemsthatthelinesinMeasMre/orAfea^ureonglass, apes, heaven, and angels (II. ii) could involve i 
Shakespeare's reading Hooker's passage on the order and degree of angels. Hooker's angels are i 
internally ranked and given to searching for divine reflections in themselves and man; they are filled j 
with a God-like love "unto the children of men; in the countenance of whose nature looking \ 
downeward they behold themselves beneath themselves, even as upwarde in God, beneath whom ; 
themselves are, they see that creature which is no where but in themselves and us resembled" , 
(I.iv.1). ! 

7 For a convenient look at the Amobius text, see Christopher Morris' notes to his Everyman éd., ! 
Richard Hooker, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, 2 vols. (London: Dent, 1907), I, 157. 

8 English and Greek citations of the IstAristogiton are from the J. Vince t±, Demosthenes: Against ] 
Meidias, . . . Aristogeiton, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, I 
1 935 ). I have, in addition, consulted various sixteenth-century Greek editions and one of the Latin ■ 
translations at which Shakespeare could have glanced (Philip Melanchthon, tr.. Contra ' 
Aristogiton . . . , Hague, 1527). 1 

9 Charles Rann Kennedy, ed. The Orations of Demosthenes, Vol IV, Bohn's Classical Library 1 
( 1 888; London: George Bell, 1 901 ), p. 6 1 , n. 1 , quotes Tro. I.iii. 109-30 with only the simple and \ 
enigmatic introductory comment "compare " ;, 

10 F. R. Johnson provides a useful summary of the reputation of Rainolde and the popularity of I 
Aphthonius and his Latin imitators; see Johnson's introduction to his facsimile of Foundacion of \ 
Rhetorike (New York: Scholars' Facsim., 1945). For the schoolroom use of Aphthonius, see T. j 
W. Baldwin, William Shakespeare's "Small Latine <& Lesse Greek," 2 vols. (Urbana: Illinois 1 
University Press, 1944), II, 288 etpassim. Marion Trousdale, Shakespeare and the Rhetoricians ] 
(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981), pp. 3-38, makes an interesting case for { 
Rainolde as an important specimen of a class of rhetoricians whom Shakespeare may almost | 
everywhere be imitating. v 

1 1 Cf. James Holly Hanford, "A Platonic Passage in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida," Studies j 
in Philology, 13(1916),! 00-09. 3 

12 Rainolde wants magistrates to rid their country of "yll humors" and "ill bloode" (sig, 12v) when ji 
the land is "plagued" with "pestiferous doinges"(sig. 13r). For this imagery of the diseasedco/p«5 J 
politicum there are Greek antecedents: in Plato (Relublic 564B), who speaks of a country's j 
disease (nosêma); and in pseudo- Demosthenes, who terms criminals incurable (aniatos) and ] 
cancerous. (See the P. Shorey éd.. The Republic, 2 vols. Loeb Library [London: Heinemann, j 
1 930-35].) But since Elyot anticipates Shakespeare's use of the word "med'cinable," perhaps the j 
early Tudor Englishman is as responsible as any of the other authors for Shakespeare's talk of the | 
Greek enterprise as "pale" and "sicke" of "Feauer" and "Plagues." See Sir Thomas Elyot, The ^ 
Boke Named the Gouemour, 2 vols., ed. Henry Herbert Stephen Croft (London: Kegan, 1883), I, 5. j 

1 3 The written source is John Aubrey, quoting Christopher Beeston, son of one of Shakespeare's | 
colleagues in the King's Men. Reasons for accepting Aubrey's account are well argued by, among | 
others, Baldwin in his Small Latine U, 36 etpassim . \ 

14 Baldwin, Small Latine II, 650 and 661 states that proof is lacking for Shakespeare's use of any j 
work ascribed to Demosthenes. At least until such proof may be forthcoming, Shakespeare's j 
dependence on the sec(Hid-hand Athenian classicism oi Rainolde will continue to be most probable. 

Book Reviews/ Comptes Rendus 

Elizabeth A. Chesney. The Countervoyage of Rabelais andAriosto. A Com- 
parative Reading of Two Renaissance Mock Epics. Durham, N. C: Duke 
University Press, 1982. Pp vii, 232. $20.00 

This comparative study does for Ariosto and Rabelais what Giuseppe Mazzotta's 
siCclsiimedDante, Poet of the Desert has recently done for the Florentine poet: it 
offers many close readings, probes linguistic ambiguities, makes use of a rich 
and varied critical vocabulary, displays impressive erudition, and raises issues 
that every student of the texts in question must ultimately treat. Elizabeth 
Chesney's work, like thatof Mazzotta, may also prove controversial because of 
some of its revisionist conclusions. Nevertheless, as a whole it builds beautifully 
on the Renaissance studies of such distinguished scholars as Thomas Green, A. 
Bartlett Giamatti, Robert Durling, and the author's own mentor Marcel Tetel, 
who directed her work in its original form as a Duke University dissertation. The 
book consists of an introduction, five chapters ("The Voyage," "Myth and 
Fantasy," "The Narrator," "Time and Art," "Folly"), and a conclusion, nine- 
page bibliography, and ten-page index. 

The Introduction contains an explanation of the purpose of the study and a 
rationale for the work's organization. Chesney does not desire to focus on 
Ariosto' s possible influence on Rabelais, but rather wishes to examine the 
shared "difference" in the two authors. That which sets them apart from their 
medieval predecessors and links them to a new age and to each other is "their 
propensity for exploring the opposite of every truth and the other side of every 
argument," or what Chesney calls "a countervoyage, a critical reflection upon 
each conceptual pole by its other" (p. 5). She sees this dialectic as a pervasive 
structure in Ariosto and Rabelais, which accounts for textual ambiguities, sets 
them in the context of contemporary voyages of discovery, and relates them to 
the epoch's "antirationalistic movement" (p. 6). In Hegelian terms this self- 
criticism is the price a civilization must pay to evolve from one stage to the next. 
Ariosto at the end of the Italian Renaissance and Rabelais at the beginning of the 
French are transitional and pivotal figures, and as a result they engage in much 
consciousness-raising. Structures and themes highlighted during the era and 
developed in the two Renaissance mock epics become, therefore, the areas of 
Chesney' s interest and form the basis of her five chapters. She justifies her 
multi- thematic approach as an attempt "to unite thematic and stylistic contra- 
dictions under the rubric of the countervoyage" (p. 1 5). The subsequent reading 

1 20 / Renaissance and Reformation 

of the Orlando furio so and the Rabelaisian opus magnum repeatedly shows 
synthesis-in- antithesis, convincingly argues for structural unity where little had 
previously been seen, and eloquently testifies to the value of Chesney's 

The first chapter warns against seeing the voyages depicted in Ariosto and 
Rabelais as a means for praising contemporary progress. Although topographi- 
cal and nautical detail abounds in their descriptions of imaginary voyages, it 
serves primarily "to involve the reader in a spiritual odyssey" that will soon be 
spatially and temporally fragmented (p. 22). The voyage soon becomes "a 
vehicle for self-analysis and the formation of judgment" (p. 40), rather than an 
encomium of a Renaissance explorer. In the second chapter the uses of myth and 
fantasy are similarly revealed. While Chesney agrees that the widespread in- 
clusion of pagan divinities in Renaissance literature "contributes to . . . man's 
own mythification" (p. 63), she argues that in the Ferrarese poet and the Gallic 
monk much of the myth is a parody and an indictment of the "indiscriminate 
valuing of antiquity over modernity" by their contemporaries (p. 66). The 
juxtaposition of fact and fantasy "demystifies by means of remythification" (p. 
96). In other words, the authors use fantasy to remind the reader that illusion is 
part of being and the stuff of (re)mythification. 

The next chapter, on the narrator, depends on Gérard Genette for much of its 
analytical terminology. It attempts to demonstrate that in Ariosto and Rabelais 
"narrative ambiguity . . . is . . . a mainspring ofthecountervoyage and, as such, 
contributes to the two works' conceptual unity" (p. 98). The narrator who is 
neither reliable nor consistently unreliable is designed to make the reader pause 
and consider the facets of knowledge; the consciousness of such a narrator 
"reflects the problems and contradictions of a transitional age" (p. 115). 
Chapter 4 treats the problem of time and art. Chesney identifies temporal 
vacillations in the two texts as evidence of "a temporal tension" in their 
descriptions of history and futurity (p. 136). The purpose of the tension is to 
demonstrate that the only constant is change; even art, which may transcend 
time, is subject to changing interpretations. The final chapter discusses the 
concept of folly as seen in such figures as Panurge in the Pantagrueline tales and 
Astolfo in ihQ Furioso. Orlando's madness is analyzed as a "coupling of mono- 
mania with schizophrenia," a fact which supposedly makes him more polemical 
and didactic since he breaks with the typical literary type of fool (p. 188). The 
Conclusion acknowledges the geographical and temporal differences between 
Ariosto and Rabelais but concludes that these differences only serve "to render 
their profound similarities all the more intriguing" (p. 213). The bibliography, 
like the index, is exemplary, although Eric Auerbach's Mimesis essay on 
Rabelais should probably be included. 

Chesney buttresses most of the above assertions with careful readings of 
multiple passages from both texts. Although she could be more careful when 
speaking of allegory in Ariosto (it is of a limited scope) and more attentive to the 
medieval currents in Rabelais (there are more than she credits), the book's 
overall approach— with its emphasis on the "divided consciousness" of the two 
authors — makes it a must for scholars of Renaissance comparative literature. 

Mistakes and errata include "nouvi" for"nuovi" (pp. 4 and 22), '"Canzionere" 


Renaissance et Réforme / 1 2 1 

for ''Canzoniere'' (p. 6), "provde" for "provide" (p. 39), "condemmed" for 
"condemned" (p. 45), "Ruggerio" for"Ruggiero" (p. 48), "noms" for"mons" 
(p. 68, 1. 5), "lascai" for"lasciai" (p. 128, n. 39), "Aristo" for"Ariosto" (p. 
165), "moveover" for "moreover" (p. 178), "scritte" for "scritto" (p. 186), 
"né" for "ne" (p. 191, 1. 1) and an italicization problem on p. 34, n. 22. 
Notwithstanding these minor problems, the author's prose style is lucid, and the 
volume's printing is noteworthy for its clarity. 

MADISON U. SOWELL, Brigham Young University 

Jonathan Goldberg. Endlesse Worke: Spenser and the Structures of Discourse. 
Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981. P.p. Xv, 177. 
$17.50 US. 

The title of this book is taken from Spenser's apology following the great 'river- 
canto' in the fourth book of The Faerie Queene. When the magnificent procession 
of water-gods and nymphs attending the marriage of the Thames and the Medway 
has been described, the poet exclaims, "O What an endlesse worke have I in hand, 
/ To count the seas abundant progeny . . . Then blame me not, if I have err'd in 
count / Of Gods, of Nymphs, or rivers yet unred: / For though their numbers do 
much more surmount, / Yet all those same were there, which erst I did recount" 
Those gods he has named in his catalogue were in fact there, he reports, but there 
were many more he could not describe, crowding the hall even up to the door, "Yet 
were they all in order, as befell, / According their degrees disposed well" (IV. xii. 
1-3). To give an exact account of "the seas abundant progeny" (IV. xii. 1) lies 
beyond his powers, even though he has been assisted by the muse. The very 
possibility of attempting to do so in writing invokes a dream of a complete and 
accurate representation, after the pattern of those "records of antiquitie" that are 
"layd up in heaven above" and to which"no wit of man may comen neare" (IV. x. 
10). But the actual experience of writing calls forth a'topos of modesty' {excusatio 
propter injlrmitatem) in which the poet seems uncomfortably aware of the limi- 
tations of his medium. Not so, paradoxically, for the less reliable medium of 
Homer whose invocation before the catalogue of ships {Iliad II. 485 ff) lays down 
the claim that he has a tremendous array of detail exactly correct because of the 
divine help given him by the muses. For Spenser, however, the event he has 
attempted to describe constitutes in itself a full presence that cannot be adequately 
represented within the confines of his art: " How can they all in this so narrow verse 
/ Contayned be, and in small compasses held?" (IV. xi. 17). 

To contemplate a writing that would seek to fulfill the dream of total statement, 
in which no portion or feature of its object would escape representation, is to 
contemplate the prospect of an 'endless work' advancing forever toward the end it 
projects for itself while remaining unfinished forever there would always be one 
last thing to be extricated from the folds, one last detail to work in, and the more 
words we spend attempting to exhaust what is there, the further we seem to be from 
a representation that can be said to be complete. When the artist himself recog- 
nizes this situation he must respond by striking some attitude toward it, let us say of 

122/ Renaissance and Reformation 

melancholy or exuberance. Either he can regard the "endlesse worke" of writing 
toward an unattainable goal as being exuberantly productive, like a Rabelaisian 
comucopie, or he can regard it as being profoundly depressing, a hopeless rage for 
order that is always being unravelled and frustrated by the maddening slippages, 
complicated folds and shifting configurations of writing itself. The first, exuberant 
response we find, as Terence Cave has shown (TAe Comucopian Text; 1979), in 
Rabelais, the second, melancholy response, in Robert Burton with his panicky 
Ramist designs and that'extemporall style' which he compares to a running sore 
and a purging of infection, a writing that is always exiled from, or at best sup- 
plemental to, some fantasized 'normal state' of good health where words can be 
made to stand clearly and completely for things. 

Which of these alternatives do we attribute to Spenser? For A. Bartlett Gia- 
matti {Play of Double Senses; 1975)— at least with respect to the passage at 
hand — the inability of the narrow frame of Spenser's verse to contain the immense 
variety of "the seas abundant progeny" (IV. xii. 1 ) is greeted by the poet with joy 
as an act of participation in the larger work of great creating nature. Mr. Goldberg, 
on the other hand, takes the position that Spenser's mood, with respect to the 
incompleteness that is written into the centre of his dream of artistic fulfillment, is 
one of profound melancholy. In the final sentences of his book, Goldberg cites the 
passage from the correspondence with Harvey in which, by 1580, Spenser is 
confidently referring to a large corpus of works which are now lost, or were never 
written, or (perhaps) partially incorporated into The Faerie Queene which the 
poet requests Harvey to return to him so that he can get back to work: "I will in 
hand forthwith with my Faery Queene, whyche I praye you hartily send me with al 

expedition " "This," Goldberg concludes, "is the poet's fantasy; he has these 

lost texts to himself. Giving them will empty him into the reality of loss" (p. 

There is ample room in Spenser, one feels certain, for both moods, and we are 
most likely to find them together in that final installment which William Blissett 
("Spenser^s Mutabilitie"; 1964) has aptly referred to as a "retrospective com- 
mentary" on the poem as a whole, one in which a melancholy awareness of the 
ruins of time is counterpoised by the goddess of Nature's "chearefuU view" (VII. 
vii. 57), and by the spirit of one of Queen Elizabeth's preferred epigrams: "per 
molto variare la natura bella.'^ The melancholy experience of loss that Goldberg 
sees as dominating the poem proceeds, he believes, from the expectation that a 
story can be made to complete itself in a definitive ending that has been foreseen by 
the poet at the outset and then accomplished by writing toward it along an orderly 
sequence of events. Thus the book is concerned with studying how The Faerie 
Queene seems to undo its fundamental assumptions, not with respect to its claims 
to allegorical meaning, but with respect to its presuppositions about the nature of 

It seems to me that there are two errors here: first, it assumes that a poet 
immersed in the tradition of romance would start out with such a naive assumption 
about the nature of stories and the process of narration, and that definitive endings, 
as opposed to elaborately devious variations, would be of primary importance to 
him; secondly, it chooses to examine what might be called the 'logocentrism' of 


Renaissance et Réforme / 123 

The Faerie Queene in terms of its narrative rather than its claims to allegorical 
meaning. To insist upon speaking of its narrative alone, independent of the claims 
made for that narrative as a system for representing ideas, is to over-simplify the 
issue by extricating the text from the circuit within which the reader transforms 
information into a structure of meaning, feeds that structure back into his per- 
ception of the text as he continues to read, and then re-configures it in response to 
new stimulus. It is a continuous process driven by the assumption that the frenetic 
circulation of commentary can be stabilized finally in the achievement of full 
understanding. Here, if anywhere, is where a 'deconstructive' reading of The 
Faerie Queene should begin. 

Despite these reservations about its premises, the book presents a clear account 
of what it sets out to do that promises to hold our interest even if it does not win our 
consent a "reading of Spenser" is offered in which the somewhat neglected fourth 
book oïThe Faerie Queene is focussed upon as typifying more fully than any other 
the peculiarities of Spenserian narrative which is characterized, we are told, by 
ftaistrating disruptions, retrogressions, incoherencies, subversions of narrative 
logic, and so on. It is a narrative, moreover, that is shot through with a profound 
sense of loss because of the incompleteness of all stories and perhaps, if I under- 
stand the final sentence correctly, the futility of an art in which, as Beckett puts it, 
there is nothing to say combined with the obligation to say it "The only way to tell 
a story," Goldberg says, "is never to have it end" (p. 72). 

The book is intended to contribute to knowledge in two ways: first, it reverses a 
tendency in criticism oïThe Faerie Queene to gloss over Book IV (which does not 
separate itself into a complete unit so conveniently as the others) by bringing it into 
the centre of attention and grounding an interpretation of the poem as a whole upon 
problems raised by it; and, secondly, it reverses the natural tendency of readers to 
unify the narrative, while suppressing or explaining away any inconsistencies, by 
setting forth these normally 'marginalized' snags in the fabric as being essential to 
the aesthetic experience of the poem: "Most often, when criticism takes stock of 
such traits of narrative, it considers them as problems that could only be elucidated 
by pointing to some principle other than narration ... the frustrations of reading 
are thereby neglected, and so is something vital to the nature of Spenserian 
narration" (xi). Goldberg claims that this regressive and inherently frustrating 
movement he finds in Spenserian narrative is what energizes the creative process 
itself "The generation of the text and its production is my subject" (xii). 

Allowing for a degree of exaggeration which is perhaps necessary if any unusual 
approach is to catch our attention, this might suggest that an interesting book is to 
follow, especially when we encounter the promising remark that Spenser's poem 
"generates itself precisely out of its own instability" (xiv), for it seems right that 
there should be some vital relationship between the general 'looseness' of the 
narrative oïThe Faerie Queene and the mysterious creative forces that shaped and 
directed Spenser's creative project Unfortunately, the book does not live up to 
this promise. 

The problem lies partly in its theoretical pretensions which are shored up by an 
impressive list of authorities— Barthes, Derrida, Eagleton, Lucacs, Jameson, 
Foucault, Kermode, Lacan, Levi- Strauss, Said and Hayden White— all laid out 

124 / Renaissance and Reformation 

for us in mini-essays that appear in the notes: "Another crucial term that Barthes 
and I use is supplement ..." (p. lOn.). Although Barthes is announced to be the 
most important of these because of his distinction between the 'readerly' and the 
'writerly' text (the latter characterizing The Faerie Queene because the poem sets 
forth the problems of writing by frustrating the reader), the above list should ; 
indicate that Goldberg's theoretical approach is broadly eclectic, its purpose | 
being simply to read The Faerie Queene in a new way and to express, incidentally, ! 
a general enthusiasm for the language of theory. The difficulty seems to arise with j 
his management of theoretical ideas: "the meanings of words are determined i 
inside a text as a matter of differences" (p. 24; emphasis mine). Such problems are | 
magnified by the author's enthusiasm for lush overstatement, as in the following \ 
commentary on the epithet ofElizabeth as" dearest dred"( I. poem, iv): "this is the I 
power that generates his desire, the desire to write, to be written, and to be ! 
destroyed in the process. Is this a consummation devoutly to be wished? The space ; 
of narration is, in a word, where loss and excess meet, where orgasm would be no ! 
different from castration ..." (p. 24). | 

In addition to this, the book is not particularly strong as scholarship on Spenser. J 
The author indulges, for instance, in the kind of naive 'readerly' construction he \ 
condemns when referring to Una's " symbolic lamb" (p. 7). The lamb is mentioned | 
only once in our first view of Una (I. i. 4. 9), because of its presence in almost all / 
versions of the legend of St George; and it soon dropped out of sight because it | 
served no symbolic function {Variorum I, 389-90). Elsewhere he states con-| 
fidently— too confidently for anyone alive to the 'intertextuality' which makes the | 
hunting of absolute origins problematic — that Chaucer's tale of Sir Thopas is an \ 
"undeniable source for The Faerie Queene " (p. 1 8), citing as his authority for this { 
Hugh MacLean's abridged, undergraduate edition where the tale of Sir Thopas is i 
much more cautiously noted as taking up the same theme as we find in Arthur's \ 
nocturnal vision (I. ix. 13). Apparently, Goldberg is unaware that MacLean 
follows Greenlaw's discussion of the problem (excerpted in Variorum 1, 267-68), 
where it is pointed out that the elements we find in the Tale of Sir Thopas are 
common to "a rich body of traditional material" in Celtic folklore, and that i 
Spenser must have seen it within a matrix of similar tales, none of which could be j 
privileged absolutely over the others as a definitive "source" even for Arthur's | 
dream, let alone the poem as a whole. It was Josephine Waters Bennet, in 1942, 
who presented the most vigorous argument for the centrality of Chaucer's tale in 
the scheme of The Faerie Queene as a whole, a readerly construction which 
Goldberg accepts without question (or acknowledgement) but which is by no 
means a settled issue. 

Between an introduction and a conclusion, entitled "Pretexts" and "After- 
words" respectively, there are three main chapters: "Other Voices, Other Texts," 
in which the relation of Book IV to Chaucer's Squire's Tale is discussed, "Others, 
Desire, and the Self in the Structure of the Text," in which it is argued that it is 
really the text, not the lovers portrayed in it, that experiences desire, and a third 
chapter, better than these, entitled "The Authority of the Other," in which, in the 
manner of critics such as Orgel and Greenblatt, Goldberg discusses images 
surrounding Queen Elizabeth to situate Spenser's poem within a framework of 

Renaissance et Réforme / 1 25 

socially produced fictions that are instantialized in the text as figures of the 'Other* 
(capitalized to invoke current re-readings of Freud). This chapter has pictures. 

In the introductory section, Goldberg takes up "the revisionary juncture 
between Books III and IV," arguing that "failed endings are part of the design of 
the poem" (p. 2) even though the first books give us, as he over- hastily asserts, the 
"pleasures of resolution" (p. 3). This concession is forgotten several pages later 
when he claims that the "radical disturbances of narration" in Book IV "lay bare 
the nature of narration throughout The Faerie Queene (p. 6). Pointing out that 
Book IV has its space in the poem opened for it by "the displacement of an ending" 
(the reunion of Scudamour and Amoret in the cancelled stanzas concluding the 
1 590 version of Book III), an ending which never finds its way back into the poem, 
Goldberg argues as follows: "the fundamental quality of narration . . . is . . . not a 
progression toward a conclusion, but a deferral, leaving an ending ' to be perfected' 
in 'another place'; the fundamental quality, as the narrator calls it, is 'endlesse 
worke' (IV. xii. 1. 9). Such work involves seemingly endless acts of undoing, 
denial and frustration. Because of it, narration is best measured in losses ..." 
(p. 8). As a consequence, The Faerie Queene" is a 'writerly text' whose pro- 
duction entails an " 'endlesse worke' of substitution" (p. II) in which "the 
problematizaton of writing" itself becomes central to the poet's concerns (p. 
13 n. 6). 

The difficulty with much of this is not primarily its suspect familiarity to what is 
central to our concerns: Spenser's poem does indeed raise questions about the 
creative process which might well be examined in the light of current thought about 
writing, difference, deferral, supplementarity, the distinction between inside and 
outside, and so on. But such an analysis should take into account, at some level, 
the question of intentions if only to show that, even in the case a poet who seems 
preoccupied with complete patterns and polished surfaces, the forces at work in 
the process of writing tend to distort, bend and re-configure those intentions in 
illuminating ways. It is reasonable to assume, for instance, that Robert Burton, as 
he worked on his extended treatise on melancholy, became increasingly fas- 
cinated by the counterforce of prolix disorder that he discovered to be inherent in 
the process of writing, and that he intentionally exploited its subverison of organ- 
ized structure. His style therefore seems to proceed out of a carefully managed 
dialectic between a 'readerly' dream of perfect control over rational exposition 
and a' writerly' fascination with the spirited procHvity of writing to take hold of the 
bit and run where it will. If we think of Burton doing this deliberately we are likely 
to have a rather different conception of the significance of disorder in The 
Anatomy of Melancholy than if we assume that he attempted throughout to 
impose order on his material, and failed. 

It is simply not possible to avoid this question of intention when thinking about 
The Faerie Queene. In the 'Letter to Raleigh,' for instance, we have an almost 
obsessively explicit (and notoriously problematic) description of what Spenser, 
shortly after registering the first installment, seems to have thought he was doing. 
Did Spenser write the Letter in the same spirit that Burton may have produced his 
elaborate charts— to deliberately set up a dialectic between the chaotic disorder of 
writing and an impossible fantasy of meta-discursive control? Or did Spenser 


126 / Renaissance and Reformation 

candidly intend it to be a reliable aid, allowing the reader "as in a handfull [to] 
gripe al the discourse"? The reader of this book soon gives up hope that such 
questions will have a fair hearing, for Goldberg never tires of rhapsode incantation 
on the 'writerly text': "It plays upon the void," he exclaims, "it occupies the place 
of loss — where Britomart's wound is extended to Amoret, where Amoret is 
'perfect hole.' This is the space of text" (p. 11). 

To substantiate the claim that The Faerie Queene is a 'writerly text,' much of 
this introductory section is devoted to a reading of the proem to Book I in which a 
reversal of priority occurs whereby writing takes authority over voice. These 
introductory stanzas are seen as disseminating into chains of substitution all 
positive terms that might have been used by a reader to stabilize the meaning of the 
text and to draw boundaries between inside and outside: the authorial T and the 
'Muse' are initially thought to be outside the poem, constituting its creative 
'source,' while the corresponding pair of the 'Briton Prince' and 'Tanaquill' are 
inside the poem and give to the narrative its beginning; but because "the pattern of 
repetition and substitution has priority and undermines all beginning stories, all 
stable selves" (p. 17), "both Muse and poet are inside the text and nowhere else" 
(p. 16). This famihar move (which goes back to the 'new critical' refusal to 
acknowledge anything but words on the page), is contradicted a moment later 
when Goldberg claims that the "boundary" between inside and outside "has been 
explicitly violated," a state of affairs in which it would obviously be meaningless to 
speak of poet and muse being either inside or outside. 

This is of more than incidental significance, for it is symptomatic of Goldberg's 
procedure throughout of mystifying — one might now say 'theologizing' — the word 
"text" as his critical mantra. One can only wonder, for instance, at the status of his 
metaphor of the text as a sphere (which is nothing if not a figure of closure) and his 
fondness for the locution "space of the text": "By the end of the first stanza of the 
poem, we may already suspect that to enter the space of the Spenserian text is to 
cross tl^ese boundaries to the loss of our security. The questions, and the reversals, 
drive us deeper into this textual sphere in which the inside is the outside" (p. 1 6). I 
am not sure that anyone's security is any longer at stake when confronted by 
intertextual conceptions of the literary work as a knotted vortex of codes, unless of 
course they cling to such metaphors as 'textual space' and 'textual sphere.' 

The first chapter takes up the matter of the relation of Chaucer* s Squire' s Tale to 
Spenser's continuation of it in Book IV, arguing that Spenser's narrative "works 
by entering more and more deeply into loss" and that this negative principle for 
generating the text out of its own failures is observed most clearly in Book IV 
which "imitates the lacuna that the Chaucerian tale defines as the space of 
narration" (p. 44). Note the words 'imitate,' 'lacuna," space,' and the active verb, 
'to defme.' This sentence can mean anything at all. Then we are told that "oblitera- 
tion is the ending provided" (p. 44), that" loss is the principle of narration" (p. 47), 
that "community is reduced" (p. 47), that in the relationship of Artegal and 
Britomart" consummation is postponed because so much has been lost" (p. 47), 
and that Britomart's returning to where she lost Amoret (IV. vi. 47) is meant to 
figure explicitly the movement of the poem as a whole: 

Renaissance et Réforme / 127 

The poem's forward motion is explicitly amiounced as retrogression, retire- 
» ment, withdrawal; and the earlier, flashback 'interruption; in which The 
Squire's Tale was first ended now has become a basic structure of narration. 
. . . Moving back, the text moves into itself, or refers to its own movement, for 
this return reveals explicitly that the text has been finding its voice only in 
reworking and unworking that ending with which it began . . . For the nar- 
rative to look ahead it looks back. Going forward, the narrative confronts the 
loss behind the text that generates it (p. 48) 

While this passage will give some idea of the appalling repetitiveness of the 
book — going nowhere, it goes nowhere — we can get an idea of the general level of 
critical discussion from the following analysis of the episode at the cave of Lust 
"As Amoret and AEmylia 'did discourse' (20. 1), Lust appears in 'the mouth' 
(20.5 ) of the cave. He means to rape them and then to eat them. The place of desire 
is characterized by the equation of discourse and sexuality. Lust's cannibalism 
and rape are an extreme version of a pattern of substitution" (p. 57). 

The chapter entitled " Others, Desire and the Self in the Structure of the Text" is 
ostensibly concerned with the pairs of lovers who move from Books III to V. 
Goldberg asserts that they are air'driven to their undoing" by " incestuous desire" 
(p. 117), but it soon becomes apparent that the sex-life of the text itself is much 
more exciting than theirs: " In the text, what the desire of the text does is enacted by 
what desire makes the characters enact" (p. 99). This seems to put the text into a 
state of anthropomorphic hyperactivity: it"quietly announces" (p. 79), if'comes 
to Belphoebe by way of Lust" (p. 157), it "satisfies itself in itself (p. 117), it 
"engulfs itself (p. 117), and it "arrives" at Marinell and Florimell where we 
observe the "submergence of the self in the desire of the text" (p. 1 19) etc., etc. 
What the text does with this desire is then explained in a note for those who have 
not quite got the point "What I am urging is a freeplay within the text's own 
narcissism, which also leaves the text playing with itself and the reader defeated" 
(p. 116. n. 14). 

The closest we come to a treatment of allegory is the following offhand remark: 
although Britomart might be read as an embodiment of married love "in some 
readers interpretation," to do so would replace "the actuality of the textual space 
in which characters move in The Faerie Queene'' with "something supposedly 
outside it" (p. 75; cf. p. 76 n.). While Goldberg forthrightly declares himself 
opposed to replacing images in the text with meanings we might wish to find in it, it 
is clear that he will make some exceptions: Lust, for instance, "figures the econo- 
mics of exchange that affects women, objects, and words" (p. 157), and, worse 
still, "male generativity" (p. 158). Would the author of the "Epithalamion" 
endorse this simplistic and entirely unwarranted equation? It is difficult to avoid 
the conclusion that the text is allowed to refer to some things " supposedly outside 
it," and not to others. 

I move forward now to Goldberg' s discussion of the central moment of Book VI, 
the vision of Mt Acidale in the tenth canto, for it provides the best example of the 
general competence and tone of this book. Let me begin with a brief account of the 
episode itself. The mount is described, with lavish Spenserian detail, as a locus 
amoenus instinct with fairies and nymphs, a sacred resort of Venus who prefers it 

128 / Renaissance and Reformation v 


even to Paphos. Calidore, hearing the sound of piping and the tread of dancing feet, 
advances through the surrounding woods toward the "open greene" at the summit 
where he sees, from "the covert of the wood" ( VI. x. 1 1 ), a vision of harmony and \ 
order that is at once thematically central to the book of courtesy and profoundly \ 
suggestive of the poet' s conception of his art One hundred naked maidens devoted i 
to Venus, all "differing in honor and degree" (VI. x. 2 1 ), dance in a circle around i 
the three graces who, in the configuration of their dance, are emblematic of " all the ^ 
complements of courtesy" (VI. x. 23). A the centre of this circular pattern, "as a i 
precious gem / Amidst a ring" (VI. x. 12), is a shepherd girl who is "there ! 
advanced to be another Grace" (VI. x. 22). The entire vision has been called forth, \ 
and is sustained from within, by the piping of the shepherd- poet Colin Clout who is ; 
the lover of the shepherd girl. The relation of the vision to the theme of courtesy is ; 
anticipated by the mention of differences of honour and degree among the hundred 
maidens, openly stated in the description of the graces, and placed within the 
larger context of culture by the remarkable simile of Ariadne's crown (VI. x. 1 3)— 
and image of social order emerging from the primal, 'uncultivated' energy of j 
violence. It is more difficult to determine what kind of 'poetic signature' we are ; 
reading, whether it is introduced for largely biographical reasons, whether | 
Spenser really did consider himself to be at the end of his creative project, with | 
what degree of seriousness and finality we should read it and, most difficult of all, | 
how much weight we are to give to the almost unavoidable impulse to see the vision I 
itself as symbolizing the great creative work of The Faerie Queene. In short, the | 
passage is nuanced and layered like few others in the poem and raises questions | 
that are complicated even to phrase, let alone to answer definitely. | 

Goldberg does not find it complicated at all. He says that "Calidore stumbles | 
into this scene of poetic reverie and loss," demanding an " explication of the text," | 
and that the answer he receives from Colin, with its explanaton of the iconography j 
of the graces, is "learned baggage" (p. 170). For all his mystical communion with I 
the word "text," he is remarkably careless about what the thing says. Calidore j 
does not "stumble" into the open green but deliberately steps forward— a signifi- j 
cant difference: "Therefore resolving what it was to know, / Out of the wood he \ 
rose, and toward them did go" (VI. x. 17). It may be a "scene of poetic reverie" \ 
toward which CaUdore advances, but there is nothing in it of that "loss" which j 
Goldberg is so eager to find because it is Calidore himself who causes the vision to \ 
disappear as soon as he comes into view. He has not seen loss but brought it with j 
him— another significant difference. Finally, to dismiss the iconography of the | 
graces as "baggage" may genuinely express how Goldberg feels about it per- ^ 
sonally, but it is an attitude that is quite out of tune with the aesthetic ambience of 1 
The Faerie Queene as a whole. , 

Then we have the interpretation of the critical moment in the episode when | 
Calidore steps forward and the vision instantly disappears: "When Calidore | 
separates Colin from his vision he is doing what he did when he stumbled upon ] 
Serena and Calepine in the bushes, interrupting coitus, making bliss bale, a \ 
'lucklesse breach' " (p. 1 70). The crudeness of this, as criticism, hardly needs to be | 
pointed out by citing the passage (VI. iii. 20) from which Goldberg fantasizes this | 
lively picture of Calepine and Serena, or the later episode in which Serena is J 

Renaissance et Réforme / 1 29 

deeply embarrassed by her nakedness because Calepine, who has rescued her 
from the cannibals, is not yet her husband (VI. viii. 50-51). 

But there is still the simile of Ariadne's crown to be discussed and on this we are 
enlightened as follows: "Ariadne: won at a bloody feast, the emblem of canni- 
balistic civilization in Ate' s house. Ariadne: won and lost, dismade [sic], and had 
again as the pattern in the heavens. Ariadne: eternally lost and eternally there, the 
jewel in nature, text and nature at once. Ariadne: the heavenly scales, weighing 
words and gifts" (p. 171). 

What are we to make of the existence of this tedious book? Is it an attack on the 
discursive principle of reason itself or a brilliant subversion of reactionary 
scholarly standards, not to mention competent prose? One feels on every page that 
the author is defining this position as one extreme in a simplified relationship of 
symmetrical opposition, flattening out complexity onto a single plane so that he 
requires an imaginary antagonist to get himself thinking— not unlike the syner- 
gistic hostility of Sans Loy and Huddibras, as Sean Kane has shown in the most 
important recent contribution to our understanding of Spenser's moral allegory 
("The Paradoxes of Idealism: Book II of The Faerie Queene,'' John Donne 
Journal, vol. 2, no. 1). It is the old story of the sour traditionalist and the 
hyperactive radical, each needing the other as an image for what he denies in 

In short, this is a book that is too preoccupied with striking a pose to accomplish 
much else, fantasizing for itself a critical position which will exist only in so far as it 
is opposed by an imaginary other that is, as Goldberg puts it, "conservative in 
nature" (xi). 

G.L. TESKEY, Cornell University 

Jacques Kiyntn. Idéal du prince et pouvoir royal en France à la fin du moyen âge 
(1380-1440). Étude de la littérature politique du temps. Paris: Éditions A. et J. 
Picard, 1981,341 p. 

Ce livre de Jacques Krynen se situe dans la foulée des ouvrages édités depuis 
quelques années sur la fin du moyen âge français; on a vu, par exemple, B. Guenée 
s'intéresser à l'idée de nation, F. Autrand aux gens du Parlement de Paris, R. 
Gazelles, aux règnes de Jean II et Charles V pour ne nommer que ceux-là. Les 
historiens constatent en effet de plus en plus que cette période est la source de 
changements politiques profonds qui marqueront de façon très nette les siècles 

À partir de plusieurs auteurs tels Jean Gerson, Philippe de Mézières, Jean de 
Terrevermeille, Jean de Montreuil, Christine de Pizan et des différents "Miroirs 
du Prince" dont XtDe regimine principum de Gilles de Rome traduit en français 
par Henri de Gauchi à la fin du XIII® siècle, Jacques Krynen examine d'une part 
les conceptions médiévales de l'éducation du futur roi et les qualités morales 
qu'elle vise à lui communiquer, d'autre part, comment le moyen âge concevait les 
devoirs et les obligations du roi lorsque celui-ci accédait au trône. De tous les 
textes utilisés par Krynen, peu nous sont inconnus et tous ou presque ont déjà fait 


1 30 / Renaissance and Reformation i 

l'objet d'études (philosophiques, littéraires, ou autres); la contribution de Krynen ' 

est de les mettre en rapport et d'examiner les idées qui s'en dégagent II nous i 

permet de jeter un regard neuf sur des textes qui, de prime abord, peuvent nous ; 

sembler disparates et contribue à enrichir notre connaissance de la littérature j 

politique médiévale. > 

L'ouvrage se divise en deux grandes parties: la première traite du "prince idéal" j 
et la seconde du "pouvoir royal." Ces deux parties correspondent, l'une à l'édu- | 
cation du roi et l'autre à son mode de gouvernement La première partie nous j 
apprend que les éducateurs médiévaux tenaient à ce que le prince possède des ; 
vertus morales hors du commun: humilité, piété, chasteté, droiture, éloquence et, | 
surtout, qu'il doit adopter en toute chose une juste mesure. Comment apprend-on ' 
au jeune prince à acquérir toutes ces vertus? Tout d'abord, par l'exemple que l'on \ 
se doit de lui donner. En effet, si l'entourage du prince lui donne en tout l'exemple, 
celui-ci ne sera pas tenté de tomber dans l'excès et donnera ainsi libre cours à ses 
bons penchants. Les précepteurs nous apprennent ensuite que l'éducation elle- 
même du prince doit faire l' objet d'une attention particulière. Il doit être entouré de i 
quelques conseillers, choisis avec grand soin, qui s'emploieront à son éducation | 
morale et religieuse ainsi qu'à sa formation intellectuelle. La lecture de Isl Bible, \ 
des Vies de Saints, de la vie des grands rois qui l'ont précédé et d'oeuvres morales, \ 
historiques et politiques seront pour lui des sources d'exemple et de réflexion. Il j 
est frappant de constater l'extrême austérité qui se dégage du système d'éducation 

On doit aussi instruire le prince sur la meilleure façon de gouverner et sur les l 

buts qu' il doit atteindre. Il lui faudra tout d' abord ne pas tenir compte de sa famille | 

qui, la plupart du temps, est source de discorde et de mésentente. Il lui faudra aussi | 

s'entourer des meilleurs conseillers possibles, ceux-ci devant faire preuve de | 

grandes qualités morales et surtout d'mtégrité. La finalité du gouvernement est la l 

justice et la paix. Le roi se doit d'exercer sa justice avec autorité et respect, d'être \ 

clément et libéral envers ses sujets, qu'ils soient pauvres ou riches, ce qui sera pour j 

lui le meilleur moyen d'être craint par tous. La paix, tant à l'intérieur de son i 

royaume qu'à l'extérieur, est le but ultime vers lequel tout souverain doit tendre. ■ 

On exige donc du roi qu' il possède des qualités exceptionnelles, qu' il ait une bonne | 

éducation et surtout, qu'il aime son métier "Le bon prince, en effet, n'a qu'une \ 
seule passion, son métier de roi" (p. 136). 

La seconde partie de l'ouvrage traite plus spécifiquement de l'enseignement des \ 

auteurs médiévaux quant aux quahtés du pouvoir royal qui se manifestent d'une j 
part au niveau de la foi, le roi de France est le roi "très chrétien" et d'autre part au 
niveau du sentiment national, le roi doit assurer la cohésion de son royaume. Cette 

idée de roi "très chrétien," répandue en grande partie par les conseillers du roi en ■ 

faisant revivre, dans leurs écrits, les légendes et leurs symboles, la Sainte i 

Ampoule, les fleurs de lis, l'oriflamme, permettra au roi d'utiliser ce titre à un : 

niveau politique tant vis-à-vis des puissances extérieures qu'à l'intérieur même de ! 

son royaume. Ce titre, il l'emploiera auprès du Pape, pour lui rappeler qu'il ne lui ï 

est pas soumis au niveau des choses temporelles; auprès de l'empereur, pour lui j 

faire savoir qu'il ne permet pas d'ingérence dans les affaires de France; et auprès l 

de l'Église de France, afin de favoriser la formation d'une église nationale dont il j 

prendra la tête. ' 

Renaissance et Réforme / 1 3 1 

Le sentiment national quant à lui se manifeste à la fin du moyen âge parce que le 
roi se doit d' assurer l'unité et la cohésion de son royaume. Il sera fondé d'une part 
sur la renommée des origines troyennes de la France et d'autre part sur la con- 
tinuité dynastique de ses rois. En définitive, le conflit avec l'Angleterre servira 
bien cette cause car il permettra de passer beaucoup plus rapidement du niveau 
féodal au niveau national. La Guerre de Cent Ans qui avait débuté à partir d'un 
conflit que l'on peut qualifier de féodal se réglera sur une base nationale. 

Les théoriciens politiques français du moyen âge visent à assurer la continuité 
de l'État. Ils le font en décrivant les rapports du roi avec la couronne et avec la 
communauté. Ils établissent de façon plus sûre les notions de succession sur le 
trône (les thèses de Jean de Terrevermeille et de Jean de Montreuil sont ici 
discutées en détail par Jacques Krynen) et prônent l'inaliénabilité du domaine de 
la couronne: le royaume doit donc être conservé intact Vis-à-vis de la com- 
munauté, le roi "tète du corps politique," se doit de gouverner dans l'intérêt et pour 
le bien de la communauté. Jacques Krynen nous rappelle alors la description du 
prince idéal qui nous a été proposée dans la première partie. 

Idéal du prince et pouvoir royal en France à la fin du moyen âge nous présente 
une excellente analyse de la littérature politique du moyen âge. En plus des 
auteurs mentionnés plus haut, Jacques Krynen fait appel à de nombreuses autres 
sources (plus de 80 sources médiévales) et chaque point de détail est analysé avec 
minutie et complété de nombreuses notes (plus de 1200). La bibliographie qui 
nous est présentée ici est très riche. En bref, c'est un livre à lire. 

SUZANNE GAUMOND, Institut d'études médiévales, Université de Montréal 

Peter Martyr Vermigli and Italian Reform^ Joseph C. McLelland editor. 
Waterloo, Ont: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1980. viii, 155pp. ISBN 0- 
88920-092-0 $8.00 (hardbound) 

"Renaissance and Reformation— partners or enemies?" the editor of this col- 
lection of papers asks. The answer he gives, and to which the papers point, is that a 
"unitive view [is] enjoying primacy today." For this reason Peter Martyr Vermigli 
is an exemplary case study, for the combines "Thomism and Calvinism, human- 
ism and scholasticism, Italy and the North." 

The ten essays in this book have been collected from papers given at the 
conference on "The Cultural Impact of Italian Reformers" held at McGill 
University in Montreal ( September 1977). They have been published elegantly 
and inexpensively, in a hardcover book that, in these days of exhorbitant book 
prices, does the conference and the publishers great credit The first five deal with 
wider topics (the book trade, the rhetorical-dialectical tradition, religious dis- 
simulation, the trial of Pier Paolo Vergerio, and the concept of Italy and of Italians 
abroad), thus setting the scene for the last five papers, which deal directly with 
Peter Martyr Vermigli. 

Paul F. Grendler's opening article on "The Circulation of Protestant Books in 
Italy" traces the influx and dissemination of forbidden books in Venice, the largest 
Itahan publishing centre. Professor Grendler presents us with a well- annotated 

132 / Renaissance and Reformation 

and well-documented examination of a number of questions: who were the dealers 
ready and willing to engage in this illicit trade, how and why were smugglers able to 
supply the lagoon city with books placed on both the Pauline and Tridentine 
Index, who purchased these books, and how did all these groups respond to the 
reality of the Inquisition? Original documentation from the Venetian archives 
enriches this study and provides reliable support for the proposed models. 

Cesare Vasoli's article on"Loc/ Communes and the Rhetorical and Dialectical 
Traditions" examines the use of loci in relation to the rhetorical-dialectical 
tradition of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The short, incisive loci are seen 
as an alternative, much favoured by Protestant teachers and polemicists, to the 
ponderous and inadequate techniques of the later Schoolmen. After recalling 
Lorenzo Valla and examining Rudolf Agricola' s Z)e inventione dialectica (which 
had great influence on sixteenth- century reformers), Vasoli touches upon Juan 
Luis Vives' call for "a different kind of logic" and recalls that the Spanish 
humanist "imputes to the lack of systematic, logical discipline the unintelligibility 
which is the dominant feature of the various branches of knowledge, among which 
theology holds pride of place" (p. 23). Philipp Melanchthon'sLoc/commw/ie^ 
offer an answer by providing a text of indisputable teaching value, "capable of 
reaching those men and social strata who, far removed from the philosophical 
refinements of the Schoolmen, are unfamiliar with the sophisticated techniques of 
theological disputation" (p. 25). The work of Melanchthon, in whose tradition 
Vermigli's own Loci communes finds its place, provided the Reformers with a 
doctrinal structure based on radical simplification and a return to Scriptural 
sources. It also allowed for quick and "catchy" pronouncements which had an 
immediate, and lasting, impact on the audience. Professor Vasoli's far- ranging 
and illuminative article is marred only by one oversight when having it translated 
from the original Italian, the editor should have asked for the lengthy passages in 
Latin (such as the 7 lines on p. 24, the 5 lines on p. 25, the 1 6 lines in n. 25 of p. 26, 
the 8 lines of p. 27) to be translated as well — most North- American readers do not 
enjoy the thorough, European classical education that takes fluency in Latin for 

Rita Belladonna's concise article "Aristotle, Machiavelli, and Religious 
Dissimulation: Bartolomeo Carli Piccolomini's TrattatiNove Delia Prudenza" 
examines the spirit of religious reform in Siena. This amply footnoted study 
provides English translations for all material from the original Trattati, thus 
off'ering us a rich sub-text to the article itself. Professor Belladonna's thesis points 
out the secular aspect of Carli's Nicodemism, drawing attention to the strong links 
to be found between Carli's advice to the prudent man and Machiavelli's norms of 
ethical relativism for a prince. In fact, Carli proposes a double standard for dealing 
with religion and official religious ceremonies, particularly those of Rome. Even 
though the Trattati are also deeply steeped in autobiographical mysticism, and 
though they can be seen to contain elements complementary to VdXdQs' Alfabeto 
Christiano, the Nicodemism they espouse is highly secular. UnHke Brunfel, CarH 
is not interested in Scriptural reasons for his silence. Instead, like MachiavelH, he 
is more interested in the practical reality of the present political situation. This, 
Professor Belladonna suggests, should make us wary of dealing with Nicodemism 
as a unified European phenomenon. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 133 

Antonio Santosuosso picks up this theme of political pragmatism and looks at 
"Religion More Veneto and the Trial of Pier Paolo Vergerio," in order to show 
that changing political and religious factors played an important part at the trials 
and in the treatment of the Bishop of Capodistria by the Venetians. Concentrating 
on the years 1544-49, this study is a lucid, linear exposition of the Venetian 
government's expertise in blending strong religious beliefs and adherence to 
political necessity into a policy of practical politics for the good of the state. 
Although Vergerio is as much to blame for his demise as is the changed attitude of 
the Venetian government towards him (his own venomous tongue, his personal 
spiritual mid- life crisis, his bitter anticurialist stance, his irrepressible urge to 
reprimand and correct others, for example, were important factors that lead to his 
fall from grace), Professor Santosuosso clearly shows him to be a victim of 
political circumstance as well. 

Antonio D' Andrea, in his work on "Geneva 1 576-78: The Italian Community 
and the Myth of Italy," looks once more at the rise of the anti-Italian sentiment 
that associated all inhabitants of the peninsula with the worst excesses of 
"Machiavellism." Using the incidents surrounding the publication in Geneva by 
two expatriate Italian Protestants of a Latin translation of the Principe (1560), 
and also those surrounding the publication oïÛiq Discours sur les moyens de bien 
gouverner. . . Contre Nicolas Machiavel Florentin by the expatriate French 
Huguenot Innocent Gentillet (1577), D'Andréa examines the sources of this 
irradicable, virulent opinion of all Italians. Great emphasis is placed on the anti- 
Italian sentiment already found in France as a result of both Italian influence at 
court and sectarian politics at the national level; however, more discussion than 
just the two passing comments ought to have been presented about "Calvin's 
misgivings about the Itahans" (p. 60). Nonetheless, the article does show that the 
time was favourable for an unfavourable view of Italians. 

With Marvin Anderson's "Peter Martyr Vermigli: Protestant Humanist" the 
book moves into its second section and begins to examine more closely the main 
subject of its title. Professor Anderson takes to task John Patrick Donnelly, and 
others with him, who see Vermigli as a Scholastic Reformer. To balance this view, 
he points out that Vermigli only appears to be a Scholastic, while he is in fact much 
more of a Humanist Although he retained the Scholastic training received at 
Padua, Vermigli turned directly to classical and patristic sources to gather from 
them new insights, firmly believing that the Holy Spirit "may haue us to be 
scholars euen unto the ende of the worlde" (p. 84). 

Rather than examining the entire period in question, Philip M. J. McNair's 
article on "Peter Martyr in England" chooses instead to concentrate on the 
circumstances that led to the Disputation of 1549. Particular emphasis is placed 
on the religious climate in late Henrician and Edwardian England, on Christ 
Church College, on Oxford's reaction to Peter Martyr and vice versa, and on the 
fanatical opposition Martyr had to endure from his predecessor in the chair of 
Regius Professor of Divinity, Richard Smith. The article is lively, precise and well 
documented; it points the way to an examination of the other six major moments of 
Peter Martyr's influence in England which, for the sake of brevity, McNair 
mentions but does not examine. 

134 / Renaissance and Reformation { 

John Patrick Donnelly, remarking that Vermigli's Loci communes devotes a | 
great amount of space to practical social questions and that to Peter Martyr there | 
was no distinction, as there is for the modem reader, between social and ethical : 
thought, offers an "exploratory essay" into "The Social and Ethical Thought of | 
Peter Martyr Vermigli." In clear, incisive paragraphs, the essay touches upon ] 
"Social Status, Inequality and Minorities" (women, nobility, slavery, religious j 
dissenters, Jews, Moslems), "The Christian and the Economic Order" (wealth, I 
poverty), "Marriage" (also polygamy, mixed marriages, divorce, virginity), to \ 
terminate with some "General Principles and Presuppositions" that point out ; 
Vermigli's strong links with Aristotle (especially with the Mc/ïomac/ïea«£'r/ï/c5), | 
his mixture of theological and secular proofs for an argument, and his use of \ 
Roman law. | 

Robert M. Kingdon examines "The Political Thought of Peter Martyr Ver- 
migli" to show that, although the structure and some of the contents are Aristo- 
telian (from Vermigli's days at the University of Padua), most of Vermigli's 
thoughts derive from Scriptural and Patristic sources, while some come from \ 
Roman law, and a few from contemporary political practice. Professor Kingdon I 
then examines in detail Vermigli's definition of government (or of "the magistrate") | 
and the question of political resistance by "inferior magistrates" or by citizens, i 
basing his observation on the loci dealing with the ten scholia that he feels are most | 
instructive in this question. | 

Joseph C. McLelland brings the book to an end with his essay "Peter Martyr | 
Vermigli: Scholastic or Humanist?" in which he shows that "Martyr is more| 
subtle than allowed by the thesis that he is a chief contributor to the fall ofl 
Calvinism into 'scholasticism'" (p. 150). The point, present in several of the| 
articles preceding this one (especially VasoH's and Anderson's), is supported by ^ 
an examination of contemporary scholarship and the place of both Aristotelianism S 
and Scholasticism in Vermigli's education. As such, it is an appropriate con-| 
elusion to this fine collection of essays. I 

KONRAD EISENBICHLER, Victoria University, University of Toronto \ 

Chartes E. Hambrick-Stowe. The Practice of Piety. Puritan Devotional Dis- \ 
ciplines in Seventeenth-Century New England. Chapel Hill: University of North] 
Carolma Press, 1982. Pp. xvi, 298. $28.00. J 

Though a number of writers have reestablished the signal importance of spiritu- \ 
ality to Puritanism, little attention has been paid to the themes of piety or how it^ 
was practiced on a daily and weekly basis, a subject for inquiry long overdue given \ 
recent interest in social history and popular culture. In this Jamestown Award- j 
winning study Charles Hambrick-Stowe explores the "inner" history of ordinary-f 
people through an examination of public worship, family and small group dis- 
cussions, and private or "closet" meditations. Hambrick-Stowe succeeds ad- 
mirably in providing readers with a useful description of the form, content, and| 
impact of spiritual activities in seventeenth-century New England. 
At its heart, Hambrick-Stowe argues, Puritanism was neither a social nor 

Renaissance et Réforme / 135 

intellectual movement, but part of a larger devotional revival that swept European 
communities in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Through a careful 
examination of devotional manuals and sermons, he shows how significant con- 
tinuities linked Puritan, Anglican, and even Roman Catholic devotional themes 
and rituals. The theme of intensive self-examination and meditation upon one's 
sins, for example, was previously assumed to be a unique activity of lay Puritans. 
Yet, by exhibiting parallel texts, Hambrick-Stowe demonstrates how intro- 
spection also characterized Catholic devotionals. Likewise, many other spiritual 
exercises, such as meditation upon the joys of heaven and emphasis upon human 
experience and divine initiative in salvation were shared by Puritans and Catho- 

Having reestablished Puritanism's ties to mainstream Western Christianity, 
Hambrick-Stowe builds a strong case for the popular nature of Puritan culture. 
The central themes of Puritan spirituality, he argues, had long been at the heart of 
popular piety and were shared by clerics and laymen alike. The point is crucial 
because the description of devotional themes and practices — which comprises 
most of the book — is drawn almost exclusively from manuals, sermons, almanacs, 
and other documents composed by ministers. The principle metaphor running 
through all these sources is that of the pilgrimage. Ministers described the indi- 
vidual' s spiritual life as a journey from sin to salvation and glory. Building on the 
work of others like Michael McGifFert and his mentor David Hall, Hambrick- 
Stowe asserts that the conversion experience, generally a gradual rather than 
violent, life- altering development, marked the beginning of the soul's pilgrimage, 
not the culmination. The Puritan achieved salvation only after death, upon 
redemption and union with God. Preparation for salvation, then, did not end with 
the conversion experience but continued throughout life and public and private 
worship, the means by which the individual proceeded along the path toward 

Several chapters are included that contain illuminating and insightful des- 
criptions of public and private devotional activities. Means of public worship 
included participation in the sacraments, attending sermons, church discipline, 
and prayer. Private devotions involved family prayer, private prayer meetings and 
conferences, and individual "secret" devotions. While all prayer centered around 
some variation of the redemptive cycle of confession, petition for forgiveness, 
thanksgiving, and union with God, the daily private devotions were of particular 
importance to the individual Puritan. Secret exercise, Bible study, meditation and 
prayer were the most powerful channels through which grace might flow, the 
crucial point of contact between the believer and God. Hambrick-Stowe dis- 
tinguishes between the specific functions of prayer and meditation. While the 
believer actively sought God through prayer, he attempted to find ongoing 
evidence of salvation and to chart his progress on his pilgrimage through 

Although this devotional synthesis survived in New England until the early 
eighteenth century, the second generation faced a devotional crisis. The old 
spiritual images and religious terminology no longer seemed to apply to a gener- 
ation that did not share the founding experience of the fathers. Ministers con- 


136 / Renaissance and Reformation 

fronted unprecedented difficulties in attempting to motivate their flocks to seek 
salvation. Clerics responded to the challenge by adapting several major themes of 
Puritan devotionalism to the new circumstaixces. They venerated and celebrated 
the fathers, and placed a greater emphasis upon the spiritual implications of their 
pilgrimage to America. In addition, ministers created new forms of worship, such 
as the covenant renewal. Renewed interest and larger printings of devotional 
manuals in the late seventeenth century suggest that ministers succeeded in 
rekindling the devotional zeal that characterized the first years of settlement 

The Practice of Piety is a useful volume though, as with any book, the reader is 
left with a few questions that may be mentioned in passing. For example, in his 
discussion of popular culture Hambrick-Stowe argues that Puritanism repre- 
sented an effort to reform English culture from within. The reform impulse was 
neither propagated nor directed by ministers, who, partly because of their empha- 
sis upon literacy, could not monopolize the Bible and thus "wielded little authority 
of their own" (48). Their style of plain preaching and prayer was a response to the 
demands of the movement, just as the contents of their writings reflected popular 
needs. Hambrick-Stowe does well to remind readers that the ministers and the 
laity interacted within a shared world of meaning. Many will resist, however, his 
undocumented assertion that Puritanism's individualism coupled with its re- 
jection of outward forms resulted in a popular culture characterized by inherent 
anticlericalism. Hambrick-Stowe also makes a significant contribution in stress- 
ing the paramount importance of private devotions in the conversion process. But 
again, his subordination of the ministry in the early chapters seems anomalous and 
unnecessary, especially in light of his later description of the ministerial role in 
rejuvenating zeal and redefining critical devotional themes. Though the ministry is 
by no means ignored, emphasis upon the individual relationship with God is so 
strong in parts that the reader is surprised to see the 1 650 Connecticut law stating: f 
"The pre aching of the Word. . . is the chiefe ordinary means ordained by God for 2 
the converting, edifying, and saving of the soûles of the elect" (116). J 

In addition, the influence of social and cultural change upon the practice of piety 'j 
on the individual level remains cloudy, a problem undoubtedly rooted in a lack of ; 
available sources. Hambrick-Stowe asserts that the Puritans "practiced prepar- { 
ation for salvation through the means of grace," yet devotes little attention to the \ 
spiritual experience of the sizeable proportion of second generation believers who | 
never experienced conversion (219). In general, Hambrick-Stowe' s treatment of | 
the conversion experience should not be considered the final word on the subject | 
His description of the gradual conversion experience, a notion central to his 
lifelong pilgrimage theme, is based heavily upon evidence drawn from Thomas J 
Shepard's Cambridge church. Shepard emphasized the gradual nature of con- | 
version as much or more than any of his contemporaries. The sudden, life- 
changing conversions experienced by many followers of John Cotton, Solomon 
Stoddard, and others receive little attention here; they suggest that the variety of 
spiritual experience may have been more significant than Hambrick-Stowe 

The above points pertain largely to matters of detail. In general, Charles 
Hambrick-Stowe' s rich description and penetrating analysis casts much needed 


Renaissance et Réforme / 137 

light into an area of Puritanism frought with obstacles to research and long overdue 
for study. The Practice of Piety enriches our understanding of Puritan "inner" 
history and the spiritual experience of the individual and the movement as a 

JAMES F. COOPER, JR., University of Connecticut 

Joyce Main Hanks. Ronsard and Biblical Tradition. Tubingen and Paris: Gunter 
Narr Veriag and Editions Jean-Michel Place, 1982. Pp. 199. DM 38. 

One is perhaps too often tempted to regard the poets of the Pléiade as wholly pagan 
in their vision du monde, despite Lucien Febvre's having shown in the case of 
Rabelais that no-one in sixteenth-century France can justifiably be called non- 
Christian. This book is an important contribution to a developing interest in the 
influence of the Bible and of the biblical tradition on both the content and style of 
sixteenth- century French poetry, since, as Dr. Hanks says in her introduction, 
"no attempt has been made to show [ Ronsard' s] overall dependence on the Bible, 
conceived primarily as a literary source." When, some six years ago, she com- 
pleted her doctoral thesis on which this book is based, the author was able to draw 
on a recent major work in this field. Jacques Pineaux'sLa Poésie des protestants 
de langue française (Psins, 1971). One can only regret that she was not able to use 
Marguerite Soulié' s L'Inspiration biblique dans la poésie religieuse d' Agrippa 
d'Aubigné (Paris, 1977) and Malcolm Smith's invaluable edition of Ronsard's 
Discours des misères de ce temps (Geneva, 1 979), which prints earlier texts than 
hitherto of the Epistre au lecteur par laquelle succintement Vautheur respond à 
ses calomniateurs (Paris, 1564) and the Prière à Dieu pour la victoire (Paris, 
1 569), provides more biblical references and cross-references to Ronsard's other 
works than Paul Laumonier's edition of 1946 and, as Jean Baillou did in 1949, 
brings together all the prose and poetry which was to form the Discours in the 
collective editions from 1567 to 1587. 

The close investigation by Hanks of her subject can be seen from the titles of the 
five main chapters: "Biblical Imagery and Language," "Biblical Characters and 
Events," "Biblical History and Classical Mythology," "Biblical Commentary 
and Polemic," and "Biblical Vision: God and Man." She is always carefiil to 
avoid implying that Ronsard repeatedly read biblical texts as subjects of imitation 
or of free adaptation. She prefers the term "biblical tradition" to describe what the 
poet draws on: his how reading of the Bible, readings at mass and in the breviary, 
sermons, readings of other poets and recollections of all of these, all elements of 
that cultural memory described by Du Bellay in the second preface to L'Olive. 
The many biblical quotations rightly adduced in the text properly come from the 
translation of the Bible by Lefèvre d'Etaples or from the Vulgate, when the latter is 
closer to Ronsard's language or thought than Lefèvre' s version. 

Since most of Ronsard' s themes are decidedly secular and his sources tend to be 
more mythological than Judeo-Christian, it is inevitable, given the Renaissance 
cast of mind, that one should find a syncretist mixture of the two traditions in some 
poems, a mixture that has often disconcerted readers and critics. Ancient myth is 

138 / Renaissance and Reformation 

regarded as a préfiguration of Christian truth and the earliest poems were, in 
Ronsard's own words of 1565 which are in the tradition of the Florentine 
Neoplatonists, a théologie allegoricque, whose mode of expression is the only 
form in which ineffable truths {secrets) may be conveyed to mankind. Mythology' s 
insights, reflecting as they do important aspects of reality, are seen to be com- 
plementary rather than opposed to biblical tradition, a position that is attacked by 
Ronsard's Huguenot critics. This syncretism is adumbrated in the early chapters 
of the book and is fully and clearly discussed in the second longest chapter. 
Mythological deities are identified in theory and in practice with attributes of the 
Judeo-Christian God: the many gods deepen one's understanding of the one God. 
Moses is identified with Minos, Adam with Prometheus and Christ with Hercules. 
The image of Hesiod's path that leads to Virtue is conflated with the description of 
the narrow way found in Matthew 7:13-14. Ronsard occasionally emphasizes not 
only the similarities but also the differences between Greek religion and Judeo- 
Christian tradition, to the clear advantage of the latter. Hanks' concludes on this 
subject that there is almost always a mythological admixture in predominantly 
biblical poems, even where a quite appropriate biblical image exists. She sums up 
by saying: "He consistently honors his Judeo-Christian heritage as superior to 
paganism in matters oï doctrine. When it comes to imagery, however, he usually 
prefers mythology" (p. 83). 

The chapter on biblical imagery and language usefully analyses the way in 
which Ronsard adapts his material for his own independent purposes. A closer 
investigation of his language might reveal a use of hebraisms, a feature that critics 
are not aware of in D'Aubigné's religious poetry, thanks to the researches of 

Dr. Hanks discusses at length and with many interesting insights the key texts 
for her subject the unprecedentledly successful series of plaquettes that make up 
the Discours des misères. These works, which were in the vanguard of the 
Catholic literary counter-attack and which earned for Ronsard a reputation as a 
hero of the Catholic reformation, she considers to be important not least because 
no French poet had previously presented theologial concepts in a lengthy polemic. 
She agrees with the abbé Charbonnier* s verdict that "les idées théologiques sont 
devenues accessibles au monde des lettrés; c'est déjà un progrès appréciable, et 
par là cette poésie fait pendant à V Institution chrétienne de Calvin." Many of 
Ronsard's attacks on the Huguenots are theological and biblical, and Dr. Hanks 
pays particular attention to the sources of Ronsard's often satirical arguments. 
Her analysis does, however, tend to remain at the level of subject-matter, not 
delving deeper, as Henri Weber does in La Création poétique au XVI^ siècle en 
France, to discuss iht Discours as poetry, as a form of discourse which generates 
its own peculiar energy ( and expectations) and can have decided advantages over 
prose polemic. 

Two useful indexes are included: one of references in the text to Ronsard's 
works, and one of biblical references. The latter graphically illustrates Dr. Hanks' 
conclusion that the frequency curve of references begins at a low level in 1550, 
rises rapidly to a plateau in the Hymnes of 1 5 5 5 , reaches a peak in the Discours of 
1 562 and 1 563 and falls back to the level of 1 555, rising again towards the end of 

Renaissance et Réforme / 139 

Ronsard's life, especially in the posthumously published Derniers Vers. 

In conclusion. Dr. Hanks' book demonstrates the value of this approach to an 
important sixteenth-century French poet Can one hope that Du Ballay will also 
be studied in this way? 

THOMAS THOMSON, University of Dundee 

The Entry of Henri II into Paris 16 June 1549, with an Introduction and Notes by 
I.D. McFarlane. Vol. 7 of second volume of "Renaissance Triumphs and 
Magnificences." New Series. Margaret M. McGowan, General Editor. Medieval 
and Renaissance Texts and Studies, Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance 
Studies, Binghamton, New York, 1982. Pp. xciv, 48. $15.00 

This volume includes both the facsimile of the livret of Henri IF s Royal Entry and 
of the Queen* s sacre, which was published as a companion to the main entry. In a 
Foreword, I.D. McFarlane, Professor of French at Oxford University, points out 
that the livret was accepted for publication some years ago and then lay in the 
original publisher's drawer for a considerable time. In McFarlane' s own words it 
is an ill wind that blows nobody any good, and delay meant that the results of 
recent research could be incorporated into his substantial Introduction; the 
appearance of work on the social and political background of royal entries has 
allowed him to take a broader view of Henri IF s Entry. 

McFarlane's primary concern in the Introduction is to show that the Entry 
came at a key point in the emergence of France's neo-classical aesthetic. We are 
first shown how the Entry into Rheims in 1 547, two years before the Paris Entry, 
had triumphal arches and classical motifs in the architectural design but that more 
traditional aspects were still prominent: the tableaux vivants, the Jardin de 
Plaisance and the allegorical figures, such as the Virtues, which were more 
medieval than classical in inspiration. McFarlane emphasizes that the planners of 
the Paris Entry were to make a conscious effort to dispense with these old world 
features. We also learn about the Entry into Lyon of 1548; while this Entry had 
elaborate classical elements — a double triumphant arch, anaumachia, as well as 
the major presence of classical allegorical figures and neo-classical traits such as 
columns and perspective — the classical gods were numerous rather than tidily 
grouped round a few dominant motifs, and the classical orders were not exploited 
methodically, as was to be the case with the 1549 Paris Entry. McFarlane 
suggests that the Paris Entry reflected not only the Parisians' desire to outshine the 
Entry into Lyon, but also perhaps Henri's desire to produce an Entry more 
impressive than those recently effected by Philip II. 

After briefly considering some of the difficulties and delays surrounding the 
Paris Entry, McFarlane draws upon municipal records for details of the prepara- 
tions by the city. Then he goes on to give an overview of events on the sixteenth of 
June, drawing upon a variety of sources, which include Jean Du Tillet in his 
Recueil and historians of the University, before he turns to a detained analysis of 
the information contained in the livret. 

McFarlane devotes a lengthy section of the Introduction to a consideration of 

140 / Renaissance and Reformation \ 

the Entry's themes as revealed by the livret. We are shown how the sense of j 
national distinction finds expression in the new neo-classical aesthetic, which i 
underlies the architectural and artistic features of the Entry and which was starting \ 
to appear in artistic circles of the court at this time. While we cannot see this Entry ' 
as representing a total break with the past, it is unusual compared with other ] 
pageants because greater care was taken "to plan and coordinate the various j 
aspects of the ceremonies and the artistic features: this shows itself in the ; 
systematic development of major themes (themselves not necessarily new) in the { 
Entry and particularly in the progression of architectural structures along the i 
Royal route." (28-29) The devisers of this more unified Entry included Jean 
Martin, the chief planner, who was also translating Vitruvius, Serlio and Alberti at ; 
this time, and Jean Goujon, one of the architects for the Entry, who also colla- \ 
borated in the publication of Vitruvius. Through their influence "the Entry ; 
assumes some of the features associated with Roman triumphs" (39). 

McFarlane points out that "the Entry shows more interest in the visual arts" i 
(60), while the poetic aspects are slight; consequently, we have to study the ! 
illustrations of the livret closely in order to acquire a clear understanding of the | 
importance of this Entry. In a number of instances the text of the livret has little to ; 
say about certain features of the Entry structures and the reader is obliged to | 
discover architectural innovations for himself through a perusal of the illus- 
trations; for example, the First Arch of the Pont Notre-Dame has an Ionic and 
Corinthian order, which Serlio considered to be exceedingly rare, but the livret 
does not remark on this, showing, instead, more concern for the massive figure of ' 
Typhis. To take another example, the livret refers to the unusual feature of "une 
salle à la mode Françoise" on the top of the Rue Saint- Antoine triple arches, while ; 
leaving it to the reader to decipher the paintings on the sides of the arches as they 
appear faintly in the illustration, which is in the form of a dépliant. McFarlane 
provides a brief evaluation of each illustration and in some cases supplements the 
information supplied by the livret with details from other sources; in the case of the 
Rue Saint- Antoine arch, he draws upon Philippe Mace's accounts of the fes- 
tivities, while on other occasions he uses P. Guerin's Registre, which was pub- 
lished in 1 886 and which provides more technical detail than the livret, notably in | 
the matter of capitals. However, even with McFarlane' s own analyses and with j 
the supplementary texts he cites, the details concerning the Entry structures are 
still incomplete and one should reiterate that the illustrations themselves, despite 
the fact that they do not show the varied colors of the original pageant structures, 
add significantly to our appreciation of the Entry. The actual illustration of the 
"portique à la mode Ionique" at the Chàtelet, for instance, makes clearer to us the 
way in which the innovative trompe-Voeil effect of the "perspective" was brought 
about not only by the disposition and proportions of the columns, but also by the 
gallery "percée à jour" which was intended to give an impression of solidity to the 
whole fabric. 

Having studied each of the Entry structures, McFarlane gives consideration to 
the political implications of the overall neo-classical design of the Entry, to the 
way in which a structure will be coherently organized around a central symbol of 
royal virtue or authority: the striking figure of Hercules atop the Porte Saint-Denis 


Renaissance et Réforme / 141 

triumphal arch, for example, or the figure of Lutetia, who serves as the point of 
focus for the "perspective" scene in the Châtelet "portique." As Roy Strong has 
demonstrated in The Illusion o/Power (Berkeley: University of California Press, 
1975), single-point perspective in court entries and entertainments serves as a 
visual embodiment of the monarch's centralised authority. Unfortunately, within 
the limited confines of an Introduction, McFarlane can only pay cursory attention 
to the way in which the Entry reflects architecturally the increasing authority of 
the monarch and represents an important stage in the development of the icono- 
graphy of the Rot Soleil — and there is also no opportunity here to explore the 
influence of an innovation like perspective on the production of other forms of 
court pageantry and vice versa. 

The Entry's neo-classical architectural advances are coupled with a more 
sophisticated use of classical mj^ology and with a more elaborate handling of 
emblems, imprese, mottoes and inscriptions. With regard to the latter, the Entry 
reveals the emerging taste for veiled truths, for the mixing of literary text and visual 
arts and for a growing erudition, which, while "giving an exalted view of national 
culture, helps to insert a wedge between the King and the plebs, unable to grasp all 
the symbolism of such a grandiose pageant" (75). McFarlane does not allude to 
royal entries in other European countries, but it is interesting to note in this context 
that James I's coronation Entry into Lx)ndon over fifty years later was to display a 
similar erudition that was beyond the ken of the plebs. 

With respect to the literary aspects of the Entry, McFarlane finds no evidence 
of any contribution by the Pléiade. However, there is a certain parallelism 
between the neo-classicism of the Entry and Joachim du Bellay's Deffense et 
illustration^ which was published in the same year. In addition, some of the 
themes of the Entry — Hercules and la France fertile, for example — are found in 
Ronsard' s work, while the idea of perspective may have been translated into his 
poetry. The way in which pageantry influenced poetry demands more attention; 
McFarlane does not explore the matter here, but with his knowledge of sixteenth- 
century French literature he is well qualified to do so and one can only hope that 
perhaps he will in the fiiture. 

After a Postlude describing the journey and the naval battle, which succeeded 
the Entry, the Introduction concludes with a detailed bibliography of both primary 
as well as useful secondary sources. McFarlane himself acknowledges that this 
Paris Entry brings up more lines of scholarly inquiry than can be pursued within 
the narrow scope of an introduction; however, given the limitations of space, he 
has provided us with a fine overview of recent scholarly findings relating to the 
1 549 Paris Entry. In addition, the facsimile of the livret Bndsacre will prove to be a 
useful source of material to scholars interested in the development of French — 
and European — pageantry in the Renaissance. 

NIGEL G. BROOKS, University of Pennsylvania 

142 / Renaissance and Reformation 

RV. Young, Richard Crashaw and the Spanish Golden Age, Yale University 
Press, 1982. 

This book on Crashaw fits into the category of studies in comparative literature 
that explain the phenomenon of a literary figure in one country by the phenomenon 
of a literary movement in another. Here, an English Metaphysical poet is dis- 
cussed according to the literary ideals of the Spanish Golden Age. RV. Young 
originally drafted this book as a doctoral thesis under Lx)uis Martz' supervision at 
Yale, and he contends that the Golden' s Age's mystics, Teresa of Avila and John 
of the Cross, explain Crashaw' s mysticism. He affirms, moreover, that the Age's 
great lyricist. Lope de Vega, is the source for the "gay tone" of Crashaws sacred 
parodies, and that the Age's other critic and lyricist, Luis de Gongora, was the 
inspiration for the refined and artificial beauty of Crashaw' s verse. Effectively, in 
spirit if not in body, Crashaw was a Spanish Golden Age poet 

Young's critical point of view is grounded on a number of avowed assumptions. 
These include that a clearly identifiable, presumably homogeneous "English 
devotional tradition" existed, from which Crashaw along among contemporary 
English poets deviated. Another assumption is the "modem Anglo-American 
culture is more disposed to accept the expression of emotion in private circum- 
stances", and that Crashaw, having in the Renaissance written emotional public 
verse, is therefore an English Metaphysical poetman^wé (p.8). A further assump- 
tion is that Renaissance poets who wrote in Latin may be grouped into a coherent 
body of a " neo-latin" writers no matter what their national origins and convictions 
were; because of their "neo-latin" homogeneity, the real influence of these poets 
on Crashaw may be dismissed, as nothing fundamental in him resembles them. 

Another guiding principle in Young's book is that Spain was the country to hold 
the "preeminent role" in the Counter- Reformation. Being a Counter- Reformation 
poet, Crashaw must therefore conform to "Spanish" ideals as did the Dutchman 
Reubens who. Young contends, living in Holland under Spanish rule, was perforce 
one of the three Spanish painters with El Greco and Murillo to whom Mario Praz 
compares Crashaw (p. 13). Yet another guiding principle behind Young's argu- 
ment is that sacred parody is more " insistent" and " pervasive" in Crashaw* s verse 
than in the work of any other English poet, including Alabaster's and Donne's 
sonnet sequences, and Southwell's, Beaumont's, Constable's, Lok's, Brerely's, 
and Barnes' religious lyrics. Crashaw was not a prophet but a stranger in his own 
country in virtue of his identity with the Spanish Golden Age and his resulting 
differences with English writers. Finally, the book defines mysticism as "the 
intensification of Christian love for God" not differing in essence from ordinary 
Christian experience (p.27), and it suggests that "the selection and disposition of 
poetic elements" are the hallmarks of the baroque as a poetic style (p. 157). 

As Young's identification of Crashaw with the Spanish Golden Age progresses, 
a number of modem critics and scholars, who have explained Crashaw' s work in 
other ways, take a beating. Joan Bennett, H. J. C. Grierson, and Douglas Bush are 
noted "for similar instances of blank incomprehension erected into dogma" of 
Crashaw's little degree of intelligence and display of emotion (pp. 175, 18). 
Furthermore, in one place Bennett's criticism of Crashaw is described as the 


Renaissance et Réforme / 143 

factor responsible for her "distaste" of his personality, and in her hands, con- 
sequently, Crashaw's poems deteriorate into "pseudo-clinical evidence*' in a case 
study of "masochism" (p.24). Young's language is strong, but so far many people 
would be sympathetic to his claims. They might even feel such claims over- 

Unfortunately, however. Young continues to attack strongly, beyond pseudo- 
psychological criticism onto the trickier ground of historical appreciation. His 
frontal method tends to spoil. Another modem critic, Robert Adams, in support- 
ing Bennett's claims, for example, is made to conclude implicitly that Crashaw's 
poetry is "a seething kettle of latent sexual perversion" (p.25). This may be going 
too far. Later, Ivor Winter's rejection of the pertinence of "sexual imagery to 
religious imagery" appears "untenable" to Young because he. Winters, "casually 
dismisses" the old "Christian tradition" of relating them (p. 28). That such a 
tradition existed has yet to be proven. For her part, Rosemund Tuve seems 
"mesmerized" by the suggestions of the word "parody", and unable to cope with 
Crashaw. Young dismisses her because of her inability to recognize the existence 
of "sacred parody" as opposed to general parody, and her criticism degenerates 
into a "crudely biographical interpretation of the concept of poetic tension" (pp 
29-30). Elsewhere in Young's pages, Robert Petersson is declared"not altogether 
correct" in his assertions about Crashaw's imaginative creativity at the end of the 
first poem to Teresa; then, the "speculations" of so valid a critic as Ruth 
Wallerstein on the musical qualities of Crashaw's poetry appear merely to 
"restate the problem rather than . . . answer it;" and, what the venerable Austin 
Warren has to say about Crashaw's changes in style "drives a destructive wedge 
between literature and religion (or style and content)" (pp. 115, 162). Finally, 
Young claims the existence of a "general misapprehension" of Crashaw's 
"Epiphany" poem by modem critics because of their over-emphasis on neo- 

The reader of Young's book is disconcerted by the isolation into which, critic- 
ally speaking, he comers not himself but Crashaw. Crashaw, who never left 
England and who therefore never saw the Continent until the vast majority of his 
poetry was written and practically all of his life was over, is stripped of his English 
origins. A Spanish Golden Age influence, identified according to principles of 
intemational cultural literary penetration, is made to explain a whole man. And 
yet, the prosodie parallels between Gongora and Crashaw (p. 168), stick in the 
reader's memory. To read that "the similar use of long and short lines to pursue a 
single idea or to unfold a single scene through a series of images — unrestricted by a 
strict prosodie form— which seen to tumble forth one on top of another", is a 
pleasant change from reading that Crashaw gives off too much heat Nevertheless, 
Richard Crashaw and the Spanish Golden Age tempts the reader to think that 
Young has followed Warren, Bush, Wallerstein, Petersson and Tuve into what he 
describes as their errors. 

ANTHONY RASPA, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi 

1 44 / Renaissance and Reformation ! 


Jules Brody. Lectures de Montaigne. Lexington, Kentucky: French Forum, i 
1982. Pp. 181. $13.50 . 

Dans ce livre qui veut corriger les torts faits au texte de Montaigne par l'ensemble \ 
de la critique ancienne et actuelle, Jules Brody replace les Essais à l'intérieur | 
d'une expérience fondamentale du désordre de la lecture. Ce désordre, auquel se ; 
conforme Montaigne, si l'on peut dire, exige que nous abandonnions pour un ; 
moment notre esprit de système et que nous faisions preuve d'une grande ouver- i 
ture sur le plan méthodologique. Il faut donc attendre du lecteur une part étonnante | 
de tolérance et de patience, car, au lieu de recourir au contenu systématique pour ; 
expliquer la démarche àts Essais, le critique restore toute la difficulté du texte, j 
l'énorme problème de sa lecture. "Montaigne n'est pas de ces penseurs qui ; 
proposent des vérités; c'est plutôt un artiste qui expose, qui découvre et révèle au \ 
niveau du langage des nuances et des secrets le plus souvent offusqués et obscurcis < 
par la pensée systématique" (p. 35). j 

L'étude que nous propose Jules Brody s' inscrit donc, d'une façon méticuleuse et ; 
acharnée, contre les forces qui tendent à assimiler l'oeuvre de Montaigne à son | 
contenu idéologique. Elle suggère plutôt, sous divers modes, une analyse plus I 
respectueuse du travail de Montaigne sur le langage et surtout du déni farouche de i 
l'ordre dans cette oeuvre. Ce postulat ne veut nullement dire que le critique doit i 
s'abstenir d'intervenir dans le texte à l'étude. Bien au contraire, les "lectures" de \ 
Montaigne par Brody sont toutes faites d'interventions qui dérangent légèrement | 
le texte en y faisant surgir, ne serait-ce que par le trait de l'italique, une continuité ! 
secrète, une sorte de persistance à relais du désordre. Il faut expulser l'apparente '■ 
satisfaction du système, car elle nous empêche, en nous aveuglant, de véritable- ; 
ment lire et interpréter les mouvements invisibles de l'oeuvre. i 

Dans Lectures de Montaigne, Jules Brody a rassemblé plusieurs articles et j 
communications, certains ayant fait l'objet de publications antérieures limitées, i 
C'est d'abord dans le contexte de la réception d^sEssais au XVIP siècle que l'on ; 
doit situer l'ensemble du livre. L'accueil plutôt réservé et correctif fait à l'auto- ; 
portrait de Montaigne, dès les premières années du XVII®, semble avoir donné le ^ 
ton définitif à toute la critique subséquente, si bien que, de Jean-Pierre Camus à i 
Pierre Villey, le pas méthodologique est resté fort mince. Ce premier chapitre des 
Lectures de Montaigne est extrêmement intéressant par le détail et la précision j 
des rapports établis. Brody est absolument exhaustif II en ressort ce que nous 1 
savions déjà, à savoir que \qs Essais ont subi une censure considérable et ont fait 
l'objet d'un travail de réorganisation assez unique, somme toute, dans l'histoire ] 
Httéraire française. De Charron à Camus, Brody note la même volonté de re- j 
classer, d'organiser, d'ordonner une oeuvre dont l'atélie est jugée insupportable. \ 
C'est qu'aux yeux du XVII® siècle, le désordre dQS Essais ne permet nullement de \ 
véhiculer un contenu idéologique clair, le texte de Montaigne "débordait les j 
confins d'une éloquence scholastique prépondérante et ( . . . ) les ressources ^ 
expressives d'un vocabulaire critique affecté surtout à la description des formes \ 
fixes" (p. 1 8). Le panorama qu'effectue Brody en une vingtaine de pages sera sans j 
doute définitif et devrait convaincre les plus récalcitrants d'entre nous. I 

Après cette étude contextuelle. Lectures de Montaigne comporte une analyse I 

Renaissance et Réforme / 145 

détaillée de trois chapitres des Essais qui paraissent particulièrement déformés ou 
"réformés" par la critique montaignienne; il s'agit donc de "De mesnager sa 
volonté," "De l'expérience" et "Que philosopher, c'est apprendre à mourir." 
Dans les trois cas, Brody tente d'extraire les Essais de "l'obsession de la com- 
position, de l'ordre et l'unité des chapitres" (p. 50). C'est ainsi qu'il formule, à 
plusieurs moments dans les Lectures, une méthode d'analyse dite "philologique" 
(une sorte de repérage des thèmes sousjacents à partir de 1' etymologic), qui permet 
de révéler la forme essentiellement redondante ou circulaire des Essais. 

Le chapitre sur "De mesnager sa volonté," magistral et mené d'une façon 
brillante et singulièrement éclairante, est de loin la meilleure étude du livre. Ce 
chapitre vaut à lui seul l'ensemble des "Lectures." Brody y démontre fort habile- 
ment qu'il y a, dans l'essai sur la volonté, des "circuits philologiques" qu'un 
repérage attentif des mots clés permettra de parcourir assez clairement II s'agit 
d'une couche de mots à la fois souterraine car elle n'apparaît guère à la simple 
lecture, et superficielle, car elle refuse l'émergence de tout contenu idéologique 
substantiel. Ce parcours philologique, résultat d'une découverte éphémère, ne 
vaut que par son statut de relais de la signification, une autre signification que celle 
que nous sommes habitués à conférer d'emblée au texte de Montaigne. 

L'analyse de Brody est particulièrement convaincante dans le cas de l'essai sur 
la volonté, dans la mesure où elle s'adjoint une métaphore absolument insistante, 
celle du désir (souterrain et superficiel, lui aussi) qui est sa source même. Le désir 
est une force disjonctive: voilà pourquoi l'essai apparaît morcelé et disloqué. Mais 
la dislocation que provoque la volonté, devenue désir, appelle justement la lecture 
philologique proposée par Brody, celle qui nous fera voir (ou prévoir) les con- 
centrations où Montaigne a "mesnagé" son texte. Le processus d'écriture des 
Essais est donc fait d'une sorte de pointillisme lexical, un mot à mot qu'il faut faire 
surgir: "ces atomes de signification," conclut Brody, "sont progressivement syn- 
thétisés en des constructions métaphoriques quantitativement plus grandes et 
qualitativement plus riches que la somme de leurs parties" (p. 53). 

Dans un second temps. Lectures de Montaigne comprend l'étude de deux 
autres essais fortement censurés par les siècles. Citant le célèbre extrait de l'Essai 
III, 2 où Montaigne parle de ses mets favoris, Brody se demande s'il n'y a pas une 
valeur textuelle à ces "fadaises" (comme on le disait au XVII« siècle). Encore ici, 
il s'agit d'établir une série de liens philologiques, dont on peut citer celui de la 
"saveur" et de la "sagesse," par exemple, qui permetraient de suivre le discours 
des Essais au-delà du niveau anecdotique, en passant encore une fois par une 
approche de la surface du texte. 

Ce chapitre des Lectures, tout comme celui qui suit sur Montaigne et la mort, 
paraît un peu moins convaincant, on ne sait trop pourquoi. Brody est un brillant 
analyste et la minute du travail de repérage lexical est certes la même ici que dans 
l'étude de l'essai sur la volonté. Mais il y a une sorte de revers à l'éclat de cette 
analyse. Ce qui semble faire défaut, en fin de compte, c'est peut-être la conviction 
qu'un rapport métaphorique existe bel et bien entre le tracé philologique (la 
saveur) et l'appareil métaphorique (la sagesse). Et quelle est justement la nature 
de ce rapport? Brody appelle à son aide le "langage effectivement symbolique" de 
Ricoeur, mais l'on reste tout de même un peu perplexe. Car ces rapports philo- 

146 / Renaissance and Reformation 

logiques-métaphoriques ont-ils vraiment une valeur herméneutique, comme le 
croit apparemment le critique? Il aurait peut-être été utile d'étendre le rôle con- 
joncteur et disjoncteur du désir à l'ensemble des Essais de Montaigne. Dans la 
lecture superficielle que nous soumet Brody, c'est effectivement le désir qui 

En dépit de ces lacunes sur le plan du langage symbolique, le troisième volet des 
Lectures sur "Que philosopher, c'est apprendre à mourir" offre un très grand 
nombre de remarques vraiment éclairantes. Brody s'attache à rétablir la lecture du 
texte dans son contexte historique et remet ainsi en question l'abécédaire des 
éditions successives des Essais. Pourquoi, en effet, se demande Brody, s'obstine- 
t-on à toujours indiquer dans les éditions modernes du texte de Montaigne les 
ajouts successifs par les lettres A. B. C? Pourquoi faut- il absolument que le livre 
soit clairement démarqué dans sa diachronie? Pour Brody, cet abécédaire n'est 
qu'une autre forme de l'idéologie de censure et de réorganisation qui a accueilli le 
livre de Montaigne depuis sa publication. 

Dans ce dernier chapitre sur le motif de la mort, le critique a le mérite de situer le 
texte des Essais parmi les milliers d'ars moriendi, si populaires à la Renaissance. 
Ce qui distingue Montaigne de la littérature de son époque, c'est le glissement vers 
une analyse de la mort à partir de " la fonction de Nature" (p. 1 28). Ce rituel de la 
nature, d'où la préparation religieuse est pratiquement exclue, transparaît dans 
l'analyse encore ici philologique et étymologique que fait Brody du détail des 
premières pages du texte I, 20. A ce niveau, on conviendra que les Lectures de 
Montaigne ne sont pas totalement nouvelles, mais elles ont le grand mérite de 
disséquer le texte dans ses plus infimes particularités. 

Malgré les quelques lacunes que nous avons soulevées et malgré aussi quelques 
problèmes de composition (les introductions à chacun des chapitres sont beau- 
coup trop redondantes: il aurait amplement suffi de présenter la méthode une seule 
fois), il n'en reste pas moins q^q Lectures de Montaigne est une des études les plus 
percutantes qu'il nous a été donné de lire depuis une dizaine d'années. La méthode 
conçue par Brody devrait encourager d'autres "lecteurs" et "lectrices" à relire 
l'oeuvre de Montaigne avec un goût renouvelé pour le texte lui-même. Il serait bon 
de vérifier si la "composition intensive," la "démarche additive et cumulative," 
les "reprises redondantes," les "prélèvements sématiques" (p. 135), tout ce code 
ponctuel dont Brody fait la base de son analyse pourra maintenant s'intégrer au 
projet d'autoprotrait, défini par Montaigne. Car les Essais sont avant tout une 
entreprise autobiographique, comme l'ajustement dénoncé Pascal. Il faudrait voir 
aussi si le rapport étonnant ébauché dans \qs Lectures, entre Erasme et Montaigne, 
pourra faire l'objet d'une étude plus approfondie. Il convient d'y consacrer au 
moins tout un chapitre, beaucoup plus qu'une note infrapaginale. 

En fin de compte, Brody a raison de nous rappeler que la parution des Essais 
avait constitué "un événement spectaculaire" (p. 9) en cette fin du XVI« siècle. A 
d'autres "lectures" maintenant de relever le défi du désordre et de la quantité que 
le texte de Montaigne pose sans contredit. 

FRANÇOIS PARÉ, Université de Guelph 

Renaissance et Réforme / 1 47 

Brian Tierney. Religion, Law, and the Growth ofConstitutional Thought, 1150- 
1650. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982. Pp. xi, 114. 

The reader familiar with Brian Tierney' s many years of fruitful scholarship on the 
relation between Church law and constitutional thought will probably find this 
little book ( as its author calls it) to be something of a disappointment Admittedly, 
one can hardly object to the impulse that led Tierney to write the volume. As both a 
corrective to and expansion of Figgis' classic studies collected in From Gerson to 
Grotius, Tierney proposes to disclose the significance of his discovery that certain 
constitutionalist "themes are common to medieval law, to fifteenth century con- 
ciliarism and to seventeenth century constitutional theory. The resemblances are 
too striking to be mere coincidences; but merely to call attention to resemblances 
is not to explain the whole phenomenon. The recurrence of similar patterns of 
thought in different historical environments is itself the problem that needs 
elucidation" (p. 103). Unfortunately, "while Religion, Law, and the Growth of 
Constitutional Thought clearly identifies the various aspects of "resemblance," it 
never proceeds to explain such "recurrence" in historically intelligible terms. 

Those who turn to Tierney' s book for insights into the constitutional doctrines 
of early modem Europe will be particularly frustrated. In the first paragraph of the 
first page, Tierney announces that" it is impossible really to understand the growth 
of Western constitutional thought.. unless we consider the whole period from 
1 1 50 to 1650 as a single era of essentially continuous development" Yet Tierney 
cites ( according to a count of footnotes — there is no index) a mere ten texts dating 
from the last two hundred years of his time- frame. This might be excused on the 
grounds Tierney himself offers: namely, that the "material presented... display s 
the characteristic limitation of the lecture form" — the contents were originally 
delivered as the Wiles Lectures at Queen's University, Belfast— "extreme select- 
ivity in the topics and authors considered" (p. xi). But such a rationale is not 
wholly valid; for in surveying the period from 1 1 50 to 1450, Tierney manages to 
cite upwards of fifty treatises. And more substantively, the only authors dating to 
the era following the Council of Basle (1432) who merit extended attention are 
Althusius and George Lawson — hardly representative figures in the history of 
early modern constitutionalism. As a consequence, Tierney' s attribution of 
medieval origins to early modem constitutionalism in general seems to be largely a 
case of imputed influence. 

A more unsettling charge to be levelled SLgSiinsiReligion, Law, and the Growth 
ofConstitutional Thought is that Tiemey has consciously left the most important 
and challenging portion of his book unwritten. After devoting in excess of one 
hundred pages to "the description of the evolution of constitutionalist themes, he 
admits that the more serious questions remain. Why did the medieval ideas 
persist? Why did they continue to prove meaningful and useful? Even when we can 
explain the process of transmission in the simplest fashion — even when we can 
constmct a neat little chain of tests leading all the way from the twelfth century to 
the seventeenth (and this is indeed often possible) — we shall not have answered, 
we have not even addressed, the more difficult questions" (p. 105). Tiemey then 
dedicates the final three pages of his conclusion to these "more serious questions." 

148 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Not surprisingly, his responses are so unsatisfactory that he is finally led to 
observe: "It may seem that the whole tradition of Western constitutional thought— 
both its origin and its persistence — can only be explained as the result of a random 
play of contingent circumstances" (p. 108). This admission has severe conse- 
quences. For the inability to explain in coherent historical terms the recurrence of 
constitutionalist ideas leaves him without the consolidated intellectual tradition 
he seeks. In Tiemey's account, the various medieval and early modem consti- 
tutionalist doctrines are connected by a vague ' family resemblance' rather than by 
some more essential historical principle. 

Does this mean that there is no historical foundation at all for a constitutionalist 
tradition extending from the Middle Ages into modem Europe? Assuredly not 
But the identification of the basis for this tradition requires us to re-examine for a 
moment our historical and historiographical premises. Tiemey staunchly disso- 
ciates the origins of constitutional theory from the practice of feudal politics. In 
defense of this view, he cites the fact that the most precious intellectual pre- 
conditions for constitutionalism — concepts of "sovereignty," "community," and 
"state" (pp. 9-10, 30) — were antithetical to feudal institutions, and moreoever 
their introduction occured only through "external" sources like Roman Law and 
Aristotle. In turn, Tiemey's explanation (derived from Walter UUmann) for the 
reception of these "foreign" ideas into the medieval tradition is their immediate 
applicability to such non-feudal political arrangements as "monasteries, cathed- 
ral chapters, collegiate churches, confraternities, universities, guilds, communes" (p. 
1 1 ; cf. p. 36). It was the novel problems posed by the "new corporate groups" of 
this order that Tiemey believes to have been the "soil" in which the essential 
constituents of constitutionalism firm took root But Tiemey's opposition of 
feudal institutions to "corporative stmctures" is historically artificial. For the 
actual emergence of these corporate communities, so far from conflicting with 
and/or undermining the arrangement of feudal society, saw their rapid integration 
into the general pattem of medieval life. As much as Tiemey wishes to see 
"communal experience" and feudalism as in principle antithetical, they were in 
matter of fact practically compatible. And the reason is that feudalism, understood 
as the narrow and personalized relationship of lordship and vassalage (fodalit), 
was but a single and limited aspect of a more general social system (fodalisme) 
characterized by the decentralized and fragmented distribution of political author- 
ity in essentially private hands. Hence, while various communal organizations, 
when viewed in isolation, seem incompatible with the personal bonds of the feudal 
contract, both political forms constitute prime instances of the widespread and 
uncoordinated dispersion of sovereign power upon which feudal society was 
constmcted. Concommitantly, it was the process, intemal to feudalism itself, by 
which this power was progressively reconcentrated — first in principalities, later in 
kingdoms — that provided the most cmcial recurring political issues in medieval 
and early modem Europe. 

When conceived in these terms, it then becomes possible to treat the con- 
stitutionalist tradition as a response to the increasingly pressing problem endemic 
to feudalism of the accommodation of public power (generally represented by 
monarchy) to the privatized distribution of jurisdictions and liberties. Of course. 


Renaissance et Réforme / 1 49 

constitutionalism was not the only sort of response to this historical reality, for as 
Tieraey rightly remarks, "one couldjust as easily write a history of absolutism as a 
history of constitutionalism" covering the same era (p. xi). Where absolutist 
authors sought to integrate the power of private franchises into the state office 
structure by appeals to royal supremacy/ sovereignty, however, constitutionalist 
theorists beginning in the Middle Ages proposed that at least some right and 
powers were so thoroughly imbedded in private hands that they could never be 
claimed ( or reclaimed) by any superior authority. The constitutionalist view might 
take the form of an unabashed defense of local individualized and/or corporate 
rights; or it might adopt the more sophisticated strategy of the "mixed consti- 
tution" theory. But always it involved a denial oïplenitudo potestatis on the part 
of an ultimate or " sovereign" ruler ( regardless of composition). A recurrent aspect 
of the constitutionalist tradition throughout its medieval and early modem history 
was the principle that no ruler could be afforded a regularized set of arbitrary or 
discretionary powers which might be used to interrupt the particularized juris- 
dictions of the dominus and the universitas. 

Tiemey's insensitivity to the crucial historical dimension of medieval and early 
modem political thought does not, however, invalidate his claim that the con- 
stitutive features of constitutionalism first arose within the context of Christian 
ecclesiology. Conciliar theories of the church constitution — such as those ad- 
vocated by Gerson and d' Ailley, whose influence was later felt in secular circles — 
were in fact founded on canonistic doctrines dating to the twelfth and thirteenth 
centures. But this ecclesio-canonical impact upon secular constitutionalism can 
itself be explained historically. After all, the Western Church, as the most 
"advanced" system of feudal politics during the High Middle Ages, suffered at an 
early date from serious conflicts between local jurisdiction (bishops, communities, 
"national" churches) and the centralized administration of the papacy. It was 
these sorts of conflicts that were eventually to be transferred to the realm of secular 
politics. Despite the special circumstances implied by ecclesiastical government, 
the temporal organization and consequent jurisdictional disputes of the Church 
typify the feudal polity as accurately as do the conditions of the French or English 
kingdoms. The problems implied by feudal political organization were felt by 
clerical and lay lords, communities and mlers without substantial differentiation, 
and were addressed by authors concerned with the governance of ecclesiastical 
and secular affairs alike. Such facts are hardly incompatible with the basic insights 
0Ï Religion, Law, and the Growth of Constitutional Thought. But Tiemey's 
failure to inspect adequately the historical foundations of the constitutionalist 
tradition means that the more compelling issue of accounting for recurrent intel- 
lectual "resemblances" is, at least by inference, pushed entirely aside. 

CARY J. NEDERMAN, Glendon College, York University 

150 / Renaissance and Reformation i 

Pierre- Victor Palma-Cayet. L'Histoire Prodigieuse du Docteur Fauste, publié ; 
avec introduction et notes par Yves Cazaux. Genève: Librairie Droz, 1982. Pp. ! 
220. Fr.S. 40. 

From the original edition of the Faustbuch [published (anonymously) by John i 
Spies in Frankfurt, 1 587] to modem times, the story of Dr. Faustus has played an I 
important role in Western literature. This little book is rooted in historical reality, 
for there is some biographical basis for the story of Dr. Faustus' life, and it shows a j 
specific ideological orientation, for it is generally considered to be a Lutheran : 
pamphlet. It gave rise to one of the most influential of all literary myths. The story • 
has fascinated writers because of its concern with such religious and philosophical i 
problems as the desire for unlimited knowledge, the human relationship with the : 
forces of good and evil, the human revolt against the limitations of life, the | 
relationship between ethical principles and the pleasure principle. • 

Tht Faustbuch is the first known literary version of the legend, and the theme is j 
itself most interesting. It is the Reformation's attempt to use the Faust story as an ) 
example of the horrible death that awaits skeptics and sinners. It is a didactic work \ 
directed against those who are tempted to hubris, who try to go beyond their | 
human condition. Although it presents a few facts about Faust's life, it is largely i 
fantastic. Faust is a scholar gone wrong, a proud intellectual who makes a pact | 
with the devil and must pay for his earthly pleasures with his eternal damnation. \ 
He conjures up the devil Mephostophiles, who purchases his soul in return for j 
twenty-four years of forbidden knowledge, devilish powers, and material rewards, i 
Faust engages in discussion with the devil who reveals the truth about heaven and I 
hell and gives a geocentric description of the cosmos. Various fantastic adventures ! 
of Faust are presented, including tricks reminiscent of Till Eulenspiegel, together j 
with his remorseful lamantations, and his final horrifying death at the hands of the \ 
devil. j 

Spies' book was quickly translated into a number of languages including j 
French. Yves Cazaux has given us a scholarly edition of the first French trans- \ 
lation of the Faustbuch ( 1598). It was done by Pierre- Victor Cayet, "sieur de \?l]. 
Palme," often called Palma-Cayet, an interesting figure in his own right. Best| 
known as historiographer of Henri IV, Palma-Cayet was converted to Protestant- '\ 
ism in his youth and studied in Geneva and Germany. He entered the service of; 
Jeanne d'Albret as tutor to her son, Henri de Havarre and served as a Protestant '■ 
preacher in several French towns, but his return to the court in 1 5 93-94 under the ; 
auspices of Catherine de Bourbon, sister to Henri, led to his reconversion to the < 
Caùiolic faith in 1595. However, these dates are controversial. He was named - 
historiographer to the king, appointed professor of oriental languages, and given a j 
pension by the clergy. He was the object of violent attack by his former co- j 
religionists and accused of debauchery and black magic. He was certainly inter- j 
ested in alchemy and fantastic stories, and this led him to translate iht Faustbuch, \ 
which brought accusations of occultism. I 

M. Cazaus mentions a possible earlier edition of Palam-Cayet's translation! 
which a German scholar, Carl Kiesewetter (Faust in der Geschichte undl 
Tradition, 1893. Reprinted: Hildesheim: Georg 01ms Verlagsbuchhandlung,! 


Renaissance et Réforme / 1 5 1 

1963, p. 71) had posited, but Cazaux claims that this edition remains lost. This 
first edition would have been prepared while Cazaux was still a Protestant so that 
its Lutheran message could easily have been seconded by Cayet at that time. In 
1 598 the situation is more confused. The text follows the original Faustbuch fairly 
closely and so the Lutheran message remains. However, the Preface, addressed to 
the Count of Schomberg, must have been new, for it shows Palma-Cayet attacking 
the Protestant spirit or "libra-examen," exemplified by Faust, and ends with his 
pious hope that the German nation will return to the bosom of "nostre mere saincte 
Eglise Romaine, pour délaisser tant d'opinions monstreuses, qui y ont pullulé 
depuis cete miserable defection ..." (p. 53). Thus Cayet attempts to turn the 
Faustbuch with its Lutheran message into an anti-Protestant work in which Faust 
himself represents the Protestant ideology, and in which it, like he, is condemned 
to eternal damnation. Small wonder that Cayet was so vehemently attacked! 

This edition contains an introduction that includes remarks on the historical 
Faust and the creation of his legend, the original Faustbuch and its sources, the 
translater, Palma-Cayet and the edition he used, the facts of publication of his 
translation, the characteristics of the translation and its afterlife. Three Annexes 
follow, presenting documentary material concerning Faust (an anecdote by Jean 
Wier), Palma-Cayet (extracts ofthe Journal of Pierre de L'Estoile), and a listing 
of the editions of the Palma-Cayefs translation taken from the Faust-Biblio- 
graphie. The text itself contains a dedication by Pahna-Cayet to the Count of 
Schomberg and the history of Jean Fauste divided into three parts, which are 
themselves divided into chapters, although the chapters are not numbered. Regret- 
tably, there is no bibliography, glossary or listing of the chapter headings. 

M. Cazaux fails to tell us what modifications he has made to the text so that we 
are at a loss as to whether to attribute the considerable number of typographical 
errors to the original French text or to the editor of this modem version. A 
comparison between the modem French translation by Joël Lefebvre (Lyon: Les 
Belles Letters, 1 970) and Pahna-Cayet's version shows that Palma-Cayet did not 
know German very well and did not consider it necessary to be faithful to the text. 
Thus, there are many errors of sense, and Palma-Cayet's text is sometimes 
incomprehensible. M, Cazaux often uses Lefebvre's modem version to explain 
garbled or unintelligible passages in Cayet's text, but he should have done more of 
this, since incomprehensible passages remain. He also should have gone back to 
the original German text to verify the translation. 

Despite the many errors, this version was for a long time the only French 
translation, and nineteen editions of it were published between 1598 and 1798 
according to the Faust-Bibliographie. It is curious, then, that Cazaux does not 
find any influence of this translation on French literature, and, indeed, dismisses 
any possible influence of Palma-Cayet's translation. The question of such in- 
fluence demands deeper study. 

Such as it is, this text is an interesting stage in the development and propagation 
of the Faust legend throughout Europe. Because of its value as a Reformation and 
Renaissance document, and because of its rarity (the text has not been reprinted in 
its entirety since 1712), we must thank M. Cazaux for his contribution to Faust 
studies. Even the lacunae in M. Cazaux's book rouse the curiosity of the reader 
and lead one to search for fiirther enlightenment. 

ELLEN S. GINSBERG, The Catholic University of America 

152 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Nancy Lindheim, The Structures of Sidney's Arcadia, Toronto: Univ. of Toronto; 
1982. Pp. 224. $30.00. 

Although not lengthy. The Structures of Sidney's Arcadia deals with many of the 
salient concerns of recent scholarship on the Arcadia , as, for example, the rhetori- 
cal underpinnings of Sidney's prose style and method of composition, the didactic 
motives of the romance, its generic affinities, and the nature of the relationship be- 
tween the episodic material and the pastoral 'core' the New Arcadia retains from 
the Old Arcadia . No all-embracing Ûieories or schemes of interpretation are to be 
found here, but instead a series of enlightening and often provocative deliberations 
concentrating on the text of 1590. Regarding the multiple texts. Professor Lind- 
heim counsels the student to attempt to keep all three versions in mind, especially 
when working with the problematic conclusion of 1593, and to do so without 
thoughtlessly conflating them. The over-all impression of the Arcadia conveyed 
here is of a deeply serious "re-vision," or refashioning of what had been (indeed, 
what is) a comedy in tone and structure into something more akin to epic or heroic 
poem, owing its general conception of the hero and heroic purpose to the Aeneid 
and its more specific didactic aims to the ideals of Tudor humanism. 

The structures under investigation are three: rhetorical, tonal, and narrative, 
each of which is shown to contribute to the Arcadia 's sense of 'multiple unity' and 
to the expression of a coherent thematic pattern. With respect to Sidney's 
*rhetoricism,' or the Arcadia's "essentially rhetorical perception of experience," 
preliminary references are made to some recent work on Renaissance histories in 
relation to what is termed the Sophistic strain in the rhetorical tradition, that is, an 
inherent bias in classical rhetoric to deal with the things of this world and to leave 
the transcendent to philosophy. Sophistic epistemology affects rhetorical stra- 
tegies inasmuch as it calls for antilogy, the presentation of opposing arguments, 
"to give pluralistic illuminations to 'truths' and motivation; in style it makes use of 
antithesis to highlight contradiction and of irony to achieve detachment and 
awareness of discrepancies between the intention and effect of action." Such an 
approach to reality, it is claimed, well suits the Arcadia's overwhelming concern 
with ethical behaviour and its depiction of a world in which moral choice becomes 
increasingly difficult and the confusion of good and evil ever more subtle. 

From this theoretical overview the book proceeds to examine Sidney's rhetori- 
cal habits of composition, in particular his use of antithetical topoi, the importance 
of which to the organization of his ideas has been long recognized. Perhaps most 
original in this section is the analysis of the recurring figures antimetabole and 
correctio. By means of such figures Sidney is able to set up oppositions or dis- 
tinctions and then to overturn or blur them; two things initially antithetical end by 
sharing the same identity. The ubiquity of these figures of reciprocity and rever- 
sible balance, together with his reliance on the antithetical topoi, seems to be 
"related to a tension between Sidney's analytical habit of mind and his tempera- 
mental need for synthesis." Of the two antithetical topoi under consideration, 
'Reason and Lxjve,' the first, is studied in the light of the Hercules/Omphale motif, 
which attaches chiefly to Pyrocles disguised as Zelmane, the Amazon. Unlike 
Ariosto or Spenser, Sidney draws on the positive implications of a tradition 


Renaissance et Réforme / 153 

originating with Prodicus, that is, on the 'Not only/But also' development where- 
by Hercules becomes a symbol of reconciliation. It is argued quite reasonably that 
Sidney's choice here would seem to indicate that he intended a final reconciliation 
of the seemingly opposed chivalric and pastoral values of the romance. 

The discussion of the second topos, 'Knowledge and Virtue,' focusses on Sid- 
ney's treatment of character. By contrast with the other major characters in the 
work, Gynecia, Philoclea, and Cecropia do not demonstrate that direct, positive 
relationship between virtue and knowledge that is a central principle of humanist 
paedeias and so of the Arcadia. It is typical of Professor Lindheim's approach 
throughout that where, as in this case, she cannot find a reasonable, ready solution 
to a problem, she does not try to enforce one; her exploration of the problem, how- 
ever, is always full of insight. Looking at characterization in general, she observes 
that whereas the conception of virtue is dynamic in the Arcadia, the conception of 
character is static. It is suggested that Sidney's use of the conventional topics of 
praise and blame for the delineation of character gives rise to problems in differen- 
tiation, especially between similar types such as Pyrocles and Musidorus. Again, 
the two heros seem almost too perfect in their chivalric roles and too lucky in their 
pastoral roles; according to Professor Lindheim, the result is that the unfortunate 
and even tragic Amphialus becomes a more complex and interesting character. 
Some readers, however, will contest this opinion by regarding the witty and inven- 
tive Pyrocles as the most attractive and well-rounded personage even in the 
uncompleted romance. 

Tonal structure is apparent where the very sequence of narrative events seems 
to direct the reader's attitude to the material. The three personal combats that take 
place during the siege in Book III seem best to illustrate a three-part tonal scheme 
of positive, negative, and humorous representations of a theme; the three-part 
sequences pointed out in Book I would not appear to fit quite so neatly into this pat- 
tern. Another agent of tone, the impersonal narrative voice, is viewed as a techni- 
cal advance of the intrusive and sometimes limiting narrator of the Old Arcadia. 
On the other hand, it could be objected that a character such as Gynecia is 
diminished in the course of this improvement. 

Narrative structure is examined first through an analysis of the 'retrospective' 
narrative material. The princes' adventures in Asia Minor are said to illustrate the 
testing of virtues acquired in an idealistic setting against the morally confused 
situations of the real world. While Musidorus' more straightforward account suits 
the application of theory to situations of clear-cut injustice, Pyrocles' 'interwoven' 
narrative treats events of a more complicated and morally ambiguous sort. Sidney 
would appear to follow Aristotle in maintaining that the essence of moral virtue 
resides in choice. Professor Lindheim is not accepting of the thesis that the princes' 
pastoral experience represents a further stage in their education. Investigating the 
Arcadia's affinities with chivalric, pastoral, and epic materials— including all the 
familiar sources— she points out that the chivalric ethic fails in its pre-occupation 
with self, while pastoral deals with social issues in too small and particular a 
fashion. Maintaining the priority that society and public virtues, especially justice, 
assume in the revised ^rca^zVz, she concludes that is most powerful model is the 
Aeneid, not only for its peculiar mixture of heroic and pastoral, but more espe- 

154 / Renaissance and Reformation 

cially for theAeneid's stress on public virtues and its depiction of love and the softer 
life rejected in favour of the heroic quest. It is suggested, too, that because the 
Renaissance defined epic in terms of genre, Sidney quite conceivably thought that 
when he wrote the New Arcadia he was recasting the Old Arcadia as an epic. 

The Structures of Sidney's Arcadia is a book that presents the major critical 
issues in a thoughtful and learned way. It has the great virtue of persuading the 
reader to think of the various issues as having a degree of complexity not often 
amenable to single approaches. Occasionally its views seem corrective. Not 
everyone will agree that there is virtually no Neoplatonism in the Arcadia. Again, 
the reader may feel that love and the sentimental aspects of the romance have been 
treated rather harshly, and that the pastoral experience in general has been skimped. 
Secular love in this romance featuring young protagonists must surely bear some 
resemblance, however faint, to that Divine Love which, as Pamela explains, 
brings into harmony all the warring elements of the cosmos. One of Professor 
Lindheim's valuable contributions is to be found in her analysis of the chief 
rhetorical figures and of the purpose of the "vanishing distinction." Similarly help- 
ftil will be her clear, incisive evaluation of the influences of the various modes and 
sources, whether or not one agrees that the Aeneid provides the determinative 
influence, or that Sidney thought of his romance as an epic. One may regret the 
complete omission of the poetry on the grounds that it does not simply re-state the 
themes of the prose in simpler, more schematic form, as Professor Lindheim 
implies, but that it is an integral part of a design that, encompassing tournaments 
and descriptions of beautiftil ladies and chivalric ftimiture, is meant to be hand- 
some and gay as well as sober and wholesome. The Structures of Sidney's 
Arcadia ends with the intriguing idea that the trial scene of the Old Arcadia gave 
rise to a conceptual framework too weighty and fertile for the action it purports to 
sum up, and that therein were sown the seeds of the revision that was to become the 
broader, more serious, and more intricate New Arcadia. 


The Renaissance and Reformation in Scotland: Essays in Honour of Gordon 
Donaldson, edited by Ian B. Cowan and Duncan Shaw. Edinburgh: Scottish 
Academic Press, 1983. Pp. x, 261. $20.00 

This Festschrift for the dean of Scottish historians has the signal merit of exploring 
many overlooked areas of sixteenth-century Scotland. It has the perhaps unavoid- 
able signal demerit of disunity and very uneven quality of pieces. All are aimed at a 
scholarly audience, but only some make convincing cases. The editors apparently 
tried to guide their contributors and nearly all the pieces follow lines of investiga- 
tion opened by Professor Donaldson. The contributions cover administrative and 
political, social and intellectual history, with a dash of diplomacy thrown in. 

Under the first rubric, two essays on ecclesiastical patronage by Ian Cowan and 
James Kirk are extremely valuable, documenting the shift of patronage from pre- 
Reformation churchmen to the crown by the later sixteenth-century. The three- 


Renaissance et Réforme / 155 

corner game between pope, king and patron underwent a "silent revolution" that 
almost accidentally led the way to increased lay patronage in the next century. 
Athol Murray's "Financing the Royal Household" focuses on the career of James 
Colville as comptroller presiding over the disaster of James V's financial policy, 
which led to the assault on church revenues and helped to weaken it just as the 
Reformation hit. In a more political vein is Thorkild Christensen's "The Earl of 
Rothes in Denmark," but his essay does little to demonstrate why this episode 
should be rescued from the "near oblivion" in which it has reposed for four 

John Durkan's "The Early Scottish Notary" bridges the gap between adminis- 
trative and social history, though it focuses mainly on medieval notaries. John 
Bannerman's valuable "Literacy in the Highlands" does a persuasive job of 
reconstructing a tri-lingual culture and explaining the social dynamics of literacy. 
His piece also contains a short but illuminating discussion of the bard's role. 
Margaret Sanderson's is one of the most useful articles. She details "The Edin- 
burgh Merchants in Society, 1570-1603" chiefly on the evidence of their wills. A 
very intriguing picture emerges of the mercantile enterprise that made Scots such 
formidable competitors in later centuries. T.M.Y. Manson's sketch of Norse 
"Shetland in the Sixteenth Century" fills out the social history category. 

Another hybrid contribution leads to two other primarily intellectual pieces. 
Edward Cowan's "The Darker Vision of the Scottish Renaissance" is a rather 
confused effort to portray Francis Stewart, earl of Bothwell as a minor magus. 
This he may well have been, but Cowan's attempt to hang that thesis on the North 
Berwick witchcraft episode fails to lend coherence to his case. Deny s Hay, 
undoubtedly the most distinguished historian represented in this volume, wrote a 
short piece on "Scotland and the ItaHan Renaissance," a somewhat tenuous con- 
nection, as it turns out. Much of the piece concentrates on Hay's latter-day interest 
in historiography. 

Two remaining pieces grapple with Scottish religion, one in a primarily intellec- 
tual way, the other in a predominantly political fashion. The second editor, Dun- 
can Shaw, produced the longest essay on Adam Bothwell's library. It is, as the 
author admits, only the "scaffolding" for his subject, and is marred by too may 
assumptions about what sort of beliefs Bothwell should have held. Maurice Lee's 
treatment of Alexander Seton, "King James's Popish Chancellor," by contrast, is 
a subtly eirenic appreciation of the possibilities for a permanent religious peace 
inherent in Seton's career and James's policy. In so far as such categories still have 
value, the Renaissance is better served than the Reformation. Only Lee's and 
Cowan's pieces, together with Kirk's deal directly with the Reformation, though 
many others touch on it. 

All in all a suitably eclectic tribute to a many-sided historian. Two introductory 
essays recount Donaldson's life-long love of history and documents. A five-page 
bibliography of his publications testifies to the strength of his twin passions. 

THOMAS F. MAYER, Southwest Missouri State University 

News / Nouvelles 

RSA Annual Meeting 

The Renaissance Society of America annual meeting will be hosted by the Mid- 
Atlantic Renaissance Seminar, March 20-22, 1 986, at the University of Pennsyl- 
vania. Enquiries should be directed to Georgianna Ziegler, Special Collections, 
Van Pelt Library/CH, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA 19104. 

RSA South-Central Conference 

The South-Central Renaissance Conference has announced April 3-5 as the dates 
of its 1 986 meeting, to be held at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, 
Texas. Stephen Orgel of The Johns Hopkins University will be the featured 
speaker. Inquiries from those wishing to read papers should be sent to the program 
chair, Gary A. Stringer, Department of English, University of Southern Mis- 
sissippi, Box 5037 Southern Station, Hattiesburg, MS 39406. The deadline for 
submission is December 31, 1985. 

Query re Shakespearean Statuary 

Would anyone knowing the whereabouts of plaster statuettes on Shakespearean 
themes (i.e. The Closet Scene from Hamlet, The Cave Scene from Macbeth) by 
the Anglo-Canadian sculptor Hamilton Plantagenet MacCarthy (1846-1939) 
please contact Dr. Robert J. Lamb, Dept. of Art & Design, University of Alberta, 
Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2C9? 

Un colloque sur Du Bartas 

Le Groupe de Recherches sur l'Ancienne langue française et sur la Renaissance 
de la Faculté des Lettres de Pau organisera un Colloque International les 7, 8 et 9 
Mars 1 986 qui se tiendra à la Faculté des Lettres, et a retenu le sujet suivant: Du 
Bartas: Poésie et encyclopédisme. 

Il serait souhaitable que pour la rentrée (au plus tard le 15 novembre) les pro- 
positions de communications soient accompagnées d'un bref résumé. Les collègues 
désireux de présenter une communication et ou d'assister à ce colloque sont 
invités à prendre contact avec: James Dauphiné— 223 avenue de Fabron Les 
Oliviers 06200 NICE; ou Faculté des Lettres de Pau Avenue du Doyen Pop- 
lawski 64000 PAU. 








New Series, Vol. IX, No. 3 Nouvelle Série, Vol. IX, No. 3 

Old Series, Vol. XXI, No. 3 Ancienne Série, Vol. XXI, No. 3 

^^ August 1985 août 

Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Réforme is published quarterly (February, May, i 
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Victoria University Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies (CRRS). 1985. ^ 

Editor j 

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New Series, Vol. IX, No. 3 
Old Series, Vol. XXI, No. 3 


Nouvelle Série, Vol. IX, No. 3 
Ancienne Série, Vol. XXI, No. 3 

Contents / Sommaire 



Renaissance Exempla of Schizophrenia: 

The Cure by Charity in Luther and Cervantes 

by Winfried Schleiner 


Henry Peachman, BAp&'sIconologia, and Vasari's Lives 

by A.R. Young 


François de la Noue (1531-1591) au service du libéralisme du XIXe siècle 

par William H. Huseman 


The Essay as a Moral Exercise: Montaigne 
by John O'Neill 



F. Edward Cranz,^ Bibliography of Aristotle Editions, 1501 
reviewed by Paul F. Grendler 


Jerry H. Bentley, Humanists and Holy Writ: 

New Testament Scholarship in the Renaissance 

reviewed by Daniel Bomstein 

Jonathan V. Crewe, Unredeemed Rhetoric- 
Thomas Nashe and the Scandal of Authorship, 
and Richard A. Lanham, The Motives of Eloquence: 
Literary Rhetoric in the Renaissance 
reviewed by Paul Ramsey 



James Dauphiné, Le Cosmos de Dante, 
compte rendu par Simone Maser 


Jenny Wormald, Court, Kirk and Community: Scotland 1470 - 1625 

reviewed by Bernard C. Weber 


Hallet Smith, The Tension of the Lyre: Poetry in Shakespeare's Sonnets 

reviewed by Andrew M. McLean 


Philip T. Hoffman, Church and Community 

in the Diocese of Lyon, 1500 -1789 

compte rendu par Robert Toupin, SJ. 


Paul SeWin, John Donne and 'Calvinist' Views of Grace 

reviewed by Terry G. Sherwood 


Renaissance Exempla of Schizophrenia: 
The Cure by Charity in Luther and Cervantes' 


It is a commonplace that literature and life intersect in many places. Even 
without adopting philosophic concepts (the Kantian categories, say, or 
Cassirer's symbolic forms) as tools for probing facts in various realms of 
experience, a literary scholar may point to the derivation of many narrative 
or dramatic episodes and plots from actual cases: moral, judicial, and 
medical. But derivation certainly does not imply primacy of importance of 
the source, i.e., if we study the interplay of disciplines in actual casus, 
reciprocal fertilization between disciplines is more apparent than mere 
debt. Indeed, if we pursue the Renaissance thinking about one kind of 
medical case, namely what we would now call schizophrenia, and par- 
ticularly the delusions associated with it, Francis Bacon seems to have 
been right for that period when he said pointedly that "Medicine is a 
Science, which hath been . . . more professed, than laboured, and yet more 
laboured, than advanced."^ While some cases of psychoses and some 
minimal classification of them have their firm place in disquisitions on 
"melancholy" from the earliest medical authors onwards, it seems that 
such cases needed sympathetic penetration by thinkers outside the medi- 
cal academy for the full extent of suffering in them to be reaUzed - perhaps 
an analogue to recent impulses the treatment of psychotics has received 
fi-om a movement sometimes called "anti-psychiatry."^ 

In our period the troubled mind will derive not only insight but sus- 
tenance from the sympathetic account of schizophrenia in a book like R. D. 
Laing's The Divided Self. Describing the exaggerated desire for privacy 
and the acute sense of vulnerability in these patients, Laing points out that 
their sense of being exposed and vulnerable is carried to such an extreme 
that one of them "may say that he is made of glass, of such transparency 
and fragility that a look directed at him splinters him to bits and penetrates 
straight through him,"^ or that a man who says he is dead "means that he is 

♦ The research for this article was supported by a grant from the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfen- 
buttel, Germany. Ruth El Saffar, Alan S. Trueblood, and Michael A. Hirsch, M.D. read earlier ver- 
sions of it and made valuable suggestions. 

158 / Renaissance and Reformation 

'really' and quite 'literally' dead, not merely symbolically or 'in a sense' or 
'as it were'."^ According to one of Laing's patients, the fear of being hurt 
can be pitched to such a degree that the person "really wants to be dead and 
hidden in a place where nothing can touch him and drag him back" 
(p. 180). 

While there is a strong ancient and Renaissance tradition linking mad- 
ness and genius in the notion of genial or heroic melancholy (powerfully 
presented by Ficino, Agrippa of Nettesheym, and Melanchthon), medical 
writers of the period rarely show any sympathy for such delusive con- 
ditions as those described by R. D. Laing. Although cases like that of 
someone believing himself dead or thinking himself a clay vase or a glass 
jug or a helpless bird are often mentioned as special cases of melancholy 
(some go back to Hippocrates and Galen), one must look to theologians 
and writers of fiction to find sympathetic treatments of the condition. It is 
not in Marcello Donati, Hercules of Sassonia, Andre du Laurens, Juan 
Huarte, and perhaps not even in the highly courageous and innovative 
Johann Wierus (Weyer) or the perceptive Thomas Fienus (Fey ens), 
whose De viribus imaginationis elicited Robert Burton's highest praise, 
but in the ostensible anti-melancholies Luther and Cervantes that the con- 
dition of such psychotics and the ambiguity of their cure are most clearly 

The Laughable Psychotic 

As I noted above, cases of persons thinking themselves other than they 
were (a clay jar, a cock with flapping wings) are included in ancient dis- 
cussions of melancholy such as Galen'sZ)^ affectis (Bk. 3),^ but there is no 
question that Renaissance doctors deUghted in them, expanded them by 
introducing local detail, and added new ones for their comic interest, often 
dated and localized, to the popular case books. Thus Renaissance hand- 
books of medical and related knowledge are filled with cases of deluded 
people who fi*equently try to impose their vision upon their neighbors. 
Often the authors or compilers do not even try to conceal their amusement: 
"Quite ridiculous is also the case of the person who went to Murano to 
throw himself into a furnace wanting to have himself turned into a salad 

Without belabouring this point with a variety of cases from the curiosity 
shop of Renaissance medicine, let me add only one of a voluntary retentive 
that ahnost invariably elicited amusement. The French physician André 
du Laurens writes 

The pleasantest dotage that ever I read, was of one Sienois a Gentleman, who 
had resolved with himselfe not to pisse, but to dye rather, and that because he 
imagined, that when he first pissed, all his towne would be drowned. The 

Renaissance et Réforme / 159 

Phisitions shewing him, that all his bodie, and ten thousand more such as his, 
were not able to containe so much as might drowne the least house in the 
towne, could not change his minde from this foolish imagination. In the end 
they seeing his obstinacie, and in what danger he put his life, found out a plea- 
sant invention. They caused the next house to be set on fire, & all the bells in 
the town to ring, they perswaded diverse servants to crie, to the fire, to the fire, 
and therewithal! send of those of the best account in the town, to crave helpe, 
and shew the Gentleman that there is but one way to save the towne, and that it 
was, that he should pisse quickelie and quench the fire. Then this sillie 
melancholike man which abstained from pissing for feare of loosing his towne, 
taking it for graunted, that it was now in great hazard, pissed and emptied his 
bladder of all that was in it, and was himselfe by that means preserved.' 

The earliest instance I have seen of this story is in Marcello Donati, but it 
may well have already been part of the bedrock of medical commonplace 
before him. While Burton tells only half of the case, the Englishman 
Thomas Walkington presents this melancholic as "of all conceited famous 
fooles . . . most worthy to be canoniz'd in the chronicles of our memory," 
and almost a century later the compiler Laurentius Beyerlinck identifies 
this case as the "most ridiculous" of all stories of melancholies.*. It is quite 
possible that Swift was thinking of the man of Siena when he had Gulliver 
so effectively extinguish the fire in the Queen's apartments. 

The "humour" in the last case does not derive merely from its violating 
some sexual or scatological taboo (though certainly breach of decorum is a 
vehicle of Swift's satire); this element is not present in the other cases that 
are called by Renaissance authors "ridiculous". Not breach of decorum 
but psychotic delusion is common to them all. Speaking of "melancholike 
persons, and mad men [who] imagine many things which in verie deed are 
not," Ludwig Lavater says "Those which dwell with suche kinde of men, 
when they here them tell such absurd tales, such strange things, and such 
marvellous visions, albeit they pittie their unfortunate estate, yet can they 
not many times containe themselves from laughing."' Although Lavater 
refers to the pity of the patients' keepers, this reference actually ampUfies 
the ridicule evoked by the psychotic delusions: the sense of the ridiculous 
overcomes pity. Of course the pain and inhumanity resulting from unsym- 
pathetic attitudes towards psychotics have mostly gone unrecorded. A 
striking exception is the case of a person whose death is reported as an 
instance of medical misjudgment (or we might say 'malpractice') or in 
answer to the question whether the imagination is so strong that it can kill. 
A man believes his body is no huge that he cannot pass through a door and 
therefore refuses to leave his room. When at the request of the physician 
several helpers carry the screaming patient through the doorway by force, 
he feels his body to have been shattered inside and falls so ill that he dies 
shortly afterwards.^® 

160 / Renaissance and Reformation 

The Erasmian Praise of Mental Distraction and 
the (Pseudo-) Aristotelian Praise of Melancholy 

A related but significantly different Renaissance attitude towards psy- 
chotic delusion is what for want of a better term I will call the "Erasmian," 
an attitude perhaps more humanistic than humane, drawing some support 
from the ancients. InPraise of Folly, Erasmus' ambiguous speaker (Folly) 
describes a "pleasant mental distraction [that] relieves the heart from its 
anxieties"** and distinguishes it from destructive madness. While destruc- 
tive madness is sent up from the underworld by the avenging Furies, this 
madness takes its origin from Folly, the imagined speaker, and according 
to her is "most desirable": "It occurs whenever a certain pleasant mental 
distraction relieves the heart from its anxieties and cares and at the same 
time soothes it with the balm of manifold pleasures."*^ Folly refers to one 
of Cicero's letters to Atticus (3.13) claiming that "Cicero wishes for this 
mental distraction as a great gift from the gods, because it would have dep- 
rived him of all awareness of the great evils around him," but two recent 
editors of Praise of Folly have corrently pointed out that Cicero does not 
say what Folly here attributes to him. *^ Although Cicero may be the wrong 
informant. Folly effectively illustrates her view of this mental condition by 
reference to a case reported by Horace (Epist. 2.2.128-40): 

Nor was there anything wrong with the judgment of the Greek who was so mad 
that he sat alone in the theatre for whole days on end, laughing, applauding, 
enjoying himself, because he thought that wonderful tragedies were being 
acted there, whereas nothing at all was being performed. But in the other duties 
of life he conducted himself very well: he was cheerful with his friends, agree- 
able with his wife; he could overlook the faults of his servants and not fly into a 
mad rage when he found a winejar had been secredy tapped. Through the 
efforts of his friends he took some medicine which cured him of his disease, but 
when he was completely himself again, he took issue with his friends in this 
fashion: "Damn it all!" he said, "you have killed me, my friends, not cured me, 
by thus wresting my enjoyment from me and forcibly depriving me of a most 
pleasant delusion."'* 

Erasmus is clearly not interested in the kind of medicine (which Horace 
reports to be hellebore). In the first version of the case I have seen, the 
medication is not even mentioned; Aristotle's exemplum makes the same 
general point (that the melancholic was happier in his delusion), but 
without the elaborate details Folly borrowed from Horace: "It is said that 
at Abydus a man who was mad went into the theatre and watched for many 
days, as if there were people acting, and showed his approval; and when he 
recovered from his madness, he said that he had enjoyed the best time of his 
life."*^ In the Renaissance the case of this "melanchoHc" was well know. 
Ludwig Lavater recounts it in his work just mentioned together with an 
equally famous case of a melancholic called Thrasyllos; from Athenaeus 

Renaissance et Réforme / 161 

to Burton, Thrasyllos is cited to show that a person can be happier in his 
melancholic delusion than after his cure: 

Atheneus [sic] lib. 12 writeth of one Tresilaus [in Athenaeus: Thrasyllos], 
whose braines were so distempered, that he verily supposed all the ships 
whiche aryved at Porte Piraeus, to be his owne: he would numbre them, he 
commaunded the Mariners to launch from shore, and when they returned after 
their voyage home againe, he as much rejoyced as if he had ben owner of all 
wherewith they were laden. The same man affirmed, that in al the time of his 
madness he lived a verie pleasant life, untill the Phisitian hadde cured him of 
his disease. ^^ 

As in Athenaeus, the cure is just a given, necessary to make the point of the 
story, but we do not learn how it was effected. ^^ In fact Lavater tells us even 
less about the patient's background, about whom Athenaeus relates that he 
was afflicted by madness "resulting from luxurious living." 

Lavater' s point in stringing these cases together is to illustrate a sense of 
amusement (resulting from the disturbed perception of reality) and to show 
the patient's preference for the deluded state. In Erasmus' Praise of Folly, 
the speaker takes the argument one step further, claiming that such states 
are generally desirable. To realize that Erasmus' speaker is Folly does not 
entirely discredit the view propounded; since the reader finds many of 
Folly's arguments (particularly in satiric passages) eminently reasonable, 
this realization merely helps to suspend the praise of deluded folly in a tan- 
talizing and very Erasmian ambiguity. 

Occasionally the view that a mentally deluded state is preferable to nor- 
malcy is supported by the (pseudo-) Aristotelian notion already men- 
tioned, that melancholy is the precondition of all genius: "Why is it," 
Problem XXX, section 1 opens, "that all men who have become outstand- 
ing in philosophy, statesmanship, poetry or the arts are melancholic, and 
some to such an extent that they are infected by the diseases arising from 
black bile, as the story of Heracles among the heroes tells?"** Melancholies 
may philosophize in their illness - and only in their illness - or, although 
unlettered, may speak in perfect verses for days on end: the characteristic 
response elicited by such cases is not sympathy but wonder. Shakespeare 
accurately catches this mood when he has the Duke in As You Like It ask 
his men to lead him to the scene of melancholy Jaques's ravings: "Show me 
the place," the Duke says. "I love to cope [i.e., converse with] him in these 
sullen fits, / For then he's full of matter" (AYLI II, i,66-68 [Riverside 
ed.]). The Duke's motive is not charity, but enjoyment of spectacle, i.e. an 
excitement he gets from Jaques' unusual association of ideas, perhaps 
satisfying his urge to catch a glimpse of the transcendent world. 

We may study the blend of Erasmian and Aristotelian ideas in a case re- 
ported by the sixteenth-century doctor Juan Huarte de San Juan, a case 

162 / Renaissance and Refonnation 

that will later serve us as a basis for describing important transformations 
wrought by one of the greatest literary artists of the Renaissance. Huarte 
tells of the "notable speeches, uttered by a Page of one of the great ones of 
this realme, whilst he was made, who in his health was reported a youth of 
slender capacity."*' Thus the pattern is similar to the Athenaean or Eras- 
mian one, except that intellectual capacity attends illness and is con- 
sidered more important than the patient's health. Huarte continues: 

Falling into this infirmitie, he delivered such rare conceits, resemblances, and 
answers, to such as asked him, and devised so excellent manners of governing 
a kingdome (of which he imagined himselfe to be the soveraigne) that for great 
wonder people flocked to see him and heare him, and his very maister scarcely 
ever departed from his beds head, praying God that he might never be cured. 
Which afterwards plainly appeared, for being recovered, his Phisitian (who 
had healed him) came to take leave of his lord, with a mind to receive some 
good reward, if of nothing else, yet at least in good words; but he encountered 
this greeting: "I promise you maister doctor, that I was never more aggreeved 
at any ill successe, than to see this my page recovered, for it was not behooflull 
that he should change so [sic] wise folly, for an understanding so simple as is 
this, which in his health he enjoieth. Me-thinks that of one, who to fore was 
wise and well advised, you have made him a foole againe, which is the greatest 
miserie that may light upon any man." (Huarte, Examination of Mens Wits, 
p. 43) 

Of course this is the sense of wonder a "melanchoUc's" stunning abilities 
usually evoke in Renaissance beholders, abilities that Huarte on the next 
page explains in terms of Problem XXX, as resulting from an unusual 
humoral mixtiwe. First, however, he reports in Athenaean/Erasmian 
fashion the patient's own reaction to his cure. After politely thanking his 
doctor, the page says to him 

I assure you on my faith, that in some sort, it displeaseth me to have bene 
cured. For whilest I rested in my folly, I led my life in the deepest discourses of 
the world, and imagined my selfe so great a lord, as there raigned no king on the 
earth, who was not my vassal, and were it a jeast or a lie, what imported that, 
whilest I conceived thereof so great a contentment, as if it had bene true? I rest 
now in far woorse case, finding my selfe in troth to be but a poore page, and to 
morrow I must begin againe to serve one, who whilst I was in mine infirmitie, I 
would have disdayned for my footman, (pp. 43-44) 

Rather curiously this passage has the marginal comment "This page was not 
yet perfectly cured" representing accurately the annotation of the first edition 
(1575): "Este page aun no habiasanado del todo."^** The comment seems 
to indicate that its author, Huarte or his editor, was not entirely aware that 
the case of the page harking back to his pleasant delusions stood in the 
Athaenean/Erasmian tradition. As so often in cases deriving from this 
tradition, the medication or therapy that cured the page remains unmentioned. 


Renaissance et Réforme / 163 

Luther: Cure by Charity and Company (societas) 

If, then, a certain kind of psychotic case tended to attract medical ridicule 
and if the Erasmian notion of pleasurable delusion likewise did not lead to 
serious consideration of therapy, we may have to look elsewhere in the 
Renaissance for a glimpse of what has become so strikingly obvious in our 
times: that a knowledge of the patients' histories, empathy with their condi- 
tion, and endeavors to understand their particular thought processes are 
important in the treatment of psychotics, whose suffering and pain are 
beginning to be fully recognized. A measure of the important of such 
thought now is the participation of psychiatrists and psychologists of the 
most diverse persuasions in community programs bringing together 
"primary consumers" and their friends and families. 

Perhaps it is significant that I have found the most striking Renaissance 
intimation of such matters in a theologian and in a poet, who transmuted 
the medical commonplaces through their specific fears and predilections, 
and above all through an encompassing sympathy for the psychotic. While 
medical authors often had been content to map out diverse psychotic cases 
comparing the patient's psychotic to his sane state without suggesting any 
therapy or cure, the cases recounted in Luther's Tischreden (or Colloquia) 
are informed by a sense of caring for the patient and include the nature of 
the patient's cure. Indeed, it can be said that this sense of caring becomes a 
vehicle of therapy. 

The first case is of a melancholic who refuses to eat and drink and hides 
in a cellar. He rebuffs any charitable helpers with the words "Don't you see 
that I am a corpse and have died? How can I eat?" Michel Foucault points 
out that a seventeenth-century medical author refers to a similar exem- 
plum to show that the insane are capable of logical rigor, to such an extent 
in fact that they will starve to death for a syllogism. ^^ Although in Luther's 
story the patient is not brought to revise his minor premise, which would 
mean sanity, at least he is induced to life-preserving illogic: after several 
days, when his life is in danger, his friends decide to set a table in the cellar; 
they bring in the most delicious dishes, select a monk for his embonpoint , 
and have him eat and drink loudly and demonstratively. By the feasting 
monk's example and company the melanchoUc is impelled to eat and drink: 
"I must drink with you and cannot help it, though I be dead a hundred 

The second case (in some versions of the Colloquia not attributed to 
Luther but to his physician Lindemann) is of a melanchohc who thought 
that he was a cock, with a red comb on his head, a long beak, and a crowing 
voice - surely since Galen one of the most hallowed medical topoi. But 
while Galen does not suggest a cure, this melancholicus is joined by an 
inventive person who simulates the gait and voice of a cock. After living 
with the patient in this manner for several days, he says "I am not a cock 

164 / Renaissance and Reformation 

any more, but a human being; and you have returned to being human, too." 
And the speaker concludes with something like a moral, which would have 
been a fitting close for the previous case as well: "And by that company he 
cured him" (Et ilia societate ilium persuasit)}^ 

The third case told by Luther is perhaps even more interesting because it 
resonates with echoes of the major theological divisions of the Reforma- 
tion. It concerns a iustitiarius, or as the German text says more express- 
ively, a Werkheiliger. Since the case of this voluntary retentive is at the 
same time a minor anecdotal or even novelistic masterpiece - incidentally 
illustrating the overlap of a medical case with short fiction - 1 have trans- 
lated it in toto. 

Then Dr. Martin Luther said "that there was a devout man, a Werkheiliger ^ 
who heard a monk preach about a saint who had stood for three years in one 
place on a step [of a ladder or stair]. Then he had stood another three years on 
another and higher step, without in that period eating or drinking anything. As 
a result maggots had come out of his feet. But as soon as these worms had fallen 
to the ground, they had turned to pearls and precious stones. And the monk 
concluded his sermon saying: 'You also must let everything become bloody 
sour for you if you want to win heaven!' ['Also musst ihrs euch auch lassen 
blutsaur werden, so ihr wollet sehg werden!'] 

"When the melancholic heard this, he resolved (to put it decorously) not to 
let water. No one could persuade him to urinate; and he continued like that for 
several days. Then someone came to him saying that he was doing right in cas- 
tigating his body and that he should certainly stay with his resolve (to serve 
God and to make himself suffer), for one entered into heaven through many 
crosses and tribulations. The same person also pretended that he too had taken 
a vow not to urinate, but that since he had prided himself on this pledge and had 
thought to gain heaven by it, he had sinned more than if he had urinated; 
indeed, he had almost become a murderer of his own body. 'Thus all the world 
will say similarly of you, that you do so out of pride. Therefore give up your 
resolve and let nature have its course.' In this way he persuaded the melan- 
cholic to urinate. ^^ 

This case, or we may more appropriately call it an exemplum, illustrates 
some concerns central to Luther's thought about justification, spiritual 
temptation (Anfechtung), and melancholy (which he usually calls, using a 
medieval adage, "the Devil's bath," balneum diaboli), a nexus deserving 
more thorough exploration than it can receive in the present context. 

Luther's presentation of the story is different in two ways from the ver- 
sion that entered the collections of medical commonplaces. Perhaps 
because of the authority of Galen, who merely listed instances of melan- 
cholic behavior, such as claiming to have a body of fragile material, playing 
the cock, or claiming to support the world on one's shoulders, medieval and 
Renaissance compendia usually give no history of such patients. Huarte's 
case of a noble lord's page who fell into the delusion that he was a sovereign 

Renaissance et Réforme / 165 

lord himself is rather unusual, for presumably his kind of madness is 
related to his station in life." The connection between the delusion and the 
patient's kind of life and habits (genus vitae et consuetudo) is not expressed 
systematically until the early seventeenth century in a Wittenberg disser- 
tation on melancholy, and then the idea is somewhat simplistic: "The 
theologian claims to speak with angels and to be Christ; ... the chemist 
disclaims on the making of gold; the miser, however rich, weeps about lack- 
ing everything; the astronomer says he is a prophet, the courtier a king."^^ 
While in the usual version of the voluntary retentive's case his previous 
history is not explained, Luther gives an etiology: he describes the man as a 
"iustitiarius" before the onset of his disease, i.e. someone attempting to 
justify himself by works rather than by faith. For Luther it is appropriate 
that such a iustitiarius should fall into melancholy (a version of the 
medieval monks' disease acedia) upon hearing a monk praising a man for 
castigating himself. The terms in which Luther has the monk urge the con- 
gregation to works of penitence are loaded: "Also musst ihrs euch auch 
lassen blutsaur werden ..." (Thus you must let everything become 
bloody sour for you too). "Sour" is often Luther's derogatory epithet for 
the looks or life style of the iustitiarii, whether of Romish or Enthusiast 
(i.e. Anabaptist) persuasion. 

The second way in which Luther's exemplum differs from the versions 
typically found in medical handbooks of the period is in the kind of cure 
proposed. We saw that the abnormal behavior in the second case, of the 
man imitating a cock, was remedied by ingenious persuasion through 
human contact or company, and that the final sentence Et ilia societate 
ilium persuasit could just as well have applied to the first patient (who 
thought himself dead). In Renaissance terms, this man was not suffering 
simply fi-om acedia, since his refusal to eat was not a means of mortifying 
himself:" he thought he was already dead. Thus Luther's version belongs 
to the cases usually taken to exemplify laesa imaginatio, an injured or 
harmed imagination, although some medical writers record "cures" signi- 
ficantly more ingenious than Luther's: in Sennert's chapter "De viribus 
imaginationis," the starving melancholic is joined by someone pretending 
to be dead yet hungry and by that example is persuaded that corpses also 
should eat.^* As we have seen, in Luther the appeal is more physical and 
social, to the infectious pleasure commonly experienced by human beings 
in eating: someone simply wines and dines in the patient's view thus 
stimulating his fellow creature's appetite. While in these brief stories the 
evidence for such judgements is scanty, it may be said that in modem terms 
Luther's "melancholic" comes closer to being cured. 

Clearly human company is the essential element in the cure of the 
melancholic iustitiarius also. Indeed, although the German version trans- 
lated above omits any "moral," the Latin text draws it in such a way that it 

166 / Renaissance and Reformation 

functions like a refrain: "Et ita ilium persuasit societate" (And thus he per- 
suaded him by company). Just as in the cure of the birdman "company" 
meant that friend imitated the patient's behavior, so in the case of the reten- 
tive iustitiarius it means claiming to have had an experience similar to his. 
Thus at the outset of therapy, there is an attempt to overcome the psy- 
chotic's isolation by demonstratively negating the border between "nor- 
malcy" and "insanity". 

Cervantes: In the Interaction of Three Traditions 

The most powerful fictional elaboration of the tensions between ridicule, 
compassionate reintegration (which I see best exemplified in Luther), and 
the Erasmian stance towards psychotic delusion is Cervantes' Z)o« Quixote ^ 
a novel that broadens the issue from a question of the patient's characteris- 
tically Erasmian ways of evaluating abnormal states of mind and even sug- 
gesting their benefit for society. Uncertainty about the value of the 
ingenious psychotic's state of mind - is his perception comparable, even 
preferable to that of the many? - casts a shadow of ambiguity over the 
intended cure of the ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote. It is impossible to 
review here the specific arguments about Don Quixote's humoral condi- 
tion and cure that have been brought forth since Iriarte's concerted attempt 
to bring medical history to bear on the novel.^^ In any case, the dis- 
agreements about Don Quixote's condition in terms of humoral physi- 
ology (whether he is best explained as an ingenious melancholic [H. 
Weinrich] or as a colérico with enthusiasm turning melancholic [O. H. 
Green]) are relatively unimportant in the present context, for ultimately, 
according to general Renaissance physiological theory, even cholera 
adusta produces what is also considered a version of melancholy. 

Much of the plot is motivated by notions of curing, and the motives of the 
curers (priest and barber in part I and Sanson Carrasco in part II) are pure 
at least at the beginning: selected representatives of La Manchan society 
set out in order to find their fellow villager and to bring him home . Although 
Cervantes' irony, as complex and subtle as Erasmus's, invariably tempers 
the moral significance of action, the fundamental strain of compassion and 
human sympathy evident in these motives of cure comes to the surface in 
other places in the novel: in Maritomes's offering Sancho a glass of wine 
after he has been tossed in a blanket (1,17); in Don Quixote's counsel to 
Sancho, about to set out to govern his island, to err in favor of mercy, not 
rigor (11,42); in scattered remarks in various places criticizing those laugh- 
ing at Don Quixote (without necessarily defending Don Quixote - as e.g. 
Cide Hamete's comments on the Duke and the Duchess in 11,70). To be 
sure, some of the action (like the comportment of the Duke and Duchess) 
only shows people's interest in and enjoyment of the madman's genius - 
and thus is equivalent to the noble lord's dubious enjoyment of his schizo- 

Renaissance et Réforme / 167 

phrenic page's wisdom in Huarte's exemplum or the Duke's interest in 
conversing with Jaques in his fits (in^^- You Like It). But most of the time it 
is the ostensible motive of curing Don Quixote that turns much of the novel 
into a series of masquerades in which the would-be curers enter into the fic- 
tion of the patient. Before Sanson Carrasco as the Knight of the White 
Moon takes on Don Quixote in the final and humiliating bout, he has him 
agree to return to La Mancha for a year if he should lose. When Don 
Antonio Moreno after the fight accuses him of having foolishly robbed the 
world of the benefit of Don Quixote's eccentricities, Sanson Carrasco 
defends himself, saying "I myself felt particular sympathy for his sad case, 
and as I believed his recovery to depend upon his remaining quietly at 
home, I earnestly endeavored to accomplish that end."^^ 

As we have seen with several cases already, a certain kind of therapy 
was indicated for patients with fixed delusions, and this therapy was based 
on a few theoretical assumptions shared by most medical writers. In his 
section "Of the Force of the Imagination" (pt. 1, sec. 2, memb. 3, subs. 2) 
and throughout his Anatomy of Melancholy, Robert Burton accurately 
records a Renaissance trend to assign the causes of melancholy to the 
imagination. He agrees with Nicholas Piso and other medical authorities 
in saying that the fountain of distempers is laesa imagination^ (wounded or 
injured imagination) and draws upon Thomas Feyens (Fienus), who in an 
eminently interesting book called De viribus imaginationis held that 
melancholic humors result from prava imaginatio (distorted imagina- 
tion). Hence, said Feyens, they cannot be expelled from the body except 
by inducing other and contrary images in the imagination. In the resulting 
therapy, the healers become stage managers and actors who act within the 
fiction of the patient, even expanding it. Thus one finds scores of reports 
like those of people who believed they contained frogs or snakes and were 
cured by a physician who pretended to extract the animals from their 
innards, or of patients who thought that antlers were growing on their heads 
and were healed by a clever physician's simulated operation. ^^ 

Surely no one familiar with Renaissance medical notions about curing 
laesa imaginatio will miss the attempts at manipulating Don Quixote in 
the interest of a presumed cure, but the fictions resorted to are so elaborate 
that Cervantes may have been satirizing exactly this medical theory. The 
would-be therapists devote themselves to their masquerade with so much 
enthusiasm that in their fascination for the means they lose sight of the end; 
as a result they seem at times as deluded as Don Quixote himself. Thus 
Sanson Carrasco engages Don Quixote in the final bout ostensibly in order 
to get him home for a year, but Oscar Mandel, who has sifted through the 
novel's characters to determine which come closest to being reliable and 
reasonable agents and spokesmen for the author, is undoubtedly correct 
when he calls Sanson a "doubtful referent."" Not only is he too bungling in 

168 / Renaissance and Reformation 

his attempts to get Don Quixote home, but even Sanson's motives are 
questionable: while after the final joust Sanson claims that he has had Don 
Quixote's interests and specifically his cure in mind (II ch. 65), the reader 
remembers that Sanson Carrasco had at one point affirmed the opposite. 
After being defeated by Don Quixote, he had said to his own "squire" "It is 
not my wish to make him recover his wits that will drive me to hunt him 
now, but my lust for revenge" (II, ch. 15). That many a reader has agreed 
with Don Antonio's reprimand of Sanson Carrasco is an index of how 
deeply the Erasmian spirit pervades the novel: 

May God forgive you for the wrong you have done in robbing the world of the 
most diverting madman who was ever seen. Is it not plain, sir, that his cure can 
never benefit mankind half as much as the pleasure he affords by his eccen- 
tricities? But I feel sure, sir, that all your art will not cure such deep-rooted 
madness; were it not uncharitable, I would express the hope that he may never 
recover, for by his cure we would lose not only the knight's company, but also 
the drollery of his squire, Sancho Panza, which is enough to transform 
melancholy itself into mirth. (II, ch. 65; Starkie trans., p. 995) 

Though we know that Sanson Carrasco succeeds in getting Don Quixote 
back to his village, at the entrance to which Don Quixote experiences what 
psychiatrists now call "ideas of reference" (he interprets a hare fleeing 
toward him as a malum signum), and that Don Quixote finally regains 
sanity on his deathbed, Cervantes does not give anyone unambiguous 
credit for the "cure" - neither Sanson Carrasco nor any other would-be 
therapist from La Mancha, including the doctor. It may well be that he 
wishes to reserve for God the distinction of being the ultimate physician. 

While Don Antonio's view is not the last word on the ingenious psy- 
chotic, in its moral ambiguity (the opposition of charity versus delight as 
incapsulated in the expression "diverting madness") it highlights Eras- 
mian tenets and enriches them with the aesthetic pleasures of watching a 
character so obsessed with books that he takes his imagined world for real. 
While this genetic view of Cervantes' thought may perhaps simplify his 
tantalizing creation inordinately (obscuring for instance the point that Don 
Quixote never hallucinates), it should be noted that some of the seeds of his 
accomplishment are contained in the kind of topical medical cases we have 
been considering. The Greek madman who sat in a theater alone for days 
on end "saw" an imaginative creation, evaluating it emotionally or aes- 
thetically. And just as this Athenian psychotic singled out by Erasmus 
represents a hyper-cultural phenomenon, so unquestionably "bookish" 
patients suffering mental illness are quite common in medical discussions 
in the Renaissance. Renaissance doctors are not averse to drawing upon 
literary characters and episodes, doing so eclectically of course, without 
the Freudian and Jungian underpinnings that motivate most modem 

Renaissance et Réforme / 169 

attempts at bridging the gap between life and literature. Thus Lavater 
reports that the slighted Ajax became so "madde through griefe" that he 
drew his sword and "set upon herds of swine supposing that he fought with 
the whole army of the Grecians ..."''*- an episode that will strike one as 
potentially Quixotic. 

There is no question that Don Antonio's reaction is plotted in the tension 
field between delight and charity, for he says so ("were it not uncharit- 
able," etc.). The same tension animates what may be the most moving 
episode of this kind in the novel - Sancho's pleading words to Don Quixote, 
who is on his deathbed and resigned to die: "Up with you this instant, out of 
your bed, and let us put on shepherd's clothing and off with us to the fields 
as we were resolved a while back. Who knows but we may find Lady 
Dulcinea behind a hedge, disenchanted and as fresh as a daisy" (II, 74; 
Starkie trans, p. 1047). If we assume that Sancho at this point in the novel 
cannot hope any more to find the world of romance (pastoral or other) in his 
own world, his suggestion is comparable to the Lutheran healer's com- 
passionate act: he will keep Don Quixote company to prolong his Hfe. But 
the categories I have been distinguishing are only the roughest guides in a 
complex situation like this one, veiled in subtle irony: for Sancho's pro- 
pose, though charitable, also affirms his pleasure in their unusual com- 
panionship. Therefore it is more to the point to say that Cervantes here 
manages to transform the (Erasmian) pleasure taken in Don Quixote's 
madness into sympathy and brotherhood. In Sancho's spontaneous and 
feeling reaction, Cervantes transcends the categories' separateness. 

The two elements which I find in nuce in Luther's thinking about cases of 
"melancholies," namely the consideration of the psychotic's past and the 
role of societas in re-integrating such a person into the community, are 
highlighted with an almost uncanny perspicuity (and without the irony 
veiling the compassion m Don Quixote) in a novella by Cervantes that has 
long been considered the most puzzling but also fascinating of his short 
works. ^^ Working from the kind of topical medical exempla we have 
reviewed in this paper and of course thinking in the context of the humoral 
physiology reigning in his period, Cervantes' imaginative genius highlights 
problems of communal integration not only in therapy but also after some 
"cure" has been accomplished, thus going far beyond the theoretical 
interests of medical academicians of his time. 

"El Licenciado Vidriera," one of Cervantes' A^o veto ejemplares, tells 
the story of a young man with a good memory (good memory in humoral 
physiology distinguishes the melancholic) who sees the world, returns to 
Salamanca to take his law degree, but because of a supposed love potion 
secretly administered to him falls grievously ill. He recovers physically but 
becomes "mad" or "melancholic," or as we would say, psychotic: 

170 / Renaissance and Reformation 

The poor wretch imagined that he was all made of glass, and under this delu- 
sion, when someone came up to him, he would scream out in the most frighten- 
ing manner, and using the most convincing arguments would beg them not to 
come near him, or they would break him.'* 

Along with his delusion the licenciado acquires stunning wisdom: he baffles 
the professors of medicine and philosophy by answering the most difficult 
questions put to him, and Cervantes spends the larger part of the novella 
giving examples of his ingenious perceptions and sayings. The story thus 
presents a version of the melancholic of genius in the tradition of pseudo- 
Aristotle's problem XXX, 1 , a tradition that has been described by Saxl, 
Panofsky, and others." 

Modem scholars are undoubtedly correct if they see the story as a con- 
flation of a psychiatric case in the tradition of Galen (of a man beHeving he 
is made of some brittle substance) with Huarte's case (mentioned above) 
of the page with the delusion of being sovereign of a realm. ^* But Huarte's 
story here reveals an affiliation that Cervantes' "Licenciado Vidriera" 
does not have: the page enjoys being treated like a lord (he is somewhat like 
Shakespeare's Sly in the induction scene to The Taming of the Shrew), As 
we have seen, the cure, which is not explained, returns the page to a disap- 
pointing reality: "For while I rested in my folly, I led my Hfe in the deepest 
discourses of the world, and imagined my self so great a lord as there 
raigned no king on the earth, who was not my vassal, and were this iest or 
lie, what imported that, whilest I conceived thereof so great a contentment, 
as if it had bene true?" (p. 44). Thus Huarte's case is ultimately a version of 
Athenaeus' case of Thrasyllos, the imagined owner of all the ships in the 
harbor of Piraeus, who later lamented his cure. The case of Cervantes' 
licenciado is not of the Athaenean/Erasmian type. Although this wise 
madman's pronouncements may be said to appeal to an interest similar to 
that of a string of Erasmian apothegmata,^^ the licenciado does not enjoy 
his ability to coin pithy sayings, many of which are righteous, caustic, some 
even uncharitable. Nor does he derive any pleasure from his conviction 
that his body is made of glass. 

As Harald Weinrich says, the motif of the man of glass presupposes the 
traditional conception of flie body as vessel of the soul.^* Indeed, some of 
the gifts traditionally attributed to melancholies in the pseudo- Aristotelian 
and Ficinean tradition, for instance the gift of divination, were commonly 
explained as the result of the higher penetrability of their bodies to the 
subtlest spiritus and astral influences. But this learned reading by no means 
precludes the psychiatric (or perhaps in this case we should say Laingian) 
interpretation, in which the schizophrenic's particular delusion is seen as 
the result of a trauma and of fear of more wounds. Not only has Cervantes' 
licenciado been hurt by a person who wanted to be very close to him (i.e. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 171 

wanted him), but the novelist makes it clear that the man of glass is 
especially vulnerable to human contact. He tells us of attempts to cure him 
that are as well-intentioned as the ones recorded in Luther's exempla but 
lack the fuller understanding of the psychotic person that characterized 

In order to relieve him of his strange delusion, many people, taking no notice of 
his shouts and pleas, went up to him and embraced him, telling him to look and 
he would see that in fact he was not getting broken. But all that happened as a 
result of this was that the poor wretch would throw himself on the ground 
shouting for all he was worth, and would then fall into a faint, from which he did 
not recover for several hours; and when he did come to he would start begging 
people not to come near him again/^ 

Thus unlike Athenaeus' Thrasyllos and Huarte's page, this ''paranoid 
schizophrenic" as he has been called,*^ suffers pain in his psychotic condi- 
tion in spite of his stupendous gifts, in fact so much pain that most readers, 
past and present, expect a cure to turn the novella into a "success story." 
The cure, in contrast to that of Huarte's exemplum , is brought about not by 
a physician "with a mind to receive some good reward" (p. 43), i.e., for 
financial gain, but by a monk of the Hieronymite order "out of charity" (p. 

Since Cervantes gets the licenciado *s cure over with in a couple of sen- 
tences, it might be thought that he was not interested in the subject, but 
nothing could be more incorrect. His introduction of the healer's charity is 
in some way equivalent to Luther's emphasis on notions oï Gemeinschaft 
and Gesellschaft (societas), which are animated by it, and may (as 
Gwynne Edwards suggested) have had special significance for Cervantes, 
who was delivered from North African Moslem slavery by the patient and 
charitable efforts of certain mendicant monks; even more so it may rever- 
berate with Cervantes' own charity, the impulsiveness of which defied 
worldly prudence so much that he was once clapped into jail for aiding a 
mortally wounded victim of a street fight. *^ 

Of course Cervantes' story of the man of glass does not end happily with 
this cure. After the patient has returned to sanity, Cervantes adds another 
reversal to the plot: in spite of the licenciado's pleas, the townspeople of 
Salamanca do not allow him to return to normalcy and practice law. They 
are unwilling or unable to accept his cure. The stigma of his past condition 
is so strong that he has to leave town, profession, and country. 

In source studies one should not emphasize similarity but grant it, and 
then interpret the differences. From my perspective it is not so important to 
agree or disagree with Satumino Rivera Manescau's contention that at 
Valladolid Cervantes heard from the physician Antonio Ponce Santacruz 
the case of a Parisian "man of glass" not reported in print until 1622; to 

172 / Renaissance and Reformation 

accept the possibility or even likelihood that Cervantes knew the case 
would not, as Walter Starkie supposes, "diminish his genius,""*^ for the 
therapy Santacruz reports is too different: the doctor has the patient lie on a 
bed of straw (Cervantes' licenciado also likes to protect his seemingly 
fragile body with straw) and, setting a fire, leaves: 

This done, he decamped rapidly, shutting the door and leaving the madman to 
his own devices. The latter, finding himself encircled by flames, jumped up in 
terror and beat upon the door with all his strength, but without breaking or 
injuring himself, crying out that he no longer beUeved he was made of glass. 
Thus the terror of being consumed by fire was so great that it caused his mania 
to disappear.'*'* 

This therapy is harsh, and we may wonder how the licenciado might have 
reacted to it: he might have fallen into a faint (as Cervantes reports him to 
have reacted to the equally harsh though perhaps less ingenious treatment 
of the Salamancans) and might have incurred tihe same fate as the patient 
who against his will was carried through a door he thought was too narrow 
for his body. 


As we saw, Luther shows none of the dehumanizing amusement that often 
animates even learned physicians when they report certain kinds of cases. 
In his exempla the imagination is used, at most, to gain a patient's con- 
fidence, but the 'cure' is brought about not by trickery but by friendly per- 
suasion, by appeal to common humanity, by company. There is taimting 
amusement in Cervantes' "El Licenciado Vidriera," but he puts this 
amusement in perspective by demonstrating that it is destructive. Cer- 
tainly the riffraff among the Salamancans prefers an insane to a sane licen- 
ciate - perhaps this is Cervantes' later comment on Erasmian views of 
madness. The entire story is informed by a strong sense of sympathy for a 
patient who becomes stigmatized by society. 

While we know that the glass graduate's cure was motivated by charity, 
we cannot be sure about motivation m Don Quixote. The simplicity and 
efficiency of the Hieronymite monk contrasts with the elaborate and bung- 
ling attempts of somelike like Sanson Carrasco. The charity of the former 
(affirmed by the author) contrasts with the motives of the latter, which are 
often tainted or at least questionable. If there is no unambiguous sign of a 
therapy in La Mancha, this may be because there is no Hieronymite monk 
movido de caridad and no friend unambiguously curing in the spirit of 
Luther's Gemeinschaft . Sancho's desperate attempt to prolong Don 
Quixote's life is spontaneous and moving, but it is part of Cervantes' irony 
to present Sancho as ill-equipped for the therapeutic task. Another element 
of irony is that at the time of Sancho's compassionate proposal Don Quixote 

Renaissance et Réforme / 173 

has just come to his senses through the help of no physician except perhaps, 
as the narrator veiledly hints, the Divine. 

It would seem that Luther and Cervantes represent the best of a long psy- 
chiatric tradition. So does Samuel Johnson in a later century when he has 
Rasselas and his sister meet an astronomer who believes that he regulates 
the seasons, another case that goes back to Donati, and through him to 
Avicenna.'*^ The recluse gets relief from his terrifying spectres and is 
gradually weaned away from his imagined absorbing task through freely 
proffered male and female friendship. 

Is WilUam Wharton's best-SQlling Birdy (to mention only one modem 
example of a psychiatric novel) evidence that in our times the give and take 
between imaginative fiction and psychiatry has been reversed? This engag- 
ing work shows how the inmate of a psychiatric ward, whom we meet at the 
outset perched in bird fashion on his toilet seat, is very slowly wakened 
from his catatonic state by his former playmate's gently recalling child- 
hood feats in which they shared: Lutheran societas and Cervantesque 
consideration of the patient's past, both of course now informed by a post- 
Freudian understanding of childhood experience. But to name Freud, a 
man steeped in the imaginative literature of the past (and from his youth a 
reader of Cervantes'**), suffices to prevent an easy answer to my question. 
Further, while much of the focus in Birdy is indeed psychiatric, the pro- 
fessional army psychiatrist in the novel is perceived as the patient's 
antagonist and thus remains unable to help him. An element of the novel's 
imaginative core aligns it with the movement somewhat unfortunately 
called "anti-psychiatry," a movement broader than a fad, with eminently 
respectable antecedents as we have seen. One may hope that the anta- 
gonistic stance is only a passing phase - certainly antagonism to medicine 
(or psychiatry) has not motivated the best writers old or new. The kind of 
cases we have considered, so instructive because they are in a sense 
extreme and represent the cas limite of human consciousness, call upon an 
interpretive ability that is decidedly similar in psychiatrist and imaginative 
artist, for R. D. Laing is no doubt correct in saying that the kernel of the 
schizophrenic's experience of himself remains incomprehensible (p. 39). 

University of California-Davis 


1 Advancement of Human Learning, Bk. 2, in Bacon, Works, ed. James Speeding e/ al. (Lx)ndon: 

Longmans, 1 859), III, 373. In a strict sense "schizophrenia" was of course not defined until early 
in this century (by Eugen Bleuler), see Silvano Aneû, Interpretation of Schizophrenia, 2nd. ed. 
(New York: Basic Books, 1974), ch. 2. In the Renaissance all such psychoses as intended in my 
title were included under melancholia , an extensive term which has only recently been narrowed to 
a particular psychotic condition. 

2 See Critical Psychiatry: The Politics of Mental Health, ed. David Ingleby (New York: Random 
House, 1980), p. 8 and passim. 

174 / Renaissance and Reformation 

3 The Divided Self {Umdon: Travistock, 1960), p. 38. 

4 The Divided Self, P- 39. 

5 De locis qffectis, bk. 3, ch. 10 in Galen, Opera ed. C. G. Kûhn (Leipzig, 1821-33), VIII, 190: 
"... siquidem alius testaceum se factum putavit, atque idcirco occurrantibus cedebat, ne con- 
firingeretur; alter gallos cantare conspiciens, ut hi alarum ante cantum, sic ille brachiorum plausu 
latera quatiens, animantium sonum imitatus est." 

6 TommasoGaizom,L'hospidale de'pazzi incumbili (Wemce, 1601), p. 101:"£'assairidiculoso 
ancora quello de collui, che, parendoli esser devenuto un vetro, andô a Murano, per gettarsi dentro 
un fomace e farsi fare in foggia d'un inghistara." 

7 André du Laurens,^ Discourse of the Preservation of Sight: OfMelancholike Diseases , trans. R. 
Surphlet (London, 1599), p. 103. The French ed. is of Paris, 1597. 

8 Dona.û,De medica historia mirabili (Mantua, 1586) y fol. 34/î; ^wrion. Anatomy, pt. 1, sec. 3, 
mem. 1 , subs. 3 (Shilleto ed., vol. 1, 460), Walkington, The Opticke Glasse of Humours (London, 
1607), fol. 72; Beyerlinck, Affl^n«m theatrum vitae humanae (Lyons, 1678), V. 398C. 

9 Ludwig Lavater, Of Ghostes and Spirites Walking by Night, trans. R. H. (London 1572), 
p. 10. 

10 Marcello Donati,J?eme<//ca historia mirabili,fo\. 34;Ercole S2iSsoma,De melancholia (Venice, 
1 620), p. 3 1 ; Thomas Feyens [Fienus],De viribus imaginationis, 3rd ed. (London, 1 657), p. 1 60 
and pp. 167-68. 

1 1 Erasmus, Praise of Folly, trans. Clarence H. Miller (New Haven and London: Yale University 
Press, 1979), p. 58. 

12 Praise of Folly, trans. C. H. Miller, p. 58. 

1 3 Praise of Folly, trans. Hoyt H. Hudson (Princeton: 1 94 1 ), p. 1 49 andPraise of Folly, trans. C. H. 
Miller, p. 58, note 5. Miller suggests that Erasmus may have intended to show Folly deliberately 
twisting Cicero's words. 

14 Praise of Folly, trans. C. H. Miller, pp. 58-59. 

1 5 Aristoteles,Z>e mirabilibus auscultationibus 832 b 1 7, in Amt.,Minor Works, trans. W. S. Hett 
(Loeb Classical Library, 1936), p. 251. 

16 Lavater, op. cit. , p. 11. 

17 Athenaeus, Dipnosophistae, trans. Charles B. Gulick (Cambridge, Mass. and London: Loeb 
Classical Library, 1933), V, 521. 

18 Aristotle, Problems, trans. W. S. Hett (Loeb Classical Library, 1937), p. 155. 

19 The Examination of Mens Wits [Examen de ingeniosj, trans. R. C. (London, 1594), p. 43. 

20 Juan Huarte de San Juan, Examen de ingenios, ed. Rodrigo Sanz (Madrid: La Rafa, 1930), 
p. 129. 

21 Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason , trans. Richard Howard 
(New York: Random House, 1 965 ), p. 95 . The reference is to Paul Zachias, Quaestiones medico- 
legales (Avignon, 1660-61). 

22 Luther, Tischreden (Weimar: Bôhlau, 1912-19), III, 52: "Ich mus mit dir trincken und kans nicht 
lassen, wan ich hundert mal todt were." 

23 Luther, Tischreden, vol. Ill, 52. 

24 Luther, Tischreden, vol. Ill, pp. 52-53: 

Damach sagete D. Martin Luther, "dass ein gut fromm Mensch ware gewesen, ein 
Werkheiliger; der hatte von einem Monch hôren predigen, dass ein Heiliger gewesen 
ware, der hâtte auf einer Stufen an einer Statte drei Jahr uber gestanden. Damach auf 
einer andem und hôhem Stufen ware er noch einmal drei Jahre gestanden, und hâtte 
diese Zeit uber gar nichts gessen noch getrunken. Drum waren aus seinen Fiissen 
Maden gewachsen. Aber alsbalde solche Maden auf die Erde gefallen, so waren daraus 
lauter Perlen und kôstliche edele Gesteine worden. Und hatte der Monch die Predigt mit 
diesem Exempel beschlossen und gesagt: 'Also musst ihrs euch auch lassen blutsaur 
werden, so ihr woUet selig werden!' 

Renaissance et Réforme / 175 

Da dieses ein Melancholicus gehôrt, hatte er ihm furgesetzet, er wollte sein Wasser 
(mit Ziichten zu reden) nicht von sich lassen. Es hatte ihn auch kein Mensch darzu 
bereden kônnen, dass er hatte wollen pinkeln. Und solches hatte er etzliche Tage gethan. 
Damach kômmt einer zu ihm und uberredet ihn, 'dass er daran recht thàte, dass er seinen 
Leib casteiete, und sollte ja bei diesem Fùrsatz und Gelùbden (Gott zu dienen, und ihme 
seiber wehe zu thun, und den alten Adam zu tôdten und zu creuzigen), verharren und 
bleiben, denn man mùsste durch viel Creuz und Trubsal eingehen ins Himmek-eich. 
Item derselbige hatte sich gestellet, dass er auch ein solch Gelùbde hatte gethan und ihm 
furgenommen, nicht zu pinkeln, aber da er auf diesem Gelùbde stolziret hâtte und ver- 
meinet, dardurch den Hinmiel zu verdienen, hatte er mehr gesiindiget, deim wenn er 
hatte gepinkelt. Auch ware er schier ein Môrder an seinem eigenen Leibe worden. 
Dariim so wird aile Welt dergleichen von dir sagen, dass du es aus Hoffart thust; so stehe 
nun von deinem Fùrsatz ab und lass der Natur ihren Gang.' Also hatte er den Melan- 
choUcum uberredet, dass er wieder gepinkelt hatte." 

25 Juan Huarte de San Juan, Examen de ingenious, éd. R. Sanz (Madrid: La Rafa, 1930), 
pp. 119-20. 

26 Tobias Tandler (Praeses),De melancholia eiusque speciebus (Wittenberg, [ 1 608], no. LXI: "Sic 
et vitae genus et consuetudo phantasmata variât. Theologus enim se cum angelis loqui, se Chris- 
tum profitetur: Juris studiosus acta fori déclamât; Chymicus auri confectionem; avarus etsi opulen- 
tissimus, omnium rerum inopiam deflet: Astronomus, se prophetam; aulicus se regem 

27 On acedia, see Mark D. Altschule, "Acedia: Its Evolution from Deadly Sin to Psychiatric Syn- 
drome," British Journal of Psychiatry , 111 (1965), 117-19; Noel L. Brann, "Is Acedia 
Melancholy? A Re-examination of this Question in the Light of Fra Battista da Crema's Delia 
cognitioneet vittoria di se stesso (1531)," Journal for the History of Medicine and Allied Scien- 
ces, 34 (1979), 80-99; and Siegfried Wenzel, The Sin of Sloth: Acedia in Medieval Thought and 
Literature (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1 967). Cf. also Susan Snyder, 
"The Left Hand of God: Despair in Medieval and Renaissance Tradition," Studies in the 
Renaissance, 12 (1965), 18-59. 

28 Daniel Sennert, De chymicorum cum Galenicis consensu ac dissensu liber I, ch. 1 4 (Wittenberg, 
1 6 1 9 ), p. 403 : "Alius quoque qui se mortuum esse imaginabatur, et cibum propterea aspemabatur, 
socii comitate, qui cum eo se in sepultero mortuimi esse asserebat, et quod ipse mortuus cibum 
caperet, ad cibum capiendum persuasus fuit; ut refert Holer, lib. 1 . de morb. inter, cap. 15." The 
reference is to the French doctor lacobus Hollerius, De morbis intemis, bk. I, ch. 16 (Lyons, 
1588), p. 63, where the story is told as Sennert reports it. 

29 M. de Iriarte, S. J., El doctor Huarte de San Juan y su Examen de ingenios (Madrid: Consejo 
Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, 1948 [first éd. Munster, 1938]; Harald Weinrich, Das 
Ingenium Don Quijotes (Munster: Aschendorf, 1956); Otis H. Green, "Ellngenioso Hidalgo," 
Hispanic Review, 25 (1957), 175-193. 

30 Don Quijote, trans. Walter Starkie (New York: Signet), p. 994. This is pt. 2, ch. 65, ed. Martin de 
Riquer (Barcelona: Editorial Juventud, 1958), p. 1014: "... y entre los que mas se la han tenido 
he sido yo; y creyendo que esta su salud en su reposo, y en que esté en su tierra y en su casa, di traza 
para hacerle estar en ella." 

31 Anatomy of Melancholy, pt. 1, sec. 2, memb. 3, subs. 1 (Shilleto éd., vol. 1, 290). 

32 For these and other topical cures, see Marcello Donati, De medica historia mirabili (Mantua, 
1586),fol. 34 and ErcoleSassonia, De me/a/ïcAo/Za (Venice, 1620), p. 31, who spells out the prin- 
ciple of deception. 

33 Oscar Mandel, "The Function of the Norm in Don Quijote, MP, 55 (1957-58), 160. 

34 Lavater, OfGhostes and Spirites, p. 13. 

35 See Gwynne Edwards, "Cervantes's "El Licenciado Vidriera': Meaning and Structure," MLi?, 
68 (1973), 589. Also Dana B. Drake, Cervantes' Novelas Ejemplares: A Selective. Annotated 
Bibliography (2nd ed. ; New York & London: Gariand, 1 98 1 ), pp. 1 35-54. The most penetrating 
analysis of the Licenciado as a paradoxical cynic philosopher censured by Erasmian /ruma/i/ra^ is 
by Alban K. Forcione, Cervantes and the Humanist Vision: A Study of Four Exemplary Novels 
(Princeton University Press, 1982), pp. 260-316. 

176 / Renaissance and Reformation 

36 Exemplary Novels, trans. C. A. Jones (Baltimore: Penguin, 1972), p. 128. 

37 The pioneering studies of Saxl and Panofsky are summarized and expanded in Raymond Klibansky, 
Erwin Panofsky, and Fritz Saxl, Saturn and Melancholy (London: Nelson, 1 964). See also 
Rudolf Wittkower, 5orn under Saturn (London: Weidenfels and Nicolson, 1963), ch. 5: Genius, 
Madness, and Melancholy"; Lawrence Babb, The Elizabethan Malady (East Lansing: Michigan 
State College Press, 1951); and Bridget Gellert Lyons, Voices ofMelancholy (London: Routledge 
&Kegan Paul, 1971). 

38 In the Renaissance this case is a locus communis , and (as Weinrich points out) Cervantes could 
have found it in Jason Pratensis, De cerebri morbis (Basel, 1 549), ch. 18, p. 270 or in Ludovicus 
Caelius Rhodiginus (=Ludovico Ricchieri), Lect. ant. 17,2; p. 625. See Harald Weinrich, Das 
Ingenium Don Quijotes (Forschungen zur Romanischen Philologie, Heft 1), Mùnster:Aschen- 
dorf, 1956, pp. 5 1-52; also Otis H. Green, ''El Licenciado vidriera: Its Relation to the Viaje del 
Pamaso and the Examen de ingenios of Huarte" in The Literary Mind of Medieval and 
Renaissance Spain, ed. John E. Keller (The University Press of Kentucky, 1 970), pp. 1 90-92. In 
addition to the works cited by Weinrich, the following ones also contain the case of a person 
imagining to have a brittle body: Bernard Gordonius, Opus lilium medicinae: De morborum 
curatione, bk. 2, ch. 19 (Lyons, 1574), p. 21 1 says: "Alii videntur, quod sint vasa vitrea vel 
argillosa, et timent quod si tangerentur, frangerentur"; Marcello Donati, De medica historia 
mirabili (Mantua, 1586), fol. 35 and 36/?, mentions people with bodies of clay and legs of 

39 Huarte, The Examination of Mens Wits, trans. R. C. (London, 1594), p. 43. 

40 The authoritative study of Erasmian influence on Spain in general and Cervantes in particular is 
Marcel Bataillon, Erasmo y Espana: estudios sobre la historia espiritual del sigh xvi (2nd éd., 
Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Econômica, 1966). But "influence" rarely means wholesale accep- 
tance of a paradigm. In spite of the narrowness of my focus, my spotlight may still help clarify the 
larger issue of Cervantes' relationship to Erasmian thought. 

41 Weinrich, Das Ingenium Don Quijotes, p. 5 1 . 

A2 Exemplary Novels, trans. C. A. Jones (Penguin éd.), pp. 128-29. 

43 A. Vallejo Najera, Literatura y psiquiatria (Barcelona: Edit. Barcelona, 1950), pp. 43-44, 

44 Most biographies of Cervantes mention the role of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity for the 
Redemption of Captives (OSST) in freeing Cervantes from bondage, see e.g. William Byron, Cer- 
vantes: A Biography (Garden City: Doubleday, 1978), pp. 242-46. James Fitzmaurice-Kelly 
mentions both biographical events {Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra: Reseha documentada de su 
vida [Buenos Aires: Editorial Bajel, 1944], chs. iv and ix); Edwards relates them to Vidriera, 
MLiî, 68 (1973), 566. 

45 See Starkie's otherwise informative Foreword (p. xx) to his transi. Cervantes, The Deceitful 
Marriage and Other Exemplary Novels (New York: Signet, 1963). G. Hainsworth also is con- 
cerned only with similarity; see "La source du 'Licenciado Vidriera'," Bulletin Hispanique, 32 
( 1 930), 70-72. For S. Rivera Maneséau's argument, see his "El Modelo del Licenciado Vidriera" 
in Fiesta del Libra: IV Centenario de Miguel de Cervantes (Universidad de Valladolid, 1 947), 1 - 

46 Walter Starkie's paraphrase in his Foreword to Cervantes, The Deceitful Marriage and Other 
Exemplary Novels, p. xx. 

47 Donati, JDé medicina historia mirabili, fol. 36/: "Avic. itaque 4. Naturalium 6. tantum imagina- 
tioni tribuit, et pluvias, et tonitrua, terremotusque ad libitum excitare, et aegritudines inducere, ac 
sanare poterit, ait Montanus in com. in 2 fen. 1 Avic. se hominem quendam vidisse, qui ex sola forti 
imaginatione quoties volebat, in facto circulo plusquam centum serpentes convocabat." 

48 See S. B. Vranich, "Sigmund Freud and 'The Case History of Berganza': Freud's Psychoanalytic 
Be^nmng»," Psychoanalytic Review, 63 (1976), 73-82. 

Henry Peacham, Ripa' s Iconologia, 
and Vasari's Lives 


The first illustrated edition of Cesare Ripa' s Iconologia (Rome, 1603) 
had an early influence in England upon triumphal pageants and masques. 
Ripa's extremely popular alphabetized handbook was designed to assist 
poets, painters, sculptors and others who wished to portray personifications 
of virtues and vices, and human sentiments and passions, and, as has been 
recognized for some time, Ben Jonson made early use of it in The King's 
Entertainment in Passing to His Coronation (15 March 1603-04), and, 
in collaboration with Inigo Jones, he used it in Hymenaei (1606), in The 
Masque of Beauty ( 1 608), in The Masque of Queens ( 1 609) and in subse- 
quent works of the kind.* Also well-known is the fact that another English 
poet and artist, Henry Peacham, consulted the Iconologia while compil- 
ing his emblem collection M/w^rva Britanna (1612),^ and, as Rosemary 
Freeman pointed out in her English Emblem Books, as many as fifteen 
emblems in Minerva Britanna are adaptations of sections of Ripa's book. 
In his emblem book Peacham only acknowledges his debt to Ripa in three 
of the fifteen instances,^ but in his treatise The Gentleman's Exercise, 
which was published later in the same year,'* Peacham seems to have gone 
out of his way to remain silent concerning his far more considerable debt to 
the Italian iconologist. It is the nature and hnportance of this debt that I 
should now like to consider. 

Peacham's The Gentleman 's Exercise was a much-expanded and revised 
version of his earlier handbook for would-be gentleman artists. The Art of 
Drawing (1606). Virtually the entire 1606 version is contained in Book 
One of the new pubHcation, and to this Peacham adds two further parts: 
"The Second Booke of Drawing and Limning," and a "Discourse tending 
to the Blazon of Armes." It is Book Two oïThe Gentleman *s Exercise that 
is of concern here, since, as I shall show, it consists of a thirty-two page 
iconology largely compiled from selected passages, translated and re- 
arranged, from Ripa's Iconologia, ^ and is hence the first English version of 
that popular and influential Italian work.** The Gentleman 's Exercise was 
one of Peacham's most widely-read works. Further editions of it appeared 

178 / Renaissance and Reformation 

in 1634, when it was published both separately and as an appendage to a 
new and expanded edition of TJie Compleat Gentleman , and in 1 66 1 when 
it was again published as an appendage to a new edition of The Compleat 
Gentleman, William London included The Gentleman s Exercise in his 
Catalogue of the Most Vendible Books in England (1657), and during the 
seventeenth century sections of it were considered sufficiently important 
to be copied out by hand.^ Peacham's role in acquainting English readers 
with Ripa's Iconologia may thus have been considerable, and future 
scholarship will have to consider the degree to which Ripa became known 
in England to artists and writers from Peacham's selected and abridged 
edition rather than from the Iconologia itself. 

Peacham appears to have become acquainted with Ripa's work shortly 
after he completed a manuscript emblem book that he presented to Prince 
Henry in 1 6 10.® The manuscript contains no evidence that Peacham was 
famiUar with Ripa, whereas, as already pointed out, by 1612 he clearly 
knew ûiQ Iconologia well. From his use of Ripa's illustrations m Minerva 
Britanna it is clear that Peacham's copy was an illustrated edition, either 
that of 1603 (Rome) or that of 16 1 1 (Padua), the only illustrated editions 
of Ripa at that time, and a close comparison of Peacham's illustrations 
with both of these editions reveals that he probably used a 1603 edition, 
since on four occasions details of his woodcuts match those of the 1603 
rather than the 1611 edition.' Peacham's iconology abandons Ripa's 
alphabetical system and replaces it with a series of seven chapters dealing 
successively with various personifications "as they haue beene by Anti- 
quitie described either in Comes, Statues, or other the like Publike 
Monuments" (Chapter One), floods and rivers (Chapter Two), Nymphs 
(Chapter Three), the Ocean, Thetis, Galatea, Iris and Aurora (Chapter 
Four), the Nine Muses (Chapter Five), Pan and the Satyres, and the Four 
Winds (Chapter Six), and the Twelve Months (Chapter Seven). Peacham's 
version therefore only represents a small portion of Ripa's compendium, 
and furthermore Peacham does not attempt to translate entirely those 
entries from Ripa that he does pick out, nor does he stick to their original 
sequence. As can be seen from the comparative listing given in Appendix 
A at the end of this paper, Peacham's arrangement is encyclopedic in 
character. In the main the rationale behind his new groupings of personi- 
fications is clear. Only in his first chapter does he appear to have selected 
almost at random to produce a somewhat arbitrary grouping in which 
individual entries have little connection with each other. 

Peacham's method of creating an entry is worth examining. His entry 
under Providence may be taken as typical since it is drawn from three 
separate entries under that heading in Ripa which are now rendered in a new 
sequence. Only parts of Ripa's sentences are translated, but enough for us to 
recognize that Peacham in his own way can be very close to his source: 

Renaissance et Réforme / 179 

A Lady lifting vp both her hands to Heauen with this worde Prouidentia 
Deorum . In the Meddals oïProbus a Lady in a Robe in her right hand a Scep- 
ter, in her left a Cornucopia, a Globe at her feete. 
OÏ Maximinus carrying a bundle of Come, with a speare in one hand. 

(sig. Qlr) 

2. Ripa (In original sequence): 


Nella Medaglia di Probo. 
Si vede per la prouidenza nella Medaglia di Probo, vna Donna stolata, che 
neila destra mano tiene vn Scettro, & nella sinistra vn Cornucopia, con vn 
globo a'piedi, & si mostra la prouidenza particolarmente appartenere à 


Nella Medaglia di Massimino. 
Donna, che nella destra tiene vn mazzo di spighe di grano, & nella sinistra 
vn'hasta, che con diuerse cose mostra il medesimo, che si è detto dell'altra. 


Vna Donna, che alza ambe le braccia verso il cielo, & si riuolge qua si con le 
mani giunte verso vna Stella, con lettere, Prouidentia Deorum; la quale è di 
Elio Pertinace, come raccontra I'Erizzo. 

(p. 415) 

Many of Peacham's entries are highly selective paraphrases of this kind. 
The main details are retained but much complementary detail is dropped. 

On occasion details are also compressed. In Peacham's version of 
Ripa's Time, Time's four children (fanciuUi), two of whom look in a mirror 
while two others write in a book, are reduced by Peacham to two, and the 
reference to the mirror is dropped (sig. QF).^° In his next entry. Concord, 
Peacham selects from four of Ripa's entries under that heading and re- 
arranges their sequence, and for his fifth and final sections he compresses 
the detail "Donna, che tiene in mano vn fascio di verghe strettamente 
legato" from one entry and "vno scettro che in cima habbia fiori" from 
another into "In another place she is shewed with a Scepter, hauing flowers 
bound to the toppe of the same, and in her arme a bundle of greene rods" 
(sig. Ql^). Similarly Peacham's Aurora combines two entries from Ripa, 
Aurora (p. 34) and Crepvscvlo della Mattina (p. 95). Ripa's "Una fan- 
ciulla alato di color incamato con vn manto giallo in dosso" and the des- 
cription of her riding on Pegasus are both retained from the Aurora entry, 
but Peacham adds to this from Ripa's Crepvscvlo della Mattina the 

1 80 / Renaissance and Reformation 

attributes "in cima del capo vna grande, & rilucente Stella, & che con la 
sinistra mano tenghi vn'vma riuolta all'ingiu versando con essa minu- 
tissime gocciole d'acqua" (this last to represent the morning dew). Where 
Ripa in his entry for Aurora had described her as bearing her lantern in 
her hand, Peacham says "some give her a light in her hand, but in stead of 
that I rather allow her a Viol of deaw, which with sundry flowers she scat- 
tereth about the earth" (sig. RS^). This last detail of the flowers, purpor- 
tedly an especially personal choice, is, however, taken directly from Ripa's 
second Aurora enUy ("& con la destra [mano] sparge fiori" p. 34).** 

As already noted, even while omitting and compressing the materials of 
his source, Peacham on occasion makes additions. For the most part, as in 
the example just referred to in Note 1 1 , these are of a minor nature. In his 
discussion of the Ocean, for example, Peacham adds the attribute of seal 
skin drapery for Ocean's loins, together with an explanation of the Greek 
origin of Ocean's name: "wicus," which is swift, and suddenly violent" 
(sig. R2^). A number of Peacham's additions are similarly etymological in 
nature. Presumably Peacham the schoolmaster felt quite confident in con- 
tributing learned etymologies for Hercules' name (sig. P4^), and for the 
Greek words for Nymph (sig. Rl^), Dryad (sig. R20 and Diana (sig. R20. 
In much the same vein Peacham on occasion adds further information from 
various learned sources. In his entry for Piety, for example, he adds infor- 
mation about the elephant from Plutarch, Aelian, Pliny and Oppian not in 
Ripa (sig. P4'^), and in his discussion of the Nile he adds that the crocodile is 
so named "from the feare he hath of Saffron, which hee cannot endure, 
wherefore those in Aegypt that keepe Bees set great store of Saffron about 
the hiues, which when hee seeth, hee presently departeth without doing any 
harme" (sig. Q4r). In his entry for the River Indus, Peacham similarly 
expands Ripa's reference to the camel at Indus' side and the Italian's 
explanation for its presence ("Gli si mette à canto il camelo, come animale 
molto proprio del paese, oue è questo flume" p. 1 62) and states "the beast 
hath his name from Xafiai,, that is, on the ground he is represented 
pleasantly graue, because the East Indians are held to bee the most politi- 
que people of the world, as our countrymen haue had good experience 
among those of China, laua, Bantam, and in other places in those Eas- 
teme parts" (sig. Rl^. 

This last example with its reference to "our countrymen" is indicative of 
another form of change that Peacham makes in his translation. On a num- 
ber of occasions he anglicizes his original in some way. In his entry for Dis- 
simulation (Simvlatione in Ripa) Peacham adds that "the Poet Spencer 
described her looking through a lattice" (sig. Q2^). In his entry for the 
Napeae or Nymphs of the Mountains Peacham alters Ripa's "varie sorti di 
fiori con loro mischiati, & varij colori" (p. 353), which adorn the 

Renaissance et Réforme / 181 

heads of the Nymphs, in order to name specific and familiar English plants 
"vpon their heads garlands of hunnisuckles, woodbine, wild roses, sweet 
Marioram and the like" (sigs. Rl^— R20. Similarly in the entry for the 
Naides or Nymphs of Floods, Peacham anglicizes Ripa's reference to a 
garland of the leaves of reeds ("vna ghirlanda di foglie di canna" p. 354) to 
"garlands of water-cresses, and their red leaues" (sig. R20. 

This technique of deliberate anglicization, no doubt quite justifiable in 
an iconography designed with English artists in mind,^^ is chiefly in evi- 
dence in the concluding section of Peacham's book where he deals with the 
twelves months. Peacham specifies, for example, hawthorn buds and 
primroses for April (sig. 83"^) and "bents, king-cups, and maidenshaire" for 
June (sig. S3^), and he gives August pears, plums, apples, gooseberries and 
"at his belt (as out Spencer describeth him) a sickle" (sig. S4r).*3 Peacham's 
December entry is particularly striking and quite different fi^om that of 

December must bee expressed with a horrid and fearefuU aspect, as also 
January following, cladde in Irish rugge, or course freeze, gyrt vnto him, vpon 
his head no Garland but three or foure nightcaps, and ouer them a Turkish Tur- 
bant, his nose redde, his mouth and beard clogd with Iseckles, at his backe a 
bundle of holly luy or Misletoe, holding in furd mittens the signe Capri- 

(sig. S4V) 

Peacham's entries for the Months then conclude with two admonitions. 
First he urges his reader to "giue every moneth his instruments of hus- 
bandrie, which because they do differ, according to the custome (with the 
time also) in sundrie countires, I haue willingly omitted, what ours are 
heere in England Tusser will tell you" (sig. Tl^. Ripa does give such a list 
when he discusses the sequence of months in terms of agriculture, but 
Peacham evidentiy felt that what was proper to the Italian clime was not 
always appropriate to England's. Peacham then warns his reader "to giue 
euery month his proper and naturall Landtskip, not making (as a Painter of 
my acquaintance did in seuerall tables of the monthes for a Noble man of 
this land) blossomes vpon the trees in December, and Schooleboyes, play- 
ing at nine pinnes vpon the yce in luly" (sig. T 1^). This would appear to be a 
genuinely personal comment. Certainly there is no equivalent for it in 

Apart from such anglicizations, Peacham adds references to his own 
work that seem designed to disguise the fact that what he is offering is a 
translation of foreign material. At the conclusion of his first chapter, for 
example, he inserts a reference to his Minerva Britanna: "for further 
variety of these and the like deuises, I referre you to my Emblèmes 
Dedicated to Prince Henry'' (sig. Q2^), and in his entry of Zephyrus he 

182 / Renaissance and Reformation 

refers to a Petrarch sonnet "which with Gironimo Conuersi and many mo 
excellent Musitians I haue lastly chosen for a ditty in my songs of 4. and 5 . 
parts" (sig. SI""). Even more deceptive are statements that appear to be 
direct personal observations which nonetheless are taken from Ripa. Thus, 
when describing Time, Peacham says "I haue scene time drawne by a 
painter standing vpon an old mine, winged, and with Iron teeth" (sig. QIO- 
Yet this is clearly a condensation of Ripa's "Hvomo vecchio alato, il quale 
tiene vn cerchio in mano, & stà in mezzo d'vna ruina, hà la bocca aperta, 
mostrando i denti, U quali sieno del colore del ferro" (p. 483). Similarly in 
his entry for the River Danube, Peacham remarks "whereupon as I 
remember^ W5on/w5 saith, Danubius perijt caput occultatus in ore'' (sig. 
Q4v), but the original of this is in Ripa (p. 160). Less clear, however, is 
what Peacham does with his entry for the River Ganges. Ripa's entry states 
''Fiume comme dipinto nelVesequie di MicheVAngelo Buonaroti in 
Firenze. Vn vecchio inghirlandato di gemme, comme I'altri fiumi, con 
I'vma, & à canto I'vcel grifone" (p. 1 62). Peacham expands and alters this 
to give a seemingly more accurate first-hand detailed description: "I have 
scene this riuer with wonderfull art cut out in white Marble, bearing the 
shape of a rude and barbarous sauage, with bended browes of a fierce and 
cruel countenance, crowned with Palme, hauing (as other flouds) his 
pitcher, and by his sides 2i Rhinoceros'' (sig. Q4^). Ripa's description is 
taken from Vasari's Le vite de' piu excellenti pittori, scultori, e Archi- 
tettori (1568 edition) and refers to a painting by Bernardo Timante 
Buontalenti displayed during the funeral ceremonies for Michelangelo in 
Florence.^'* One wonders what marble sculpture had so impressed Peacham 
that he should decide to diverge from his source. 

These then are the principal kinds of changes that Peacham makes when 
translating Ripa's Iconologia. Listed in this way, they may seem numer- 
ous enough for one to conclude that Peacham's work is sufficiently differ- 
ent to be considered independent of its source. However, such an inference 
would be false. For the most part Peacham follows Ripa very closely 
(albeit selectively) and the second book of The Gentleman 's Exercise 
should therefore be considered as the first translation into EngUsh of 
selections from one of the most influential and popular of Italian Renaissance 

With this notable "first" to his credit, Peacham ten years later, in his 
chapter "On Drawing, Limning, and Painting" with the Hues of the 
famous Italian Painters" in The Compleat Gentlemen (1622), provided 
English readers with another translation of selected passages from an 
important Italian author - Giorgia Vasari. This time he acknowledged his 
sources,** but in general modem scholars have not noticed Peacham's 
debt,*** and it is still generally believed that William Aglionby in 1 685 was 
the first English translator of Vasari. As he himself acknowledged (see 

Renaissance et Réforme / 183 

above, Note 15), Peacham was unable to obtain a copy in Italian of Vasari 
and was instead forced to work from the Dutch translation by Carel van 
Mander ( 1 548- 1 606). Van Mander had used a 1 568 edition of Vasari and 
editions of his translation into Dutch had appeared in 1603-04 and 1618, 
but it is not clear which of the Dutch editions Peacham used. 

Van Mander's translation of Vasari forms only part of his massive 
Het Schilderboeck, the section dealing with Italian artists being entitled 
Het Leven der Moderne/oft dees-tytsche doorluchtighe Italiaensche 
Schilders. *^ Van Mander selects under half of Vasari's 161 lives, and in 
those lives he does select he tends to cut much of Vasari's original text. In 
his turn Peacham selects only eighteen of the lives in van Mander, twelve of 
these deriving from Part One of Vasari (dealing with the Trecento), five 
from Part Two (Quattrocento), and one only from Part Three (Cinque- 
cento). Furthermore, he tends to cut from each passage he does take from 
van Mander, keeping, on occasion, only the barest biographical facts. Not 
surprisingly the end product is sometimes barely recognizable as an 
abridged translation of Vasari, since, due either to van Mander's or to 
Peacham's cuts, detailed descriptions of individual works of art, quoted 
poems and epitaphs, philosophical conmients, digressions, and a great 
many incidental biographical details tend to be lost. Van Mander's trans- 
lation of the life of Simon of Siena, for example, retains the opening 
paragraph from Vasari. This comments on the good fortune of artists 
whose names are immortalized by poets, as happened in the case of Simon, 
who painted a portrait of Petrarch's Laura and was rewarded by being 
celebrated in some verses by the grateful poet. There follows a brief com- 
ment on Simon's inventive powers, and van Mander's version ends with 
the date of Simon's death, his age at death, and the epitaph carved on his 
tomb. Omitted are the relevant quotations from Petrarch and detailed des- 
criptions, several pages m length, of Simon's works at Rome, Siena and 
Florence. Peacham's version of van Mander is, however, even less 
detailed, for it omits the philosophical opening, the epitaph, and even the 
date of death. 

Simon of Siena was a rare Artist, and liued in the time of the famous and 
Laureate Poet Francis Petrarch , in whose verses he liueth eternally, for his 
rare art & judgement showne, in drawing his Laura to the life. For invention 
and variety he was accounted the best of his time. 

(p. 130) 

This is an extreme example of compression on Peacham's part, but else- 
where there are many passages that survive intact (via van Mander) from 
Vasari. One example will suffice. In his life of Andrea di Clone Orcagna, 
Vasari describes in some detail a painting of the Last Judgement that 
Orcagna did in the Campo Santo in Pisa. The complete description and 

184 / Renaissance and Reformation 

van Mander's and Peacham's respective versions of it are too long to quote 
in full, but the following extract demonstrates how whole sections of the 
Italian original are preserved in Peacham: 


Dall'altra parte nella medesima storia, figure sopra vn'alto Monte la vita di 
coloro, che tirati dal pentimento, de'peccati, e dal disiderio d'esser salui, sono 
fuggiti dal mondo à quel Monte, tutto pieno di Santi Romiti, che seniono al 
Signore, diuerse cose operando con viuacissimi affetti. Alcuni leggendo, & 
orando si mostrano tutti intenti alia contemplatiua, e altri lauorando per 
guadagnare il viuere, nell'actiua variamente si essercitano. 

(sig. Z40 

Van Mander: 

Op d'ander syde der Historien / maechte hy op harde rootse al Volck / dat de 
Weerelt ontvloden / daer in penitentie / Eremyten wesende / Godt dient / 
verscheyden actien doende / met levendige affecten: d'een leest met grooten 
vlydt / oft bidt met grooter innicheyt en aendacht / oft arbeyt om den cost 
te winnen. 

(fol. 35r)^« 


On the other side of the table, he made an hard Rocke, ftiU of people, that had 
left the world, as being Eremites, seruing of God, and doing diuers actions of 
pietie, with exceeding life; as here one prayeth, there another readeth, some 
other are at worke to get their liuing. . . . 

(p. 131) 

As can be seen in Appendix B at the end of this paper, Peacham provided 
his readers with biographical material on eighteen artists. Where in his use 
of Ripa he had radically altered the sequence of his source, in this instance 
his selection retains the original sequence he found in van Mander. Though 
only offering a selected sampling of Vasari, Peacham's translation had an 
even wider circulation than his version of Ripa, since editions of The Corn- 
pleat Gentleman appeared in 1 622, 1 627, 1 634, and 1 66 1 . Like The Gen- 
tleman 's Exercise, it was included in William London's Catalogue of the 
Most Vendible Books in England (1657), and in 1663 in a court case 
involving the notorious Sir Charles Sedley , it was cited by the judge in such 
a way as to imply that educated men would be familiar with it. *' Peacham's 
translations of Ripa and Vasari precede the hitherto assumed first English 
translations of these writers by ninety-seven and sixty-three years res- 
pectively. Though in the case of his version of Ripa Peacham evidently 
wanted to pass off selections from the Iconologia as his own, and thou^ 
his purpose in The Compleat Gentleman is quite different since he con- 
cludes his translation of Vasari by recommending his reader to go back to 
the original, in each instance Peacham deserves to be given credit for being 
the first to acquaint English readers both with the most influential of all 

Renaissance et Réforme / 185 

iconologies and with what art historians continue to acknowledge as 
perhaps the most important art history ever published. 

Acadia University 


1 See Paul Reyher, Les Masques Anglais (Paris: Hachette, 1 909), pp. 394, 399; Ben Jonson , ed. 
C.H. Herford, Percy and Evelyn Simpson (Oxford: Clarendon, 1950), X, 388-91; Allan H. 
Gilhert, Symbolic Persons in the Masques of Ben Jonson (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 
1948), pp. 4-5, 23; D.J. Gordon, The Renaissance Imagination , ed. Stephen Orgel (Berkeley, 
Los Angeles, Lx)ndon: University of California Press, 1975), pp. 146-53, 161, 174, 285. 

2 Reyher, Masques A nglais, p. 40 1 ; AUardyce Nicoll, Stuart Masques and the Renaissance Stage 
(London: Harrap, 1937), p. 190; Gilbert, Symbolic Persons, p. 271; Rosemary Freeman, 
English Emblem Books (London: Chatto & Windus, 1948), pp. 79-81. 

3 Minerva Britanna, pp. 23, 149, 206. For further discussion ofPeacham's debt to Ripa inMmerva 
Britanna, see Alan R. Young, Henry Peacham (Boston: Twayne, 1979), pp. 52-54, 147n42, 

4 Another issue appeared in the same year with the title Graphice. That The Gentleman 's Exercise 
appeared after Minerva Britanna is evident from the manner in which Peacham refers to his 
emblem book in The Gentleman 's Exercise (sigs. E3r, Q2v). For a brief discussion of Peacham's 
debt to Ripa in The Gentleman 's Exercise and for an analysis of his use of Ripa's eternity, see 
Young, Henry Peacham, pp. 65-68. 

5 Freeman noted that some parts ofTTie Gentleman 's Exercise derived from Ripa (English Emblem 
Books, p. 80), but she appears not to have been aware of the fiiU extent of Peacham's borrowings. I 
am indebted to Professor Allan H. Gilbert for the suggestion he once made to me privately that 
Peacham did more than borrow the occasional detail from Ripa. 

6 The first English translations oî the Iconologia have hitherto been assumed to be those of 1709, 
1771-79 and 1785. 

7 Bodleian Library: MS RawlinsonB32, fols. 2-5, 1 7-38; British Library: Add. MS 341 20, fols. 34- 
41, and MS Harleian 1279, fol. 12^. F.J. Levy's "Henry Peacham and the Art of Drawing" dis- 
cussed the importance of the work but missed the debt to Ripa {JWCI, Vol. 37 [1974], 

8 BA2 1 A I K( )N AÎ2P0N(British Library: MS Royal 1 2A LXVI). The manuscript is undated but 
in addressing Prince Henry in Minerva Britanna (1612) Peacham refers to his previous gift of the 
manuscript "two yeares since." 

9 CompsiTe Minerva Britanna, pp. 26, 41, 128, 132 with the 1603 edition of Ripa, pp. 117,229,75, 
306 respectively. The relevant illustrations in the 161 1 edition are pp. 128, 248, 84, 327. 

10 It should be noted, however, that Peacham adds (probably from his own direct observation) the 
following description: "Hee is commonly drawne vpon tombes in Gardens, and other places an 
olde man bald, winged with a Sith and an hower glasse" (sig. Ql^). Here only the attribute of Time's 
wings is in Ripa. 

11 In his entry Peacham adds the Homeric epithet po8oôaKTv\o% (rosy-fingered) as explanation 
for the pink-coloured wings with which both he and Ripa provide their respective personifi- 

1 2 Peacham's consciousness of his English readership is nowhere more evident than at the end of his 
chapter on rivers where he remarks, "Thus haue I broken the Ice to inuention, for the apt descrip- 
tion and liuely representation of flouds and riuers necessary for our Painters and Poets in their pic- 
tures, poems, comedies, maskes, and the like publike shewes, which many times are expressed for 
want of iudgement very grosly and rudely" (sig. Rl"""^). 

1 3 Spenser is not the only English author Peacham refers to in this section. A fiirther "English" 
flavour is added by his allusion to Sidney in his entry for September (sig. S4r). 

14 Wasah,Le vite, sig. 5D4''. 

15 At the conclusion of his chapter in The Compleat Gentleman Peacham says, "If you would reade 
the Hues at large of the most excellent Painters, as well Ancient as Modem, I refer you vnto the two 

1 86 / Renaissance and Reformation 

volumes of Vasari, well written in Italian (which I haue not seene, as being hard to come by; yet in 
the Libraries of two my especiall and worthy friends, M. Doctor Mountford, late Prebend of Pauls, 
and M. Ingo lones, Surueyer of his Maiesties workes for building) and Caluin Mander in high 
Dutch ; vnto whom I am beholden, for the greater part of what I haue heere written, of some of their 
hues" (p. 137). 

16 But see F.J. Levy, "Henry Peacham and the Art of Drawing," yW^C/, 37 (1974), 188; Luigi 
Salerno, "Seventeenth Century English Literature on Painting," JWCI, 14 (1951), 237; and 
Young, Henry Peacham, pp. 81, 151n41 and 42. 

17 References here will be to the 1618 edition of Van Mander. 

18 "On the other side of the picture he devised a hard rock full of people, who, having escaped the 
world and being hermits doing penance, serve God in diverse ways with lively feeUngs. One reads 
with great diligence, another prays with great devotion and concentration, and another labours to 
earn his living." 

19 Andrew Clark, The Life and Times of Anthony Wood (Oxford, 1891), I, 477; H, 335. 

Appendix A 

Peacham, The Second Booke of Drawing 
and Limning from The Gentleman's 
Exercise (1612) 

Chapt. I Etemitie (sig. P2^^) 
Hope (sigs. P2v-P3r) 
Victory (sig. P3r-v) 
Piety (sigs. P3v-P4r) 
Peace (sig. P4r-v) 
Vertue (sigs. P4v-Qir) 
Prouidence (sig. QK) 
Time (sig. QKv) 
Concord (sig. QP) 
Fame (sig. Q2'") 
Captiue Fame (sig. Q2'') 
Salus pubUca, or 

common safety (sig. Q2'') 
Clemencie (sig. Q^"") 
Fate (sig. Q2r) 
Felicity (sig. Q2y) 
Fecundity (sig. Ql") 
Security (sig. Q2v) 
Money (sig.Q2v) 
Dissimulation (sig.Q2.v) 
Equality (sig. Q2v) 
Matrimony (sig. Q2y) 

Chap. II Of Flouds and Fiuers (sig. Q3r) 
The Riuer Tiber (sig. Q3r-v) 
The Riuer Amus (sig. Q3v) 
The Riuer Po, or Padus (sig. Q3v) 
The Riuer Nilus (sigs. Q3v-Q4r) 
The Riuer Tigris (sig. Q4«"-v) 
The Riuer Danubius, or the Donow 

(Sig. Q4V) 
The Riuer Achelous (sig. Q4v) 
The Riuer Ganges (sig. Q4v-Rir) 
The Riuer Indus (sig. RV) 
The Riuer Niger (sig. KV) 

RSpsi, Iconologia (Rome, 1603) 

Eternité (pp. 140-41) 
Speranza (pp. 469-72) 
Vittoria (pp. 515-18) 
Pietà (pp. 401-03) 
Pace (pp. 375-78) 
Virtu (pp. 506-12) 
Providenza (pp. 414-16) 
Tempo (pp. 482-83) 
Concordia (pp. 80-82) 
Fama(pp. 142-45) 
Cattiva Fama (p. 143) 

Salute (pp. 438-40) 

Clemenza (pp. 68-70) 

Fato(p. 146) 

Félicita (pp. 154-56) 

Fécondité (p. 148) 

Sicvrezza, et Tranqvillità (pp. 452-53) 

Pecunia (p. 384) 

Simulatione (p. 455) 

Equalità(p. 130) 

Matrimonio (pp. 305-07) 

Fivmi (p. 1 56) 
Tevere(pp. 156-58) 
Amo(p. 158) 
Po(pp. 158-59) 
Nilo(p. 160) 
Tigre (p. 160) 

Danvbio(p. 160) 
Acheolo (p. 161) 
Gange (p. 162) 
Indo(p. 162) 
Niger (p. 162) 

Renaissance et Réforme / 187 

Chap. Ill The Nymphes in generall (sig. Rl^) 

Napaeae or Nymphes of the mountains 

(sigs. Rlv-Rlr) 
Dryads and Hamadryades, Nymphes 

ofthe woods (sig. R2'") 
Naides or the Nymphes of flouds 

(sig. R2'--v) 

Chap. IV The Ocean (sig. R2v) 
Thetis (sig. R2v) 
Galatea (sig. R3>") 
Iris or the Rainebow (sig. RS"") 
Aurora or the Morning (sig. RS^-^) 

Chap. V The Nine Muses (sig. R3v) 
Clio (sig. R3V) 
Euterpe (sig. R4r) 
ThaHa (sig. R4r) 
Melpomene (sig. R4r) 
Polymnia (sig. R4v) 
Erato (sig. R4v) 
Terpsichore (sig. R4v) 
Vrania(sig. SK) 
Calliope (sig. SI >■) 

Chap. VI Pan and the Satires (sigs. Siv-S2«") 

Thr 4, Winds Eurus or the East wind 

(sig. S2r) 
Zephorus or the West wind (sig. Sl^-v) 
Boreas, or the North winde (sig. 82^) 
Auster or the South wind (sig. 82^) 

Chap. VII The twelue moneths of the yeare 
(sig. S30 
March (sig. S3»") 
Aprill (sig. S30 
May (sig. S3r-v) 
lune (sig. 83^) 
luly (sig. S3V) 
August (sigs. S3v-S4r) 
September (sig. S4'') 
October (sig. 84^-^) 
Nouember (sig. 84^) 
December (sig. 84^) 
lanuary (sigs. 84v-TK) 
Februarie (sig. TK) 

Ninfe in commvne (p. 352) 
Ninnedi, & Napee (p. 353) 
Driadi, & Hamadriadi (p. 353) 

Naiadi. Ninfe de fiumi (p. 354) 

Mare (p. 354) 

Thethi (pp. 354-55) 

Galatea (p. 355) 

Iride (Ninfe de l'aria) (pp. 355-56) 

Aurora (p. 34) and Crepvscvlo della 

Mattina (pp. 95-96) 

Mvse (p. 346) 
Clio (p. 346) 
Evterpe (pp. 346-47) 
Talia (p. 347) 
Melpomene (p. 347) 
Polinnia (pp. 347-48) 
Erato (p. 348) 
Terpsicore (pp. 348-49) 
Vrania (p. 349) 
Calliope (p. 349) 

Mondo (pp. 330-32) 

Evro (pp. 496- 97) 
Favonio, o Zephiro (p. 497) 
Borea, overo Aquilone (pp. 497-98) 
Avstro (p. 498) 

Mesi(p. 315) 
Marzo (pp. 315-16) 
Aprile(p. 316) 
Maggio (p. 316-17) 
Givgno (p. 317) 
Ivglio (pp. 317-18) 
Agosto(p. 318) 
Settembre (pp. 318-19) 
Ottobre(p. 319) 
Novembre (p. 319) 
Décembre (p. 320) 
Geimaro (p. 320) 
Febraro (p. 320) 

188 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Appendix B 

Peacham, "On Drawing, Limning, 
and Painting: with the Hues of the 
famous Italian Painters" in The 
Compleat Gentleman (1622) 

Cimabue(p. 117-18) 
Tasi(p. 118-19) 
Gaddi(p. 119) 
Margaritone (p. 119) 
Giotto (pp. 119-23) 
Stefano(p. 123-24) 
Pietro Lauratio (p. 124) 
BuflFalmacco (pp. 124-30)* 
Ambrogio Lorenzetti (p. 1 30) 
Pietro Cavallini (p. 130) 
Simon of Siena (p. 1 30) 
Andrea Orcagna (pp. 131-32) 
Masaccio (p. 1 32) 
Alberti (pp. 132-33) 
Filippo Lippi (pp. 133-35) 
Antonello of Messina (p. 135) 
Ghirlandaio (pp. 135-36) 
Raphael (pp. 136-37) 

Vasari, Le Vite de' piu 

van Mander, Het 

excellenti pittori, scultori. 

Schilderboeck il6lS) 

e Architettori il S6S) 

Vol. I 


fol. 29''-v 


fols. 29v-30r 


fol. 30r 


fol. 30r 


fols. 30V-31V 


fol. 32r 


fol. 32V 


fols. 32V-33V 


fols. 33v-34r 


fol. 34r 


fol. 34r 


fol. 35r 


fol. 36r-v 


fols. 35v-37r 


fols. 37r-38r 


fol. 38r-v 


fol. 39r-v 



* There is a hiatus in the pagination of The Compleat Gentleman between pages 124 and 129. 

François de la Noue (1531-1591) au service du 
libéralisme du XIXe siècle 


L ne semble guère nécessaire de présenter le maréchal François de La 
Noue aux lecteurs de cette revue. Si La Noue est demeuré un personnage 
moins célèbre que Coligny, Monluc, Condé, et d'Aubigné, l'on aurait tort 
de sous-estimer le rôle qu'a joué le "Bras de Fer" dans les guerres de 
religion et dans 1' "institution" de la Réforme en France.^ La parution en 
1967 d'une édition moderne de ses Discours politiques et militaires^ a 
contribué à l'accroissement de sa réputation en rendant accessible à la 
communauté des seizièmistes une oeuvre riche mais relativement peu con- 
nue. Depuis cette date, de nombreux chercheurs ont recouru à son témoig- 
nage à cause de la lucidité de ses analyses et de la qualité indéniable de sa 
prose. ^ Le lecteur des Discours découvre avec plaisir non pas les réminis- 
cences décousues d'un vieux guerrier hargneux mais un témoignage équit- 
able qui impressionne par sa franchise et sa bonne foi, qualités rarissimes à 
l'époque des guerres de religion. L'on comprend facilement pourquoi 
Montaigne a pu s'émerveiller de "la constante bonté, douceur de meurs et 
facilité conscientieuse de monsieur de la Noue, en une telle injustice de 
parts armées, vraie eschole de trahison, d'inhumanité et de brigandage, où 
tousjours il s'est nourry, grand honmie de guerre et très-experimenté."* 
Serait-il superflu de rappeler ici que la plupart des historiens se sont rangés 
du côté de ce Gascon qui n'avait pas l'habitude de couvrir d'éloges des 
guerriers huguenots? 

La biographie de la Noue 

Etant conscient des limites d'une étude consacrée à un seul homme, nous 
proposons un réexamen de la carrière et du caractère de François de La 
Noue, un homme qui, selon le père Lelong, "a joué un si grand rôle dans les 
premiers troubles de la Religion que sa Vie en est comme l'Histoire."^ 

Son nom apparaît dans presque tous les récits des historiens, des chroni- 
queurs et des mémorialistes du 1 6e et du début du 1 7e siècle. Si l'on repé- 
rait et rassemblait toutes les sources qui contiennent des références à la 
Noue, il serait possible de le suivre de jour en jour - et parfois même 

1 90 / Renaissance and Reformation 

d'heure en heure - pendant quarante ans. Mais il est évident qu'une telle 
étude dépasserait de loin le cadre de cette revue, et l'on est en droit de se 
demander si cette énorme entreprise aiderait à mieux saisir l'intérêt essen- 
tiel de la vie de cet homme et de son oeuvre. Ainsi plutôt que d'analyser en 
détail chaque escarmouche, chaque bataille, chaque entretien avec un 
adversaire, etc., nous porterons un jugement global sur la totalité de sa 

Ecrivant en 1 892, Henri Hauser a reconnu que, "nous sonmies loin . . . 
d'avoir pu explorer tous les dépôts qui peuvent ou même qui doivent con- 
tenir des pièces relatives à La Noue; et si cette vie présente peut-être quel- 
ques énigmes insolubles, il est aussi des lacunes que d'autres, plus heureux 
que nous, pourront sans doute combler."^ Hauser a suggéré, par exemple, 
qu'il était "peu croyable que les archives des petites villes flamandes ne 
conservent pas encore des lettres de La Noue."^ Etant ainsi conscient des 
lacunes qui restaient à combler, il a pourtant conclu qu'"en présence des 
documents que nous avons consultés, nous ne pensons pas que des trou- 
vailles nouvelles puissent sensiblement modifier notre récit ou altérer nos 
conclusions."* Voilà donc les deux défis que Hauser a implicitement 
lancés à la postérité: parviendra-t-on à mettre en doute soit son récit de la 
vie de La Noue soit ses conclusions sur le comportement de cet homme et 
sur la valeur de sa vie? 

De telles questions se sont posées lors de la conception de la présente 
étude: les années qui se sont écoulées ont-elles confirmé le bien-fondé de la 
position de Hauser? Pour rendre justice à La Noue, fallait-il se lancer à la 
recherche d'éventuelles sources inédites cachées dans des bibliothèques 
isolées? Après avoir examiné et les sources du seizième siècle et les ouv 
rages qui ont été publiés depuis la parution de la thèse de Hauser, il nous a 
semblé qu'il n'y avait pas lieu de "sensiblement modifier" son récit. Si 
Hauser n'a pas fourni de réponses à toutes les énigmes posées par la vie de 
ce capitaine, il a eu le mérite d'avoir posé les bonnes questions et d'avoir 
établi les points de repère principaux. Quant à son analyse du personnage, 
on peut légitimement poser d'autres questions et proposer d'autres inter- 

Il s'agira donc de rouvrir le dossier en utilisant le fil qu'a tissé Hauser et 
en tenant compte des contributions de l'historiographie du vingtième 
siècle. Nous nous sommes efforcé de ne pas commettre "l'erreur d'enfer- 
mer les événements dans un cercle trop mesquin, de tout ramener à la 
portée d'un individu, de grossir par artifice les 'questions de personnes' et 
de mettre les catégories générales dans la dépendance de simples 

Renaissance et Réforme / 191 

Le portrait de Hausen **confîante et indulgente bonhomie*' 

Chaque époque est marquée par ses préoccupations idéologiques, voire 
par de véritables idées fixes. Celle de Hauser avait les siennes, nous avons 
certainement les nôtres. Le portrait de La Noue que l'on trouve chez 
Hauser reflète deux obsessions du dix-neuvième siècle: le nationalisme et 
le laïcisme. Hauser, d'origine Israélite, aurait voulu que La Noue fut un 
bon citoyen patriote d'une république laïque, et il semblait éprouver un 
besoin intense de montrer que les protestants (et, avec eux, d'autres 
minorités) étaient des Français à part entière. En essayant de montrer que 
le plus grand héros de la Réforme naissante était "un bon Français," ne 
cherchait-il pas aussi à prouver que tous les protestants (et peut-être aussi 
les Juifs) étaient à leur tour "de bons Français"? 

Non que ses concitoyens du dernier quart du dix-neuvième siècle aient 
eu besoin de recevoir des leçons de patriotisme; au contraire, la com- 
munauté protestante cherchait à se protéger du chauvinisme exclusiviste 
qui s'est manifesté lors de l'Affaire Dreyfus. Conmie les Juifs, les témoins 
protestants de la fin du siècle font état d'une "campagne d'accusations, de 
calomnies de toutes sortes, qui se poursuit depuis quelque temps contre 
nous et que cherchent à perpétuer certains journaux, certains livres. . . . 
On fait beaucoup de bruit aujourd'hui autour de cette grande formule: La 
France aux Français, et l'on s'en sert contre nous."^° Il s'agit évidemment 
des répercussions de la montée de l'Allemagne et de l'humiliation de 1 870: 
"Les débuts de la guerre franco-prussienne de 1 870 donnèrent lieu à une 
recherche de coupables dont les protestants français eurent à souffrir. Une 
campagne de presse les accusa de souhaiter la victoire de l'ennemi, voire 
parfois de l'aider activement." ^^ 

Hauser et les protestants cherchaient à repousser deux accusations. Il y 
avait, d'une part, celle qui dépeignait le protestantisme, enfant bâtard du 
"renégat saxon" Luther, comme un phénomène essentiellement étranger: 
"Du fait que Calvin s'était réfugié à Genève, . . . que les grandes puissan- 
ces, Angleterre, Allemagne, souvent ennemies de la France, étaient à 
majorité protestante, une suspicion s'attachait à la minorité réformée 
française."*^ D'autre part, ils luttaient contre l'idée qu'ils devaient forcé- 
ment être soupçonnés de "coUaborationisme" avec les ennemis. Bien 
qu'ils aient fait semblant de ne pas prendre au sérieux de telles accusations 

- "A qui fera-t-on croire qu'il y a un péril protestant, un complot protes- 
tant, que nous voulons livrer la France à l'Angleterre ou à l'Allemagne?"" 

- ils se sont crus obligés d'y répondre. L'on peut être tenté d'en sourire, 
mais le parallèle ne paraissait que trop évident à ceux qui rêvaient d'une 
France "toute catholique" et qui s'en prenaient aux "ennemis de l'âme 
française":*'* de même que les huguenots avaient cherché l'appui d'Elisa- 
beth et des princes allemands contre les rois Très-Chrétiens, leurs descen- 
dants étaient capables de "vendre la patrie" aux ennemis contemporains. 

192 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Si les Rochelois avaient invité les Anglais à s'établir chez eux, si Condé 
avait fait venir des reîtres, si l'Etat protestant avait ébranlé le trône des 
Valois, que pouvait-on espérer de leurs petits-fils? Tel était le climat à 
l'époque où Hauser rédigeait sa thèse. 

Les protestants se sentaient particulièrement exaspérés par ceux qui 
prétendaient qu'il y avait "une sorte d'incompatibilité entre l'esprit protes- 
tant et l'esprit français . . . que le protestantisme est contraire à notre carac- 
tère national."*^ Ils insistaient donc sur les origines purement françaises de 
la Réforme, sur "le caractère profondément national du protestantisme 
français,"^^ mais ce faisant ils reconnaissaient la priorité accordée aux 
intérêts de l'Etat-nation: "Notre Eglise est une Eglise essentiellement 
nationale. Et savez-nous pourquoi? parce qu'elle est protestante."^^ Le 
"bon" protestantisme égalait donc le nationadisme. Ils étaient fiers d'avoir 
contribué à la formation des institutions démocratiques grâce à "la par- 
ticipation des laïcs à l'administration ecclésiastique."^* Le protestantisme 
qu'ils envisageaient était ainsi un protestantisme respectueux de la règle du 
jeu de la Troisième République: un régime laïc, démocratique, bourgeois, 
tolérant, exigeant toutefois la subordination de l'Eglise à l'Etat. 

Hauser aurait voulu que La Noue fut conforme à cet idéal laïc et 
nationaliste. N'a-t-il pas fini par écrire "une étude historique où le passé 
pouvait soutenir l'opinion libérale dans le présent"?^' Mais force lui était 
de constater que son héros s'est écarté de cet idéal à de nombreuses rep- 
rises: il a participé activement à des soulèvements armés contre l'autorité 
légitime de son pays; il avait des contacts avec des agents de puissances 
étrangères; il a fait introduire sur le territoire français des soldats étrangers; 
il a cherché à embrouiller des sujets français dans les affaires des Pays- 
Bas, sachant bien que cette intervention aurait pu mener à une guerre avec 
l'Espagne; il a collaboré avec la machine administrative de l'Etat protes- 
tant, etc. Conunent la communauté protestante aurait-elle osé proposer 
comme héros un homme qui, au dix-neuvième siècle, aurait pu être con- 
sidéré comme un traître?: "L'on ne voulait à aucun prix, dans certains 
milieux protestants français - surtout à Paris, centre du nationalisme, et 
chez les Réformés - prêter le moindrement le flanc aux accusations selon 
lesquelles le protestantisme était en France un élément étranger. ''^^ 
(Evidemment, il est inutile d'insister sur le fait que le comportement des 
rois de France et des extrémistes catholiques mérite l'étiquette de "traître," 
mais il s'agit ici de François de La Noue.) 

Hauser se voyait donc obligé d'expliquer certains aspects "gênants" du 
comportement de son héros. Il s'efforce de démontrer que la politique de 
La Noue était dominée par un sentiment national, d'où une litanie d'affir- 
mations de son patriotisme. Comparé à certains huguenots, La Noue était 
"trop bon Français et trop peu fanatique à leur gré" (xiv), et "trop bon 
Français pour servir d'instrument docile" (xvii) aux desseins des Anglais. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 193 

Il était "toujours prêt à aider la grande reine protestante, s'il pouvait le faire 
sans manquer à ses devoirs de Français" (p. 1 29; cf. pp. 282, 234, 76, 90). 
Comparé à Du Guesclin, La Noue "se décida, non comme un chef de 
bande du XlVe siècle, mais comme un bon Français du XVIe"— ne faut-il 
pas lire, "du XIXe siècle" (p. 268)? Hauser s'efforce de concilier religion 
et nationalisme: "En même temps que chrétien, il est resté Français" (p. 
260) et "faisait passer l'intérêt national avant celui de sa secte" (p. 76), 
sauf après 1573, lorsque "le politique parut l'emporter sur le chrétien, le 
sectaire sur le Français" (xviii). Hauser essaie d'attribuer à La Noue une 
espèce de "nationalisme" qui, en réalité, n'était concevable qu'après la 
Révolution de 1789: à La Rochelle, La Noue refuse de commettre "un 
crime de lèse-nation. ... Il possède, à un très haut degré pour un homme de 
son temps, et presque en dehors du sentiment loyaliste, un véritable senti- 
ment national. ... La Noue y répond comme un moderne, qui a le senti- 
ment très vif de la nationalité française" (pp. 288, 164, 223). Hauser 
insiste sur son sentiment de "fraternité nationale" (p. 245), de "solidarité 
nationale" (p. 286), de "devoir national" (p. 267). La Noue aurait pro- 
fessé les doctrines d'"une école nationale" (p. 288). Bref, à en croire 
Hauser, "il croit même, et c'est chose nouvelle, qu'en dehors et au-dessus 
de ces devoirs envers son roi, il en a, et de plus sacrés encore, envers cet 
être moral qui s'appelle la patrie" (p. 288). S'il est indéniable que La Noue 
faisait preuve d'un sentiment "nationaliste" qui mérite, à certains égards, 
l'étiquette de "moderne," ce genre d'expUcation va amener Hauser à 
une impasse. 

S'il est embarrassé par la question de la "trahison," on sent qu'il est 
également gêné par la foi de La Noue. De même qu'il cherchait un patriote 
modèle, il aurait voulu trouver chez La Noue un protestantisme de bon ton 
qui ne risquât pas de choquer la sensibihté bourgeoise, un protestantisme 
mesuré, "raisonnable", "philosophique" qui incarnât les plus nobles 
aspirations de la Révolution. Et lorsque La Noue ne s'y conforme pas il 
faut, encore une fois, trouver une explication pour le protéger contre les 
accusations de fanatisme. 

Si le guerrier intrépide ne s'est pas adonné au culte des Anciens, "il s'est 
moins bien défendu contre une autre cause d'erreur, il a cru aveuglément à 
la lettre de la Bible. On le voudrait un peu moins servilement attaché au 
texte de saint Paul, on lui souhaiterait un peu plus de cette noble indépen- 
dance d'esprit, de cette largeur de pensée qu'on rencontre chez les grands 
païens de l'époque, chez ces épicuriens qu'il a condamnés au nom de la foi, 
les Rabelais et les Montaigne" (pp. 280-81). (Notons en passant que la 
critique bourgeoise a essayé ainsi de récupérer Rabelais et Montaigne.) 
Mais si on élimine cet attachement à la lettre de la Bible, qui découle 
évidemment du principe de Sola Scriptura, et la doctrine fondamentale de 
saint Paul, la justification par la foi et par la grâce, on peut se demander ce 

1 94 / Renaissance and Reformation 

qui reste non seulement de la foi de La Noue mais aussi de la Réforme. On 
sent que Hauser est également gêné par la foi et par le comportement des 
premiers huguenots: "Ce rude soldat avait en lui je ne sais quoi de bon- 
homme et de bon enfant; cela lui donne un visage à part, et plein d'attrait, 
au milieu de l'austère et un peu ennuyeuse compagnie des calvinistes" 
(p. 1 97). Il trouve que son style, "si vif et si leste à l'ordinaire, devient par- 
fois grave et terne au point de faire déjà pressentir ce qu'on appellera plus 
tard le 'style réfugié'" (p. 281). Les pasteurs sont présentés comme des 
fanatiques aveugles (Chapitre II). Mais il faut demander si Hauser cherche 
des gens qu'il aurait aimé rencontrer dans un salon parisien ou des gens 
prêts à tout sacrifier pour pouvoir vivre selon la pureté de l'Evangile. Est- 
ce qu'il ne finit pas par renforcer le stéréotype du protestant froid, ren- 
frogné, sévère, etc.? L'on comprend que, vivant dans un milieu intellectuel 
dominé par les idées d'un Renan ou d'un Comte, Hauser ait pu se sentir 
gêné par cette foi trop primitive, trop naïve, trop "crue," mais cette attitude 
influe sur son analyse du caractère et du comportement de La Noue. 

De même qu'il a insisté sur la "modernité" du seizième siècle, Hauser 
aurait voulu voir en La Noue un homme moderne: "Il possède, à un très 
haut degré pour un homme de son temps ... un véritable sentiment 

national La Noue y répond comme un moderne Il se décida, non 

comme un chef de bande du XlVe siècle, mais comme un bon Français du 

XVIe On se prend, malgré soi, à songer à ces philosophes du X Ville 

siècle qui devaient travailler au triomphe de la tolérance et de l'humanité" 
(pp. 164, 223, 268, 280). Mais le fait est que La Noue n'aurait pas pu se 
conformer à un tel idéal philosophique, laïc et nationaliste, même s'il avait 
pu le concevoir. Et lorsque Hauser le constate, il en est déçu. Il est 
indéniable que La Noue aimait profondément une entité appelée "France", 
que ses Discours constituent un programme pour la restaurer, et qu'il ter- 
mine S2i Déclaration en affirmant "le suis un bon François" (p. 20). Il est 
"moderne" à certains égards, témoin ses tendances absolutistes, cen- 
tralisatrices et "tolérantistes." 

Mais Hauser ne tient pas assez compte des différences sémantiques sur- 
venues au cours de trois siècles d'histoire, attribuables notamment à une 
Révolution qui a bouleversé les structures de l'Ancien Régime. Les mots 
"patrie," "nation" et "France" n'évoquaient plus pour un citoyen de la 
République au dix-neuvième siècle ce qu'ils évoquaient pour un sujet du 
Royaume au seizième siècle. La Noue utilise aussi l'expression "bon 
citoyen" (Observations, p. 786), mais qui oserait prétendre qu'elle avait 
en 1585 les mêmes résonances qu'elle aura dans la bouche d'un Robes- 
pierre, d'un Danton, d'un Saint Just? C'est toute la différence entre un 
"ancien" et un "nouveau" régime. Il faut surtout faire attention à des mots 
comme "nation" et "national" qui, après 1789, avaient pris des con- 
notations que La Noue n'aurait même pas pu concevoir. Hauser voudrait 

Renaissance et Réforme / 195 

que le "patriotisme" de La Noue soit le "nationalisme" post-révolution- 
naire et post-napoléonien, que son protestantisme soit un protestantisme 
post-renanien. Mais ne finit-il pas par tomber dans le piège des anti- 
protestants dont r "interprétation de l'actualité fut souvent une projection 
de leur vision du passé sur le présent, comme si les rapports entre religion et 
politique ou la conception du patriotisme, par exemple, avaient été les 
mêmes au XVIe siècle et au tournant du XIXe et du XXe siècles"?" Il 
n'accepte pas qu'un honmie du seizième siècle ait pu légitimement être 
tiraillé entre plusieurs devoirs contradictoires, ceux de la religion, de la 
féodalité, du "patriotisme" régional ou national, de l'amitié, etc. Un 
homme du dix-neuvième siècle ne pouvait plus l'être parce que l'évolution 
historique avait fait de la loyauté à l'Etat-nation la valeur suprême, et tout 
devait être subordonné aux intérêts de la nation (même si on prétendait ne 
voir aucun conflict entre les intérêts de la religion et ceux de l'Etat). Dans 
l'Europe d'états-nations du siècle dernier, le comportement des huguenots 
et de La Noue aurait pu être considéré comme un comportement de "traît- 
res." Mais c'est précisément parce qu'ils ne vivaient pas au dix-neuvième 
siècle qu'on ne peut pas les juger d'après les critères de ce siècle; il ne faut 
pas non plus essayer de justifier le comportement de La Noue en utilisant des 
critères d'un siècle qui n'était pas le sien. Cet homme qui a vécu au 
seizième siècle se considérait comme un "bon citoyen," mais il a commis 
des actes qui auraient scandalisé un "bon citoyen" du dix-neuvième siècle. 
Si ce genre de comportement n'était guère apprécié par les monarques du 
seizième siècle, La Noue n'a pas été traité avec la même rigueur que 
l'auraient été des ennemis de l'Etat moderne: ce rebelle a été reçu à la cour 
et nommé ambassadeur à La Rochelle! (Et rappelons encore une fois que le 
comportement des rois et des extrémistes catholiques n'était guère un 
modèle de probité, de bonne foi, de patriotisme.) 

L'on voit le dilemme auquel a dû faire face Hauser, embarrassé par ce 
qu'il appelle "de véritables défaillances morales" (pp. 62, 286) de cet 
homme qui semble bel et bien avoir mis les intérêts de sa foi avant ceux de 
sa patrie, mais qui semble avoir, à d'autres moments, mal servi ses 
coreligionnaires et ses "bienfaiteurs," prêtant ainsi le flanc aux accusa- 
tions d'un Denis d'Aussy.^^ La seule explication que propose Hauser, c'est 
la naïveté, aussi invraisemblable que cela puisse paraître: "Il eut ses 
faiblesses. Son esprit, ferme et sage en beaucoup de choses, n'était pour- 
tant pas sans travers; le moindre était la naïveté" (p. 280). Ces termes 
reviennent à travers toute l'étude de Hauser: "Dans sa naïve confiance, il 
ne voulait croire au péril. ... sa sensibilité un peu naïve. ... on le savait 

naïf, scrupuleux à l'excès Il n'échappe pas à une certaine naïveté," etc. 

(pp. 85,35, 225 ,177). Il va encore plus loin: "Ce rude soldat avait en lui je 
ne sais quoi de bonhomme et de bon enfant" (p. 197) et "une candeur qui 
... est bien près de toucher au ridicule" (p. 285). A en croire Hauser, La 

196 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Noue aurait même oublié un des fondements de la doctrine calviniste (pour 
ne pas dire, chrétienne): "Sa confiante et indulgente bonhomie ne pouvait 
croire longtemps à la méchanceté, surtout à la méchanceté persévérante. 
... Il est trop désintéressé Il ne croit vraiment pas assez à la méchan- 
ceté des hommes Il ne sait pas haïr" (pp. 35, 1 77). Hauser affirme que 

"La Noue, c'est son honneur et son ridicule, ne croit pas à la méchanceté 
humaine. Au fond, cette impossibilité de croire au mal, cette confiance 
exagérée dans les retours de bonté dont les pires sont parfois capables, 
c'est la grande, l'irrémédiable infirmité de La Noue, le seul défaut de cette 
intelligence si nette et si pratique, de ce ferme caractère" (pp. 283-84). 
C'est à cause de ces traits que La Noue ne pouvait pas se débarrasser de "la 
manie de la conciliation universelle" (p. 284), de "cette chimère d'univer- 
selle réconciUation" (p. 285). 

Le témoignage des contemporains: d'un 'Jugement solide & posé*' 
aux **surprinses & meschancetez^' 

L'on voit que Hauser se permet d'utiliser des termes conmie "ridicule", 
"exagéré", "infirmité", "manie", etc. pour justifier le comportement de 
La Noue lorsque celui-ci ne se conforme pas à l'idéal républicain et pa- 
triotique. Mais Hauser n'est pas hostile à son héros; au contraire, il admire 
La Noue et maintient qu'il mérite le surnom de "Bayard Huguenot." Il 
tente le "coup d'escrime désespéré" parce qu'il est sûr que les énormes 
qualités du Bras de Fer l'emporteront facilement sur ses défauts. Mais, 
confronté à ces "défaillances", il a recours à une explication qui, à notre 
avis, déforme les véritables traits de La Noue. Il n'était pas nécessaire de 
forcer le lecteur à prononcer La Noue coupable soit de "trahison" soit de 
"naïveté": il n'était pas naïf lorsqu'il négociait avec les rois, de même qu'il 
n'était pas traître lorsqu'il s'opposait à la politique de ceux-ci. Sans vouloir 
paraître désinvolte, l'on peut se demander si Hauser ne finit pas par 
évoquer plutôt l'image d'un pépère quelque peu gâteux en train de som- 
noler devant la cheminée — et qu'on réveille de temps en temps pour lui 
demander si on peut se fier à la parole du roi de France, s'il faut livrer La 
Rochelle aux Anglais ou pousser le royaume à la guerre en envahissant les 
Pays-Bas, si Henri de Navarre devrait se convertir au catholicisme, etc.! 
Le contraste entre le portrait qu'en fait Hauser et le rôle que La Noue ajoué 
en réalité semble démesuré. N'a-t-il pas décrit un Candide huguenot? Et 
pourtant, ce "bonhomme enfantin" a survécu à tous ses maîtres à travers 
quarante années de luttes sanglantes, acquérant une réputation qui "est 
sortie bien loin hors de la France, & s'est estenduë iusques en Espagne, 
Italie, Allemagne & Angleterre"!" 

Où est l'honmie qui, selon ses ennemis acharnés, avait "servy de vraye 
phare & guide en l'armée des hérétiques, en laquelle il a tant apprins & 
pratiqué de surprinses & meschancetez, qu'il se peut ay sèment vanter estre 

Renaissance et Réforme / 197 

le plus redouté de ceux qui tiennent pour le iourd'huy leur party"?^* 
Auraient-ils craint à ce point un "bonhomme crédule"? Les Ligueurs qui le 
détestaient n'hésitaient pas pourtant à lui attribuer "une des meilleures 
têtes qu'il y ait" en l'armée de Henri IV. ^^ Son ennemi Brisson insiste sur sa 
maîtrise de la ruse: "La Noue pratiquoit soubz main & s'asseuroit de ceux 
desquelz il se vouloit servir pour exécuter l'entreprise."^^ Brisson en fait le 
portrait suivant: "Il est doue d'un esprit assez vif, d'une grace douce, qui à 

sa contenance monstre qu'il pense plus qu'il ne dit Toutesfois ceux qui 

le fréquentent l'ont en reputation d'estre homme d'entreprise & d'exécu- 
tion, de sçavoir conduire & mener les hommes à la guerre, d'estre brave & 
adroit gentil-homme, versé es affaires d'estat. Ceux encore qui le suivent, 
louent en luy un iugement solide & posé."^^ L'on recherche en vain le grand 
benêt décrit par Hauser. 

Aurait-on confié la lieutenance de la Guyenne à Candide? Aurait-on 
envoyé un tel député à la cour "pour recevoir les plaintes & remonstrances 
de leurs confederez; afin de les faire conoistre au Roy qui leur prometoit y 
pourvoir selon le besoing"?^^ Bentivoglio l'appelle un "personnage de 
grande valeur & des plus estimez aux affaires de guerre qu'il y eust alors en 
France parmy la faction des Huguenots."^' Son ami La Popelinière le con- 
sidérait comme "un des plus accomplis Gentils-hommes de toute la 
France" et "l'un des plus avisez & résolus guerriers de France. ... Il n'y 
avoit en France Gentilhonune de la Religion plus signalé que lui pour le 
maniment des armes & affaires de consequence."^® Est-ce que les Flamands 
auraient confié le commandement de leur armée, et donc leur propre des- 
tin, à un naïf? J.B. de Blaes écrit que les Etats l'ont invité parce qu' "on l'es- 
timoit le plus habile & plus expérimenté Capitaine en l'art militaire, qui fut 
en son temps. "^^ Les ambassadeurs anglais rapportent que les ennemis 
refusaient parfois de se battre, fuyaient en terreur et abandonnaient des 
places à l'annonce de l'approche de La Noue.^^ L'on peut se demander 
comment la capture d'un bonhomme enfantin aurait pu inspirer le déses- 
poir chez les uns, le déchaînment de joie chez les autres, y compris le roi 
d'Espagne. Après la prise de Bruges, le prince de Parme s'est vu obliger de 
reconnaître que "La Noue ... a enfin si bien joué son personnaige, qu'il l'a 
surprins par intelligence de quelques sectaires."" (Une tentative de s'em- 
parer de Bruxelles et du prince de Parme a échoué.) Rappelons que sa pre- 
mière action d'éclat avait été la prise d'Orléans "moins par la force . . . que 
par la ruse & l'artifice; ce qu'il exécuta avec autant d'habileté que de 
bonheur."^* En 1574 il est entré à La Rochelle grâce à un coup d'état, et 
vers la fin de sa vie il utilisait les mêmes méthodes: "Toutes les trouppes de 
ces hérétiques, Givry et la Noue, furent pour surprendre la ville de Meaux, 
avec l'intelligence de certains politiques de dedans, lesquels par force 
ouvrirent une des portes de la ville. "^^ De Thou fournit le témoignage sui- 
vant: les ennemis ayant fait circuler de faux bruits afin d'attirer les 

198/ Renaissance and Reformation 

huguenots dans une embuscade, "La Noue, qui étoit l'homme du monde le 
moins crédule, n'ajouta ps beaucoup de foi à ce bruit. Les bonnes nou- 
velles, dit-il, qui nous viennent par la voye des ennemis, doivent toujours 
nous être suspectes, & il est bon d'être en garde contre les pièges qu'ils 
pourroient nous tendre. "^'^ C'est sa prudence qui l'amenait souvent à pren- 
dre des risques "imprudents": il "retourna à la porte Saint-Michel, & 
s'étant approché seul pour examiner avec plus d'attention l'endroit qu'il 
vouloit attaquer, il reçut au bras gauche un coup qui lui cassa l'os"" (cf. p. 
706). Il a été tué par une balle tirée dans des circonstances pareilles. Henri 
de Navarre s'est moqué de lui à cause de sa prudence "excessive," mais 
L'Estoile raconte que La Noue, "un des plus vieux & expérimentés 
Capitaines de la France ... lui prédisoit ce qui en advint."^* Même les 
réformés extrémistes retenaient leur jugement: "Quant à moy en telle divi- 
sion & partialité d'opinions . . . ie suspend!, comme ie tiens encore sus- 
pendu, mon jugement de son affaire: ne voulant rien témérairement 
prononcer d'un gentilhonmie si bien qualifié que cestuy-là."" 

Les affirmations de Hauser et des contemporains de La Noue divergent 
à tel point que l'on peut être tenté de demander s'il s'agit du même person- 
nage! Seuls les réformés les plus extrémistes s'en prenaient à sa crédulité, 
et bon nombre d'entre eux le regrettaient après son départ de La Rochelle. 
A notre avis, ce sont les contemporains qui avaient raison, et nous essaierons 
de montrer que la naïveté est un mobile insuffisant pour expliquer le carac- 
tère et le comportement de La Noue. Bien au contraire, il y a d'excellentes 
raisons de conclure que sa poHtique n'était ni celle d'un naïf ni celle d'un 
trmtre, mais plutôt celle d'un homme d'état réaliste et accompli à qui on 
pourrait approprier l'éloge qu'il a lui-même fait de CoHgny: "C'estoit un 
personnage digne de restituer un Estât affoibli & corrompu" (p. 780). 
Selon nous, on diminue la grandeur et l'humanité d'un tel homme en faisant 
de lui un tj^e de naïf simplet. S'il s'est trompé à certains moments, ce n'est 
pas par naïveté ou par faute de lucidité; c'est plutôt parce qu'aucun homme 
dans une situation pareille n'aurait pu rassembler suffîsemment de ren- 
seignements pour y voir clair. Il fallait donc peser les risques et en accepter 
les conséquences, et La Noue était le premier à reconnaître que "les plus 
fins, & qui ouvrent bien les yeux, ne laissent quelquefois d'y estre attrap- 
pez" (p. 707). 

Contrairement à ce qu'en dit Hauser, La Noue comprenait bien le 
monde de la guerre et de la Realpolitik; il connaissait bien les mobiles du 
caractère humain, notamment ceux des "Grands"; il était conscient du 
caractère instable et "ondoyant" des affaires humaines; et il reconnaissait 
la possibilité de l'échec. Mais à notre avis le secret de sa grandeur ^t dans 
le fait qu'il n'en désespérait pas, s'étant efforcé d'accepter avec équanimité 
les vicissitudes de l'existence. (La sienne en a certainement eu!) Face à des 
obstacles qui paraissaient insurmontables, il croyait à la dignité de la lutte, 

Renaissance et Réforme / 199 

à la possibilité de surmonter "ce qui espouvante tant de gens, & principale- 
ment les délicats" (p. 779). Tenant compte de la "branloire perenne," il 
croyait à la nécessité de confronter des choix pénibles, déjuger, de choisir 
et, une fois le choix fait, de s'y lancer corps et âme, sachant bien qu'il 
pourrait rencontrer l'échec, mais n'oubliant jamais qu'il pourrait se relever 
le lendemain pour reprendre la lutte. C'est cette "resilience" exception- 
nelle, cette réaffirmation continuelle de l'esprit humain qui caractérise son 
attitude et explique son comportement - et qui risque de dérouter l'his- 
torien! C'est ce que Hauser prend pour de la naïveté. Mais faut-il toujours 
assimiler espoir, optimisme, équanimité et confiance à naïveté, crédulité et 
niaiserie? Le fait que La Noue s'efforçait de ne pas être méchant ne veut 
pas dire, comme Hauser l'affirme, qu'il était incapable de soupçonner les 
autres d'être méchants. Le fait que La Noue n'était pas un traître ne le ren- 
dait pas incapable de se méfier des intentions d'un Charles IX ou d'une 
Catherine de Médicis. L'on peut croire à la méchanceté sans être soi- 
même méchant; l'on peut reconnaiître l'existence du mal sans pour autant 
s'y abandonner. La Noue a passé toute sa vie dans ce que Montaigne 
appelle une "vraie eschole de trahison, d'inhumanité et de brigandage" 
sans pour autant devenir traître, inhumain et brigand. Il y a survécu sans 
perdre sa "constante bonté, douceur de meurs et facilité conscientieuse." 
Ces qualités ne l'ont pas pourtant empêché d'être un "grand homme de 
guerre et très-experimenté."*^ C'était un homme exceptionnel parce qu'il 
réfléchissait à ce qu'il faisait et fondait son comportement là-dessus - mais 
de tels hommes existent. Ne réduisons pas sa grandeur en expliquant son 
comportement par des "manies" ou des "chimères." 

La vision idéologique de La Noue: ^'naïveté'' ou ^* modernité''? 

Nous espérons que cette analyse des Discours de La Noue contribuera à 
mettre en relief un aspect peu connu de son caractère. La Noue était dans 
un sens un "loyal serviteur," un "Bayard huguenot," mais il servait loyale- 
ment des principes auxquels il avait bien réfléchi, sans se laisser aveugler, 
sans abandonner la raison. Il réfléchissait avant d'agir en s'effbrçant de 
conformer sa vie à des modèles idéologiques cohérents. La comparaison 
avec Bayard risque de le réduire à un type quelque peu béat et dépourvu de 
subtilité. Nous espérons avoir montré que c'était un homme intelligent, 
sensé, prudent et même malin. Sans ces qualités, il n'aurait pas pu survivre 
dans l'univers guerrier, cette "eschole de trahsion, d'inhumanité et de 

Serions-nous "naïf à notre tour de voir dans cet homme un mélange 
unique, l'incarnation de l'idéal noble et de l'idéal calviniste? De sa forma- 
tion nobiliaire, il tire le modèle idéologique d'une vie fondée sur la pour- 
suite de la vertu, de la justice, de l'honneur, aussi bien que le sens de 
mission: la défense des opprimés et du royaume de France.'*^ Il reconnaît 

200 / Renaissance and Reformation 

pourtant des limites et s'efforce de maîtriser les penchants à la violence 
gratuite. Du calvinisme il tire sa confiance, surtout la conviction qu'il 
existe un plan divin et que l'homme a un rôle actif à jouer. S'il reconnaît la 
possibiHté de l'échec, il se lance dans la bataille comme si la victoire était 
inévitable. S'il ne cherche pas activement la défaite, les douleurs ou la 
mort, il ne les craint plus: "Quand elles lui adviendront, il ne fera pas l'acci- 
dent plus grand qu'il est, ains taschera, avec la vigueur de l'esprit, de le ren- 
dre encores plus petit Ils ne se contristent point outre mesure de quitter 

une vie caduque & transitoire pour une parfaictement accomplie de tous 
bien étemels," etc. (pp. 571,5 80). La Noue s'efforce donc de vivre à la fois 
l'idéal évangélique et l'idéal guerrier. 

Nous n'hésiterons pas à affirmer que c'était un homme exceptionnel qui 
a assuré la survie de la Réforme et qui en honore l'histoire. N'exagérons 
pas en faisant de lui un saint, car son idéologie comporte des éléments qui 
choqueront (espérons-le) le lecteur "éclairé" du vingtième siècle. Mais s'il 
est indéniable qu'il accepte le principe d'une société fondée sur le privilège, 
il insiste quand même sur la nécessité de mériter ces privilèges et se montre 
tout à fait insensible à l'égard de ceux qui trahissent leur vocation 
"naturelle" de cadres dirigeants. S'il consent à peine à reconnaître 
l'humanité du "peuple champestre" qui semble incapable des "exercices 
supérieures de l'ame" ("Mais la charité nous doit faire juger que Dieu ne 
fait rien en vain," p. 606), il n'hésite jamais à risquer sa vie pour le défendre 
contre les atrocités perpétrées par ses pairs de la noblesse, ces "harpyes 
militaires." S'il est également indéniable qu'il recourt à la force et à la 
violence pour défendre une foi fondée sur "miséricorde," "charité" et 
"douceur" (p. 398), il fait tout pour en éviter l'emploi et s'efforce toujours 
d'en minimiser les dégâts, car "l'homme doit principalement tendre à paix 
& tranquillité, à fin de mener une vie plus juste" (p. 210. Ajoutons en pas- 
sant que les idéologies "progressistes" et "scientifiques" qui ont succédé 
aux doctrines "réactionnaires" de l'Ancien Régime se sont avérées beau- 
coup plus sanguinaires et répressives.) A notre avis, le mot "grandeur" 
n'est pas déplacé, une grandeur qui provient moins de ses exploits mili- 
taires que de son caractère et de sa capacité de réflexion. Il se montre tou- 
jours plus exigeant à l'égard de sa propre conduite qu'à celle de ses 
contemporains et se croit d'autant plus autorisé à fustiger ceux-ci qu'il s'ef- 
force consciemment de réaliser une synthèse entre l'idéal nobiliaire et 
l'idéal évangélique. Il s'en est approché. 

Quelle est alors la valeur du témoignage vécu et écrit que nous a laissé 
La Noue? Comme il serait téméraire et déplacé de vouloir empiéter sur le 
domaine de la foi personnelle des Réformés du vingtième siècle en leur pro- 
posant une réponse à cette question, nos conclusions s'organiseront plutôt 
autour de deux concepts qui risquent de prêter à des malentendus: la 
"modernité" et la "naïveté." Non que ces concepts entrent forcément en 

Renaissance et Réforme / 201 

contradiction Tun avec l'autre; mais comme Henri Hauser s'en sert, non 
seulement dans son étude sur La Noue, mais aussi dans La modernité du 
seizième siècle, nous les reprenons ici pour tenter de répondre aux ques- 
tions suivantes: les analyses de La Noue ont-elles anticipé sur l'avenir? Si 
oui, nous pourrons employer l'étiquette "moderne." D'un autre côté, La 
Noue ne conçoit-il pas les rapports entre les êtres humains et la nature de 
l'Etat sous un angle "naïf," c'est-à-dire sans tenir compte de ce que 
Machiavel appelle la realtà effetuale délie cose? Si nous hésitons à utiliser 
le terme "précurseur" de peur de tomber dans les pièges de l'anachronisme 
ou d'une vision linéaire de l'histoire, il faut tout de même reconnaître que 
La Noue devance à certains égards la majorité de ses contemporains. Sa 
conception de l'Etat et sa vision de l'avenir de la noblesse illustreront 
cette thèse. 

Prenons d'abord sa conception de l'Etat en en analysant trois aspects 
complémentaires: le nationalisme, le monarchisme et la tolérance. Comme il 
vit à une époque de crise, La Noue propose souvent des solutions pro- 
visoires dictées par l'actualité et destinées à rétablir l'ordre le plus vite pos- 
sible; mais ces remèdes "ponctuels" découlent en réalité de principes 
abstraits que La Noue s'est formés, soit à partir de ses lectures soit pendant 
sa carrière militaire. Loin de voir des contradictions entre le théorique et 
l'universel, d'une part, le pratique et le vécu, de l'autre, La Noue insiste sur 
leur complémentarité. Son sentiment national en fournit un exemple. Une 
des sources de son patriotisme est le danger immédiat représenté par 
l'Espagne. Il est d'autant plus "nationaliste" qu'il craint la domination 
étrangère, et la peur de voir triompher les forces du roi très-catholique joue 
un rôle décisif dans ses appels à l'unité nationale. (Il n'hésite pas toutefois à 
exprimer son admiration pour certaines qualités espagnoles: discours 
XIV-XVII). Mais à ce sentiment négatif fondé sur la crainte s'ajoute un 
réel sentiment de fierté à l'égard de la France. Il s'agit d'une attitude 
"moderne" en ce sens que La Noue dépasse le sentiment tribal primitif, la 
crainte primordiale de l'Autre en se déclarant prêt à reconnaître conmie 
compatriotes tous ceux qui se réclament de la France: "Aux termes où est 
maintenant nostre Estât, un Italien francizé est bien autant à priser qu'un 
François espagnolizé" (p. 107). Peu de ses coreligionnaires se montrent 
aussi accueillants envers les compatriotes de la Reine-mère. (L'on verra 
qu'il s'agit naturellement d'un Etat multi-confessionnel.) Si Hauser a tort 
de chercher chez La Noue une espèce de nationalisme post-révolution- 
naire, il a raison d'insister sur sa conscience nationale "moderne." 

Ce sentiment est inséparable chez lui d'un sentiment monarchiste que 
l'on pourrait qualifier de "pré-" ou de "proto-" absolutiste, car La Noue 
tient à ce que ses compatriotes restent "affectionnez à se maintenir unis 
souz l'authorité de ceste couronne" (p. 41 5). De nouveau, théorie et prati- 
que se réjoignent. Un roi fort lui paraît être le remède immédiat aux 

202 / Renaissance and Reformation 

désordres causés par les guerres de religion, et ce roi aurait pu en même 
temps protéger les Réformés. A ces soucis immédiats s'ajoutent les exhor- 
tations bibliques qui exigent la soumission aux "magistrats" (discours X), 
et La Noue est conscient des dangers que comporte tout "changement de 
police." Qu'il ait cherché des solutions dans la science pohtique gréco- 
romaine, dans l'enseignement paulinien ou dans la réalité concrète qui 
l'entoure, il a trouvé la même réponse: la fidélité à un roi fort qui, seul, 
exerce la souveraineté à la tête d'un Etat-nation unifié. Lorsqu'il se voyait 
obligé de s'opposer à la politique des fils de Henri II, son but n'était ni la 
destruction de la monarchie ni la mort des monarques: il cherchait plutôt à 
les ramener à la raison, à les obliger à négocier, à accorder la Hberté de con- 
science - d'où sa modération, sa mansuétude, ses efforts d'empêcher des 
atrocités qui n'auraient fait que provoquer des représailles de la part des 
catholiques plus nombreux. Il ne voulait pas ravager le pays qui devait un 
jour servir à tous, réformés et catholiques. Il se comportait donc comme un 
homme d'état qui voyait loin, qui savait pourquoi il se battait et qui 
n'oubliait jamais que la fin ne justifie pas les moyens. 

La politique de tolérance préconisée par La Noue relève, elle aussi, de 
facteurs concrets et de principes abstraits. Il est évident qu'une telle politi- 
que aurait assuré la sécurité des Réformés, permis le retour des exilés et 
autorisé le prosélytisme, grossissant ainsi les rangs du parti. Il n'y a donc 
pas lieu de s'étonner de l'attitude de La Noue. Mais il ne s'agit pas simple- 
ment de la politique intéressée d'un sectaire, car La Noue respecte la 
dignité inhérente de l'individu et reconnaît la suprématie de la conscience 
en matière de foi (bien qu'il méprise l'Islam et qu'il maintienne que "le feu 
est pour les Sodomites," p. 1 24), pourvu que le "faux zelle" ne pousse pas 
le croyant à répandre le sang d'autrui. L'Etat monarchiste devrait s'en por- 
ter garant, "& si la paix règne quelque temps on verra qu'en la Chrestienté 
ne se trouvera de meilleurs catholiques et évangeliques qu'en France" (p. 
409). La coexistence de deux ou de plusieurs confessions se présente ainsi 
comme un moyen de contribuer à la gloire du royaume de France, d'ajouter 
une pierre précieuse à la couronne du roi. Hauser a donc des raisons 

solides de défendre l'authenticité de la "Lettre sur la conversion du 

Bien que les acquis de l'Edit de Nantes aient été progressivement rognés 
par les successeurs de Henri IV, les trois principes qui viennent d'être 
analysés constitueront la base de l'Etat français du XVIIe et du XVIIIe 
siècles. Dans la perspective de La Noue, l'unité nationale paraît incon- 
cevable sans la présence d'un roi fort qui, appuyé par une noblesse 
régénérée, fut capable de veiller sur les droits de tous ses sujets, quelle que 
soit leur confession. Un tel pays pourrait alors tenir tête à d'éventuelles 
menaces venues de l'étranger: "Mal-aisément nous pourroient-ils ruiner 
en quelque estât que nous soyons, moyennant que nous demourrons en 

Renaissance et Réforme / 203 

l'obéissance de la couronne" (p. 435). L'analyste moderne y verra sans 
doute la soumission de la religion aux intérêts de l'Etat, mais La Noue n'y 
voit aucun conflit, ayant toujours trouvé une parfaite correspondance entre 
sa foi et son patriotisme. La conception de l'Etat qui se dégage des Dis- 
cours préfigure ainsi certains principes fondamentaux de l'Etat absolutiste 
du XVIIe et du XVIIIe siècles, et de l'Etat "libéral" fondé sur la coexis- 
tence de plusieurs confessions et de plusieurs courants d'opinion. Est-ce 
que La Noue a aussi bien prévu le rôle que jouerait dans cet Etat le 
Second Ordre? 

La Noue comprend bien que la France est en danger parce que ses 
défenseurs sont incompétents, irresponsables et "indignes de porter ces 
deux beaux titres de chrestien & de gentil-homme" (p. 697). En tant que 
noble, il cherche à agir dans un domaine qui relève de sa compétence, 
ayant conclu que le salut du royaume passerait par le salut de la noblesse. 
Si de nombreux contemporains éprouvent un besoin urgent de réformes 
profondes au sein du Second Ordre, c'est La Noue qui, dans ses Discours, 
fournit des analyses parmi les plus perspicaces, proposant des solutions 
concrètes et réalisables: "Ce ne sont point icy des Idées de Platon (c'est à 
dire des choses imaginées)" (p. 313). 

Comme ses idées sur la nature de l'Etat, ses idées sur l'éducation relè- 
vent et du théorique et du pratique. Le spectacle effroyable des guerres de 
religion l'a convaincu des résultats catastrophiques de l'ignorance: ceux 
qui troublent "l'ordre public" et qui "s'émancipent à telles choses, le font 
par défaut de bonne nourriture" (p. 157). L'éducation dans des académies 
"écuméniques" aurait donc servi à mettre fin aux désordres et à arrêter la 
destruction de la noblesse."*^ 

Mais en même temps "l'institution à pieté & vertu" (p. 142) lui paraît 
nécessaire si le noble doit réaliser pleinement toutes ses virtualités. Cette 
insistance sur l'épanouissement moral, spirituel et intellectuel de l'homme 
laïc - impliquant même la contemplation et la méditation - est à mettre en 
rapport avec le principe réformé du sacerdoce universel: le père, "prêtre" 
chez lui, doit être capable de lire l'Ecriture, de l'enseigner à ses enfants, 
d'en tirer des leçons et d'agir en conséquence. L'union avec la Divinité est 
non pas un droit, mais un devoir fondamental de tout être humain, notam- 
ment du noble, né avec "des inclinations plus vives & ployables que les 
autres. ... à quoy leur condition noble les doit aussi exhorter" (pp. 595- 
96). L'on voit donc comment religion et conscience de classe se renforcent. 
La Noue préconise ainsi la formation de cadres laïcs dignes de diriger 
le royaume. 

L'on comprend facilement la nécessité de bien former la faculté du juge- 
ment. La vie de La Noue confirme que le noble est confronté à des choix 
épineux: la nature de l'engagement du sujet dans la vie de la république; la 
définition d'une guerre "juste"; les limites acceptables de la force et de la 

204 / Renaissance and Reformation 

violence; le devoir de refuser d'obéir à des ordres injustes; les alliances 
politiques "impures," etc. La religion de La Noue n'exige pas la démission 
intellectuelle ou la croyance aveugle des pasteurs de La Rochelle. Ses Dis- 
cours et ses Observations veulent aider le noble à aiguiser ses facultés de 
discernement: "Cela est apprendre à estre capitaine. ... à fin que ceux qui 
veulent s'instruire aux armes en tirent ce fruict. . . . Quand quelque fait est 
descrit à la vérité, & avec ses circonstances, encore qu'il ne soit parvenu 
qu'à my chemin, si peut-on tousjours en tirer du fruict" (pp. 66 1 , 724, 
736), etc. Son oeuvre et sa vie constituent un modèle vivant de cette 
pédagogie nouvelle visant à assurer la survie et l'épanouissement de la 
noblesse d'épée: "La jeunesse ayant esté ainsi instituée, il ne faudroit point 
craindre de l'envoyer après par tout où l'on voudroit, par ce qu'elle seroit à 
l'espreuve, & au lieu de se gaster, elle iroit choisissant ce qui est de meilleur 
ailleurs, pour y profiter" (p. 158). Que peut-on dire de ses projets, de sa 
vision de l'avenir de la noblesse? 

Si La Noue a bien compris la nécessité de réformes profondes au sein du 
Second Ordre, il ne pouvait pas concevoir la domestication de l'aristo- 
cratie accomplie au cours du XVIIe siècle. Tandis que son désir de fournir 
à la noblesse d'épée un nouveau type de formation intellectuelle représente 
une percée vers la modernité, son espoir de voir se renforcer l'harmonie 
entre une noblesse plus "reconnaissante" et la monarchie paraît naïf. Mais 
qui aurait pu prévoir que les processus de "raffinement" impliquerait aussi 
l'apprivoisement intellectuel, moral et même financier du Second Ordre? 

Sa conception patemaUste de la monarchie ("Le prince ... est père 
conmiun de ses sujets," p. 152) l'empêche de concevoir qu'un père puisse 
chercher à restreindre l'épanouissement de ses "fils." Il faut dire en même 
temps que La Noue a sous-estimé la rôle qu'allait jouer le Tiers Etat dans 
cette nouvelle société. Son progranmie préconise la reprise en main des 
fonctions clés de l'Etat par ceux dont les ancêtres, "estans parvenus à 
grandeur & honneur, par les voyes de vertu tant intellectuelle que morale, 
. . . leur ont laissé des petites semences d'icelles . . . aptes à les renouveller 
en eux" (p. 595), etc. Mais l'évolution historique n'a pas exaucé ses voeux: 
il se serait certainement réjoui de voir l'aristocratie raffinée du XVIIe 
siècle; il se serait sans doute étonné de constater jusqu'à quel point elle 
s'était soumise à la monarchie et s'était adonnée au "libertinisme" 
dénoncé dans le discours XXIV. 

Terminons donc en souHgnant encore la richesse et la diversité de 
l'oeuvre de La Noue. On a vu que l'histoire littéraire a relégué notre auteur 
au rang des "chroniqueurs" ou des "mémoriaUstes," destin qui n'est pas 
dépourvu d'honneur mais qui ne rend pas justice au Bras de Fer. S'il est 
indéniable que le contenu des "Observations" explique ce jugment de la 
critique, La Noue dépasse de loin les Montluc, les Castelnau, les Bamaud, 
etc. Ce sont tous des témoins qui, en tant que tels, ont joué un rôle indis- 

Renaissance et Réforme / 205 

pensable dans la compréhension de l'histoire du seizième siècle. Mais ces 
témoins s'avèrent souvent bornés et intéressés, cherchant à se vanter ou à 
justifier leurs méfaits. Sans vouloir nier que La Noue cherche à se justifier 
- "Il estoit tres-necessaire alors ... de lever les mauvaises impressions qui 
se pouvoyent prendre par ceux qui ignoroyent les intentions des entrepre- 
neurs. . . . Qui ne rembarre les calomnies . . . sans doute il se verroit sou- 
vent supprimé," p. 622 - nous soutenons que ce n'est pas là l'essentiel. 

Tout en étant un témoin objectif et digne de foi, La Noue est avant tout 
un penseur, un moraliste qui cherche à renvoyer ses lecteurs à des valeurs 
atemporelles: le vécu et l'immédiat doivent toujours être transcendés et 
déboucher sur l'abstrait, l'universel et l'étemel. Que ce soit dans ses 
"mémoires" ou dans ses "opuscules," l'auteur s'efforce de dépasser 
l'éphémère en avertissant le lecteur de l'existence d'autre chose, d'une 
leçon générale à en tirer. Tout fait concret débouchant ainsi sur l'universel, 
le lecteur se voit doublement récompensé de ses efforts. C'est cet aspect de 
son oeuvre qui l'élève au-dessus aussi bien des mémorialistes que des 
polémistes déchaînés dont l'oeuvre était destinée à la "consommation" 
immédiate. Ainsi les véritables confrères de La Noue se nomment-ils 
Machiavel, Plutarque, Guichardin, Montaigne, Charron, Pascal. 

Cette constatation nous mène à poser une question paradoxale: faut-il 
regretter que La Noue n'ait pas eu le temps de se consacrer à la réflexion et à 
l'écriture? D'une part, il peut paraître regrettable que ses campagnes mili- 
taires incessantes ne lui aient pas laissé le loisir de s'adonner aux activités 
intellectuelles. La suite des "Observations," par exemple, serait sans 
aucim doute un document des plus précieux. Ses années de captivité ont été 
"utiles" dans la mesure où elles lui ont offert une période de temps "libre" 
pendant laquelle son âme était "desliee des ceps & liens mondains" (p. 598). 
C'est précisément ce mélange d'action et de réflexion chez La Noue qui fait 
le caractère unique du personnage etde l'oeuvre, c'est son engagement per- 
sonnel qui justifie son oeuvre. Ses idées ne sont pas seulement abstraites mais 
sont en prise sur le réel et l'action. Il se compare lui-même à Saint Augus- 
tin, qui "a approuvé du tout ceste bien ordonnée composition" de vie active 
et de vie contemplative, aussi bien qu'à saint Paul, qui "avec ses hautes & 
profondes speculations n'a point laissé d'estre en action perpétuelle pour 
l'édification de l'Eglise" (ibid.). C'est dans ce désir maintes fois exprimé 
de réaliser une synthèse entre le spirituel et le matériel, le divin et l'humain 
que réside la "noblesse" de La Noue. Il a cru pouvoir aider la classe 
dirigeante du royaume de France à atteindre cet idéal à travers son exemple 
personnel, par son engagement actif et par ses écrits. Il a contribué de la 
sorte au progrès intellectuel de la noblesse française, ainsi qu'à la "défense 
et illustration" de l'Eglise Réformée, et ce avec la plume d'un authentique 
écrivain dont la prose à enrichi la langue française du XVIe siècle. 

University of Oklahoma 

206 / Renaissance and Reformation 


1 Le lecteur trouvera des renseignements sur la vie de La Noue dans Brantôme, Œu vres, éd. Ludovic 
Lalanne (Paris: J. Renouard, 1873), VII: 203-65; dans Moïse Amyraut, La vie de François, 
seigneur de la Noue, dit Bras-de-Fer (Leyde: Jean Elsevier, 1661); et dans Henri Hauser, 
François de La Noue (Paris: Hachette, 1 892). Ce sont des témoignages de valeur inégale: si Bran- 
tôme laisse échapper son sentiment de jalousie à l'égard de La Noue, Amyraut ne résiste pas à la 
tentation hagiographique. C'est donc l'étude de Hauser qui s'avérera la plus utile. 

2 François de La Noue, Discours politiques et militaires, éd. Frank E. Sutcliffe (Genève: Droz, 
1967). Toutes les citations seront tirées de cette édition et apparaîtront dans notre texte. Comme le 
professeur Sutcliffe n'a pas précisé les principes dont il s'est servi pour établir son texte, nous avons 
comparé l'édition de 1967 àcellede 1587 ([Bale ou Genève]: François Forest, 15 87; Bibliothèque 
Nationale R. 6332). Lorsqu'il ne s'agit que de variantes d'orthographe qui ne mettent pas en cause 
le sens du texte, nous ne nous sommes pas cru obUgé de les signaler au lecteur, afin de ne pas 
encombrer inutilement notre étude. 

3 Parmi les travaux récents consacrés à La Noue, on peut citer: William H. Huseman, "François de 
La Noue, la dignité de l'homme et l'institution des enfant nobles: contribution à l'étude de 
l'humanisme protestant". Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance 42 (1980), 7-25; lan 
Morrison, "The Dignity of Man and the Followers of Epicurus: The View of the Huguenot 
François de La Noue," BHR 37 (1975), 421-29; Paul Rousset, "Un huguenot propose une 
croisade: le projet de François de La Noue, 1 5 80- 1585," Revue d 'Histoire Ecclésiastique Suisse 
72 (1978), 333-44; "L'idéologie de croisade dans les guerres de religion au XVIe sïécXt," Revue 
Suisse d'Histoire 31(1981),! 74-84; James Supple, "François de La Noue's Plan for a Campaign 
Against the Turks,"5i/i? 41(1 979), 273-9 1 ; "The Role of François de La Noue in the Siege of La 
Rochelle and the Protestant Alliance with ihQ Mécontents, "BHR 43 (1981), 107-22; et "Fran- 
çois de La Noue and the Education of the French Noblesse d'épée, "French Studies 36 (1982), 

Parmi les chercheurs qui citent longuement La Noue, on peut mentionner André Devyver, Le 
sang épuré. Les préjugés de race chez les gentilshommes français de l'Ancien Régime (Bruxelles: 
Editions de l'Université de Bruxelles, 1 973); Ariette Jouanna, L 'idée de race en France au XVIe 
et au début du XVHe siècle (1498-1614), (Paris: Champion, 1976); Miriam Yardeni, La con- 
science nationale en Francependant les guerres de religion (Louvain: Nauwelaerts, 1971); Roger 
Chartier, Marie-Madeleine Compère, et Dominique JvAisi, L'éducation en France du XVIe au 
XVIIIe siècle (Pans: SEDES, l916),etRenéBady,L'hommeetson "institution" de Montaigne 
à Bérulle, 1580-1625 (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1964). 

4 Montaigne, Essais, éd. Pierre Villey (Paris: Félix Alcan, 1922), II: 448 ("De la présomp- 
tion." II, 17). 

5 Jacques Lelong, Bibliothèque historique de la France (Paris: Jean-Thomas Hérissant), II: 339. 
Lelong cite le père Gabriel Daniel, Histoire de France depuis l'establissement de la monarchie 
françoise dans les Gaules (Paris: J.-B. Delespine, 1713), III: 1531. 

6 Hauser, p. 274. 

7 Ibid., xvii. 

8 Ibid., xvii-xviii. 

9 Lucien Romier, Le royaume de Catherine de Médicis. La France à la veille des guerres de 
religion (Paris: Perrin, 1925), I: x. 

10 H.-J. Messines, Protestants et Français (Paris: s. éd., [ 1 899]), pp. 3, 8. Cet ouvrage sans valeur 
"scientifique" s'avère néanmoins extrêmement utile dans la mesure où il exprime l'inquiétude pro- 
fonde de la communauté protestante. 

1 1 Jean Bauberot. "La vision de la Réforme chez les publicistes antiprotestants (fin XIXe-début 
XXe)," inHistoriographie de la Réforme, éd. Ph. Joutard, Actes du colloque du 22-24 septembre 
1972 (Neuchâtel-Paris: Delachaux & Niestlé, 1977), p. 216. La revue Histoire a consacré un 
numéro aux protestants fi-ançais: janvier-mars 1981, n*» 7. 

12 Ibid., "Avant-propos" de P. Guiral, p. 5; cf. Messines, p. 5. 

13 Messines, p. 3. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 207 

14 F. Brunetière, Lej ennemis de l'âme française (Paris: J. Hetzel, s.d.), pp. 55-74; Ch. BueU Les 
mensonges de l'histoire (Lille: J. Lefoit, 1885-1889), I, 53-195; II, 143-86; 209-75; Edouard 
Drumont, La France juive (Paris: Marpon & Flammarion, 1886); Ch. Merki, L'Amiral de 
Coligny, la maison de Chàtillon et la révolte protestante, 1519-1572 (Paris: Plon-Nourrit, 
1 909); E. KenanXd, Le péril protestant (Paris: Tolra, 1 899); et Georges 'UÀéhsAxé^Le parti protes- 
tant (Paris: A. Savine, 1895). 

15 Messines, p. 4. 

16 Ibid., p. 13. 

17 Ibid., p. 23. 

18 Ibid., pp. 25-32. 

19 Daniel Robert, "Patriotisme et image de la Réforme chez les historiens protestants français après 
1870," in Joutard, p. 207. Voir aussi un article typique de N. Weiss, "La prétendue trahison de 
Coligny," BSHPF 49 ( 1 900), 31-41, ou les Actes du colloque Les protestants dans les débuts de 
la Troisième République (1871-1855), éd. André Encrevé et Michel Richard (Paris: Société de 
l'Histoire du Protestantisme Français, 1 979). 

20 Robert, p. 215. 

21 Bauberot, p. 222. 

22 Denis D' Aussy, "Un Bayard calviniste: François de La Noue et ses dernières campagnes,"/{evue 
des Questions Historiques 42 (octobre 1 887), 397-440. L'on peut consulter aussi ses articles dans 
laRevue de la Saintonge et de l'Aunis, 8 (juillet 1 888), 280-83 et 8 (septembre 1 888), 331-33; et 
1 3 Ganvier 1 893), 22-34. N. Weiss lui a répondu dans le 55//PF 36 ( 1 887), 667-78 et 37 ( 1 888), 
335-36, 388-89. Hauser a défendu l'auûienticité des Discours dans la Revue Historique 53 
(septembre-octobre 1893), 301-11. 

23 Pierre de Dampmartin, La Fortune de la Cour (Paris: Nicolas de Sercy, 1644), p. 173. 

24 La coppie d'une lettre envoyée par un gentilhomme, de l'armée de Monseigneur le Duc de 
Mayenne, aux Bourgeois & habitans de la Ville & Faubourgs de Paris (Paris: Pour Anthoine du 
Brueil, 1589),pp.4-5. 

25 "Discours bref et véritable des choses plus notables arrivées au siège mémorable de la renommée 
ville de Paris & défense d'icelle," in Mémoires de la Ligue (Amsterdam: Arkstée & Merkus, 
1758), IV: 282. 

26 Pierre Brisson, Histoire et vray discours des guerres civilles es pays de Poictou, Aulnis, autrement 
dit Rochelois. Xainctonge, & Angoumois depuis l'année mil cinq cens soixante & quatorze 
(Paris: lacques du Puy, 1578), f. Avi verso. 

27 Ibid., f. Cvii recto. 

28 La Popelinière, Henri Voisin, sieur de. Histoire de France (La Rochelle: Abraham H., 1581), 
tome second, livre 24, f. 5 recto. 

29 Bentivoglio, Guido, Cardinal. Histoire générale des guerres de Flandres, trad. Antoine Oudin 
(Paris: François Promé, 1699), tome I, livre vi, p. 323. 

30 La Popelinière, tome second, livre 32, f. 118 verso. 

31 Emanuel van Meteren, L'histoire des Pays-Bas, trad. Jean de La Haye (La Haye: Hillebrant 
Jacobs, 1618), f. 156d (14 juillet 1578). 

32 Calendars, avril 1579, n° 668, p. 501; 10 mai 1579, n° 675, p. 507; 5 octobre 1579, n» 59, p. 68; 
22 novembre 1579, n° 96, p. 98. 

33 Alexandre Famèse, prince de Parme, Correspondance. . . dans les années 1578, 1579, 1580 et 
1581, éd. M. Gachard (Bruxelles: C. Muquardt, 1853), p. 112. 

34 De Thou, Histoire universelle (La Haye: Scheurleer, 1740), tome quatre, Uvre 42, p. 18. 

35 La résistance des habitans de la ville de Meaux, contre les trouppes de Givry, & la Noué, & leurs 
associez politiques (Paris: Hubert Velu, 1 5 89), p. 7. Palma-Cayet rapporte le conseil suivant qu'a 
donné La Noue à Henri IV: "Nous y perdrions temps et moyens, mais peu à peu, usant des ouver- 
tures que je feray , vous verrez que ce grand party se dissipera en soy-mesmes, et nous donnera beau 
jeu sans beaucoup travailler; mais il faut de la patience et de la finesse" (Chronologie novenaire, 
éd. Petitot (Paris: Foucault, 1824), XXXIX: 329. C'est nous qui soulignons.) 

208 / Renaissance and Reformation 

36 De Thou, tome quatre, livre 47, p. 316. 

37 Ibid., p. 321. 

38 Pierre de UEstoileyJoumal pour le règne de Henri IV, 1589-1600, éd. Louis-Raymond Lefèvre 
(Paris: Gallimard, 1948), p. 72 (août 1590). 

39 Nicolas Bamaud, Le réveille-matin des François, et de leurs voisins. Composé par Eusèbe 
Philadelphe Cosmopolite, en forme de dialogues. (Edimbourg: laques lames, 1574), II: 132. 

40 Montaigne, II: 448. 

41 Cf. La Noue, Déclaration, p. 3: "Le devoir d'un gentilhonmie faisant profession de vertu, gist en 
premier lieu, à si bien preparer & digérer ses actions, qu'il en reçoive contentement en soy mesme. 
Il doit après les faire reluire & les iustifier en sorte, que les bons soient satisfaits, & les mauvais 
n'ayent suiect de les condenmer." 

Palma-Cayet (XL: 292) raconte que, vers la fin de sa vie, La Noue a coupé "deux petites 
branches de laurier," et "ayant amenuisé l'une de ces branches, il la mit à son armet au lieu de pan- 
nache." En voyant entrer le sieur de Montmartin, "il luy monstra son armet entouré de lauriers, et 
luy dit: "Tenez, mon cousin, voylà toute la recompense que vous et moy espérons, suivans le mes- 
tier que nous faisons." 

42 Voir son article "François de La Noue et la conversion du roy," Revue Historique 36 (mars-avril 
1888), 311-23. 

43 Voir les études de Huseman, de Morrison, de Supple, de Jouanna, et de Bady citées dans la note 3 

The Essay as a Moral Exercise: Montaigne' 


In the Essays^ Montaigne achieved a unique conformity between the 
literary exercises of reading and writing and an order of interiority that 
enabled him to lend himself to the world and to others without loss, but also 
without either moral idealism or scepticism.^ The literary unity of the 
Essays, although not as apparent as the integrity of the moral maxims that 
first figurate them, emerges gradually in the self-portrait of the reader/ 
writer doubly reflected in Montaigne's own practices and their embodied 
demands upon the reader's response to the Essays: 

La gentille inscription dequoy les Athéniens honorèrent la venue de Pompeius 
en leur ville, se conforme à mon sens: 

D'autant es tu Dieu comme 

Tu te recognois homme. 
C'est une absolue perfection, et comme divine, de sçavoyr jouyr loiallement de 
son estre. Nous cherchons d'autres conditions, pour n'entendre l'usage des 
nostres, et sortons hors de nous, pour sçavoir quel il y fait. Si, avons nous beau 
monter sur des eschasses, car sur des eschasses encores faut-il marcher de nos 
jambes. Et au plus eslevé throne du monde, si ne sommes assis que sus 
nostre cul. 

(IILxiii, 1096) 

If we propose to speak of the Essays as a moral exercise, we do so only in 
order to follow Montaigne's deconstruction of the ethical portrait, the 
moral or maxim forced to stand frozen in time like Cato, attracting an 
admiration deprived of self- inquiry. 

What Montaigne exercises in the Essays is himself as a writer, that is to 
say, he explores his strengths and weaknesses as an essayist rather than as 
an abstractly moral figure. This exploration begins in the very early and - 
as he himself remarks - rather dependent essays that trade upon the moral 
maxims and exempla of antiquity. The exemplum condenses a moral 
deed, posture or maxim into a moment that lays a claim upon universal 
attention. The exemplum furnishes the mind with places where it may 

* Paper presented at the Colloquium on literature and Moral Philosophy, Centre for Comparative 
Literature. University of Toronto, Victoria College, April 14-17, 1983. 

210/ Renaissance and Reformation 

contemplate man's capacity for moral strength or weakness, probity or 
turpitude. Thus the exemplum punctuates its surrounding text, creating a 
monumental place that gathers to itself moral reflection with the aim of 
sending away a more resolute moral agent. As a rhetorical device its 
danger is that it may lure us into a merely echoing morality that will not 
stand up in the time and altered circumstances of our own trial. 

Montaigne seems to have sensed from the very beginning that the 
Essays could not be built upon the footings of the exemplum . Indeed, to the 
extent that they appear only to be a collection of such maxims, the Essays 
have been pillaged, like the Parthenon, to service those anthologies, gar- 
lands and museums of the mind, that display an easy spirituality. If the 
Essays lacked any stronger principle of composition, then, of course, they 
would not have withstood the ravages of time, and they would even have 
been lucky to survive as fragments in our cultural museum. But then we 
should also have lost the author ofthe Essays . Or rather, Montaigne would 
have lost himself through his inabiUty to improvise that form of ethical 
inquiry that underwrites the Essays as a text that cannot be gathered into a 
garland of moral maxims, nor into an anthology without an author who will 
claim it as his own body. 

The things that stand the test of time, morally speaking, do so by yielding 
to time rather than by declaring themselves as eternal archetypes. Such 
archetypes are indeed nothing but the dead stones of history, always ruined 
by time, surviving fortuitously or by a bricolage indifferent to their original 
status. The solidity of the exemplum collapses in virtue of its pretended 
extra-textuality, its inability to withstand the essayist's amplification of 
history elsewhere and otherwise brought to similar ends. Montaigne's pro- 
liferation of exempla destabilizes them, turning certainty into uncertainty, 
decisiveness into undecidability. The result is that the textual closure 
aimed at by the moral maxim or paradigm is subverted in the continuous 
disclosure ofthe essayist's triumph over the book of received opinion. A 
weak intertextuality, trading upon the voices ofthe past, is replaced by the 
strong intertextuality of the essay form as an exercise in moral inquiry, 
judgment and self-appreciation. 

Montaigne's method of counterposing to an exemplary moral claim 
everything that can be said to challenge it rescues ethical argument from 
both idealism and empiricism. In the course of Montaigne's reading and 
writing, the space of ethical inquiry is displaced into the essay's explora- 
tion of ethicaJ ideals and customary moral behaviour. Between them the 
writer and the reader articulate the essay in a mode of self-inquiry that pro- 
gresses through the essayist's ability to so suspend the moral alternatives 
upon which a given essay turns that none rules the text as a foregone 

In "Of Cannibals," for example, Montaigne proceeds very gradually to 

Renaissance et Réforme / 21 1 

subvert the cultural boundary between civilization and barbarism. The 
revolving distinctions of the essay drive the reader to redistribute his own 
critical sense of boundaries as a rude practice that only writing/reading the 
essay can redeem. By combining civilized reportage with the testimony of 
his own experience, including that of certain plain savages without any 
motive to embellish their stories, Montaigne reappropriates the boundary 
between civilization and barbarism as a textual locus. ^ Thus the essay 
itself becomes the proper moral space within which the reader can confront 
the other as himself and himself as other, relativising the very grounds of 
morality (reason, information, fidelity) to the essayist's ethic. Through the 
detour of the naked and the familiar, the essayist Hke a noble savage 
delivers the unadorned truth of the spoken body, undivided and faithful. 
The open form of Montaigne's Essays is the result not of his irresolute 
nature nor of his failure to embrace logic and closure. It is a shaping instru- 
ment of the writer's determination to dwell within the rhythms of his 
embodied experience. Thus particular essays drift and vary like Mon- 
taigne's own moods, occupying him for a longer or shorter period, and 
often returning upon him, as we see from the triple levels of the text and its 
innumerable internal revisions. Montaigne's usage of temporal markers 
and disjunctive adverbs is an especially significant artifact m the essayist's 
successful subversion of the exemplary text into 2i self-text. And the places 
where he succeeds in intertwining his own lived experience with an insti- 
tutionalized history of morals are similarly marked by subtle shifts from 
first to third person usage. Thus, having recalled the advice of Epicurus, 
"Conceal your life," Montaigne himself remarks: 

Ces discours là sont infiniment vrais, à mon avis, et raisonnables. Mais nous 
sommes, je ne sçay comment, doubles en nous mesmes, qui faict que ce que 
nous croyons, nous ne le croyons pas, et ne nous pouvons deffaire de ce que 
nous condamnons. 

(II:xvi, 603) 

The cumulative effect of these distinctive devices is to breed a conversa- 
tion between Montaigne and his reader in which the text is indifferent to 
any tendency to mastery or slavery. Rather, the essay solicits a ftiend, one 
equal in judgment and abiHty, less likely to be dominated by words, myths 
and received opinion for having embraced the essayist. 

In the essay form Montaigne discovered a field in which the embodied 
self conXd test itself against its written self as in conversation or in love.* 
The particular mode in which he devised this contrastive play of selves is to 
be seen in his typically disjunctive departures from the mould of received 
sayings, opinions and customs - forcing the text to speak in Montaigne's 

212 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Je propose les fantaisies humaines et miennes, simplement comme humaines 
fantaisies, et séparément considérées, non comme arrestees et réglées par l'or- 
donnance celeste, incapables de doubte et d'altercation; matière d'opinion, 
non matière de foy; ce que je discours selon moy , non ce que je croy selon Dieu, 
comme les enfans proposent leurs essais; instruisables, non instruisants; d'une 
manière laïque, non cléricale, mais très- religieuse tousjours. 

(I:lvi, 308-309) 

Such a passage can be repeated time and again. What happens in them is 
that, in weighing himself against himself, the essayist pits the reader 
against himself in a game of doubles, as it were. Like a tennis player, the 
capable reader whom Montaigne required of himself in order to become a 
writer is simultaneously doubled in any lecteur suffisant of the Essays. 
Any particular essay, therefore, can be shown to put the reader/writer rela- 
tion into play over its sense, its language, or its very title. But these are not 
exercises in any general scepticism. They are rather valorisations of read- 
ing and writing, weighed in the scale of a nonchalant and learned ignorance 
that subverts the anxieties of intertextuality with the consubstantiality of 
the self-text. 

The composition of the self-text involves the steady re-assimilation of 
the self-absorbing or impersonal voice of the essayist who starts by subor- 
dinating himself to a narrative seemingly ruled by received opinion. But 
each exemplary text soon becomes a pretext whose received authority, 
once placed in the balance of the essay and weighed in the essayist's own 
judgment of it, is re-assessed in the opinion of the universal subject - 
Michel de Montaigne: 

Les autheurs se communiquent au peuple par quelque marque particulière et 
estrangere; moy, le premier, par estre universel, comme Michel de Montaigne, 
non comme grammairien, ou poëte, ou jurisconsulte. Si le monde se plaint de 
quoy je parle trop de moy, je me plains de quoy il ne pense seulement pas 

(III:ii, 782-783) 

Internai to the composition of the essay, we frequently find that Montaigne 
succeeds in subverting received opinion by shifting the epistemological 
question of truth or falsity into the moral question of freedom versus 
slavery.^ Thus the question, "is death something or no-thing (to be 
feared)?," is transposed into the question, "How are we to free ourselves 
from the fear of death, how are we to make of it an understanding that 
is our own?": 

Omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum Grata superveniet, quae non 
sperabitur hora. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 2 1 3 

Il est incertain où la mort nous attende, attendons la partout. La premeditation 
de la mort est premeditation de la liberté. Qui a appris à mourir, il a desapris à 
servir. La sçavoir mourir nous afranchit de toute subjection et contrainte. 

(Lxx, 85) 

The effect of this substitution is to reject the tyranny of death and to make of 
it a friend encountered daily in a premeditated liberty, yet not morbidly. 

It is especially in "Du Repentir" that the essay reveals its peculiar ftill- 
ness as a moral exercise. We ordinarily consider it the task of ethics to 
define the ideal criteria of a good man whose premeditated form is and 
ought to be imposed upon the tendency of his senses to scatter and seduce 
him. Yet Montaigne forswears any such practice of forming man. He 
argues that, on the contrary, it is in this way that we are mal- and mis- 
informed. Those who submit to such formation, so far from being self- 
directed, though less likely to be moved from the outside, remain without 
internal control, as they know if they at all dare to inspect themselves. By 
contrast, those like Montaigne, who are apt to lend themselves to the out- 
side, do so without betraying their interior freedom. This reversal of the 
forms of passage and movement, of stability and being, achieved in so 
many of the essays, realizes Montaigne's unrepentant claim upon the 
universal condition of man through his own individual and incorrigible 
experience of himself: 

Je propose une vie basse et sans lustre, c'est tout un. On attache aussi bien 
toute la philosophie moral à une vie populaire et privée que à une vie de plus 
riche estoffe; chaque homme porte la forme entière de l'humaine condition. 


Thron^outthe Essays Montaigne is engaged against the scholastic pre- 
sumption of linguistic mastery of truth and being given in a fixed code of 
rubrics and set definitions. He opposes vehemently the humanist conceit of 
a transcendental language imposing its rationalist classifications upon a 
degraded order of experience, despite the fact that this is the level upon 

which most of us live out the history and geography of our lives: 


Nous sommes nés pour agir: 

Cum moriar, medium solvar et inter opus. 

Je veux qu'on agisse, et qu'on allonge les offices de la vie tant qu'on peut, et 
que la mort me treuve plantant mes chous, mais nonchalant d'elle, et encore 
plus de mon jardin imparfait. 

(I:xx, 87) 

As he says, Montaigne needed a language in which lived experience 
could find expression without being subordinated or reduced to levels of 
abstraction and/or formalized usage that bleed the life from it, separating 

214 / Renaissance and Reformation 

the writer's body from his soul in the name of a fancied transcendance of 
philosophy and literature. For this reason, Montaigne side-steps the 
rhetorical arts of memory in favour of the paper paths of the Essays, 
forever side-tracked into tiiose places where the writer finds himself, pro- 
vided he leaves the royal road of scholastic and set rhetorical reasoning. 

Once off the high road of the exemplum and free from the weight of the 
literary tradition, the poor essayist becomes his own rich resource. 
Simultaneously, however, he restores his wandering, weak-memoried self 
with the abundant improvisation of the Essays, thereby revealing the 
poverty of the literary tradition that might have prevented them. The 
essayist is then free to shape his formless self, which would otherwise 
forever escape him in philosophical and literary generalities more decep- 
tive than the phantasies with which he was beseiged before he resolved to 
become a writer. In other words, so far from losing himself to the world as 
an essayist, Montaigne discovers in the field of writing the one place where 
his self can come into the world. But the Essays do not give us Montaigne 
simply because he wrote about himself in them in all honesty and sincerity 
and as modestly as he conducted his life outside of them. This would ignore 
the surplus effect of writing, the pleasure of the text, towards which the 
writer must also assume a posture whether of modesty or presumption. 
Thus we find Montaigne re-embedding his literary self in the spoken body, 
in that bottom nature each of us discovers who listens to his body, 
especially where the body opens onto language - as in love and poetry. The 
wild ways of the Essays are not merely diversions and digressions from the 
via regiae of the book or scholastic treatise. We know that Montaigne 
prided himself upon a certain poetic dispossession, a fortunate find opened 
up in the wake of writing to which the essayist trusted himself and his 
thoughts - not without vanity. It is in this sense that we must regard Mon- 
taigne's practice of decentering his text, marginalizing its monumental 
beginnings, floating everything in search of that supervenient grace 
achieved through abandoning the fixed architecture of the book for the free 
form of the essay. Thus the Essays are consciously an element of universal 
folly, inseparable from the political madness of their day and at once an 
element of moral stability, enduring the ravages of time like Rome, like the 
Chateau de Montaigne, and like themselves - through a nonchalant neglect 
that adds more to their survival than any plan. 

If Montaigne concentrates upon himself, it is with a steady attachment 
to his friend La Boétie, to his family and to his city, and to the voices from 
the past with whom he conversed in his library. He considered himself a 
small note in the collective and largely anonymous history of mankind, of 
which literature and art yield us only a fractured sounding. What is ethical 
in Montaigne is not his scepticism or his relativism. It is rather his ability to 
hold life's attachments at a distance in order to consider how it is we are 

Renaissance et Réforme / 215 

nevertheless beholden to everything and everyone around us. Montaigne is 
not an idle subjectivist, sunk in fantasy or carried away by endless imagin- 
ary projects. He knew himself to be among the most variable of spirits, 
most changeable in his moods, irresolute and without method in the dis- 
charge of his affairs. For all this, the Essays are not a series of vile con- 
fessions, even though they insist upon self-observation and inquiry. 
Rather, they 'rebound' from everything that oppresses the mind and the 
body, whether through the negation of positivity or an affirmation in place 
of negativity, always ruled, of course, by Montaigne's experience with 
things and himself. The Essays, then, are Montaigne's happy credo - into 
which he could pour himself, while simultaneously standing at a Sunday 
distance from them. They accumulate from a working pleasure in reading 
and writing and from the prospective joy of finding a reader capable of 
exercising his own literary competence with the Essays as a continuous 
bodily inscription. Such pleasure lies outside any literary organization. 
Hence Montaigne's topics and titles in the Essays serve only as strategies 
of pleasure, in taking a page from a book or a poem in order to go on writing 
yet another book or a poem and to continue reading still more books and 
poems.^ And so the Essays find readers who find other readers like friends 
seeking one another. By word of mouth. 

Montaigne employed paradox and a visceral style that awakens the 
reader's instincts, or his bodily ties to language and community. The effect 
is that the author and reader enjoy a mutual incarnation pleasured by the 
text. The Essays shift from the impersonal to the personal voice, from the 
past to the present, from obiter dicta to the testimony of Montaigne's own 
eyes, ears and body, and by means of these shifts he heightens the literary 
company between himself and his reader. By requiring of him his own 
literary competence, the Essays exercise the reader, and do not simply 
subordinate him before an exaltation of literary language. Montaigne's 
style is therefore essential to the liberty of discourse and friendship that 
excludes tyranny. It requires, too, the solitude represented by his library 
tower. There he fostered the silence that permits men to choose their 
words. By contrast, the tyrant - at times played by the literary critic - mon- 
opolizes talk, fearing the liberty of discussion, or else he subordinates the 
arts to his pleasure, denying them any more serious revelation. Hence 
Montaigne's conceits, paradoxes, humour and self-parody. Hence, also, 
his insistence upon the publication of his private thoughts, since thoughts 
without hope of a public cannot be free. For the same reasons, the Essays 
take their time, walk when they want to, and run when they like, always free 
to turn to any side that attracts their author, yet never losing themselves for 
want of their own direction. 

Together, Montaigne's love of textuality, i.e., the institution of reading 
and writing, and his concept of the classical institution of the friendship in 

216 / Renaissance and Reformation 

which the Essays were composed, require that we reject any argument that 
they are the work of a dependent imagination without any other life, depth 
or movement than the reflecting mirror or La Boétie and the hterary past 
that surrounded Montaigne.^ 

I am, of course, invoking the moral sense of friendship that is the result of 
Montaigne's very essay of that notion, as well as how he lived his love for 
La Boétie. Montaigne's concept of friendship places it above all other 
moral relationships. It is not an addition to Montaigne's life, nor does it 
subtract from what he might have owed himself. In friendship, as in essay 
writing, Montaigne doubled himself. Friendship opened him to himself as 
the^^^a;^^ opened him to Michel de Montaigne. In both he gathered him- 
self as the bee gathers its life from the flowers that otherwise give no honey. 
In reading and writing on his beloved historians and poets he enlarged and 
gave back to the world the book of himself. For he knew full well that the 
mirror of Narcissus can only be avoided through the mediation of other 
minds, in the amplification of discourse and intertextuality . Like Petrarch, 
Montaigne was faithful to his ancient authors in order rightfully to add him- 
self to them, in a graft of humanity more enduring than the water image 
of Narcissus. 

Thus friendship is a figure of the reader's freedom which the writer 
knows cannot be constrained by logic, any more than a lover's discourse 
can constrain the meaning of the love declared through him.* Rather, 
reader and writer are floated upon one another, like friends and lovers 
whose talk amplifies their sensory lives, intertwining them with threads 
they weave about themselves. In such reverberation there can be no false 
note, though there may be suffering. A false note is struck once only in the 
music of friendship and love: when mastery or servitude is heard. Then the 
doubled unity of love and friendship separates or succumbs to tyranny.' 

The Essays pursue to the very end their own disequilibrium, upsetting 
the maxims and monuments of morality upon which we are tempted to fix- 
ate our lives. Thus by subverting the great lists of history , Montaigne could 
introduce the history of ordinary everyday living in the great innovation of 
ihe Essays as an Ethics. To make this eUiical departure, Montaigne had 
simultaneously to subvert the plenitudes of classical morahty in the play of 
writing and, specifically, in the essayist's quest for freedom from form. Yet 
the Essays do not simply catch the wind of writmg's vanity. On the con- 
trary, there supervenes upon the essayist's practice a discovering aware- 
ness of the moral composition of textuality and selfhood m the acquisition 
of that spoken body which is Montaigne's self-portrait. 

The Essays never betray the carnal ambiguity of man's relation to him- 
self, to his reason, his senses, his body and his language. In each case, man 
must avoid the wilful pursuit of absolute distinctions, of complete certainty 
and clarity, since these beUe his own mixed composition. In exchange for 

Renaissance et Réforme / 217 

foregoing such transcendental excesses, there opened up to the essayist 
that mundane presence of the literary body to the embodied self which is 
the one place where the otherwise wholly metaphorical exercise of self- 
study can be practised. 

Thus we must locate Montaigne's bodily troubles in writing and reading, 
upon which he so often remarks, as natural effects of the romance of books. 
Whereas other critics have seen faults in Montaigne's methods of reading 
and composition, with the purpose of displaying their own higher morality 
in these matters, I am arguing that it is precisely in the way that the essayist 
works that Montaigne gradually established himself as the most serious of 
all writers, the one most concerned with the bodily regimen of literature 
and its lively practice. Montaigne never tires of revealing his own in- 
capacities, quirks, and mannerisms of thought and speech. Yet writing was 
as essential to him as it was to Petrarch or to Rabelais; it was a daily under- 
taking that he could no more go without than any other bodily function. 
Montaigne lived the Essays, and waited upon them like the very days of his 
life for the trail of meaning that life acquires only over its course, and in no 
other way than at its own expense: in this respect Montaigne may finally be 
compared with that incomparable artist of the self-portrait, Rembrandt. 
Convinced of the impossibility of any definitive revelation, the artist and 
essayist have nevertheless to avoid the traps of narcissism and relativism, 
of wilful contradiction and ultimate self-defeat. Thus we see in the self- 
portraits of Rembrandt and in the Essays of Montaigne the gradual 
dominance of the author's look, mocking, suspicious, candid, proud, 
humble and caught in the farce. But, with all the strength of natural 
inquisitiveness and self-scrutiny, these portraits throw back the pain of liv- 
ing, of aging and dying. In both cases, there is a gradual deepening of the 
expressive potentials of the baroque, away from theatrical dispersion, 
towards the inner concentration of the soul's body. In a portrait of 1648, 
Rembrandt Drawing Himself by the Window,*^ we have, as in Mon- 
taigne's comments upon his own activity as a writer, a subversion of the 
myth of representation by means of a reflection endlessly reflected upon, 
unless gathered religiously in each of us. In these two men we are face to 
face with the mystery of creative work, and with its virtuosity of moving us 
long after its author has left his hand upon it: 

je peins principalement mes cogitations, subject informe, qui ne peut tomber 
en production ouvragere. A tout peine le puis je coucher en ce corps aërée 
de la voix. 

(II:vi, 359) 

York University 

218 / Renaissance and Reformation 


1 Oeuvres Complètes de Montaigne. Textes établis par Albert Thibaudet et Maurice Rat (Paris: 
Editions Gallimard, 1962), See Appendix for translation of passages cited. 

2Maurce Merleau-Ponty, "Reading Montaigne," pp. 198-210 in his Signs, trans. Richard C. 
McCleary (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1964). 

3 Michel de Certeau, "Le lieu de l'autre Montaigne: 'Des Cannabals,' " pp. 1 87-200 inLe racisme: 
mythes et sciences, sous la direction de Maurice Olender (Paris: Editions Complexe, 1981). 

4 ioïaiO''i^e\\\, Essaying Montaigne: A Study of the Renaissance Institution of Writing and Read- 
ing (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1982). 

5 Lawrence D. Kritzman, Destruction/Découverte: Le fonctionnement de la rhétorique dans les 
Essais de Montaigne (Lexington: French Forum, Publishers, 1980). 

6 Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text, trans. Richard Miller (New York: Hill and Wang, 

7 John O'Neill, "L'essayiste n'est pas un 'malade imaginaire,' " pp. 237-246 in Montaigne et les 
Essais 1580-1980, actes de Congrès de Bordeaux (Juin 1980), Présentés par Pierre Michel 
(Paris-Genève: Champion-Slatkine, 1983). 

8 Roland Barthes, A Lover's Discourse, Fragments. Translated by Richard Howard (New York: 
Hill and Wang, 1978). 

9 John O'Neill, "Power and the Splitting (Spaltung) of Language," New Literary History, 14 
(1983), 695-710. 

10 Jean Paris, Tel qu'en lui-même il se voit, 'Rembrandt' (Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1965), 
p. 122. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 2 1 9 

Book Reviews/Comptes Rendus 

F. Edward Cranz./l Bibliography of Aristotle Editions 1501-1600. Second Edi- 
tion with addenda and revisions by Charles B. Schmitt Bibliotheca Bibliographica 
Aureliana, XXXVIII*. Baden-Baden: Verlag Valentin Koemer, 1984. Pp. xxiv, 

Compiling bibliographies of printed books in the post-incunabular era (i.e., after 
1 500) is a formidable task whose difficulties can be fully appreciated only by those 
who do it. While the cataloguing of incunables is well in hand, less has been done 
for sixteenth-century printing because so many more books were printed in so 
many different places. Moreover, sixteenth-century books are usually considered 
less beautiful and less interesting historically. But one can argue that the bibli- 
ography of sixteenth-century printing deserves more scholarly attention than that 
of incunables because books then truly spread to all who could read. Sixteenth- 
century bibliography is especially important for documenting the Renaissance in 
northern Europe. 

Possibly Aristotle was the most influential and often-printed ancient author in 
the Renaissance; only the Roman Cicero might rival him. Aristotie continued to 
be studied and interpreted, albeit sometimes in different ways than during the Mid- 
dle Ages. In 1 97 1 , F. Edward Cranz published a comprehensive listing of all the 
Aristotle editions appearing between 1 501 and 1 600, based on the findings of the 
Index Aureliensis, about a thousand in all. It was a significant and useful book. But 
the coverage of the Index Aureliensis was far from complete, because it tended to 
limit itself to major northern European libraries; Italian libraries were particularly 

Now Charles B. Schmitt, a noted scholar of Renaissance Aristotelianism, has 
published a revised edition of Cranz's bibliography. This second edition reprints 
Cranz's listings in the same format, but makes a number of corrections, and adds 
significantly to the total. Based on visits to about 1 00 libraries in western, eastern, 
and southern Europe plus the United States, Schmitt has added 430 more print- 
ings of Aristotle. It is an important achievement. Although Schmitt warns in the 
introduction that other editions will turn up, he speculates that 90 to 95% of the 
total have now been located. This revised edition includes, as did the original, use- 
ful indexes, bibliography, and adds a table of places of publication for the sixteenth 
century. Paris, Lyon, and Venice printed over 60% of the total. 

In his brief introduction, Schmitt makes some points worth repeating. Probably 
no individual library contains more than a third of the total. The British Library of 

220 / Renaissance and Reformation 

London and the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris combined shelve about one-half 
of the total. This underlines the importance of bibliographic research in numerous 
libraries. One sometimes finds notable printings in obscure libraries very far from 
the places of publication. Another conclusion, with which this reviewer fully con- 
curs, is that, while the cataloguing of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts is 
important and difficult work - and is appreciated as such - producing a com- 
prehensive bibliography of sixteenth-century printings on an author or subject can 
be equally important and difficult - but is less recognized and appreciated. The 
Cranz-Schmitt volume is a very useful one that should facilitate and encourage 
further study of Renaissance AristoteHanism. 

PAUL F. GRENDLER, University of Toronto 

Jerry H. Bentley. Humanists and Holy Writ: New Testament Scholarship in the 
Renaissance. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983 Pp. xiii, 245. 

Ever since the time of Burckhardt, it has been an historiographical conmionplace 
that Renaissance humanists displayed a radically new attitude towards the ancient 
world. They venerated that world, and passionately sought to recover it as fully as 
possible: they collected classical cameos and statues, studied architectural remains, 
copied inscriptions, and reclaimed and circulated previously neglected texts. At 
the same time, they were acutely aware of the gulf that separated them from that 
world. In order to bridge that gulf and recover their beloved antiquity, both pagan 
and Christian, they developed tools of philological analysis and historical 
criticism - and so created modem scholarship. 

Jerry Bentley illustrates this commonplace with a detailed appreciation of New 
Testament scholarship in the Renaissance. Renaissance humanism, according to 
Bentley, broke with the medieval tradition of biblical studies, a tradition domi- 
nated by allegorical and spiritual exegesis and framed in the Aristotelian terms of 
scholastic theology. "The Renaissance humanists," he says, "were determined to 
set aside the medieval tradition of New Testament study and replace it with a 
brand of scholarship that aimed to recover or reconstruct the assumptions, values, 
and doctrines not of the Middle Ages, but of the earliest Christians" (p. 3 1 ). The 
pioneer in this undertaking was Lorenzo Valla, "the first westerner since the pat- 
ristic age to enjoy a thorough knowledge of Greek and to apply it extensively in his 
study of the New Testament" (pp. 32-33). Valla used his knowledge of Greek and 
mastery of philology to criticize and emend the Vulgate, to propose better Latin 
translations of certain passages, and to attempt a sounder explanation of the literal 
sense of scripture. 

The second step in the progress of humanist New Testament scholarship was 
taken in Spain, by a team of scholars at the university of Alcalà. This university 
had been founded by the noted reformer. Cardinal Francisco Ximénez de Cisneros, 
and it was Ximénez who gave the impluse to the Complutensian Polyglot Bible. 
He assembled a group of experts in the three biblical languages and charged them 
with preparing a scholarly edition of the scriptures. The editors of the Complu- 
tensian Polyglot Bible improved on Valla's methods in some ways. They recog- 

Renaissance et Réforme / 221 

nized, as he did not, that the Greek text, like the Latin, was subject to corruption, 
and so it was not enough to correct the Latin to accord with the Greek. But they 
employed no editorial principle consistently, following now one, then another. 
Since they were generally guided by a desire to reaffirm the text of the Vulgate, 
they often chose from among variant Greek readings the one that agreed with the 
Vulgate. But they did not always attempt to resolve textual problems: when the six 
volumes of their edition were printed between 1514 and 1517, the parallel 
columns of text (Greek and Hebrew flanking the Latin in the Old Testament, Latin 
and Greek side by side in the New) often preserved unreconciled differences be- 
tween the two. 

The culminating achievement of Renaissance New Testament scholarship was 
that of Erasmus. It was Erasmus who arranged for the publication of Valla's 
Adnotationes on the New Testament ( 1 505), who published the first edition of the 
Greek New Testament, with a revised version of the Vulgate in parallel columns 
(1516), who prepared a fresh translation of the New Testament ( 1 505- 1 506) and 
printed it in place of the Vulgate in the second edition of his New Testament 
(1519), and who justified his editorial decisions with an ever-growing body of 
philological annotations, which by the fifth edition in 1535 filled a 783-page folio 
volume. He consulted a wider range of manuscripts, both Latin and Greek, than 
either Valla or the Complutensian scholars, and he treated those manuscripts with 
model philological sophistication: "in several thousand notes he evaluated a vast 
body of Greek and Latin textual data, considered from all angles the best Latin 
representation of the Greek text, and offered explanations of the Greek text sensi- 
tive to literary, historical, and philological realities" (p. 217). The result of his 
efforts was a text of the Greek New Testament that remained the standard until the 
nineteenth century. 

As he tells this story, Bentley displays impressive erudition and an admirable 
mastery of the many languages, ancient and modem, needed to study New Testa- 
ment scholarship in Renaissance Italy, Spain, France, England, and the Nether- 
lands. What his work lacks, unfortunately, is a breadth of historical vision 
conmiensurate with its subject. 

Bentley 's view of history is resolutely teleological and positivistic: his aim is to 
recount the steady liberation of New Testament scholarship from its medieval 
theological concerns and its irreversible progress towards the modem acme of dis- 
interested scientific philology, represented here by the work of Bmce Metzger. 
Bentley, accordingly, is not interested in how humanists in general approached 
holy writ, but only in the efforts of those few humanists who contributed signi- 
ficantly to the development of modem philology: the rest can be dismissed as 
voices of "stubborn conservatism'* (p. 207; see also pp. 45, 1 10). He says little of 
Giannozzo Manetti's Latin translation of the New Testament ( 1 45 5- 1 45 7 ), other 
than that he "fell victim to inadequate manuscript resources" (p. 46). He dis- 
misses Marsilio Ficino's conmientary on the Epistle to the Romans and John 
Colet's exegesis of the Pauline epistles as being more concemed with theology 
than philology (p. 9). He acknowledges that Guillaume Budé was a worthy 
philologist, but judges his observations on the New Testament too sketchy to be 
evaluated. He recognizes that the many works of Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples cer- 

222 / Renaissance and Reformation 

tainly demonstrate the seriousness of his interest in the New Testament, but disap- 
proves of Lefèvre's approach: "In one issue, one controversy, one problem after 
another, he allowed his deep piety, his commitment to tradition, or his mystical 
theology to override philological considerations" (p. 11). 

Bentley does not seem to appreciate why it was that Lefèvre followed the dic- 
tates of piety, tradition, and theology, rather than philology. He assumes that the 
New Testament is a text like any other, subject to textual corruption and philologi- 
cal emendation. This assumption is a perfectly reasonable one for a modem, 
secular philologist - but it is totally inappropriate to expect it to be shared by a 
Renaissance humanist. Again and again, even Bentley's heroes leave him feeling 
puzzled or betrayed. "In his notes to the New Testament, strange to say. Valla's 
attempts at the higher criticism lack the rigor and insightfulness of his efforts else- 
where" (p. 47). The Complutensian editors "declined to employ their talents 
except in the service of traditional Latin orthodoxy. As a result, they did not 
advance understanding of the scriptures as much as they might have, had they less 
timidly applied sound philological methods" (p. 97). Even Erasmus modified his 
text and reconsidered his arguments in response to the criticisms of Edward Lee, 
Frans Tittlemans, and Stunica - even though their criticisms "were motivated by 
considerations of theology" and were not "properly philological" (pp. 202, 203). 

The fact of the matter was that Valla and Erasmus, Lee and Stunica, Colet and 
Lefevre all recognized that the New Testament was not a text like any other text. 
They lived in an age of increasingly bitter theological controversy - controversy 
that in essential ways turned on how the New Testament was to be read and 
understood - and they all engaged in the theological and scriptural arguments of 
their age. By ignoring this, Bentley closes himself off from the possibility of 
recovering or reconstructing the assumptions, values, and doctrines of a period 
when^o/a scriptura became an ideological battle cry. He turns a large and impor- 
tant topic into a minor and peripheral one by sidestepping the theological issues 
and working instead towards the uninspiring conclusion that his contribution to 
"scholarly methods . . . was perhaps the most enduring ofall the legacies Erasmus 
bequeathed to his cultural heirs" (p. 1 93). This focus on method rather than matter 
extends even to the index, which lists references to biblical manuscripts but not 
biblical passages. And so it is that the bold promise of the title, announcing a book 
that will explore the varied ways in which devout and troubled humanists grappled 
with holy writ, fades to the diminished compass of the subtitle, a monograph on 
New Testament scholarship in the Renaissance. 

DANIEL BORNSTEIN, University of Michigan 


Renaissance et Réforme / 223 

Jonathan V. Crewe. Unredeemed Rhetoric: Thomas Nashe and the Scandal of 
Authorship. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982. 
1 35 pages. 

Richard A. Lanham. The Motives of Eloquence: Literary Rhetoric in the 
Renaissance. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1976. Paper. 
252 pages. 

Rhetoric and truth are totally and hopelessly irréconciliable systems; the problem 
is solutionless. Language is always rhetoric and can never reach reality and truth, 
so everything anyone ever says automatically deconstructs, and all that one can, 
post-Derrida-enly, do, is to toss about some somewhat-paradoxes somewhat 
denied or re-and-dis-manufactured, with some fleetingnesses of jargon (which 
terms may not touch truth, by non-definition, for then they would be antkhetorical 
and antidestructive and hence disloyal, not to mention self-inconsistent): such 
jargon as "radical dislocation" "antiworld" "violent negativity" "power" "theat- 
ricality" "radically alienated" "truly sophisticated" "demonic" etc. That range 
of notions (more-or-less [and-more-or-less-elusively] desiderated) is opposed - 
quite firmly and polemically and absolutely opposed, without deconstructive or 
ironic reserve - to "Puritan rationalism" or "rationalistic rigor"; and opposed to 
"good order"; and (mostly) opposed to "decorum." 

Am I parodying Jonathan Crewe's book (and not a few others)? No. I am 
paraphrasing Crewe's book, especially pages 89-90 and 1 1 , then here and there, 
and drawing a few inferences. The quotations are all quotations from Crewes. 

Am I irritated and bored with such doings? Well, yes, in truth, and my style 
shows it. Are the irritation and boredom relevant? Well, yes, in the sense that they 
are decorous, that is, proper, that is appropriate and just. But since my impressions 
and responses are not infallible, assertion is insufficient. Some argument is in 

Crewe writes of Shakespeare, "(To what extent is the work of Shakespeare 
critically accountable in terms of its responsible 'themes?' If Shakespeare is not 
fully accountable in such terms, what is the nature of the unreduced excess in his 
work?)" Everything not truth/theme as such is "unreduced excess." The sim- 
plification of that dichotomizing is total, and any book about Shakespeare in- 
stantly refutes it. There is more to talk of in Shakespeare than that. Theme 
(paraphrased or simplified or deeply complicated in style and subject) connects 
with other things. An elegy - which has grief for one theme - may be sad in tone. 
Thus tone and theme are related, because relatable. Some excess is reducible; 
some is not even excessive. 

The chief principle of connection between theme and rhetoric is decorum. 
Crewe dismisses decorum with rapid contempt (he needs to, to maintain his 
dichotomy and deconstructing), attacking Rosemond Tuve's "rigid prescrip- 
tions," but then goes on to praise, as against Tuve, the richer and more flexible 
decorum in The Arte of English Poésie. Which is a fatal admission for Crewe's 
case. If decorum is a rich and complex concept (as it beautifully is in the criticism 
of Rosemond Tuve and in the English Renaissance), then Crewe's basic and 

224 / Renaissance and Reformation 

irréconciliable opposition between rhetoric and truth breaks down. The connec- 
tions are real, complex (often in tensions); and therefore valid criticism is ( 1 ) dif- 
ficult, (2) possible. Nor does decorum subsume all of the relations of instruction 
and aesthetic delight. There are many connections good critics can use to see 
through, with, and by. 

It is not just that Crewe wrote an unfortunate parenthesizing, easily refutable. 
The spirit of the paragraph is permeating. Nor is it that there are not real problems 
involving the opposition of plain and figured style, or between rhetorical skill and 
moral truth, or in the relation of language and reality and truth, or m the place of 
metaphor(s) in discourse. Such problems exist, richly discussable and illumin- 
able. (Aristotle and Wittgenstein and Max Black and quite a few others have valu- 
able things to say thereon.) It is that the radical scepticism implicit in much 
discourse since Nietzche's epistemological blundering, is neither necessary nor 
finally defensible. Such scepticism should not be simply assumed as evident-to- 

Or reached by crude disjunction. Crewe tells us that certain critics and the 
English Renaissance writers themselves, "especially Puritan ones," have sought 
"a language of final order and ultimate significance." (The "Puritan" is a typical 
enough move of his polemics: seeking truth is Puritan, and thus Bad and Repress- 
ive), and goes on to say, "The author is always situated in a language already mis- 
appropriated, duplicitous, and subject to rhetorical exploitation," adding shortly 
thereafter "the mere cultural presence of rhetoric . . . 'postpones' and renders 
infinitely problematical the desired outcome." Either perfection or chaos. Not 
perfection; therefore chaos. So goes the implicit disjunctive argument, which is 
valid, but whose first premise is false. For better and worse writing, greater and 
lesser understanding, are possible, and happen. Therefore Crewe's premise fails. 
There is a middle ground we often inhabit. Were it really true that language is 
always and wholly "duplicitous," language would not be "duplicitous," but 
"infinitous" and no sentence could ever get said, much less be understood or 

Crewe, in moving the only-too-familiar counters around, adds little to the real 
debate and dialectic. Nor very much to the understanding and appreciation of 
Nashe. He tells us, up front,' "I am using' Nashe ... to make a point." But how 
can he? How can anyone not delight in Nashe? Or not be frustrated by his brilliantly 
silly excesses? Nashe wrote of Gabriel Harvey, "his inuention is ouer-weapond." 
Which is surely and accumulatively true of Nashe also, Nashe is great fun to read, 
for a while. And has much of subtlety and pungency to say in and through his 
genius and over-genius of style. Where's the puzzle? How most of all - here's the 
real mystery - can anyone write of Nashe without praising highly and gladly the 
few but very great lyrics for which we owe permanent love and gratitude? 

One owes Richard A. Lanham scholarly gratitude for his earlier study, the lucid 
Handlist of Rhetorical Terms, which, by examining specifically and generically 
and cross-classifying and sorting out, is a great help to the student of rhetoric and in 
the good bargain a valuable and revealing analysis of the structures and limits and 
confusions in Renaissance rhetoric. His book The Motives of Eloquence could 
use some of that complexity of analysis itself. Lively and wide-sweeping, it bases 

Renaissance et Réforme / 225 

ail on a simple division between "serious" man and "rhetorical" man, which bears 
a near analogue to the division between truth and rhetoric of Crewe's scepticiz- 

Crewe mosdy sides with the rhetorical antitruth convolutings: he tells us on 
page 8 that "rhetoric as an opposing and putatively supenor principle to logic . . . 
cannot seriously be defended"; on page viii that he will take "a principle of 
. . . rhetoric (opposed to logic) . . . as the inalienable basis ofmy discussion." The 
contradiction is even plainer in context. 

Lanham sees the serious and the rhetorical, not in balance or in resolution, 
because that would undo the distinction, but as vacillating randomishly through- 
out and thus constituting Western intellectual history. But the distinctions are far 
too simple to carry such a huge burden. Classes overlap; these 'classes', if they can 
be kindly granted that name, wantonly and intricately and confusin^y overlap, 
such overlap undercrumbling the scheme Lanham would market, and explain 
all by. 

Serious man, we are told early, has a "central self, an irreducible identity" in 
relation to others and to a reahty which can be known. Clarity and sincerity are 
consequently the central rhetorical goods. Rhetorical man, however, concentrates 
on the word, on memory, on the skillfully garnered and maximed, on proverbial 
wisdom's "decorous fit into situation." The opposition between the serious and 
rhetorical is irremediable and the shifting to and fro among the twain provides 
"sophisticated" history. But suppose some maxims can be true? or even false? Or 
suppose some of the decorous fitting yîr^ and suppose some does not? The 
philosophy instantly deconstructs and we are back among the actual and intermix- 
ing complexities of rhetoric and truth, morality and self-serving (overlapping 
categories themselves), pleasure and duty - which help to form real human and 
rhetorical and philosophical history, as once Lanham well understood. 

It is bothersome that Lanham, who as a student of rhetoric was one of the best at 
showing the complexities of rhetorical interclassification, overclassification, and 
misclassification, should offer such a dividing into vaguened twoness. 

In practice Lanham often finds the classes mixed, using that truth as a club to 
club Plato's Ideas (any stick will do to beat Them these days) or in praise of 
Shakespeare. But, since any sentence is not a sentence unless it is ( 1 ) referential - 
referring outside of itself, not part of an entirely enclosed system (2) in words syn- 
tactically structured, the commingling is universally present in all discourse, and 
cannot therefore serve as a critical standard to judge better and worse discourse. 
Sentences, in words syntacted, can be true or false; and some are better written 
than others. Language has reference and rhetoric; not all rhetoric is playful, 
divisive, or insidious; not all reference is solemn. Lanham's distinctions do not 

Lanham knows much and has responded much to a range of literature. Hence 
the book is often interesting, awarely reflective, witty, and such, and one can learn 
and enjoy from such moments. (Learning and enjoyment are not mutually 
exclusive). The actual rhetorical analysis in the book- the analysis of how rhetori- 
cal figures work in a given rhetorical and literary situation - is always valuable. 
One wishes there were more of such analysis in the book. 

226 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Yet, among the virtues of thought and livelinesses of style, one also finds some 
curious judgments, often intimately inveigled with the theory and trends at work. 
Thus Lanham writes, "high seriousness . . . requires a conception of human 
character as single, solid, substantial, and important" It does? What of the open- 
ing of the Divine Comedy? or the dark sonnets of Gerard Manley Hopkins? 
Lanham's strange sentence is not a casual error or misjudgment; it is central to 
his dichotomizing. 

Here, as too often elsewhere, the twin hand puppets take center stage, and block 
the view. 

PAUL RAMSEY, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 

Le Cosmos de Dante par James Dauphiné dans les Classiques de l'humanisme. 
Les Belles Lettres: Paris, 1984. P. 213. 

Voici une nouvelle étude sur l'Homère du Trecento. Son auteur, James Dauphiné, 
s'est fixé pour objectif d'expliquer au sens littéral du mot la vision cosmologique 
de Dante telle qu'elle se révèle dans la Divine Comédie. En effet plus qu'une 
exposition philosophique du système dantesque, James Dauphiné veut montrer 
au lecteur la dimension poétique da la vision du poète florentin; c'est pourquoi tout 
en se référant ici et là aux autres ouvrages de Dante comme le Banquet et la Vie 
nouvelle, il a placé au centre de sasphère d'étude V éblouissante Divine Comédie. 
Les termes que nous soulignons caractérisent la thématique même qui soutient la 
vision cosmologique de Dante. 

La livre de James Dauphiné est constitué de quatre parties inégales: Les sour- 
ces (pp. 1 1-26), la hiérarchie (pp. 27-44), le voyage (pp. 45-93) et enfin la plus 
ambitieuse et de loin la plus importànie^poétique et imagination (pp. 95- 1 5 3 ). En 
outre l'auteur a cru bon d'ajouter en appendice quatre études. Les deux premières 
sont consacrées à des précurseurs de Dante, Restoro d'Arezzo et Bonvesin de la 
Riva qui tous les deux ont cherché à atteindre Dieu. Les autres appendices traitent 
de Dante: Dante et la signature des étoiles et Dante et l'Odyssée: forme et 

Il n'y a pas de mentor plus éclairé que James Dauphiné pour nous mener sur les 
pas de Dante dans se quête de l'Infini. En fait ce livre est une partie de sa thèse de 
doctorat d'état. Les visions poétiques du cosmos de Dante à l'aube du XVIIème 
siècle (1981). Nous savons aussi que James Dauphiné s'intéresse tout par- 
ticulièrement à la symbolique. C'est dire que nous avons à faire à un auteur 
sérieux, bien documenté au fait de toutes les doctrines philosophiques et théologi- 
ques qui avaient cours à cette époque. 

Dans les trois premières parties, l'auteur donne au lecteur tous les outils 
nécessaires pour comprendre la quête de Dante et le processus de son ascension. Il 
expose d'abord d'une façon exhaustive les sources utilisées par Dante puis expli- 
que le système dantesque de la hiérarchie en le comparant à celui de Denys, de 
Grégoire ou même à celui duBanquet, oeuvre précédente de Dante. C'est grâce à 
cette hiérarchie que Dante peut s'élever de cercle en cercle des profondeurs 
ténébreuses de l'enfer jusqu'à l'Empyrée le plus radieux puisqu'il n'y a pas de 

Renaissance et Réforme / 227 

cloisons étanches dans l'univers. James Dauphiné démontre comment les struc- 
tures temporelles du voyage correspondent aux structures spatiales, comment la 
"science, poésie et mythologie se confortent, se répondent." Dante est astrologue, 
théologien, mystique mais surtout poète, poète-voyant. C'est ainsi qu'on le sur- 
prend à sacrifier l'exactitude scientifique au souci d'équilibre poétique. 

La quatrième partie est la plus ambitieuse, la plus personnelle. Il s'agit de mon- 
trer Dante aux prises avec l'écriture: la Divine Comédie n'est pas une oeuvre 
didactique. En plus d'être une oeuvre mystique, c'est une oeuvre d'art. James 
Dauphiné parle d'aventure stylistique: Dante doit révéler l'extraordinaire, l'in- 
connaissable. Dieu, au moyen des mots. Cet extraordinaire, Dante l'a vu tant avec 
son oeil physique que son oeil spirituel et il est ébloui au sens fort du mot. James 
Dauphiné, après Pézard (Dante sous la pluie de feu), Tuzet (l'imagination 
stellaire de Dante et le Cosmos et l'imagination), fait de la divine Comédie une 
épopée de la lumière. Sous la protection de différents guides, dont évidemment 
Béatrice, Dante passe de l'absence de lumière à l'éblouissement total au paradis 
où la lumière est intensifiée, magnifiée grâce à des jeux de miroirs. L'auteur veut 
traiter de *'la nature lumineuse de l'univers et les aspects de ce dernier en relation 
avec la thématique du nombre, du cercle et de la musique" en s'attachant par- 
ticulièrement aux images, métaphores, symboles et allégories. Il expose claire- 
ment, avec autorité, le système poétique de Dante. On peut toutefois regretter des 
longueurs, des répétitions. Surtout il aurait fallu que James Dauphiné fût poète lui- 
même pour pouvoir faire ressortir la poésie de la divine Comédie. En effet, à 
l'issue de cette étude et malgré les protestations de l'auteur, on est amené à voir le 
poème davantage comme un oeuvre initiatique que comme une oeuvre lyrique. 

Malgré ces quelques réserves, le livre de James Dauphiné, le Cosmos de Dante 
est un compagnon indispensable à tout étudiant non seulement de Dante mais de 
toute poésie cosmologique occidentale. 

SIMONE MASER, Unviersité d'Ottawa 

Jenny Wormald. Court, Kirk, and Community: Scotland 1470-1625. Univer- 
sity of Toronto Press: Toronto and Buffalo, 1981. Pp. viii, 216. 

This recent work on the history of early modem Scotland covers the period from 
the reign of James III through that of James VI. Quite naturally a focal point of this 
book is the age of the Scottish reformation, a topic covered in four well-organized 
chapters. This central section dealing with a time of religious uncertainty is pre- 
sented between two surveys of Renaissance Scotland. 

The author provides a well-balanced account of early modem Scotland, and her 
analysis makes effective use of recent scholarly studies that give new insights into 
the complexities of intemal developments in the country during an especially criti- 
cal period of its history. Of the Scottish rulers of that time high praise is accorded to 
James VI. He is commended for his intelligence, his forceful foreign poHcy, and 
his resolute refusal to be brow-beaten by Elizabeth I. As the author points out, he 
did much to enhance the prestige of personal monarchy. 

Scotland's history during the age of the Renaissance and Reformation is charac- 

228 / Renaissance and Reformation 

terized by the vitality and variety of its political, religious, and cultural experience. 
These diverse aspects are clearly delineated by the author. The book's value is 
further enhanced by seven and a half pages devoted to suggestions for further read- 
ing, and by a chronological table of five pages. There is also a serviceable idex. 
This study is an important and valuable one which provides a thoughtful basis for a 
reconsideration of Scottish history during one of the more colourful periods of its 
long history. 

BERNARD C. WEBER, The University of Alabama 

Hallet Smith. The Tension of the Lyre: Poetry in Shakespeare's Sonnets. San 
Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 1981. Pp. xii, 172 pp. 

Hallet Smith* sElizabethan Poetry ( 1 952) is a readable and economical study still 
worth recommending as a judicious introduction to Tudor poetry for students just 
beginning their studies. The same cannot be said, unfortunately, oîThe Tension of 
the Lyre which is intended "to make the sonnets more accessible to various kincU 
of readers" (p. ix). While this latest study is readable, brief, and full of interesting 
observations on various aspects of the sonnets, it does not offer its "various kinds 
of readers" much that is new or vitally interesting. 

The first of six chapters begins with a discussion of T.S. Eliot's "Three Voices 
of Poetry" (1953): the first is the voice of the poet "talking to himself— or to 

nobody. The second is the voice of the poet addressing an audience The third 

is the voice of the poet when he attempts to create a dramatic character speaking in 
verse. " Smith claims to be interested in only the first two voices, although in Chap- 
ter 4 we are told that "the sonnets are in some sense dramatic" and in Chapter 2, 
entitled "Personae," the "I" of the sonnets is called "apersowa with identifiable 

traits" (p. 23) while the poems speak, "most of the time, to apersona But they 

are poems of the second voice, poems addressed to an audience of one or more, 
poems to be heard and mentally responded to" (p. 41). And it seems that the 
dramatic rather than the lyric poet is recalled in Smith's observation that "any- 
thing important, to be fiiUy realized must be viewed both tragically and comically" 
(p. 109). 

Chapter 3 discusses "The Poet & the World," which is largely a courtly world, 
and Chapter 5 on "Order and Punctuation" rehearses and conmients on the 
"rearrangers" of the sonnets such as J.D. Wilson (1968), T. Brooke (1936), and 
J.W. Lever ( 1 956), as well as the dating of the sonnets by L. Hotson ( 1 949) and 
the numerological studies by A. Fowler (1970). For Smith the theories of Laura 
Riding and Robert Graves (1927) are absurd, and Stephen Booth, who devotes 
five pages to summarizing their argument in his edition of the sonnets ( 1 977) com- 
pletely overlooks the fundamental fallacy of the Riding-Graves essay: "the punc- 
tuation of the sonnet in the quarto of 1 609 is not the work of the poet, but of one of 
the two compositors in the workshop of Eld, the printer" (p. 125). Smith earlier 
admits a debt to Booth's commentary, yet seems to reject it because Booth 
"accepts completely William Empson's dictum that all suggested glosses for a 
passage are right" (p. x, and p. 11 n. 18). Smith admits a preference for LA. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 229 

Richards and, as a formalist critic, Smith seems to be aware of the limitations of his 

Smith does remind us of the value of the literary context to explicate a poem. 
The celebrated love of sonnet 115, for example, "exists in an environment ... a 
worid outside the relationship" (p. 43) which sonnet 124 seems to identify as a 
worid of public affairs compared to the private worid of the lovers, and sonnet 66 
offers a catalogue of what is wrong with the world. Smith claims that we shall bet- 
ter understand the Dark Lady sonnets "if we bring to their readmg the appropriate 
passages in the plays" (p. 47), which he attempts to do in broader strokes in Chap- 
ter 4, "Dramatic Poem and Poetic Plays," observing different links between the 
plays and the sonnets. For example, he contrasts the swearing and being forsworn 
inLove Labour's Lost (Act 4.2) with sonnet 152, and the exploitation of language 
(Act 5 .2) with sonnet 82; in the Merchant of Venice the theme of misleading first 
appearance is compared with the Dark Lady of sonnet 141. 

The concluding discussion, "Some Readers of the Sonnets," might be the best 
chapter in the book; it surveys the work of Leonard Digges, John Suckling, the 
publisher John Benson ("as a reader of the sonnets"), George Steevens, Malone, 
George Wyndham, Edith Sitwell and Santayana. Yet most of these names would 
be unknown to the student approaching the sonnets for the first time, and one won- 
ders, then, just what audience Smith has in mind for this brief study. While he 
relieves many of the sonnets of the burden of others' more cumbersome glosses. 
Smith spends too much time discussing untenable theories of dating and reorder- 
ing while seemingly suggesting some reordering of the sonnets himself. He calls 
sonnets 40-42 "misplaced" arguing (speciously) that they belong to the Dark 
Lady sonnets because they deal with the theme of sexual infidelity. 

Hallet Smith has written several graceful essays that have been stretched into a 
book. He often illuminates our understanding of the sonnets and their relationship 
to Shakespeare's plays or to his times, but in the long run there is little new here. 
Smith enjoys reading the sonnets, but the book does not serve its intended purpose 
as an introduction to the sonnets for new readers, and it offers the more seasoned 
scholar little new to think about. 

ANDREW M. McLEAN, University of Wisconsin-Parkside 

Philip T. Hoffman. Church and Community in the Diocese of Lyon, 1500-1 789. 
New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1984, 239 p. 

L'analyse de la tradition chrétienne, celle de la Réforme et de la Contre-Réforme— 
qu'une fois pour toute on devrait rebaptiser la Réforme catholique— attire de plus 
en plus l'attention des chercheurs intéressés à l'Ancien Régime. Le choix du 
diocèse de Lyon répond au besoin de fixer nettement le portrait d'une importante 
communauté ecclésiale. 

L'étude bien documentée du Prof. Hoffman aborde particulièrement le pro- 
blème de la Réforme sur le plan social: rôle du clergé et d'une élite laïque urbaine, 
sollicités, après le concile de Trente, par le dynamisme d'agents multiples, con- 
vaincus de la nécessité d'une forte discipline pour maintenir un haut niveau de 

230 / Renaissance and Reformation 

piété et de participation. 

Principales sources de l'enquête: les testaments, les archives municipales et 
communales, les dossiers des cours de justice, les archives diocésaines ou 
paroissiales. Documentation qui révèle le rôle prépondérant du clergé paroissial, 
intermédiaire culturel puissant, médiateur toujours au poste sur le plan de Tinstitu- 
tionalisation de la Réforme, tant dans les villes que dans les villages. Ce que l'en- 
quête met ici en lumière est le rôle déterminant des laïcs, tant sur le plan de la 
résistance à certaines formes d'expression de la culture populaire que sur celui des 
efforts amorcés pour imposer la nouvelle discipline tridentine. 

Au cours du XVIe siècle s'est consolidée la collaboration entre le clergé 
paroissial et l'élite urbaine de Lyon, ville de grand commerce, dominée par ses 
classes marchandes. Peu à peu se sont multipliées les associations de toutes sortes: 
guildes, fraternités, et groups divers, dont le rôle a été très significatif dans la vie 
sociale et religieuse de la cité. Au niveau des petits marchands et des artisans 
toutefois, ce clergé, même au temps de son dynamisme le plus grand (au XVIIe 
siècle), demeurait exclus du territoire de la culture populaire. Bien que Lyon fût un 
des grands centres du protestantisme français, le zèle du clergé local gardait sa 
vigueur, et les ordres réguliers — missionnaires capucins, jésuites, etc. — venaient 
répondre, à l'occasion, à la sollicitation des laïcs. 

Dans les paroisses situées en dehors de la ville de Lyon, le milieu paysan avait 
de plus étroites relations avec le clergé paroissial. Clergé souvent issu de la 
localité, sans éducation ou formation théologique, mais en contact plus étroit avec 
le village. Dispensateur des sacrements, dans un monde plus facilement captivé 
par le geste et le rituel, le pouvoir étonnant d'une seule voix pouvait facilement 
s'enfler au gré du charisme individuel, dans un vaste espace d'ignorance, que sac- 
ralisait subtilement le tintement redoutable et bienfaisant des cloches. Aux jours 
de fête, très nombreuses, il est vrai, sons et couleurs répondaient au sentiment 
communautaire exprimé dans la fete, surtout au temps des processions. 

A partir de 1 560, la Réforme catholique prend son essor et bientôt manifestera 
son étonnante vigueur, en particulier en ce qui concerne la discipline instaurée par 
les décrets du concile de Trente. Hommes et femmes de grande sainteté de vie — 
saint Vincent de Paul et les Filles de la Charité par exemple— donnèrent l'exemple 
par le travail et le prière. L'intention des réformateurs était de remodeler la culture 
populaire. Fondations, sermons, catéchismes, visites pastorales, nouvelles asso- 
ciations et nouveaux séminaires, encouragés par les élites laïques, donnèrent 

Une association particulièrement vigoureuse, le Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement, 
patronnée par les plus hautes classes de la société, mit tout en oeuvre pour renfor- 
cer la discipline, enfluencer les législateurs, entraver l'expression de la culture 
populaire, appuyant le clergé dans son opposition aux festivals, danses, chari- 
varis, occasions de débauches. 

En fait, l'Eglise du diocèse, comme ailleurs, en Italie en particulier, cherchait, 
par la multiplicité des règlements, à maintenir une étroite séparation entre le sacré 
et le profane. D'où ces prescriptions concernant la surveillance du clergé, la musi- 
que d'église et la moralité sexuelle. On retrouve ici ce puritanisme impitoyable 
dont on a hérité en Nouvelle-France. Notons toutefois que l'auteur n'aborde pas le 

Renaissance et Réforme / 23 1 

domaine de la casuistique héritée des moralistes espagnols. Il suffît de retenir que 
même les autorités civiles exerçaient — à côté du clergé — un sévère contrôle 
social: surveillance accrue des moeurs, répression de la prostitution, du con- 
cubinage, des bains publics, de la nudité et même des festivals populaires, con- 
sidérés comme sources de désordres, sinon de sédition. Promoteur de l'ordre 
public, la monarchie se trouvait pleinement d'accord avec ce que proposait la 
spiritualité tridentine. 

Au cours du XVIIIe siècle, grâce en particulier à l'influence des curés, se mul- 
tiplièrent les associations pieuses, comme celles du Rosaire, du Saint-Sacrement, 
des Pénitents, du Scapulaire, de la Doctrine Chrétienne. La nouvelle spiritualité 
catholique inspira d'importantes fondations, telles que les écoles primaires, pro- 
mises à un grand avenir. Ajoutons que, dans les associations nouvelles — charités, 
confraternités, etc.— les femmes prenaient une part de plus en plus active, surtout 
dans les campagnes. 

Quelques questions à approfondir: v.g. quel est le rôle de l'Eglise officielle du 
temps: la cour de Rome, le clergé de France (assemblées du clergé, mandements 
des évêques), les grands séminaires (St-Sulpice à Paris, Charles Borromée à 
Milan, etc.) dans la définition de la spiritualité française et dans l'aménagement de 
la praxis pastorale au niveau d'un grand diocèse, sans doute modèle de plusieurs 

ROBERT TOUPOIN, S.J., Université Laurentienne, Sudbury 

Paul R. Sellin. John Donne and 'Calvinist' Views of Grace. Amsterdam: VU 
Boekhandel/Uitgeverij, 1983. Pp. 61. 

Paul R. Sellin's short monograph sheds useful light on the vexing questions about 
Donne's notions of predestination and free will. Sellin has a specific target in his 
sights: an imprecise notion of "Calvinist" in Donne scholarship, which has 
blurred Donne's position on these crucial issues. The central clain is that Donne 
publically concurred with the orthodox Calvinist position of the Synod of Dort, 
which had met in 1 6 1 8- 1 9 to counter the Arminian challenge. Sellin claims further 
that the favourable response to Donne's reHgious prose by Lowland Calvinists 
suggests the same theological kinship. 

Sellin focuses on two semons delivered by Donne at The Hague in 1 6 1 9. Con- 
tending that Donne scholarship inclines to paint all Calvinists in the same dark 
colour, Sellin argues that Donne specifically follows an infra-lapsarian, not the 
more radical supra-lapsarian line. *'In infra-lapsarianism, election and reproba- 
tion are subsequent to the creation and fall, and they are acts of mercy and justice. 
In supra-lapsarianism, election and Teprobauonprecede the creation and fall, and 
they are acts manifesting divine sovereignty" (p. 13). Sellin's point is that Donne's 
sermon deliberately brings him in line with the orthodox infra-lapsarian position 
pronounced at Dort. 

Sellin concludes broadly that "the idea is questionable that Donne was hostile 
to the basic institutions and tenets of Calvinist orthodoxy as expressed in the for- 
mulations of the Synod of Dort" (p. 49). But at this point many readers will feel 

232 / Renaissance and Reformation 

that Sellin pulls up short, without addressing more specifically the nagging nature 
vs. Grace questions inherent in the matter. Sellin himself cites Barbara Lewalski's 
rendition of the Synod's five points: "total depravity, unmerited election, limited 
atonement (for the elect only), irresistible grace (admitting no element of human 
cooperation or free response), final perseverance of the saints" (Protestant 
Poetics and the Seventeenth-Century Religious Lyric, p. 20). So much in Donne's 
sermons seems to run against the essential grain here. For example, Donne's 
instinct is to extend generously, not limit the numbers of the Elect. On one occa- 
sion he stresses that God would have all men saved: "... Yes; God does meane, 
simply All" {Sermons, V, 53). Similarly, the notion of total depravity must be 
stretched uncomfortably to accommodate Donne's claim that some ancient philo- 
sophers using only natural reason "were sav'd without the knowledge of Christ" 
(Sermons, \y,n9). 

By not addressing such problems in greater detail, Sellin leaves the field to those 
who would argue that the subtleties of Donne's infra-lapsarian position — and 
Sellin makes a convincing case — might not, in fact, please the orthodox Reformers 
at Dort. Nonetheless, SelHn's special knowledge of English-Lowland ties relating 
to Donne brings in invaluable perspective to crucial elements in Donne's theology. 

TERRY G. SHERWOOD, University of Victoria 

News / Nouvelles 

Newberry Summer Institute 

The Newberry Library Center for Renaissance Studies is pleased to announce its 
1986 Summer Institute in the Early Printed Book, which will be directed by 
Professor Henri-Jean Martin, Ecole Nationale des Chartes, from June 23 to 
August 1, 1986. 

Beginning in the late Middle Ages with the transition from the manuscript to the 
printed book, the institute will analyze the changing relationship between the book 
as a material object and its socio-cultural context through the eighteenth century. 
Topics will include: identities of and interactions between printers, publishers, 
and readers; the impact of the Government and the Church on the history of the 
book; methods of production; the relationship between text and image; and the his- 
tory of libraries. The course will be taught in French and will focus on France, but 
comparative materials from other western European countries will be introduced. 

There are two sources of support available for participants in the institute: (1) 
stipends of up to $2,250 funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities 
and limited to full-time faculty, including university librarians with instructional 
responsibilities, employed in American institutions of higher learning, and (2) a 
number of additional stipends limited to faculty, research scholars and advanced 
graduate students at institutions affiliated with either the Newberry library Center 
for Renaissance Studies or the Folger Institute of Renaissance and Eighteenth- 
Century Studies. 

Faculty, qualified graduate students, and unaffiUated scholars not eligible for 
funding are welcome to apply. The application deadline is March 1, 1986. For 
more information and application forms, please contact the Newberry Library 
Center for Renaissance Studies, 60 W. Walton Street, Chicago, IL 60610, 

Call for Papers 

The Centre for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, S.U.N.Y. at Bingham- 
ton will hold its twentieth annual conference October 17-18,1 986. The topic will 
be "The Classics in the Middle Ages." The conference, which will mark the 20th 
anniversary of the founding of the Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance 
Studies at SUNY-Binghamton, will examine the influences exerted by the classi- 
cal heritage on medieval life and culture from the earliest centuries to about 1400, 
including a variety of fields extending from literature and the arts to the sciences, 
social sciences, philosophy, education, theology /mysticism/spirituality, and 

For the variously topically organized sessions the Center for Medieval and 
Early Renaissance Studies cordially invites scholars to submit short papers (20-30 
minutes) for consideration. The Center welcomes submissions from the various 
fields of medieval culture noted above. Although abstracts will be considered, 
completed papers will be given priority over them. Submissions must arrive by 
May 19, 1986. The final program for the conference will appear in September, 
1986. Please submit all inquiries, papers, abstracts, and suggestions to the Con- 
ference Coordinators: Professors Aldo S. Bernardo and Saul Levin, 1986 Con- 
ference Coordinators, Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, State 

234 / Renaissance and Reformation 

University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, New York, 1 3901 , 
(607) 798-2730 or 798-2130. 

Italianist Conference 

The American Association for Italian Studies will be holding its Sixth 
Annual Conference at the University of Toronto on April 1 1-13, 1986. 

The following sessions on topics of interest to Renaissance specialists 
will be offered: Italian influence on Medieval and Renaissance English 
Hterature; Sex and sexuality from the Middle Ages to the Baroque; Icono- 
graphy and Typology in Medieval and Renaissance Art; Machiavelli; 
Teatro e critica testuale nel Cinquecento; Letteratura cavalleresca dal 
Medioevo al Rinascmiento; Petrarchism and antipetrarchism in the Re- 
naissance; Travellers to Italy and Italian travellers of the Renaissance; 
The Donna/Poeta of the Italian Renaissance: From Courtesan to Saint; 
Bandello and the short story tradition in Italy. 

For further information contact the conference organizers. Prof. Giuliana 
Katz and Domenico Pietropaolo, AAIS 1986, Italian Studies, U of 
Toronto, Toronto, Ont, M5S lAl. 






New Series, Vol. IX, No. 4 | AaA Nouvelle Série, Vol. IX, No. 4 

Old Series, Vol. XXI, No. 4 ^ ^ VM^--' Ancienne Série, Vol. XXI, No. 4 

November 1985 novembre 

Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Réforme is published quarterly (February, May, \ 
August, and November); paraît quatre fois l'an (février, mai, août, et novembre). ■ 

© Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies / Société Canadienne d'Etudes de la Renaissance i 

(CSRS / SCER) j 

North Central Conference of the Renaissance Society of America (NCC) ' 

Pacific Northwest Renaissance Conference (PNWRC) \ 

Toronto Renaissance and Reformation Colloquium (TRRC) \ 

Victoria University Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies (CRRS). 1985. \ 

Editor I 

Kenneth Bartlett , 

Directeur Adjoint i 

Claude Sutto (Université de Montréal) : 

Associate Editor 
Glenn Loney 

Book Review Editor i 

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Peter G. Bietenholz (Saskatchewan) F.D. Hoeniger (Toronto) 

Paul Chavy (Dalhousie) Elaine Limbrick (U. of Victoria) i 

Jean Delumeau (Collège de France) Robert Omstein (Case Western Reserve) \ 

S.K. Heninger (North Carolina) Charles Trinkaus (Michigan) I 

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New Series, Vol. IX, No. 4 
Old Series, Vol. XXI, No. 4 

Nouvelle Série, Vol. IX, No. 4 
1985 Ancienne Série, Vol. XXI, No. 4 

Contents / Sommaire 



"Men that are Safe, And Sure": 

Jonson's "Tribe of Ben" Epistle in its Patronage Context 

by Robert C. Evans 


L'écriture de l'échange économique dans les Regrets de du Bellay 

par François Paré 

The Rhetoric of Deviation in Lorenzo Valla's The Profession of the Religious 

by Olga Z. Pugliese 



Alexander Brome, Poems, ed. Roman R. Dubinski 

reviewed by Raymond A. Anselment 


I David Quint, Origin and Originality in Renaissance Literature: 
Versions of the Source 
reviewed by Philip R Berk 
Charles Trinkaus, The Scope of Renaissance Humanism 
reviewed by John D'Amico 
Umanesimo a Roma ne Quattrocento, ed. Paolo Brezzi and Maristella Lorch 
reviewed by Kenneth R. Bartlett 


284 ' 

William F. Hansen, Saxo Grammaticus and the Life of Hamlet: \ 

A Translation, History, and Commentary ' 

reviewed by John Reibetanz \ 

286 I 

Kevin Brownlee, Poetic Identity in Guillaume de Machaut \ 
compte rendu par John Hare 

289 I 

Mark U. Edwards, Jr., Luther's Last Battles: Politics and Polemics, 1531-46 | 

reviewed by James M. Estes I 

291 1 
Franco Catalano, Francesco Sforza 

reviewed by Paula Clarke ! 

294 I 
John F. D'Amico, Renaissance Humanism in Papal Rome: 

Humanists and Churchmen on the Eve of the Reformation \ 

reviewed by Thomas Deutscher À 

296 i 
Terry G. Sherwood, Fulfilling the Circle: A Study of John Donne's Thought i 
reviewed by Jeanne Shami 


Ronald Hutton, The Royalist War Effort, 1642 - 1646 | 

reviewed by Michael G. Finnlayson ! 


Maryann Cale McGuire, Milton 's Puritan Masque, 

and William B. Hunter, Jr., Milton's Comus: Family Piece 

reviewed by Paul Stevens ; 

305 ; 

Diana Benet, Secretary of Praise: The Poetic Vocation of George Herbert, 

and Richard Strier, Love Known: 

Theology and Experience in George Herbert's Poetry 

reviewed by Daniel W. Doerksen i 


308 i 

William Camden, Remains Concerning Britain \ 

reviewed by James P. Carley ^ 



"Men That Are Safe, And Sure" 
Jonson's 'Tribe of Ben" Epistle 
in its Patronage Context 


Nearly every poet of the English Renaissance, it might be argued, was a 
patronage poet in some sense, because every poet was touched in some 
way by the system of patronage relationships so central to the social struc- 
ture, literary culture, and general psychology of that period. Literary pa- 
tronage was far more than a system of economic benefits or of conventional 
social deference; it reflected in one sphere of life the patterns of thinking, 
expectation, and behavior that helped define Tudor- Stuart culture as a 
whole. Even poets who never sought monetary reward for their writing 
were nonetheless caught up in the patronage system - a system that trans- 
lated into practical terms (however imperfectly) the larger hierarchical 
assumptions of the time. Every poet had his place in the social hierarchy; 
every writer knew that his most important audience consisted not of the 
"public at large," but of those social superiors, influential equals, and wary 
competitors whose actions and attitudes would determine both the recep- 
tion of his works and his own social standing. Whether he sought literary 
renown or a secure place and sense of participation in social reality or both, 
every author knew that his writings constituted one very important aspect 
of his total self-presentation. Every poem was in some sense an implicit 
advertisement for or statement about the writer who created it, and every 
poem would be scrutinized and evaluated at least partly in those terms by 
readers who could in some way affect one's rank or reputation. The 
"micro-political" pressures inherent in this literary system almost in- 
evitably contributed to the artistic complexity of the poems the system 
helped generate.^ 

The works and careers of few other poets better illustrate the complex 
literary impact of patronage than do Ben Jonson's. Although not a pa- 
tronage poet in the same ways that Sidney, Spenser, Donne, or Shake- 
speare were, Jonson can in many respects be seen as the quintessential 

236 / Renaissance and Reformation 

patronage poet of his time. Certainly he was one of the most successful. No 
other poet defined himself so explicitly as a poet and won such widespread 
acceptance and support on those terms from patrons as Jonson did. Sidney's 
social influence was chiefly inherited; Spenser's promotions were due as 
much to political service as to literary achievement; Donne won patronage 
less as a poet than as a divine; and Shakespeare, although a patronage poet 
in ways that have not yet been fully charted, wrote neither as obviously nor 
perhaps as self-consciously for patrons as Jonson did. Jonson' s patronage 
success did not come immediately or easily, and one of the dangers of 
emphasizing his success is that it is much easier for us than it ever was for 
him to take that success for granted. The inevitable, inherent uncertainty 
and insecurity of his relations with his patrons, combined with the fact and 
the prospect of continuous competition for patronage support, made Jon- 
son a far less secure and self-confident poet than he wanted to be and to 
seem. The lofty certitude that so often characterizes his tone is at least in 
part strategic: it provides a means of coping with anxieties central to his 
experience as a writer dependent on patronage. In one way or another, 
every period of his life and every poem he wrote seems to have been 
touched by these kinds of uncertainty and apprehension. 

In one of his most famous poems, written near the height of his career, 
Jonson betrays the anxiety and apprehension that patronage dependency 
and competition bred within him. "An Epistle Answering to One that 
Asked to be Sealed of the Tribe of Ben" not only lashes out at Jonson's 
antagonists and competitors for status, but expresses deep misgivings 
about the good will and reliability of those superiors on whom his con- 
tinued status depended. Depicting God and even Jonson himself as exem- 
plary patrons, it thereby implicitly rebukes the superiors who he felt had 
failed him, while also offering them models to emulate in their own conduct 
towards him. It is a poem full of fury and claims to self-sufficiency, but one 
that also exposes in an especially memorable way the fundamental in- 
security of his position. 

The "Tribe of Ben" epistle comes near the end of a period of seemingly 
unparalleled success for the poet. Even before the folio publication of his 
Workes in 1 6 1 6, Jonson had achieved a kind of prominence he could only 
have dreamed of in his younger days. His decision to bring out an elaborate 
edition of his poems, plays, and masques - the first of its kind in England- 
was in one sense the daring act it is often pictured as being. No poet before, 
particularly no dramatic poet, had ever presented himself in print quite so 
audaciously. Yet it is unlikely that the Folio would ever have been 
published had not Jonson - and, more to the point, his printer - been suf- 
ficiently confident that it would find a market among those who could 
afford to pay for it. The Folio is only the most palpable sign that by the 
second decade of James's reign Jonson had won a literally enviable status 

Renaissance et Réforme / 237 

in the Jacobean social and literary hierarchy. 

In the same year the Folio was published Jonson was granted an annuity 
of 1 00 marks by the King, and in the following year was one of a number of 
figures listed as possible members of a proposed royal academy. In 1618 
he attempted to use his influence at court on behalf of his friend John 
Selden, whose book on The Historié ofTythes had provoked the anger of 
powerful clerics. During his famous walking tour of Scotland, Jonson was 
banqueted and honored by the "noblemen and gentlemen" of the north, 
and not long after his return to England was made honorary Master of Arts 
by Oxford University. Throughout this whole period Jonson produced a 
steady stream of masques for the court, and his income from these, com- 
bined with his annuity and incidental patronage, freed him from any 
necessity to write for the stage. Between 1616 and 1 626 no new play of his 
was performed. However, one of his masques - The Gypsies Meta- 
morphosed - proved so popular with the King that it was presented three 
times during the late summer and early autumn of 1621. One contem- 
porary report suggested that Jonson' s annual pension had been increased 
from a hundred marks to a hundred pounds. Another claimed that James 
had intended to bestow a knighthood on the poet, concluding ambiguously 
that "his majesty would have done it, had there not been means made (him- 
self not unwilling) to avoid it." In the fall of 1621 Jonson was granted the 
reversion to the office of Master of Revels, an honour that brought with it 
little immediate financial advantage but that was certainly a sign of the 
monarch's favour. Thus it may seem surprising to find him, probably less 
than two years later, writing a poem as full of insecurity, bitterness, and 
grim foreboding about his standing at court as "The Tribe of Ben" 

In part the mood and tone of the work reflect a very specific and recent 
disappointment. Early in 1623 Prince Charles and George Villiers, Mar- 
quess of Buckingham (the dashing royal favourite) slipped secretly out of 
London, disguised with false beards and traveling under the improbable 
names of Jack and Tom Smith. They journeyed only as far as Canterbury 
before being stopped by officials suspicious of their appearance and be- 
haviour; revealing their true identities, they were allowed to continue to 
Dover, and from there set sail for the Continent. Charles had concocted the 
journey to expedite stalled negotiations for his marriage to the Spanish 
Infanta. By visiting Madrid himself he hoped to conclude an agreement 
quickly and, within a few months, bring his bride back to England with him. 
The plan was full of risks, and at first James had been reluctant to approve 
it. The marriage negotiations involved delicate questions of domestic 
politics and international diplomacy. The Infanta's Catholicism meant 
that a Papal dispensation permitting the marriage would be required, and 
both Rome and Madrid seized upon the opportunity to haggle about the 

238 / Renaissance and Reformation 

rights of English CathoHcs. To complicate matters further, Spain in 1620 
had invaded the Palatinate, ruled by the Protestant Elector Frederick V. 
As a fellow Protestant prince, James was under some pressure to come to 
Frederick's assistance; as Frederick's father-in-law his obligation seemed 
to many even more obvious. Yet James hesitated, partly because he held 
Frederick somewhat responsible for his own predicament, partly because 
he hoped to play a central role in negotiating a settlement. The Spaniards, 
meanwhile, had done everything possible to prolong the marriage talks, 
thereby neutralizing James's ability to act on Frederick's behalf. Frustra- 
tion with the King's inertia had been building among the English Protes- 
tants, and popular opposition to the proposed match with the Infanta had 
been growing. Into this quagmire, at some risk to his own reputation and 
personal safety, stepped Charles.^ 

At first, surprisingly, all seemed to go well. Charles and Buckingham 
were received enthusiastically in Madrid, and the prospects for an early 
agreement brightened. The Papal dispensation, so long delayed, was now 
rumored to be imminent, and by early summer James began making offi- 
cial preparations for a joyous arrival of Charles and his Infanta in England. 
On 14 June John Chamberlain wrote to his correspondent Dudley Car- 
leton that 

On Whitsun Monday the duke of Richmond, Lord Treasurer, Marques 
Hamilton, Lord Chamberlain, Lord Marshall, Lord of Carlile, Lord Belfast, 
and Master Treasurer tooke their joumy towards Southampton to take order 
for the reception of the Infanta when she shall arrive, for lodging her and her 
traine, for mending the high wayes and for shewes and pageants, to which pur- 
pose Innigo Jones and Allen the old player went along with them, who alone 
(with two or three herbingers and such like officers) might have performed all 
this as well as so many prime counsaillors, but that we must show how diligent 
and obsequious we are in any thing that concerns her . . .* 

Jonson's old rival Jones had already been very much involved in prepar- 
ing for the Infanta's arrival. In his capacity as Surveyor he had been com- 
missioned to design and supervise the construction of two new chapels for 
her use, and while in Southampton he received the added honour of being 
elected a burgess of that town. Jonson, on the other hand - whether inad- 
vertently or deliberately - seems to have been completely forgotten. Stung 
by this neglect, outraged and threatened by his rival's conspicuous suc- 
cess, Jonson responded passionately in the "Epistle." In the firsthalfof the 
poem his satire on Jones is indirect and allusive, but no less scathing 
for that: 

Renaissance et Réforme / 239 


Men that are safe, and sure, in all they doe. 

Care not what trials they are put unto; 
They meet the fire, the Test, as Martyrs would; 

And though Opinion stampe them not, are gold. 
I could say more of such, but that I flie 5 

To speake my selfe out too ambitiously. 
And shewing so weake an Act to vulgar eyes. 

Put conscience and my right to compromise. 
Let those that meerely talke, and never thinke, 

That live in the wild Anarchie of Drinke, 10 

Subject to quarrell only; or else such 

As make it their proficiencie, how much 
They'[h]ave glutted in, and letcher'd out that weeke, 

That never yet did friend, or friendship seeke 
But for a Sealing: let these men protest. 15 

Or th'other on their borders, that will jeast 
On all Soûles that are absent; even the dead; 

Like flies, or wormes, which mans corrupt parts fed: 
That to speake well, thinke it above all sinne. 

Of any Companie but that they are in, 20 

Call every night to Supper in these fitts. 

And are received for the Covey of Witts; 
That censure all the Towne, and all th'affaires. 

And know whose ignorance is more than theirs; 
Let these men have their wayes, and take their times 25 

To vent their Libels, and to issue rimes, 
I have no portion in them, nor their deale 

Of newes they get, to strew out the long meale, 
I studie other friendships, and more one. 

Then these can ever be; or else wish none. ' 30 

The effect of the poem's title and of its very opening lines is difficult to 
describe; in them, Jonson concocts an almost unassailable blend of self- 
assertion and humility, a kind of modest pride. In one sense the title's bibli- 
cal allusion is seriously meant: Jonson does present himself and his 
followers as righteous men uncontaminated by the corruption around 
them. Just as members of the tribe of Benjamin are preserved from the 
wrath of God in the Book of Revelation, so Jonson suggests that the virtues 
he and his "sons" adhere to will be ultimately, if not immediately, rewar- 
ded. The allusion has the effect not only of enhancing Jonson' s moral posi- 
tion, but of intimidating his antagonists, indirectly reminding them of one 
fate that may await them if they continue their vicious practices. Yet this 
biblical reference, and the ensuing imagery of martyrdom, might seem 
overweening, overblown, perhaps even blasphemous, if it were not qual- 
ified by a hint of self-conscious and humorous irony. In this poem as in 


240 / Renaissance and Reformation 

others by Jonson, irony is more than simply an aesthetic effect; it is a 
micro-political tactic rooted in the poem's status as self-conscious social 
performance. Jonson likens the rejection he has suffered to a "trial" that 
tests his mettle, and yet he also knew that this poem - his response to that 
rejection - was itself a kind of trial, a public testing and carefully scru- 
tinized public display of his resiliency and strength under pressure. The 
"Epistle" is an "answer" in a larger sense than its title implies. 

The mere fact that Jonson refers to himself as "Ben" helps undercut any 
sense of pretension or unlimited pride. Again and again in his later poetry 
he used the "Ben" persona in this self-mocking fashion - neutralizing 
potential criticism, turning his foibles and shortcomings to his own advan- 
tage, presenting himself as a lovable figure distanced from competitive 
ambition.^ Indeed, the "Ben" persona is fundamentally paradoxical. On 
one level it reflects Jonson's sense of himself as a prominent public figure, 
as a personality interesting in his own right and not simply because of his 
writing. In this sense the persona suggests Jonson's recognized social stature 
and his confident acceptance of it. But in another sense the "Ben" persona 
reflects the inevitable insecurity of his position; its function is partly defen- 
sive. It deflects potential attack, and the good humour it implies and evokes 
is one tactic for coping with the essential anxiety of Jonson's condition as a 
courtly poet. The very image of naive ingenuousness the persona conjures 
up must to some extent have been self-consciously cultivated; in any event, 
Jonson knew when and how to employ it effectively. In this poem its use, 
combined with the somewhat self-mocking assertion that he disdains to 
"speake [himself] out too ambitiously" ( 1 . 6), renders his position nearly 
impregnable to criticism. Charged with sacrilege, he could reply that his 
assailant had taken the bibUcal allusion much more seriously than it had 
been meant; accused of pride, he could respond that he had himself openly 
poked fun at this very tendency. The humour of the opening lines is one of 
the most effective means by which he simultaneously implies, creates, 
asserts, and defends his social power. 

Although Jonson claims to disdain speaking ambitiously because to do 
so would violate his conscience and compromise his sense of right, he also 
indicates that to do so would be an act of weakness - one, presumably, that 
could easily be exploited by his enemies. His modesty here may be adopted 
not only or even necessarily because he finds it congenial, but also because 
to assert himself too vigorously might ultimately be ineffective, allowing 
his antagonists to take advantage of his rhetoric and use it against him. 
Indeed, throughout his career Jonson exhibits an obsessive concern with 
controlling his words, with authorizing them and imposing on them a 
signification that cannot be misconstrued. The dedications, prologues, and 
inductions to his plays, the marginalia to his masques, the self-conscious 
voice so common in his poems - all these suggest a need to control and con- 


Renaissance et Réforme / 241 

tain the meaning of his words. For all his belief in the power of right 
language to reform society and move men to virtue (one of his chief jus- 
tifications for practising poetry), Jonson also feared words. Or rather, he 
feared the very ambiguity of language that is often at the heart of his best 
poetry and that he exploited so effectively to enhance his own social status. 
The ambiguity of language was both a source of his power and the potential 
cause of its loss. For Jonson, language was not an abstract issue: losing 
control of one's words meant losing social security. And in fact, it is not so 
much language that he fears as it is the ignorance or malignity of his inter- 
preters. Language itself is neutral, but its meanings can be appropriated, 
stolen, re-assigned, or misinterpreted by others intent on promoting them- 
selves. More than a tool for communication, language becomes a weapon 
in the struggle for power. 

Jonson's expressed need not to seem to speak "too ambitiously" sug- 
gests just one of the ways in which his dependent status encouraged linguis- 
tic subtlety and indirection: self-promotion that was too obvious might also 
be ineffective and vulnerable. Blatant ambition could prove self-defeating. 
Seeming to seek too desperately the approval of others would make their 
approval less likely; it would reveal weakness, and weakness would breed 
weakness by making one less attractive as a friend, dependent, or mentor. 
Obvious or excessive ambition would make one appear too self-centered to 
be a reliable ally or trustworthy client. To realize his ambitions, Jonson 
had partly to disclaim them; to secure his power, he had partly to distance 
himself from the obvious desire for it. His references to "conscience" and 
"right" (1.8) themselves function tactically; by making him appear com- 
mitted to values higher than the merely political, they advance his political 
interests. By suggesting his self-respect and self-confidence, they solicit 
the respect he craved from others. His appeal to internal standards of 
motive and conduct helps strengthen his external standing. His public 
avowal that he acts not to promote his social self-interests but in accord- 
ance with his conscience functions, paradoxically, to ensure that those 
same interests are advanced. 

Indeed, the distinction the poem attempts to draw between individual 
values and social ambition is for all practical purposes exceedingly dif- 
ficult to sustain. However much Jonson may speak of safety and surety as 
character traits or personal attributes, their value for him derives precisely 
from the fact that his social safety and surety have been threatened. And 
yet Jonson knew that his safeness and sureness could not be defined purely 
internally, as a reflection of his own personality, but that they inevitably 
depended to a large extent on the reactions of others. The "Epistle" seeks 
to shape and guide those reactions - but it does so, ironically, partly by 
claiming indifference to them. The very pose of independence Jonson 
adopts in the opening lines is itself part of his strategy for winning accep- 

242 / Renaissance and Reformation 

tance, although it functions also as a pre-emptive tactic for dealing with the 
possibility of continued rejection. His contempt for "Opinion" (1.4) can- 
not disguise his fear of it, and although he opens the poem by claiming his 
indifference to political insecurity, the "Epistle" is in fact an attempt to 
respond to and cope with his unease. Proclaiming his allegiance to safety 
and surety as personal values is thus in one sense a private consolation for 
social disappointment; at the same time, though, it serves publicly to assert 
Jonson's sense of his own social worth. As he implicitly concedes, the 
question can only be one of appearing to speak too ambitiously, not of free- 
ing oneself from ambition completely. Although he claims that he will not 
compromise his conscience, the whole poem is an attempt to find a suitable 
compromise between adherence to a personal standard of individual integ- 
rity and the need to make and defend a place for oneself in the world. 

Jonson's professed modesty and concern with conscience, his ostensible 
submission to a higher ideal of right, are meant to stand in clear contrast to 
the ensuing description of the behaviour of those he attacks. In refusing to 
speak himself out too ambitiously, he had used silence as a means of 
intimating a worth it would have been boastful to proclaim in detail. His 
satire aims to point up part of the difference between himself and his 
unspecified targets precisely by emphasizing their egotistic, self-promotional 
uses of language. He argues implicitly for the quality of his own words - 
and word - by accusing his antagonists of vacuous talk, empty protests, 
hypocritical praise, and self- serving satire. By mocking those "that meerely 
talke, and never thinke" (1.9), Jonson implies that his own use of words is 
closely wedded to reasonable thought, but the phrase also reminds us of 
other senses in which his language is "thoughtful" - the senses in which it is 
self-conscious, guarded, and politic. Earlier in the same year this poem 
was written, Jonson had provoked displeasure precisely by being insuf- 
ficiently cautious in his use of language: he had exploited the public genre 
of the court masque for personal satire on the poet George Wither.^ Many 
of those who first read Jonson's epistle may therefore have glimpsed unin- 
tended irony in his attack on others for presuming to "censure all the 
Towne, and all th' affaires, / And know whose ignorance is more than 
theirs" (11. 23-24), while anyone who recognized the subtly specific 
attack on Inigo Jones buried beneath the ostensibly generalized satire of 
this section may have smiled at Jonson's reference to those who "vent their 
Libels, and . . . issue rimes" (1. 26). Perhaps he felt that the best way to 
distance himself from such imputations was to allege them openly against 

Clearly, what bothers Jonson about those he attacks is not only their 
moral failings considered in the abstract, but their success - the fact that, 
despite shortcomings he regards as painfully obvious, they remain menac- 
ing competitors for social prestige and advancement. At first it might seem 

Renaissance et Réforme / 243 

that his targets are beneath the need to be attacked; he describes them as 
apparently inconsequential drunkards and philanderers (11. 9-15). Far 
more threatening, however, are those "received for the Covey of Witts" ( 1 . 
22). Indeed, the threat they pose is the direct result of their reception, their 
social acceptance and recognition. Their power is no more independent of 
society than his, and in fact the real purpose of his satire seems less to 
denigrate them than to influence the perceptions of those who grant them 
status. Despite all his disdain for "Opinion," his poem functions on one 
level precisely as an attempt to shape and direct it. Although reading Jon- 
son's "Epistle" in this way may seem to locate its roots in the poet's 
"selfishness," from another perspective such a reading helps illustrate how 
utterly and inescapably social his concerns necessarily were. 

The "Covey of Witts" Jonson attacks stands in direct opposition to the 
"Tribe of Ben" that the poem both celebrates and seeks to augment. In this 
sense the "Epistle" seems to have grown out of a kind of factionalism quite 
common in the political and social world of Jonson's day. Like the leader of 
a political faction, he knew that his appeal to others inevitably depended 
partly on his real social power. This is why his failure to be included in the 
commission to greet the Infanta must have seemed variously threatening. 
Because it could be interpreted as a possible sign of his loss of stature and 
influence, it would not only make him more vulnerable to sniping and back- 
biting from the sort of "Witts" he attacks here, but it would also make him 
less attractive as the central figure of an alternative group. Excluded from 
the commission, rejecting and rejected by the rival "Covey," he seems also 
have worried about the potential danger of more general rejection. Indeed, 
in an important passage to be considered later, he describes this fear almost 
as if he imagined a chain- reaction of renunciation ( 11 . 51-55).^ 

Perhaps this is one reason why the request from the unnamed person 
"that asked to be Sealed of the Tribe of Ben" may have seemed so signifi- 
cant, so deserving of an extended and weighty answer. It allowed Jonson to 
advertise the attraction he still held for some, to call attention to the fact 
that he was still drawing allies in spite of his recent disappointment, and 
thus to improve his chances of drawing others into the fold. In the face of his 
exclusion from the welcoming commission, friendships of the sort he 
celebrates here must have seemed all the more important to him, not only 
because of the private consolation they offered, not only because they 
helped shore up his sense of his own social dignity and self-respect, but 
because they increased his chances of regaining whatever power seemed 
jeopardized or lost. Although he attacks the "Covey" for issuing "rimes" 
and for exploiting poetry tactically, his own "Epistle" perfectly exem- 
plifies the tactical use of verse. Generalizing the threat that the "Covey" 
poses (they "censure all the Towne and all th' affaires" [ 1 . 23]), he plays on 
the insecurity of his audience to enhance his own sense of safety. He wants 

244 / Renaissance and Reformation 

his readers to feel threatened by the same fear of exclusion and enmity, in 
order that they might join him in excluding the "Covey." However much 
he may have rejected the "Covey" personally, he realized that personal 
rejection was insufficient: only by influencing others could he exert any 
real effect. 

In the second half of the poem, where Jonson presents more explicitly 
the differences between himself and his satiric targets, the sense of per- 
sonal threat, as well as its connections with patronage concerns, becomes 
more pronounced: 

What is't to me whether the French Désigne 

Be, or be not, to get the Val-tellinel 
Or the States Ships sent forth belike to meet 

Some hopes oîSpaine in their West Indian Fleet? 
Whether the Dispensation yet be sent, 35 

Or that the Match from Spaine was ever meant? 
I wish all well, and pray high heaven conspire 

My Princes safetie, and my Kings desire. 
But if, for honour, we must draw the Sword, 

And force back that, which will not be restor'd, 40 

I have a body, yet, that spirit drawes 

To live, or fall a Carkasse in the cause. 
So farre without inquirie what the States, 

Brunsfield, and Mansfield doe this yeare, my fates 
Shall carry me at Call; and I'le be well, 45 

Though I doe neither heare these newes, nor tell 
OîSpaine or France', or were not prick'd downe one 

Of the late Mysterie of reception. 
Although my Fame, to his, not under-heares. 

That guides the Motions, and directs the beares. 50 

But that's a blow, by which in time I may 

Lose all my credit with my Christmas Clay, 
And animated Po re 7a«e of the Court, 

I, and for this neglect, the courser sort 
Of earthen Jarres, there may molest me too: 55 

Well, with mine owne fraile Pitcher, what to doe 
I have decreed; keepe it from waves, and presse. 

Lest it be justled, crack'd, made nought, or lesse: 
Live to that point I will, for which I am man. 

And dwell as in my Center, as I can, 60 

Still looking to, and ever loving heaven; 

With reverence using all the gifts then[ce] given. 
'Mongst which, if I have any friendships sent. 

Such as are square, wel-tagde, and permanent, 
Not built with Canvasse, paper, and false lights, 65 

As are the Glorious Scenes, at the great sights; 
And that there be no fev'ry heats, nor colds, 

Oylie Expansions, or shrunke durtie folds. 
But all so cleare, and led by reasons flame. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 245 

As but to stumble in her sight were shame; 70 

These I will honour, love, embrace, and serve: 

And free it from all question to preserve. 
So short you read my Character, and theirs 

I would call mine, to which not many Staires 
Are asked to climbe. First give me faith, who know 75 

My selfe a little. I will take you so. 
As you have writ your selfe. Now stand, and then, 

Sir, you are Sealed of the Tribe of Ben. 

The distinction Jonson had earlier attempted to draw between his own 
ostensibly modest use of language and the empty wordiness of his antag- 
onists is reinforced in this section of the poem. Contrasting his plain, stead- 
fast simplicity with their gossipy, self-indulgent speculations, he suggests 
that while his enemies merely talk about political affairs, he is willing to 
demonstrate his loyalty to the King through concrete action. His pose of 
political indifference is not meant to be read as apathetic, but as signalling a 
more fundamental loyalty; he offers his supposed disinterest in day-to-day 
political events as a sign of his fundamental trustworthiness, and in fact the 
whole poem implies that in spite of his disappointments, he is also "safe 
and sure" in the larger sense of being politically reliable. In the summer of 
1623, when the poem was almost certainly written, such a claim was par- 
ticularly significant. Indeed, seen in its immediate historical context, Jon- 
son's pose of political indifference could itself have been read as a political 
- and as a carefully politic - assertion. Many of James's subjects felt at this 
time that the King's policies towards Spain, towards the recovery of the 
Palatinate, and towards the promotion of continental Protestantism were 
too passive; they opposed the marriage negotiations and resisted any move 
towards greater domestic toleration of Catholics. James himself was even 
suspected by some of having secret Catholic sympathies, and in general his 
popularity during this period was not very high. Criticism of government 
policies from Parliament, from the pulpit, and from other sources had 
become such a problem that James attempted through various means to 
constrain and suppress it, annoyed by what he felt was illegitimate med- 
dling with his prerogative and unjustified challenge to his authority.*® 

Seen against this background, Jonson' s claimed indifference to day- to- 
day foreign affairs and his protests of fundamental loyalty to the King are 
particularly intriguing. On the one hand, he seems to behave here as James 
hoped all his subjects would; he seems to distance himself from the kind of 
obsessive, intrusive interest in foreign affairs that so many of his contem- 
poraries displayed and that vexed the King so much. * * Implicitly depicting 
himself as a model subject, he exhibits his trust in James's judgement, 
praying rather generally that "high heaven conspire / My Princes safetie, 
and my Kings desire" (11. 37-38). At the same time, however, his avowed 

246 / Renaissance and Reformation : 


willingness to take up arms in the interests of winning back the Palatinate i 

suggests some genuine sympathy with - or at the very least some prudent | 

deference to - those factions at court and in the country at large who i 

favoured a more vigorous assertion of English power. Indeed, readers of ; 

this persuasion could even have interpreted the poem as subtly endorsing j 

their views, while the King could read it as a straightforward expression of | 

basic loyalty. At the time Jonson probably wrote his poem, it would have \ 
been difficult for anyone to predict with confidence how the marriage 

negotiations would conclude, what policy would eventually be adopted | 

towards the recovery of the Palatinate, or what attitude would finally pre- \ 
vail towards Spain. Jonson's Unes on foreign affairs, while professing indif- 

ference, can in fact be read as intentionally ambiguous, as deliberately j 

vague, as the cautious expression of a mind highly sensitive to the very i 

fluidity of events he claims to have Uttle interest in. His implicit portrait of : 

himself as a loyal subject and as a forthright, wiUing patriot can be seen as ■ 

reflecting an acute political consciousness. His studied indifference to the ] 

detailed exercise of state power stands in intriguing contrast to his obses- | 

sion with micro-political maneuvering, but it nonetheless plays a signifl- ' 

cant tactical role in his efforts at self-promotion. \ 

Aside from any possibly larger political significance, the narrower ; 

implications of Jonson's offer to take up his sword in defense of James's \ 

interests are complex and far-reaching. On the one hand the offer serves to | 

remind his readers of his past bravery on the battlefield; he seems to have ; 

taken pride in his physical prowess - he boasts about it several times to \ 

Drummond - and the image of old Ben sallying forth to wage war against ; 

the King's enemies is potently attractive. ^^ It achieves just the right mixture \ 

of appealing vulnerability and indomitable courage; in the same way that \ 

Jonson implicitly presents himself as an injured but unvanquished victim j 

of domestic antagonists, so he wins further sympathy for his willingness to { 

risk greater injury in selfless service. The image must have appealed to Jon- j 

son especially in its present context because it helps to emphasize, again, j 

the implicit contrast he has been drawing between himself and Inigo Jones j 

specifically. Previous commentators have noted how frequently and pre- j 

cisely Jonson alludes in the first half of this poem to his earlier epigram on I 

"The Townes Honest Man," thus turning his attack on unidentified antag- j 

onists into a skillfully indirect assault on Jones himself It does not seem ' 

to have been pointed out, however, that Jonson's professed willingness ,] 

here to ' ' draw the Sword' ' in the service of his King looks back to a line from '\ 

the eariier poem, where he alleged that the Townes Honest Man would | 

sooner "see its sister naked, ere a sword" ( 1 . 22). Thus Jonson's avowed j 

readiness to risk his life in his monarch's interest not only testifies to his j 

own exemplary loyalty, but also serves to mock Jones's supposed J 

cowardice. I 


Renaissance et Réforme / 247 

Yet Jonson's purpose may have been more than simply to chide his rival. 
His declaration of unflagging loyalty and willingness to serve, his forth- 
right prayer on behalf of his King and Prince, stand in suggestive contrast 
to the neglect or indifference he has suffered in not being "prick'd downe" 
( 1 . 47) to participate in the planned reception of Charles and the Infanta. In 
this as in other ways, Jonson seems to draw subtle attention to James's 
recent shortcomings as a patron, his failure to live up completely to the 
ideal of reciprocity that patronage relations should embody - in a sense, his 
failure fully to merit the devotion that Jonson still selflessly (but publicly) 
pays him. The poem makes it clear, however, that it is not only the neglect 
of his superiors that worries Jonson, but what that neglect might portend 
for his general "credit" at court ( 1 . 52) - a word that nicely conflates con- 
cern for his standing and reputation and, more subtly, for his financial 
security. Since his security to a large extent depended upon the protective 
support and intimidation provided by friendly superiors, any loss of such 
protection left him immediately more exposed. The language Jonson uses 
to depict the imagined consequences of such exposure mixes poetic 
metaphor and blunt realism. He portrays himself as a "fraile Pitcher" that 
must be kept "from waves, and presse; / Lest it be justled, crack'd, made 
nought, or lesse" (11.57-58). The last two verbs seem too abstract to fit the 
metaphor, but in a sense they confront more directly and concretely than 
the earlier language Jonson's real fears of loss and humiliation. Although 
he claims to have "decreed" what to do with himself in order to combat 
those fears (1. 57), this very word, with its overtones of sovereign power, 
reminds us of his real dependence on others. 

Nowhere does Jonson clearly reproach the King for the neglect he feels 
he has suffered, but he does offer examples of other associations between 
superiors and inferiors against which his relationship with James can be 
measured and evaluated. Thus, after detailing the practical hardships he 
fears he is likely to endure as a result of having been slighted, he turns to his 
relationship with God for consolation and comfort. That relationship is 
ideally one of purest reciprocity; to the extent that it falls short of the ideal, 
the fault by definition can only be attributed to the neglect and indifference 
of the suitor, never to any carelessness on the Patron's part. Jonson has 
already reminded his readers through his title that God can be relied upon 
to reward his true servants; here he declares his intention to love heaven 
(and thus merit heaven's love) in part by using "With reverence . . . all the 
gifts then[ce] given" ( 1 . 62). His relationship with God (he implies) gives 
him a sense of internal security, stability, and well-being that his life at 
court and relationship with his earthly King cannot really provide, and to 
which it functions in part as an alternative. Yet God's love and concern for 
his servants also function in the poem as an object lesson for mortal patrons 
- an ideal they can never, of course, really achieve, but ought nevertheless 

248 / Renaissance and Reformation \ 

to aspire towards. The consolation of God's patronage invoked here could, i 
in everyday social terms, be only a partial one for Jonson: he had still to \ 
function and survive in a system far from heavenly perfection. Even his j 
introduction of God into the poem can be seen to have tactical implications \ 
for promoting Jonson' s interests within that system. By invoking the exam- j 
pie of his celestial Patron he simultaneously comforts himself, evinces his ! 
sincerity and displays an attractive integrity, intimidates his antagonists, ; 
and offers the King a model to emulate. ; 

But God is not the only alternative model Jonson offers. In his own i 
relationship with the poetic son who sues for admission into the tribe of ; 
Ben, Jonson himself behaves in ways one might expect of an exemplary \ 
patron. For while he ostensibly addresses his suitor as a friend, it is clear \ 
from the tone of the poem that their relationship is not one between exact \ 
equals. This is not the sort of poem Jonson would have been likely to | 
address to Camden or Selden or Donne. Perhaps because of a difference of | 
age, there is a tone of good-natured dignity, even a touch of formality, in 
those portions of the poem where Jonson most clearly addresses its recip- 
ient. Indeed, the very last lines ("Now stand, and then, / Sir, you are 
Sealed of the Tribe of Ben'') not only pun on the word "stand" to exalt the | 
ideal of ethical stability and moral stasis that is at the heart of so much of 1 
Jonson's laudatory verse, but also call to mind the public act by which a \ 
King might create a new knight. Indeed, the double meaning of "stand" 
suggests, in nicely paradoxical fashion, a kind of firmness and fixity that is 
also a kind of ascent. In the same way that God functions as an alternate 
and in some ways more reliable patron than James, so Jonson's tribe - sup- j 
posedly bound in free, cooperative, yet permanent association - ostensibly j 
functions as an alternative to the world of courtly competition. The ideal of | 
friendship the poem advocates contradicts the very atmosphere in which \ 
Jones allegedly thrives, an atmosphere in which, through the King's neglect | 
or his sudden change of attitude, a loyal servant of the Court need worry ^ 
about losing all his standing there - not only his favour with aristocrats, but 1 
his protection from the machinations of rivals and social equals. | 

The incident that apparently provoked Jonson's poem - his failure to be | 
included in the arrangements for the Infanta's reception - may seem slight j 
in itself, and his reaction to it may seem excessive. But his reaction is all the • 
more intriguing precisely because it is so powerfully and deeply felt. It sug- j 
gests that despite his years of unprecedented success at court - despite his i 
pension, despite his regular and lucrative employment as an author of j 
holiday masques, despite all the other signs of the King's favour- Jonson ! 
never really did (never really could) feel entirely secure about his social j 
status or his future. Indeed, the more closely associated he became with the ; 
court- the more he sought for, won, and accepted its largess and approval - 
the more fmancially and psychologically dependent upon it he became 


Renaissance et Réforme / 249 

The pride he took in his social prominence- as when he boasts in the epistle 
that his fame is at least as great as Jones's - seems to have co-existed with 
an ever-present sense that that prominence was inherently unstable, and 
could vanish overnight. The pension that had been given could be revoked 
or left unpaid, the masque commissions could suddenly halt, old friends 
and patrons could lose interest should the poet - for whatever reasons - 
lose royal favour. All of these losses would involve more than financial 
deprivation, important as that might be to the aging Jonson. They would 
involve, just as significantiy, a loss of social prestige, and would deny the 
poet important forums in which to achieve a sense of public purposefiilness 
and self-validation. Jonson's reaction to the neglect referred to in the 
"Tribe" epistle, then, seems less a reaction to a single incident or event as a 
boiling over of anxieties more deeply felt and more tenaciously rooted. The 
poem suggests in startling and memorable fashion how vulnerable he could 
feel even during a period when he would seem to have enjoyed far more 
security than at any other time in his career, certainly far more than other 
practising poets of his social background. 

It also suggests just how ambivalent his attitude towards the court could 
be - the contempt he could feel for it and for the demands that participating 
in it imposed upon him, and yet his inability (even his reluctance) to break 
free. However much the poem satirizes the court and courtiers, it never 
entirely rejects either. However often the court is described by Jonson and 
by others as an environment of artificiality and pretense, it was also to a 
great degree the centre of social and psychological reality during this 
period; to be cut off or excluded from it was to experience a profound sense 
of alienation- a sense likely to be all the stronger in someone, like Jonson, 
who had tasted its appeals and become accustomed to them. Thus, although 
the epistle speaks of Jonson withdrawing within the circle of himself, this 
very poem is part of an attempt to extend and strengthen the circle of his 
influence. Ostensibly written to approve the admission of a petitioner into 
the "Tribe of Ben," the epistle in another sense constitutes Jonson's 
application for admission (or re-admission) into a larger and more impor- 
tant social grouping. Jonson tells the young man that he approves him "As 
you have writ your selfe" (1. 77) - a clever phrase that suggests the 
possibility of inscribing one's character, of re-presenting one's essence on 
paper, and that thereby implies an ideal that supposedly animates the pre- 
sent poem. In the same way, Jonson seems to hope to be accepted as he pre- 
sents himself (and his self) in the epistie. One of its fiinctions, indeed, is to 
reassert his importance in courtly society- by calling the King's "neglect" 
( 1 . 5 4) to his own and to others' attention, by offering an attractive image of 
the poet, and by embarrassing or attacking actual or potential antagonists. 
The reference to the "Christmas Clay / And animated Pore 7a«e of the 
Court" (11. 52-53), for instance, has the effect not only of satirizing the 


250 / Renaissance and Reformation 

unnamed aristocrats who may already have rejected him, but, perhaps 
more importantly, of intimidating those who might. To reject the poet once 
this satire was circulated might leave one open to the appearance of bearing 
out Jonson's own assessment of the character and motives of his rejectors, 
might make it seem that that assessment was personally applicable to one- 
self. Paradoxically, whatever real social power Jonson's satire possesses 
derives from its subjects' concerns for their own reputations in a courtly 
context. Of course, the satire would exert a different kind of power, a dif- 
ferent sort of appeal to other courtiers, for other reasons: uncomfortable 
with the anxieties, compromises, fears, and inevitable pretense dictated by 
their participation at court, they could, by approving the satire, disinfect 
and distance themselves from a milieu they could never completely reject. 
Moreover, their approval of Jonson's apparently forthright and principled 
allegiance to higher values would provide a means of characterizing them- 
selves and of promoting their own images and competitive interests. 

The "Tribe of Ben" epistle is fascinating precisely because it is written 
near the apparent height of Jonson's career. Reminiscent, in the profound 
sense of insecurity it conveys, of the much earlier epistle to the Countess of 
Rutland (Forrest, XII), which had been composed more than twenty years 
before, the poem suggests that the competitive tensions Jonson felt then, 
when he was just beginning as a patronage poet, had neither disappeared 
nor diminished with time. In this poem as in that one, Jonson seems to be 
bothered less by the success of his rival than by the neglect that fact seems 
to suggest on the patron's part. Jonson knew that Jones was no threat to him 
unless the King - inadvertently or deliberately - allowed the threat to exist, 
and while in both poems his frustration is most obviously directed at his 
rival, there is in both an undercurrent of disappointment with his benefac- 
tors. In each poem there seems an implicit sense of betrayal, as if Jonson 
feels he deserves better treatment from his superiors than he has received. 
Paradoxically, while Jonson could infalUbly depend upon the hostility and 
ill-will of his rivals, he could be much less reliably certain of the motives or 
continuing encouragement of his patrons. Any apparent lack of considera- 
tion on their parts, however innocent or unintentional, could seem far more 
worrisome than the machinations of an antagonist. Jonson seems to have 
been less afraid of his rivals than of the effects they might have on his stand- 
ing with his patrons. 

In the "Tribe of Ben" epistle, Jonson's relationship with his unnamed 
young friend - who symbolizes, partly because he is unnamed, all of the 
poet's virtuous friends - ostensibly functions as an alternative to the highly 
competitive, highly insecure world of the court. Jonson's poems praising 
friends and friendship supposedly celebrate relations rooted not in power 
or self-concern but in shared ideals, shared assurance, and mutual regard. 
Yet he Tealized that the support of his friends was not enough, that the re- 


Renaissance et Réforme / 25 1 

spect accorded him by other writers and intellectuals was insufficient to 
promote and protect the kind of career and standing he desired. Indeed, as 
analysis of the "Tribe of Ben" epistle has already suggested, even Jonson's 
poems to friends cannot be entirely divorced from patronage concerns. 
The mere fact that friendship could be an alternative to and relief from 
courtly competition is itself significant. But in addition, Jonson's poems to 
friends are often poems to friends who, because of their own influence or 
influential connections, could help promote his social advancement. It 
may seem cynical to point this out, although no cynicism is intended. Nor 
does the fact imply anything in particular about Jonson's own conscious 
intentions, which obviously we cannot know for certain. That he not only 
probably cared deeply and genuinely for his friends but also found his 
friendships variously useful is, after all, neither very startUng nor unique. It 
is the attempt to make human relationships seem less complicated than 
they are - to idealize and thus simplify them - that helps prevent a more 
truly comprehensive analysis of Jonson's works. But it is also this very 
instinct that suggests the need for and legitimacy of such analysis. 

Whether or not all the friends Jonson addressed were in a position to 
help him, the more important fact remains that any poem he wrote ftinc- 
tioned inevitably as self-presentation and therefore potentially as self- 
promotion. His poems to friends, like his poems to patrons, allow him to 
present to the world an attractive image for inspection and approval. When 
he writes a poem attacking courtly corruption and asserting his own Stoic 
independence, he fashions an image for himself no less than when he extols 
the wonders of the King. He could never stand entirely separate from the 
appeal and power of the court, from the dangers of competition or from the 
desire for prestige. All his poems suggest- at one level or another- aspects 
of his involvement in the contemporary patronage system. 

Auburn University at Montgomery 


I thank the Whiting Foundation, the Newberry Library, and the American Council of Learned 
Societies / National Endowment for the Humanities for fellowships in support of my research. 

1 Throughout this paf>er, I use "patronage" as an adjective, as in "patronage poet." Although some- 
what awkward, this usage seems preferable not only to "poet dependent on patronage" but also to 
"patronized poet," both of which stress economic dependency in a way that simplifies the true 
complexity of patronage relations. 

On literary patronage in the English Renaissance, see, for instance, Phoebe Sheavyn, The 
Literary Profession in the Elizabethan Age, ed. J. W. Saunders, 2nd ed. (New York: Barnes and 
Noble, 1967) or Daniel Javitch, Poetry and Courtliness in Renaissance England (Princeton: 
Princeton Univ. Press, 1978). The recent interdisciplinary collection of papers on Patronage in 
the Renaissance, ed. Guy Fitch Lytle and Stephen Orgel (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 
1981), not only suggests the pervasiveness of patronage relations but also surveys much of the best 
recent or relevant scholarship. On political patronage a good short treatment remains the article by 

252 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Wallace T. MacCafFrey, "Place and Patronage in Elizabethan Politics," m Elizabethan Govern- 
ment and Society: Essays Presented to Sir John Neale, ed. S. T. Bindoff, et al. (London: Univ. of 
London, The Athlone Press, 1961), pp. 95-126. See also Linda Levy Peck, Northampton: 
Patronage and Policy at the Court of James I (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1 982), and in 
particular the first chapter of Conrad Russell's Parliaments and English Politics. 1621-1629 
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979). A fine sense of the comprehensiveness of artistic patronage is 
communicated by James N. O'Neill, "Queen Elizabeth I as Patron of the Arts," Diss. Univ. of 
Virginia, 1 966. On music see, for example, David C. Price, Parro/i5 and Musicians of the English 
Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1981); on painting, William Gaunt, Court 
Painting in England from Tudor to Victorian Hmej (London: Constable, 1980). One of the finest 
treatments of church patronage remains Christopher Hill's Economic Problems of the Church 
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956). 

On more general issues of power and literature in the Renaissance, see for instance Stephen 
Greenblatt, Renaissance Self-Fashioning (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1980); Jonathan 
Goldberg, James I and the Politics of Literature (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1983); 
and Jonathan DoWïmotQ, Radical Tragedy (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1984). Althou^ 
my approach to some of the issues dealt with in these books often differs in significant ways from the 
approaches taken there, all have proven stimulating in various ways. For further discussion of 
these general questions, see for instance various recent essays by Louis Adrian Montrose, a nmn- 
ber of essays published in recent issues of the journal Representations, several of the essays 
included in the Spring 1983 issue oiNew Literary History, and the collection of essays edited by 
Stephen Greenblatt, The Power of Forms in the Renaissance (Norman, OK: Pilgrim Books, 
1 982). An exceptionally provocative discussion of the place of the poet in the EngUsh Renaissance 
is offered by Richard Helgerson in his hooV. Self-Crowned Laureates (Berkeley: Univ. of Califor- 
nia Press, 1 983). Although Helgerson devotes a chapter to Jonson, most of his attention is focused 
on the dramas, and the issue of patronage is a significant but not a central concern of the book. Don 
E. Wayne offers a highly focused but broadly suggestive study of the connections between poetry 
and power in Jonson's work in Penshurst: The Semiotics of Place and the Poetics of History 
(Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1 984). 

On connections between patronage, patriarchy, and the broader world view, see for instance 
Peter Laslett's The World We Have Lost, 2nd ed. (New York: Scribner's, 1971), especially the 
first chapter. See also Gordon J. Schochet, Patriarchalism in Political Thought: The Authori- 
tarian Family and Political Speculation and Attitudes Especially in Seventeenth Century 
England (New York: Basic Books, 1975), esp. pp. 54-84. Ann Jennalie Cook usefully sum- 
marizes a great deal of pertinent sociological information in her study The Privileged Playgoers of 
Shakespeare's London, 1576-1642 (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1981). See also Keith 
Wrightson, £'«^/w/i Society 1580- 1680 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1982). 
On this period of Jonson's life, see the biographical discussion included in the standard edition of 
his works, Ben Jonson, ed. C. H. Herford and Percy and Evelyn Simpson, 11 vols. (Oxford: 
Clarendon, 1925-52), I, 86-88. All subsequent references to Jonson's works are to this edition, 
cited by title, volume, and page number. 

On the report (by John Chamberlain) that Jonson's pension had been increased to £100, seeBen 
Jonson , X, 6 1 4. The figure mentioned in N. E. McClure's edition of Chamberlain's letters is in fact 
£200 {The Letters of John Chamberlain [Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1939] 
II, 404), and the same figure is cited in the DNB. The DIVB reports the figure, indeed, as a matter of 
fact; but stronger evidence suggests that Jonson's pension was not increased from 100 marks until 
1630 {see Ben Jonson, 1, 96; 245-48). Still, the fact that such rumors were circulating about Jon- 
son's good fortune is itself revealing. Jonson does seem to have been paid the generous sum of £ 1 00 
by Buckingham for The Gypsies Metamorphosed (see Ben Jonson, X, 612-13). 

The evidence concerning Jonson's near-knighthood is open to different interpretations. The only 
report of the possibility occurs in a letter from the Reverend Joseph Mead to Sir Martin Stuteville 
dated 1 5 September 1 62 1 . The relevant passage reads: "A friend told me, this fair-time, that Ben 
Jonson was not knighted, but escaped it narrowly, for that his majesty would have done it, had not 
there been means made (himself not unwilling) to avoid it." See The Court and Times of James 
the First, ed. Thomas Birch (London: H. Colbum, 1849), II, 275. Herford and the Simpsons, in 
reporting the incident, comment that the "king's favours were apt to compromise the dignity of the 

Renaissance et Réforme / 253 

recipients. Jonson's dignity, when he stood by it, was not easily compromised . . . "{BenJonson,!, 
87). It is unclear why Jonson, who so sedulously pursued other forms of patronage, would have 
sought to avoid a knighthood. Perhaps he felt that the worth of the honour had been cheapened; a 
passage in Eastward Ho! that mocks the trafficking in titles during the Jacobean period, for 
instance, jokes about "thirty pound knights" (Ben Jonson, IV, 582). Marchette Chute, in her 
excellent biography Ben Jonson of Westminster (New York: Dutton, 1953), offers a more 
pragmatic explanation: "Knighthood was an expensive honour and one that Jonson almost cer- 
tainly could not afford" (p. 269). 

C.J. Sisson suggests that Jonson, to supplement his income after his return from Scotland, may 
have been lecturing at Gresham College, and that his MA from Oxford may have been connected 
with his assumption of this academic position. See "Ben Jonson of Gresham College," TLS, 21 
September 1951, p. 604. 

John Aubrey's notes on Jonson record a story concerning Jonson's exercise of a different kind of 
influence at court then he was able to exercise in Selden's case. "B. Jonson had 50 [pounds per] 
annu[m] for . . . yeares together to keepe off Sr W. Wiseman of Essex from being Sheriff; at last K. 
James prickt him, & Ben: came to his Ma[jesty] & told him he had prickt him to the heart. & then 
explayned himselfe, innuendo Sr W. W. being prickt Sheriff: & gott him struck off." SeeBen Jon- 
son,!, 181. 

Another incident recorded by Aubrey suggests how familiar Jonson's relationship with the King 
could be during this period and - if Aubrey's report can be trusted - how spontaneous and lavish 
James's patronage could sometimes prove. He cites the following poem by Jonson and then com- 
ments on its biographical significance: 

A Grace by Ben: Johnson, extempore, before King James. 

Our King and Queen the Lord-God blesse. 

The Paltzgrave, and the Lady Besse, 

And God blesse every living thing, 

That lives, and breath's, and loves the King. 

God blesse the Councill of Estate 

And Buckingham the fortunate. 

God blesse them all, and keepe them safe: 

And God blesse me, and God blesse Raph. 

"The K. was mighty enquisitive to know who this Raph was; Ben told him 'twas the 
Drawer at the Swanne-taveme by Charingcrosse who drew him good Canarie. for 
this Drollery his Matie gave him an hundred poundes." (Ben Jonson, I, 180) 

Herford and the Simpsons, in their note to this poem, remark that a "clue to the date is given in 
the second and seventh lines." They point out that the Princess Elizabeth married the Palsgrave in 
1613, and note that George Villiers became Earl of Buckingham in 1617; they assume that the 
poem was therefore written sometime "shortly after he obtained his earldom" (Ben Jonson, XI, 
162). The strongest piece of evidence for the poem's date, however, is one that they do not 
explicitly mention: the reference to Queen Anne in the first line. Since she died in 1 6 1 9, the poem 
must have been written sometime after Buckingham's elevation but before her death - i.e., between 
1617 and early 1619. In 1618 Buckingham, already an Earl, was created a Marquis; the poem may 
not necessarily, then, refer to his initial promotion, as Herford and the Simpsons assume, but seems 
certainly to have been written in this early period of his influence at court 

The fact that Jonson acknowledges Buckingham's influence so explicitly is intriguing. As Her- 
ford and the Simpsons imply, the omission from the poem of any reference to Prince Charles may 
itself be significant their note does not make explicit, however, that during these early years of Buc- 
kingham's prominence, relations between the Prince and the favourite were extremely poor, with 
James often siding dramatically with the favourite (for details, see G.P.V. Akrigg, Jacobean 
Pageant: or The Court of King James I [Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1 962] pp. 207- 
08; and David Harris Willson, King James VI & I [New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1956), 406-07. 
The incidents are touched on very briefly by Roger Lockyer in his recent biography, ^uc^m^Aam; 
The Life and Political Career of George Villiers, First Duke of Buckingham 1592-1628 [Lon- 

254 / Renaissance and Reformation 

don: Longman, 1981], pp. 33-34). 

It is perhaps important to emphasize that the easy-going friendliness displayed by James in Aub- 
rey's anecdote existed side- by-side with a very clear sense of his own importance, so that a man of 
Jonson's rank could never feel securely familiar even with so gregarious a king. The story helps to 
illuminate, though, how the humorous and somewhat self-mocking persona Jonson adopted in 
some of his poems to patrons could also prove attractive and beneficial in his day-to-day dealings 
with them. 

3 For the details of this episode, see Akrigg, Jacobean Pageant, pp. 345-60; and Willson, King 
James F/d 7,430-40. 

4 The Letters of John Chamberlain, II, 501. 

5 The fullest discussion of the poem is offered by Richard S. Peterson mlmitation and Praise in the 
Poems of Ben Jonson (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1 98 1 ), pp. 1 1 2-5 7 . Peterson's emphasis on 
the intellectual and literary traditions behind the poem differs from the approach taken here, which 
stresses instead the poem as a response to specific contemporary pressures and insecurities. 

Hugh Maclean writes that in this poem, "Jonson draws his view of friendship between individ- 
uals together with a statement on the obligation of friends to the body politic. The poem suggests 
that Jonson regarded the Tribe, his own band of brothers, not at all as an association 'formed for 
pleasure's sake ... or merely company,' but as a dependable nucleus of virtuous companions, 
secure in self-knowledge and the wit to eschew triviality, upon whom the state might rely in all honour- 
able causes." See "Ben Jonson's Poems," in WilHam R. Keast, éd., Seventeenth Century English 
Poetry: Modem Essays in Criticism, rev. ed. (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1971), p. 180. See 
also the fme discussion by William E. Caine in "Self and Others in Two Poems by Ben Jonson," 
5P, 80(1983), 163-82. 

The approach taken here emphasizes instead the tensions and anxieties the poem embodies, the 
implicit recognition it suggests that the ideal friendships it praises are insufficient to guarantee 
one's status and importance in society, that however dependable and virtuous one might prove and 
however willing and ready to serve, the state - acting through the individual patrons who control it- 
might by chance or design turn its back. 

6 For a wide-ranging discussion of Jonson's use of "The Poet as Character," see Alexander Leggatt, 
Ben Jonson: His Vision and His Art (London: Methuen, 1981) pp. 199-232. 

7 John Chamberlain's letter to Dudley Carleton for 25 January 1 623 reports in cormection with the 
masque Time Vindicated to Himself, and to His Honours that "Ben Johnson they say is like to 
heare of yt on both sides of the head for personating George Withers a poet or poetaster as he termes 
him, as hunting after fame by beeing a cronomastix or whipper of the time, which is become so ten- 
der an argument that yt must not be touched either in jest or earnest ..." See The Letters of John 
Chamberlain, II, 473. 

8 For the tissue of allusions in this poem to Jonson's earlier satire on Jones, Epigrammes cxv ("On 
the Townes Honest Man"), see Ian Donaldson's note in his edition ofBen Jonson: Poems (New 
York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1975) pp. 207-10. 

9 Did Jonson have in mind any particular group when he attacked this "Covey of Witt"? It is possible 
- although this possibility cannot be explored fully here - that his satire was aimed at George 
Wither and his circle of admirers and favourers, whom Jonson had attacked extensively only a few 
months earlier in Time Vindicated in terms strikingly similar to those employed in the "Tribe" 
epistle. I hope to develop this suggestion in more detail elsewhere; the identification, however, is 
not crucial to the kind of argument I am making in this paper. 

10 For a good brief summary of the political unrest at this time and of James's attempts to deal with it, 
see, for instance, Margot Heinemann, Puritanism and Theatre: Thomas Middleton and Opposi- 
tion Drama under the Early Stuarts (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1980), pp. 153-55. 

11 In the masque Time Vindicated, performed on 1 9 January 1623, Jonson seems to reprehend quite 
explicitly unbridled, licentious political commentary. When several of the characters express an 
interest in talking about such subjects as "the King," "the State," and "the World," and when they 
even raise the possibility of censuring "the Counsell, ere they censure us," the character Fame 
rebukes them: "They that censure those / They ought to reverence, meet they that old curse, / To 
beg their bread, and feele etemall Winter. / Ther(e]'s difference 'twixt liberty, and licence" {Ben 
Jonson, VII, 662). The masque concludes with an endorsement of Jacobean pacificism. 

12 For an interesting discussion of Jonson's presentation of himself as a warrior, see E. Pearlman, 
"Ben Jonson: An KnaXomy, " ELR, 9 (1979), 364-94. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 255 

L'écriture de l'échange économique 
dans les Regrets de Du Bellay 


C'est entre 1450 et 1550 environ que s'est affermi dans toute l'Europe 
commerciale et intellectuelle un système d'appropriation des biens et des 
personnes basé sur l'utilisation de monnaie réelle (pièces métalliques sur- 
tout) et fiduciaire (soldes, crédits, lettres de change et comptes de dépôt). 
Dans son ouvrage posthume sur l'histoire monétaire de l'Europe, Marc 
Bloch nous fait suivre l'évolution de la monnaie: de l'introduction de pièces 
métalliques au treizième siècle jusqu'au Sommet de Medina del Campo en 
1 497 sur la standardisation des monnaies nationales, etjusqu' à l'établisse- 
ment de systèmes de référence stables de la valeur monétaire en 1726.^ 
Bloch n'étudie guère le seizième siècle, mais on sait fort bien que l'Europe 
des années 1500àl550 était très préoccupée par la comptabilité d'échanges 
à valeurs fixes et la réciprocité normative des monnaies. 

Il est difficile et certainement aléatoire de retracer l'impact de préoc- 
cupations économiques aussi concrètes sur la pensée symbolique et le 
monde littéraire à la Renaissance. On peut penser cependant que les 
intellectuels français du seizième siècle ont été motivés par les nouveaux 
types d'échanges économiques mis en place et par l'atmosphère d'incer- 
titude et de spéculation qui en a découlé. Car il s'agissait de l'établissement 
de normes symboliques circulatoires desquelles tous les individus étaient 
appelés à convenir. Au fond, si les poètes de la Pléiade, en particulier, ont 
choisi de promouvoir le français comme langue véhiculaire de l'intellect 
nouveau vers 1550, c'était peut-être dans le but de promouvoir la recher- 
che d'une monnaie normative, linguistique celle-là, capable d'exprimer 
des échanges métaphoriques et stylistiques encore inédits. Il ne faut pas 
s'étonner après tout que le sonnet, comme complète unité d'échange 
sémantique, ait lui-même fait l'objet de réformes à visées standardisatrices 
à cette époque cruciale. 

La littérature, tout comme la monnaie, tombe dans le champ d'exercice 
de la valeur symbolique. Or, c'est dans la deuxième moitié de la Renais- 
sance que ce rapport a été profondément établi et interrogé. Au seizième 

256 / Renaissance and Reformation 

siècle, "... la quantité," écrit Frédéric Mauro, "a pris dans la pensée la 
place qu'occupait la qualité. Dans les sciences humaines, avec Machiavel 
par exemple ou avec Bodin, la notion de force, donc de quantité, se sub- 
stitue à celle de vertu, donc de qualité."^ Notion de force, bien entendu, 
mais aussi et surtout notion de nombre. En effet, une bonne partie de la lit- 
térature française après 1550 rend compte de ce glissement de la qualité 
vers le quantitatif dans l'établissement de la valeur symbolique et la for- 
mulation de la vérité. Le rêve rabelaisien de l'Abbaye de Thélème n'est 
significatif que parce qu'il est nostalgie d'une communauté fondée sur 
l'héritage aristocratique de la qualité. Montaigne ne fait que répéter l'af- 
faissement de l'arbre qualitatif, prétentieux à ses yeux, au prix d'une cir- 
culation complexe de la quantité dans les Essais. 

Plusieurs sonnets des Regrets de Du Bellay évoquent en termes très 
clairs également la perte de l'étalon qualitatif stable dans le processus de 
l'écriture. S'opposant à la tradition pétrarquiste, Du Bellay fait figure de 
remarquable innovateur. Lsi Deffence et Illustration de la Langue Fran- 
çoyse, les Antiquitez de Rome et les Regrets énoncent toutes la disparition 
d'un modèle stable, assez dignifié par sa qualité et son unicité, pour pro- 
duire le discours d'assurance de la vérité. L'oeuvre de Du Bellay offre donc 
à elle seule les trois faces de cet affaissement: linguistique dans la Def- 
fence, culturel dans les Antiquitez et surtout économique dans lesRegrets, 
Dans cette dernière oeuvre, il est question avant tout de la figure monétaire 
et de la monétarisation du monde européen. Le texte est une monnaie et la 
monnaie est un texte, démontre en substance Marc Shell dans une très 
belle étude. Le texte nous parle linguistiquement et culturellement, alors 
qu'il est en même temps vecteur interne et externe d'échanges économi- 
ques. "The early poet-coinmakers, who impressed verbal symbols into 
monetary symbols, wrote about coins and . . . they sometimes personified 
coins so that the coins could speak about themselves."^ Tierce richesse, 
richesse de référence qui parle en elle-même, le poème est souvent après 
1550 au coeur de l'échange incessant des valeurs statutaires ou modé- 
laires. Et de tous les poèmes-monnaies, les sonnets des Regrets de Du 
Bellay sont certes les plus éclairants. 

Mais déjà dans IdiDeJfence et Illustration de la Langue Françoyse, Du 
Bellay n'avait-il pas tenté de substituer au modèle romain la nouvelle ma- 
trice linguistique du français? Peu à peu, pourtant, le champ d'application 
de la langue s'étend à toute la structure socio-politique dont le Roi de 
France, par son provoquant rayonnement, devient l'élément nourricier et 
la logique même. 

Le tens viendra (peut estre), & je l'espère moyennant la bonne destinée Fran- 
çoyse, que ce noble & puyssant Royaume obtiendra à son tour les resnes de la 
monarchie, & que nostre Langue (...) qui commence encor* à jeter ses 

Renaissance et Réforme / 257 

raciines, sortira de terre, & s'elevera en telle hauteur & grosseur, qu'elle se 
poura égaler aux mesmes Grecz & Romains. . . ." 

Au début de laDeffence, la culture et la langue finnissent par se confondre. 
L'argument de Du Bellay repose d'abord sur la prétendue ignorance et la 
"barbarie" des premiers Gaulois qui ne pouvaient véritablement con- 
currencer le "si grande multitude d'écrivains" du monde antique. Mais le 
chapitre III de laDeffence marque un rupture importante, car Du Bellay y 
introduit spécifiquement la clause linguistique. "Et si nostre Langue n'est 

si copieuse & riche que la Grecque ou Latine, cela ne doit estre imputé " 

Cette clause permettra au poète de faire émaner tout changement révolu- 
tionnaire de l'évolution proprement dite de la langue française. Il est 
évident déjà que les premières métaphores, celle de la végétation en par- 
ticulier, conduisent Du Bellay à rejeter l'élaboration du sens comme 
moteur de changement politique et social. 

Cette transformation linguistique dans laDeffence remet en question la 
formulation traditionnelle de la valeur littéraire et la nature même du 
pouvoir politique, fruits ici non plus de qualités intrinsèques, mais d'un 
processus général de traduction. Le déni du latin et du grec modélaires con- 
sacre le poète à la défense de sa langue, bien sûr, mais en même temps celle 
de son inscription dans tous les échanges transactionnaires qui fondent la 
culture française vers 1550. Il faut à Du Bellay la langue du nouvel 
échange économique. La poésie y pourra- t-elle quelque chose? Quel est 
donc son rapport avec l'échange constant des valeurs morales, culturelles, 
linguistiques, monétaires ou autres? C'est sans doute pour faire écho à ces 
questions que les Regrets, conmie près de deux cents jetons frappés et 
numérotés, s'articulent en 1558-1559 sur la dissolution des cultures 
modélaires dans le nouvel échange économique. 

Il n'est pas toujours question que d'argent dans les Regrets. Mais l'argent 
est très certainement une préoccupation récurrente dans les 191 sonnets 
qui forment ce recueil. Du sonnet 1 1 où la question surgit pour la première 
fois jusqu'au sonnet 170 et les suivants consacrés à l'éloge de la reine 
Marguerite, Du Bellay confie à son public lecteur sa crainte de manquer de 
ressources financières, son dégoût devant les tractations douteuses dont il 
est le témoin durant son séjour à Rome et sa volonté de situer l'écriture 
poétique hors de cette trame économique qui, nous assure-t-il, conduit à 
l'hypocrisie et à la corruption. 

Du Bellay affirme à ses interlocuteurs que la poésie ne rapporte aucun 
profit pécuniaire et mène à une dévaluation générale de soi. Ecrire ne paie 
pas du tout, dit Du Bellay à ses collègues Ronsard, Magny, Gordes, Scève 
et les autres. Chaque sonnet est un échange qu'il faut croire à perte, dans 
lequel le destinateur s'en sort fatalement appauvri. On citera à ce sujet le 
sonnet 45, un exemple parmi plusieurs: 

258 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Et quel profit en ay-je? Ô belle récompense! 
Je me suis consumé d'une vaine despence, 
Et n'ay fait autre acquest que de mal & d'ennuy. 
L'estranger recueillist le fruict de mons service, 
Je travaille mon corps d'une indigne exercice, 
Et porte sur mon front la vergongne d'autruy. 

Or cette non- valeur de la poésie trouve sa première expression au sonnet 
II; Du Bellay annonce d'emblée ici que le sonnet-monnaie n'a dans la 
société contemporaine aucune valeur d'échange économique: 

Bien qu'on ne paye en vers l'oeuvre d'un artisan. 
Bien que la Muse soit de pauvreté suivie. . . . 

Cette tournure de la concession laisse entrevoir un geste d'écriture qui 
naîtra malgré la pauvreté appréhendée, avec cette pauvreté en position 
centrale; mais Du Bellay se préoccupe d'abord de jeter les bases économi- 
ques des Regrets. Il établit que non seulement son oeuvre est démunie et 
sans éclat, mais qu'elle le conduit, lui, l'auteur, à l'indigence. C'est ainsi 
qu'aux sonnets 14, puis 15 et 17, Du Bellay réitère cette image d'inutile 
pauvreté de la poésie qui, insiste-t-il, n'a rien à voir avec les exigences 
pécuniaires de son existence quotidienne. 

Demandes-tu (Boucher) dequoy servent les vers. 
Et quel bien je reçoy de ceulx que je compose? (14) 

De Bellay opte bien, lui que l'argent inquiète, pour une activité non lucra- 
tive. Il n'y aura pas d'argent dans cette affaire, en fait nulle inspiration 
également. La pauvreté monétaire dont l'auteur des Regrets dit souffrir 
affecte négativement la qualité de son oeuvre. Il ne s'excuse pas seulement 
de ne rien retirer de ces sonnets inutiles, mais il s'accuse d'être sans 
inspiration, auteur d'une poésie dont les Muses pléiadiennes sont absentes. 

Et les Muses de moy, conmie estranges, s'enfuyent. (6) 

Ainsi donc, le modèle créateur, troué, désuni, s'est appauvri à tous les 
niveaux. Rien n'a pu en être sauvé dans ces années 1550. Cette pauvreté 
s'est installée dans l'écriture poétique qui s'est alors vidée de sa substance 
sémantique. Du Bellay répète qu'il n'a plus rien à dire: 

Ores je suis muet, comme on voit la Prophète 
Ne sentant plus le Dieu, qui la tenoit sujette, 
Perdre soudainement la fureur & la voix. (7) 

Pourquoi donc une telle invocation au silence? 

Renaissance et Réforme / 259 

Parce qu'en fait, tout se vend. Le modèle s'est appauvri au moment où il 
s'est paré des couleurs numéraires de l'argent, au moment où tout, du corps 
des femmes au corpus de l'écriture, a été jeté sur la place marchande. Or, 
comment, issu du modèle appauvri, le poème est-il lui-même marchandé? 
Il l'est, en réalité, de deux manières. D'abord, dans laDeffence, Du Bellay 
avait fait un éloge assez ambigu de la traduction. Et il est permis de croire 
qu'en 1558, Du Bellay avait pressenti l'échec du premier manifeste. Une 
fois arrivé en Italie, l'équilibre des valeurs modélaires change, de sorte que 
traduire devient proprement trafiquer: non pas le jeu enrichissant auquel le 
poète était en droit de s'attendre, mais le plus pauvre et le plus accessoire 
des échanges. 

D'abord traduction, le texte est en outre à son tour un objet qu'on achète 
et qu'on vend, et surtout un étalon par lequel la valeur s'achète et se vend. 
Le poème de la mi-Renaissance est ainsi une faveur que l'on fait, une 
source de bénéfices aux deux interlocuteurs en cause, la louange et le 
"louage" de soi-même. Pour Du Bellay, le sonnet n'est pas tant un mes- 
sage chargé de sens, mais un sorte de messager entre deux rives, entre le 
modèle décimé et soi. La poésie est "une nef percée," une messagère sans 
message, peut-être, c'est-à-dire sans autre message que l'affirmation d'une 
transition absente. 

Il n'y a pas lieu d'insister davantage sur cette articulation. Tout cela sur- 
vient au moment où l'espace est irréparablement scindé et où Du Bellay se 
voit forcé de partir pour l'Italie, lui qui venait de faire la défense du 
français, nouvelle langue de l'intellect. Il n'y a pas de doute que cette scis- 
sion de l'espace est à l'origine des Regrets, mais elle est surtout ce qui per- 
met à l'oeuvre d'accueillir et de refléter dans sa structure tous les traits de 
l'échange économique. Car l'économie exige un tel dépaysement. Par elle, 
nous réconcilions symboliquement à chaque occasion de la vie courante 
deux espaces antinomiques. 

D'une part, donc, les sonnets 16, 17, 19, 26, 27 et beaucoup d'autres 
relatent la difficulté de vivre à Rome et le désir de retrouver le pays natal. 
Les mots "rives" et "rivages" omniprésents, la présence du nautonier, 
attestent dans l'ensemble d'un passage transitoire entre deux espaces et 
deux états. Mais, d'autre part. Du Bellay se déclare inapte à transiger entre 
les deux états. Parti pour écrire dans cette langue française du nouvel 
intellect. Du Bellay vogue vers l'Italie plus démuni que jamais, car la mon- 
naie linguistique défendue plus tôt n'a plus vraiment cours dans cette cul- 
ture étrangère. 

Ainsi, le voyage du poète vers l'Italie s'offre avant tout comme une mys- 
tification fondatrice. On peut dire sans se tromper que les vingt-cinq pre- 
miers sonnets des Regrets visent à susciter et à maintenir aux yeux des 
lecteurs cette mystification. De quoi s'agit-il exactement? Du Bellay nous 
dit (et dit à ses interlocuteurs) que l'Italie, pays de sa résidence et de son 

260 / Renaissance and Reformation 

écriture, est aussi un endroit de perdition, dominé par la fausseté des tran- 
saction financières. A l'inverse, le pays natal (le fameux petit Lire) est 
donné comme pastoral, permanent et surtout à l'écart des échanges inces- 
sants et des masquarades politiques de la Rome nouvelle. 

Du Bellay s'est du reste appauvri à l'instant où il s'est installé dans la 
mouvance de l'argent. Il est d'autant plus pauvre à Rome que cette ville est, 
à son dire, le centre de la circulation des valeurs monétaires. Mais l'an- 
tithèse ne s'arrête pas là, car elle est en quelque sorte inversée. Rome, c'est 
en outre le modèle de l'Antiquité latine dans sa supposée permanence, la 
garantie de la qualité poétique décrite dans laDeffence. Dans les Regrets, 
ce modèle a sombré apparemment dans une sorte de carnaval bouffon, 
dont on trouve plusieurs descriptions, aux sonnets 80 et 1 20 en particulier. 
Et alors ce qui appauvrit le poète à l'entrée des Regrets, ce qui est si 
nouveau dans cette oeuvre, c'est l'indigence même du modèle qualitatif 
que devait représenter Rome. Ainsi, pacte quantitatif, frappé comme une 
monnaie linguistique qui n'a plus cours, le sonnet des Regrets ne comporte 
plus l'assurance d'originalité annoncée dans le premier manifeste de 1 549. 
Le va-et-vient discrédite le poète, lui qui est simple signe indésirable entre 
deux rivages antinomiques, caractérisés par le manque et l'indigence. 

Je cognois que je seme au rivage infertile, 
Que je veux cribler l'eau, & que je bas le vente, 
Et que je suis (Vineux) serviteur inutile. (46) 

Ce que Du Bellay dénonce dans la partie centrale des Regrets, c'est la 
disparition du pouvoir réel derrière la circulation des valeurs monétaires. 
Le sonnet était jadis un exercice de louange poHtique; mais comme les 
louanges s'achètent et que la détermination de la valeur dépend d'un 
langage concurrent, la poésie ne fait que répéter et contester la perte de son 
domaine exclusif d'expression. Si le poème des Regrets est pauvre, c'est 
qu'il participe du même ordre symbolique que la monnaie. Il est la monnaie 
du pauvre, la louange du pauvre. Le sonnet 80 est d'une clarté remarquable 
à ce sujet: 

Si je monte au Palais, je n'y trouve qu'orgueil, 

Que vice desguisé, qu'une cerimonie, 

Qu'un bruit de tabourins, qu'une estrange armonie, 

Et de rouges habits un superbe appareil: 

Si je descens en banque, un amas & recueil 

De nouvelles je treuve, une usure infinie. 

De riches Florentins, une troppe banie. 

Et de pauvres Sienois un lamentable dueil: 

Si je vais plus avant, quelque part ou j'arrive, 

Je treuve de Venus la grand'bande lascive 

Dressant de tous costez mil appas amoureux: 

Renaissance et Réforme / 261 

Si je passe plus oultre, & de la Rome neufve 

Entre en la vieille Rome, adonques je ne treuve 

Que de vieux monuments un grand monceau pierreux. 

Ici, l'entrée au palais, lieu de pouvoir politique et de l'ascendant social, 
constitue la descente dans le non pouvoir. Tout le sonnet restitue, de verset 
en verset, cette descente. Or le rapport avec l'argent ne peut être plus visible 
puisque, de la même manière, "en Banque," les Florentins et les Siénois 
pourrissent dans l'usure et les profits illicites. La perte du pouvoir politique 
et la circulation appauvrissante des valeurs monétaires renvoient enfin à la 
sexualité débridée du premier tercet (perte des valeurs morales) et, au der- 
nier tercet, à la chute de la culture romaine modélaire (perte des valeurs 
culturelles). Circulation du métal ou circulation des mots: toute la question 
de l'identité est transformée. Les Regrets attestent d'une nouvelle pensée 
européenne, quantitative, transformative, calquée sur le standard de 
l'argent; et d'une écriture poétique désormais associée métaphoriquement 
à la pauvreté et à la non valeur. 

Il faudrait, avant de conclure, souligner très brièvement un dernier 
aspect. Plusieurs commentateurs des Regrets ont noté avec raison le 
caractère épistolaire des sonnets. En effet, chacun des textes a son des- 
tinataire clairement identifié et agit un peu comme une lettre laissée sans 
réponse. Dans un sens, l'épistolarité des Regrets confirme évidemment la 
scission de l'espace et la nécessité d'une échange de type économique. 
C'est pourquoi ces sonnets-échanges persistent même après le retour de 
Du Bellay en France, probablement au sonnet 1 30. 

De tous les correspondants de Du Bellay, Ronsard est nommément le 
plus significatif. Les Regrets l'absorbent, en lui rendant hommage plus 
d'une fois. 

Si mes escripts (Ronsard) sont semez de ton loz, 
Et si le mien encor tu ne dédaignes dire, 
D'estre encloz en mes vers ton honneur ne desire, 
Et par là je ne cherche en tes vers estre encloz. (152) 

Du Bellay met donc Ronsard dans sa poche, si l'on peut dire. Si le sonnet 
est la monnaie de la nouvelle pauvreté culturelle, issue de la fin de la Rome 
modélaire, Du Bellay et Ronsard en sont tour à tour les deux faces janu- 
siennes, la face ancienne et nouvelle de cette écriture. Le rapport avec la 
circulation monétaire peut paraître superflu, mais c'est Du Bellay lui- 
même qui le remarque dans la suite du sonnet 152: 

Noz louanges (Ronsard) ne font tort à personne: 
Et quelle loy defent que l'un à l'autre en donne, 
Si les amis entre eulx des presens se font bien? 
On peult comme l'argent trafiquer la louange, 

262 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Et les louanges sont comme lettres de change, 

Dont le change & le port (Ronsard) ne couste rien. (152) 

Chaque sonnet s'offre comme la pièce métallique à deux faces, symboli- 
sant la non valeur entre deux espaces antinomiques et deux interlocuteurs 
nommés. Le sonnet épistolaire des Regrets mime l'échange économique 
en cela qu'il remplace par une symbolique de la non valeur l'appropriation 
réelle des biens et des personnes. Approprié par le sonnet du pauvre, Ron- 
sard ne se trouve-t-il pas démuni à son tour? 

Floyd Gray avait déjà remarqué le mercantilisme de la poésie de Du 
Bellay et avait relié cette caractéristique certaine au simple rejet du code 
lyrique traditionnel.^ Mais il faut convenir que la circulation monétaire est 
l'anti-modèle où s'inscrivent la plupart des sonnets des Regrets. Du Bellay 
se fait le témoin de l'indigence de la poésie (celle de la cour, en particulier) 
devant l'émergence d'une culture européenne basée sur la circulation sym- 
bolique de signes métalliques ou fiduciaires qui ne portent plus que les 
effigies de la valeur. Chez Du Bellay, l'argent parle et la poésie se met à 
jouer le rôle du pauvre. 

University ofGuelph 


1 Marc Bloch, Esquisse d'une histoire monétaire de l'Europe (Paris, Armand Colin, 1954), pp. 
30 ssq. 

2 Frédéric Mauro, Le xv/« siècle européen: Aspects économiques (Paris, Presses universitaires de 
France, 1970), p. 318. 

3 Marc Shell, The economy of Literature (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978), p. 

4 Nous nous referons aux éditions suivantes pour les textes de Du Bellay: La Deffence et Illustration 
de la Langue Francoyse, texte établi par Henri Chamard (Paris: Didier, 1 948) e\Les Regrets. . .. 
texte établi par M. A. Screech (Paris-Genève: Droz, 1966). 

5 Floyd Gray, La poétique de Du Bellay (Taris, Nizet, 1978), p. 150. 

The Rhetoric of Deviation in Lorenzo 
Valla's The Profession of the Religious'^'' 


Once known mainly as a controversial figure whose bold attacks on the 
Church of Rome made him a favourite among later Protestant Reformers, 
Lorenzo Valla (1407-57) has also been acclaimed in the world of scholar- 
ship both for his contribution to the development of philology and for the 
determining role he played in reviving classical rhetoric in the fifteenth 
century. His interest in rhetoric is evident in the theoretical pronounce- 
ments he made in a number of his writings and also in the structure of the 
treatises he wrote on various topics. Much modem scholarship has aimed 
at establishing exactly how rhetoric functions in Valla's major works, 
especially The Falsely-Believed and Forged Donation of Constandne 
(De Falso Crédita et Ementita Constantini Donatione), On Free Will 
(De Libero Arbitrio) , and On the True Good (De VeroBono)} However, 
The Profession of the Religious (De Professione Religiosorum (c. 1 439- 
42), published in the Latin original as late as the last century, and only now 
available in English translation, still requires such attention.^ 

Although monographs on Valla and studies on the religious thought of the 
Renaissance have dealt with the audacious message of Valla's The Profes- 
sion, and with the anti-ecclesiastical influence Valla probably underwent 
in the employ of the King of Naples, who was a bitter enemy of the Pope,^ 
little attention has been given to the treatise's more Uterary properties. In 
fact, one critic has denied that it possesses very many.'* An article by Remo 
L. Guidi does make some inroads in the direction of a more comprehensive 
analysis of the text,^ but the rhetorical implications inherent in the treatise 
require further investigation. For, in addition to illustrating how Valla's 
theory and practice of rhetoric are based on classical precepts. The Profes- 
sion offers what is perhaps a distinctive use of verbal strategies made by the 
humanist- one that heightens deviation, ambiguity, and ironic discrepancies 
which, according to modem theorists, are essential elements of rhetoric.^ 

* An earlier version of this paper was presented at the joint meeting of the Canadian Society for 
Renaissance Studies and the Canadian Society for the History of Rhetoric, held at the University of 
Ottawa in June 1982. 

264 / Renaissance and Reformation 

A devoted student of Quintilian, Valla practically memorized thelnsti- 
tutio Oratoria,'' finding in it a comprehensive treatment of the art of 
oratory. In an early work of his that is no longer extant, he openly declared 
his preference for Quintilian over Cicero who was deemed by most Renais- 
sance literati to be the chief master of eloquence. Valla's unorthodox 
choice indicates quite clearly how, for him, the Ciceronean ideal of har- 
monizing eloquence and wisdom,* of giving more or less equal weight to the 
two terms, was inadequate. In his view, rhetoric was undeniably supreme, 
and philosophy should be made to occupy a subordinate position in the 
hierarchy of disciplines.^ 

The type of rhetoric Valla advocated in his Disputations on Dialectics 
(Dialecticae Disputationes) owed much to Quintilian: ^° incorporating 
dialectic, it sought argumentation from probabilities based on common- 
sense reasoning, as well as verbalization in ordinary language. Valla felt a 
strong dislike for the abstract terminology and intellectualized discourse 
characteristic of Scholasticism. But what he accomplished may amount to 
more than a rejection of mediaeval dialectic and a restoration of the 
cultural values of antiquity. According to some scholars, he appears to 
have substituted, for the traditional dualistic concept according to which 
language follows thoughts, the modem idea that the word is the thing itself 
as man views it, and that, in a sense, the word shapes human percep- 
tions of reality. ^^ 

Whether or not Valla can accurately be classified alongside modem 
linguistic thinkers, it is certainly tme that words are of utmost significance 
for him. All knowledge is based on language, he insists, in the prefaces to 
his The Elegance of the Latin Language (Elegantiae Linguae Latinae). 
As a philologist, he constantly analyzed established verba in order to grasp 
the res, thereby solving such urgent questions as the forgery of the docu- 
ment alleging the donation of Constantine. As a rhetorician in the classical 
tradition, he elaborated verbal constmcts that encourage action and 
change (or at least the modification of attitudes), thus making a direct 
impact on reality through the persuasive power of the word.^^ 

His success in handling the verbal medium is evident in his De Pro- 
fessione Religiosorum, a treatise that calls into question the traditional 
doctrine that gave members of religious orders special status as Christians. 
Valla takes these so-called "religious" to task for their arrogant claims to 
superiority and to such distinctive privileges as greater rewards from God 
merely for having taken vows but without necessarily having shown greater 
virtue than persons operating in the secular world. He attempts to convince 
his readers that the piety of laymen, if founded on inner religious fervour 
and on active works of charity, according to Gospel teachings, ^^ is at least 
equal to, and perhaps even more laudable than, religion practised, some- 
times perfunctorily or under constraint, by friars and monks who slavishly 

Renaissance et Réforme / 265 

follow the Rule of their Order. Valla may well be responding to the views 
expressed by St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, who had argued that doing 
good in fulfillment of a religious vow made the action more meritorious and 
that the profession of vows was a religious act in itself. Valla responds to 
the mediaeval theologian's belaboured analysis of the modalities of vows, 
from twelve points of inquiry (^5wmma Theologica IP, Question 88), with 
a carefully wrought dialogue steeped in rhetorical tactics. 

Near the beginning of his work. Valla voices his concern for rhetoric and 
effective expression in general. He stresses that what determines the value 
of all literature (be it poetry or prose, history or theology) is not the theme 
treated, but the writer's manner of expression or, in short, using Quin- 
tilian's term (II, xvi, 10 scad passim) the dMihov'sfacundia, ^^ that is, his 
"eloquence" (p. 18). Valla makes use of a number of vivid analogies to 
contrast good and bad styles of composition: excellent works, he says, 
even if they treat of such lowly subjects as Virgil's sheep, dogs and bees, 
soar on high like eagles, and swim in the deep sea like whales. Weak writing 
can be compared to birds that fly about the bushes or to fish that swim near 
the shore. Continuing with spatial imagery suggesting verticality and 
dynamism. Valla states that an eloquent style creates the impression of 
flight and appears to treat of stars, whereas bad writing seems to creep and 
to deal with little flowers. Quintilian, too, had used metaphors of move- 
ment in discussing eloquence: eloquence, he wrote, must range over open 
fields, not restrict itself to narrow tracks; flow like mighty rivers, not Uke 
streams through narrow pipes (Inst. V, xiv, 31). 

Dissatisfied with mediaeval theology. Valla recommends again, near 
the conclusion of his text, that religious and ethical tracts be composed "in 
the style of oratory, according to ancient custom, rather than that of 
philosophy" (p. 54). In other treatises, for example On Free Will, he 
criticizes Ûie attempts made by Scholastics like Boethius to reconcile faith 
and reason, insisting that man must rely on faith alone; he must love God, 
as Saint Paul taught, rather than try to understand Him intellectually. The 
models Valla constantly upholds, as in his oration In Praise of Saint 
Thomas Aquinas (Encomium Sancti Thomae Aquinatis), are the elo- 
quent works of the Church Fathers. 

Evidence for Valla's having designed his treatise. The Profession, in ac- 
cordance with the principles of oratory can be found in the marginal 
headings that mark off certain sections of the QxrdmgQmtni (dispositio) of 
the work. Although only the mndX\oTi(narratio) and refutation (^re/wrar/o^ 
are thus labelled, the peroration is mentioned in the body of the text, and 
the other parts are clearly distinguishable too, all displaying the features 
prescribed by Quintilian. The introductory section, including the exor- 
dium and narration (pp. 17-21), opens with an address to the judge to 
whom the work will eventually be sent (cf. Inst. IV, i, 63); it attempts a 

266 / Renaissance and Reformation 

modest concealment of the author's eloquence (IV, i, 9) when Valla says 
he does not mean to place himself in the category of skillful writers; and it 
provides the basic information on the characters and the setting (IV, ii, 2), 
as well as a summary of the main justification for the claims made by mem- 
bers of religious institutions (IV, ii, 49). Moreover, the first-person 
narrator utters a personal denunciation of the treacherous and impious 
friars - a brief exclamatory phrase permitted in Quintilian's scheme (III, 
viii, 10 and IV, ii, 120). 

But it is in the core of the treatise, which constitutes the proof (conjïr- 
matio), and which is structured as a debate between Laurentius and an 
unnamed Friar, that Valla's adherence to the religion of rhetoric emerges 
in more subtle ways. Laurentius, the protagonist, is an obvious projection 
of the author's sentiments: he bears Valla's own Christian name and he 
acquires heroic proportions when several references are made (pp. 46, 53) 
to the deacon St. Lawrence, a favourite of the author's, ^^ one of the early 
martyrs active in the charitable distribution of Church funds, who achieved 
sainthood status for his defence of the Church's principles. By contrast, 
the Friar who acts as spokesman for the doctrines privileging members of 
religious orders is left unidentified, either in order not to offend him per- 
sonally, as Valla seems to imply, or, as the critic Guidi has suggested, for 
the sake of objectivity,^^ or simply, perhaps, in order that Laurentius's sta- 
ture might be further magnified in the debate. The roles assigned to the two 
are also revealing: the Friar is described as "a particularly learned indivi- 
dual who has studied both philosophy and theology extensively" (p. 19), 
and it might have been expected that, being the more erudite of the two 
interlocutors, he would play the Socractic master. Ironically, it is Lauren- 
tius who plays the leading role,^^ although the Friar refuses to act the part of 
the pupil, unlike the secondary interlocutor in On Free Will, who humbly 
seeks the opinion of another Laurentius. 

In spite of the fact that he can boast no impressive credentials, just like 
Valla himself who had not attended university although he eventually held 
chairs of eloquence, and who dared to deal with lofty subjects even though 
he held no degrees - as his critics often reminded him - the character 
Laurentius dominates the discussion, mustering to his cause a wide variety 
of tactics: he asks leading questions to disprove the Friar's arguments and 
to induce his opponent to make concessions in a few areas concerning 
meritorious actions (p. 28); he also changes the subject or postpones the 
examination of certain issues when it suits him - for the sake of logic, he 
cleverly claims. On the other hand, the Friar's is a weak performance: un- 
equal to Laurentius in the sophistications of debating methods, he becomes 
confused and admits he is baffled (p. 31). His powers of inventiveness 
(inventio) appear rather impoverished as he advances scholastic- type 
hairsplitting with an arbitrary distinction between conditional and uncon- 

Renaissance et Réforme / 267 

ditional vows (p. 34) - a tactic that is foiled promptly by his adversary. 
Arguing in circles, the Friar repeats the same point, which Laurentius 
identifies as an argument from contraries (p. 27), a type of enthymeme dis- 
cussed by Quintilian, for one (V, x, 1-2), but which the Friar uses illo- 
gically. It runs as follows: "Since a more severe punishment awaits us 
[religious] if we sin, there will be a more generous reward if we refrain from 
sin" (p. 26). Laurentius responds to this single point, on which the Friar 
dwells stubbornly, with an overwhelming number of proofs. Following 
Quintilian's advice (V, x, 55), it would seem, Laurentius displays con- 
siderable philological dexterity as he clarifies the terminology pertinent to 
the discussion at hand. In the semantic and etymological analysis of such 
words as the noun religious, he discards mediaeval usage in favour of the 
original meanings. Thus truly religious persons are not only those who live 
in convents, but all pious or God-fearing individuals, as signified by the 
classical Latin lexeme religiosus. Moreover, he strengthens his case by 
citing carefully selected passages from the Bible and from ancient sources 
- literary, historical, and philosophical, as indicated in Quintilian (V, xi, 
36). To these the Friar is unable to offer counter proof, as he might have, 
with weighty quotations of his own.^* Through his errors of omission, con- 
sequently, he is made to look foolish and, on the subject of vows, he is 
called outright ignorant by his adversary. The speeches and paradoxical 
roles of the principal actors, then - one a trained theologian who is unable 
to argue his case convincingly, the other a relative amateur who has the 
upper hand - constitute a deviation from tradition. They suggest that the 
disciplines to which the Friar has devoted his time, namely philosophy and 
theology, are futile without the support of the inventive, structural, and 
stylistic force of rhetoric. 

As they give their proof, such as it is in the case of the Friar, both 
speakers assert that they adhere to common belief (pp. 30, 37; cf. Quin- 
tilian, V, xi, 37). Yet a fundamental difference exists between their two 
modes of argumentation. In fact, the treatise is as much a study of the art of 
persuasion as it is an investigation into the piety of laymen and friars. 
Laurentius maintains that he is opposing the Friar's line of reasoning, not 
his membership in a religious community (pp. 29, 30, 31). For, whereas 
the Friar has recourse to doctrines that have the stamp of authority for par- 
ticular groups only, Laurentius draws more artfully upon analogies from 
everyday experience that have a greater universality and appear to con- 
form more closely to Quintilian's precept of proving the uncertain by 
reference to the certain (I, vi, 4). It is useless, Laurentius proposes, to take 
vows, or to add oaths to promises already made to God, since one can not 
"make healthier that which is healthy ... or more perfect what is perfect" 
(p. 36). To destroy the Friar's basic argument by contraries on the question 
of punishment and reward, Laurentius effectively presents (and repeats for 

268 / Renaissance and Reformation 

his supposedly forgetful opponent) the analogy of doctors, who receive 
great praise for curing difficult diseases, but little praise in easy cases. Con- 
sequently, the religious, even though they are punished severely if they sin, 
do not receive any special consideration from God for keeping their pro- 
mise to live virtuously. 

Medical imagery such as this abounds in Valla's text, at times as a subtle 
expression of criticism of friars. It is implied that the medicine provided by 
vows may be needed, but only if the brothers have some latent illness or 
weakness that needs to be corrected. Other instances of offensive innuendo 
emerge from figurative language when, quoting Terence, Laurentius 
accuses the obdurate Friar of being "stuck in the same quagmire" (p. 30).^^ 
The Friar takes offence, and with good reason, remarking that his oppo- 
nent is casting the religious into the mud. In like manner, Laurentius uses 
the uncomplimentary simile of a snake when he dismisses the Friar's 
triadic division (partitio) of his essentially single argument: "Indeed it 
seems to me that you have wanted to embellish that distinction with a 
greater array of arguments and even to frighten me with their number, like a 
serpent who thrusts out a single tongue that has the semblance of three" (p. 
26). At times the satire is more direct: Laurentius notes, for example, using 
a typical antithetical parallelism, that many who enter convents as thin 
doves subsequently turn into fat pigeons (p. 45). Not only these allusions 
to creatures from liie natural world, but even a comparison with philoso- 
phers is transformed into insult, as Laurentius likens the numerous reli- 
gious orders to the sects that abound in the field of philosophy. Coming 
from someone like Valla who finds philosophers insufferable because they 
reserve for themselves exclusively the appellation of "wise men," when in 
fact legislators, rulers, and orators too are wise (p. 23), this is no attempt 
at flattery. 

The strategy of rhetorical questions, too, is implemented in different 
ways. While the Friar can only ask petulantly whether his beliefs are valid 
ones ("And do obedience, poverty, and chastity not count at all?" p. 39), 
Laurentius, in order to show the absurdity of the view that poverty is a vir- 
tue peculiar to members of religious orders, asks with maximum rhetorical 
effect whether kings, then, should be forced to wear hoods and sackcloths 
(pp. 45-46) - truly a non-question that permits no doubt at all and requires 
no response. 

These rhetorical techniques which underlie Laurentius' discourse all 
have their blessing from Quintilian (cf. V, xi, 22 and V, xiv, 34 on similes 
and metaphors; IX, ii, 7-9 on rhetorical questions), and they allow him to 
speak with enargeia - a kind of vividness, described by Quintilian as 
"something more than mere clearness," which "thrusts itself upon our 
notice" and "makes us seem not so much to narrate as to exhibit the actual 
scene" (VIII, iii, 6 1 and VI, ii, 32). In addition, by means of impersonation 

Renaissance et Réforme / 269 

(III, viii, 51-54), the protagonist twice assumes the authoritative /jerso/ia 
of an ancient theologian (pp. 34, 35), resurrected for the purpose of direct- 
ing some words of admonishment against the erring Friar. The fictitious 
theologian himself delivers a more passionate tirade, brief as it is, than the 
ineffectual pronouncements of the official spokesman for religion. In this 
dialogue within a dialogue, it is again ironically the layman who, as he 
lends his voice to the ancient, proves to be more conversant with patristic 

Historical examples too, recommended by Quintilian (III, viii, 66), 
allow the protagonist to wax eloquent at the Friar's expense and much to 
his chagrin. Laurentius cites the expedient devised by Demosthenes, who 
overcame an unbecoming nervous twitch by hanging a lance dangerously 
over his shoulder, and he compares it to Marius's intrinsic self-restraint- a 
principle virtue in Valla's scheme - when he underwent leg surgery without 
allowing himself to be tied down. These actions, recorded by the classics,^® 
are intended to represent two ways of achieving religious goals: through 
fear, as do members of orders, or out of will-power, as do laymen. Con- 
trasting the latter' s self-reliant manner of reaching God to that of friars who 
need to be constrained by rules. Valla effects an unusual adaptation of 
alimentary imagery, which had traditionally signified intellectual and 
spiritual nourishment:^^ religious Hfe, Laurentius states, may be more 
elaborate like cooked food, but the life of devout laymen, similar to plain 
raw food, can be more wholesome (p. 39). In accordance with the thesis 
worked out by Levi-Strauss, which equates cooking with advanced civili- 
zation, and raw food with nature,^^ Valla's metaphor, although it appears 
to be used quite casually, indicates perhaps the desire to have religion 
return to its purer origins. There may be, moreover, some expression of dis- 
taste for the culinary process by which his namesake St. Lawrence was 
sacrificed on the gridiron. 

One deceptively simple exemplum involves Anaximenes of Lampsacus.^^ 
Laurentius narrates (pp. 51-52) how Alexander the Great, as he was about 
to attack the city of Lampsacus, was consternated to see Anaximenes 
appear. Fearing his former master would dissuade him from carrying out 
the assault, he immediately burst forth with the declaration that he would 
not do what his master was about to ask of him. However, Anaximenes 
(the rhetorician to whom is attributed the original division of rhetoric into 
three basic genres: judicial, deliberative, and epideictic) outwits the great 
conqueror with the brief statement "I am asking you to destroy Lampsacus." 
This historical anecdote, which occupies a significant place at the centre of 
the text, encapsulates the basic structure of Valla's treatise, signalling as it 
does not only the power of rhetoric, but the discrepancy between superfi- 
cial and superliteral meaning, the sort of gap that is inherent not only in 
individual figures of rhetoric, but indeed also in the underlying shape of 

270 / Renaissance and Reformation 

rhetorical compositions. Many instances of this sort of polysemy offer ; 

themselves to the reader of Valla's The Profession, first of all in the de- | 

scription of the setting, in both its temporal and spatial dimensions. j 

In keeping with his preference for the concreteness of history over the : 

abstractions of philosophy, Valla is careful to give his work a semblance of i 

historical accuracy: reference is made to a conspiracy against the king - a ' 

plot involving some friars (it is their scandalous participation that sparks I 

the central debate) - and an evil omen is identified as having occurred when ! 
two wolves appeared in town just two days before the conspiracy was dis- 

covered. Yet this account does not correspond to any historical event ! 

recorded for the period in which Valla composed his treatise . The author is '■■ 

clearly engaging in pseudo-history, and the analogy he draws with the Tro- ; 

jan horse affair suggests devious insinuation rather than truthfulness. : 

Although the locale for the discussion is a wide space in the public hall i 

adjacent to the square, where a group of persons, all men of learning, meet \ 

to discuss current events, what the text paints is actually a more restricted i 

courtroom scene where a forensic battle is being waged. j 

Other anomalies emerge as well: the case being presented in the trial i 

appears to be, on the surface, an oratorical defence occasioned by the \ 

exaggerated claims of members of religious orders. Indeed, in his déclama- j 

tory summing up, the self-fashioned victim Laurentius stresses that his ; 

purpose has been "to act as the defender, not the assailant" (p. 54). Yet = 

because it is he and his companion who utter the very first gibes against the j 

conspiratorial friars (pp. 1 9-20), the work is a veritable act of aggression ' 

presented in the guise of self-defence. Laurentius is determined to emerge \ 

the victor, despite his protestations of friendship and good will. The mili- j 

tary images (perhaps of Quintilianesque orgin) that recur in his speeches | 

reveal his veiled intentions: e.g. "I want to refute, wound, and overthrow i 

you with another type of weapon" (p. 27); "Who ever asks the enemy the j 

reasons why he has drawn up his line of battle in a certain way?" (p. 31). j 

His verbal thrusts are especially sharp because his opponent is a living, ] 

albeit unnamed person, unlike the target of attack in Valla's On Free Will, ; 

which is Boethius and his Consolation of Philosophy, a dead author and ] 

his text. < 

Suddenly toward the end of the debate, however, Laurentius, echoing | 

QuintiHan's phrase (X, i, 29), describes himself as a soldier who "stands j 

'in line of battle'" (p. 46) not for the cause of the secular world, but for j 

religion, for the Church, for good friars and monks - a sort of Pauline j 

soldier of Christ. ^"^ In this modified role he declaims a lengthy peroration | 

consisting of a hymn to friars - a long, passionate piece (pp. 54-55) which ] 

none of the other characters dares to interrupt, astonished as they probably 3 

all are at this unexpected reversal. Laurentius' laudatory comments in- j 
elude the following: "Friars are those who truly support the tottering temple 


Renaissance et Réforme / 271 

of God . . . , those who . . . turn men and women away from sin, freeing 
them from false beliefs and leading them to piety and knowledge." 

Through these epideictic elements of praise, which counterbalance the 
criticisms heaped on the friars heretofore. Valla may wish to show that he is 
equipped to argue on both sides of the question (cf. Quintilian V, xiii, 44). 
They are reminiscent, furthermore, of the ambiguous oration Valla 
delivered supposedly as an encomium to Saint Thomas Aquinas, but 
which in essence censured the saint indirectly by bestowing lavish praise 
on the Fathers of the Church instead. However, the fundamental structure 
of the debate being that of judicial not demonstrative oratory, some critical 
assessment and a definitive decision are required. The bystanders who are 
present during the discussion remain doubtful, since Laurentius, their 
favourite throughout, ends his discourse with the unexpected paean. The 
bilateral debate between Laurentius and the Friar is not resolved from 
within either. Their conflicting viewpoints are never reconciled, not even in 
the form of an eclectic compromise such as the one that brings On the True 
Good to an end. Both speakers retain their convictions rigidly. The un- 
yielding Friar, although he can not be master, refuses the role of disciple or 
initiate. At this point, therefore, Laurentius chooses to bring the discussion 
to a halt with the words "faciamus pares," an ItaUanate phrase meaning 
"let's call it a draw" (p. 5 3). And because the friar, who has requested time 
out for reflection, leaves and then fails to return on a second specified day 
to continue the discussion, the question remains open. 

This unsettled dispute should allow the spectator-reader to judge for 
himself. Indeed, Valla explains at the outset that he is eliminating the direct 
intervention of the narrative voice in the body of the text (following the 
examples of Plato, Cicero, and Petrarch, in all likelihood^^) so that "those 
who read it may think not that they are reading an author, but that they are 
watching and listening to two disputants" (pp. 20-21). Nevertheless, the 
author-narrator reveals that the audience he envisages does not include 
readers alone. Addressing a split receptor, he announces that a transcript 
of the proceedings is to be "brought for examination to the designated 
authority" (p. 55). Suddenly the dialogue that has been presented as a fluid 
conversation turns into a definitive text, which is to be sent to a judge. The 
search for a decision is to continue, because there is no theological arbiter 
present, as in Augustine's Answer to Skeptics, to guide the young dis- 
putants and win their assent, or, as in Valla's On the True Good, to provide 
a syncretist solution. The sentence is pending and the judge is absent. The 
identity of this absent judge has suggestive connotations too: Baptista 
Platamon, a highly respected magistrate in King Alfonso's court, is a 
secular figure called upon here to pass judgment on what is essentially a 
religious topic. By contrast, a bishop is the recipient of the treatise On 
Free Will. Certainly this choice, desired and approved by all the charac- 

272 / Renaissance and Reformation 

ters in The Profession, is meant to direct the audience's sympathy towards 
the protagonist Laurentius. Indeed, the open ending is only an illusion: the 
judge has yet to be consulted, but his opinion can already be foreseen. 

A further and rather unusual type of discrepancy relates to the title of the 
work. The official title, prefixed to the text, is neutrsd, and it contrasts sharply 
with the discarded one suggested to Laurentius as he turns scribe. The sug- 
gestion is made when one of the participants denounces the laudatory 
tribute Laurentius has paid to friars because it results in logical inco- 
herence and reveals moral weakness on the part of the discussant. So he 
dares Laurentius, who, he says, should have brought his speech to a climax 
with a forceful denunciation of friars, to transcribe the disputation exactly 
as it took place and to entitle the text "On the False Name and Privilege of 
the Religious." Laurentius dismisses his critic's challenge and rejects what 
he calls that "terrible title although it is perhaps an accurate one" (p. 55), 
adopting instead the innocuous one that has come down to us. However, by 
means of the figure of ironical nQg2i\ion(paraleipsis, praeteritio, oranti- 
phrasis, as Quintilian terms it, IX, ii, 47-48), the memory of the original 
contentious title is made to linger in our minds, as Valla paradoxically 
includes in the text what he says he has decided to exclude. 

Indeed, there is considerable ambiguity in the text, in spite of the fact 
that at the beginning of the dialogue Laurentius asserts his intention "to 
remove all trace" of ambuity (p. 2 1 ), and the fact that he then proceeds to 
engage in philological distinctions and logical analyses, cites the Bible (p. 
36) to create the impression that there is no room for uncertainty ('"let 
your communication be. Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than 
these Cometh ofevil,'" Matthew 5:37), and makes the claim (p. 19) that he 
is speaking frankly, as did the ancient Greek and Latin writers. 

This ambivalence heightens the self-reflexive quality of the work. Like 
many humanist compositions (e.g. Poggio Bracciolini's treatise on avarice, 
Leonardo Brum's dialogues for Vergerio, and other works by Valla him- 
selO, The Profession of the Religious includes, in the introduction framing 
the dialogue, explicit theoretical declarations by the author-narrator on 
questions of literary form. But in addition. The Profession encompasses 
within its textual boundaries critical responses, negative and positive, on 
certain specific aspects of the text: on the peroration, on the title, and on the 
selection of the arbiter. These comments, together with the more subtle 
ambiguities, ultimately produce a very complex work - one that demands 
more than a unidimensional interpretation on the part of the reader. Con- 
sideration must be given to the deviations from the superficial letter that 
inhere at all levels of the text. In the work's generic identity, we have seen 
that praise is tantamount to blame, and that what is declared during the 
judicial trial to be a draw implies a victory for one side. There is irony of 
ethos as the interlocutors play reversed and ambiguous roles - a common 

Renaissance et Réforme / 273 

feature in humanist dialogues, as Marsh shows - and oï pathos too, since 
the spHt audience addressed is, at the same time, the general reader and a 
specÛîc judge named Platamon. What is supposed to be presented objectively 
to both has in fact been prejudiced to evoke precise reactions. And, finally, 
irony of logos is created, as terminological precision obscures the more 
fundamental haziness of meaning, and the verbal whole, apparently a live 
dialogue, reveals its other side as a fixed construct of persuasive words. 
The presence of such resonant discrepancies leads us to conclude that 
the treatise may no longer be dismissed lightly, for, upon close analysis, it 
proves to mean much more than it narrates. Not simply a straightforward 
tract on the merits and demerits of those who profess religion, or on the 
various ways to reach God (as Fois, for one, maintains ^^), The Profession 
of the Religious is also a work about rhetoric. While confirming with 
specificity Valla's well-known debt to Quintilian (a subject treated by 
Camporeale), and illustrating Valla's successful re- establishment of rhe- 
torical theology based on persuasion rather than demonstration (as Trin- 
kaus stresses), the work reveals in what a complex and compelling manner 
Valla adapts and manipulates the standard rhetorical medium, and to what 
a high degree he emphasizes the discrepancy and deviation factors that 
constitute its inner mechanisms. 

University of Toronto 


1 Sj)eciric studies include the following: Hanna H. Gray, "Renaissance Humanism: The Pursuit of 
Eloquence," /owrna/ of the History of Ideas, 34 (1963), 497-514 (rpt. in Renaissance Essays, 
eds. P. O. Kristeller and P. P. Wiener [New York: Harper & Row, 1968]); Vincenzo De Caprio, 
"Retorica e ideologia neWaDeclamatio di Lorenzo Valla suUa donazione di Costantino," Paragone, 
338 (1978), 36-56; Victoria Kahn, "The Rhetoric of Faith and the Use of Usage in Lorenzo 
Wallsi'sDeLiberoArbitrio," TTie Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 13 (1983), 91- 
109; Vincenzo Santangelo, "Retorica e letteratura nel De Vero Bono di L. Valla," Giomale 
italiano difilologia, 16(1 963), 30-45; Jerrold E. Seigel, chapter entitled "Lorenzo Valla and the 
Subordination of Philosophy to Rhetoric" inRhetoric and Philosophy in Renaissance Humanism: 
The Union of Eloquence and Wisdom, Petrarch to Valla (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ. Press, 
1 968); David March, chapter entided "Lorenzo Valla and the Rhetorical Dialogue" in The Quat- 
trocento Dialogue: Classical Tradition and Humanist Innovation (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard 
Univ. Press, 1980). 

2 Lorenzo Valla, De Professione Religiosorum , ed. J. Vahlen, in Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen 
Akademie der Wissenschafien (Vienna), Philosophisch-Historische Classe, 62 (1869), 99-134 
(photostatically reproduced in Valla, Opera Omnia, ed. Eugenio Garin, Vol. 2 [Turin: Bottega 
d'Erasmo, 1962], pp. 287-322; Lorenzo Valla, "The Profession of the Religious" and the Prin- 
cipal Arguments from "The Falsely-Believed and Forged Donation ofConstantine", tr. anded. 
with an introd. by Olga Zorzi Pugliese (Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 
1985). All subsequent page references will be to this edition and will be provided in the text. 

3 e.g. Mario Fois, S. \.,Ilpensiero cristiano di Lorenzo Valla nelquadro storico-culturale delsuo 
ambiente (Rome: Libreria Editrice dell'Univ. Gregoriana, 1969); Giovanni di Napoli, Lorenzo 
Valla: filosofia e religione nell'Umanesimo italiano (Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 
1971); Charles Trinkaus, "In Our Image and Likeness": Humanity and Divinity in Italian 
Humanist Thought (London: Constable, 1970). 

274 / Renaissance and Reformation 

4 Rocco Montano, "Lorenzo Valla," in Letteratura italiana, I minori. Vol. 1 (Milan: Marzorati, 
1961), p. 581. 

5 Remo L. Guidi, Aspetti religiosi nella letteratura del Quattrocento, Vol. 1 (Rome-Vicenza: 
LIEF, 1973), pp. 79-123. 

6 Marsh contrasts the clear balance of Ciceronean dialogues with the ambiguity and ironic discre- 
pancies that characterize humanist dialogues. See Paul Ricoeur, The Rule of Metaphor: Multi- 
disciplinary Studies on the Creation of Meaning in Language (Toronto and Buffalo: Univ. of 
Toronto Press, 1977), on the neo-rhetorical concept of deviation, based originally on Aristotle's 
definition of figures of speech as instances of deviation from the ordinary usage of words {Poetics, 
1458a-b), and Paul de Man, chapter entitled "Semiology and Rhetoric" in Allegories of Reading 
(London: Yale Univ. Press, 1979), esp. pp. 9-10, on the discrepancy between the mutually 
exclusive literal and figurative meanings in rhetorical texts. 

7 Valla makes this claim in his invectives against B. Fazio: "... Quintil. quem prope ad verbum 
teneo . . . ", Opera, Vol. 1, p. 477. 

8 Cicero, De Inventione, 1, 1 : "wisdom without eloquence does too little for the good of states, but 
. . . eloquence without wisdom is generally highly disadvantageous and is never helpful," tr. H. M. 
Hubbell (London: William Heinemann & Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1949), p. 3. 

9 Cf Quinûlian, Institutio Oratoriae, XII, xi, 30: "let us seek with all our hearts that true majesty of 
oratory, the fairest gift of god to man, without which all things are stricken dumb and robbed alike of 
present glory and the immortal record of posterity . . . ," tr. H. E. Butler, Vol. 4 (Cambridge, 
Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press & London: WiUiam Heinemann, 1979 [1922]), p. 513. All subse- 
quent references will be to this translation. 

10 Salvatore I. Camporeale, Lorenzo Valla: umanesimo e teologia (Florence: Istituto Nazionale di 
Studi sul Rinascimento, 1972) provides a detailed study of Valla's theory of rhetoric, as does 
Cesare Vasoli, La dialettica e la retorica dell'Umanesimo: "invenzione" e "metodo" nella 
cultura del XV e XVI secolo (Milan: Feltrinelli, 1968). 

1 1 Hanna-Barbara Gerl, Rhetorik als Philosophie: Lorenzo Valla (Munich: Fink, 1 974); Nancy S. 
Streuver, "Vico, Valla and the Logic of Humanist Inquiry," in Giambattista Vico's Science of 
Humanity, eds. Giorgio Tagliacozzo and D. P. Verene (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 
1976); R. Waswo, "The 'Ordinary Language Philosophy' of Lorenzo Valla," Bibliothèque 
d'Humanisme et Renaissance, 41 (1979), 255-271. 

12 Quintilian, II, xviii, 2-3, states that rhetoric is mainly concerned with action. 

13 James 1:26-27 is the Biblical passage that he quotes as the mainstay for his idea of religion. 

14 The term appears in the Latin text in Opera, p. 288. 

1 5 Saint Lawrence is mentioned affectionately in Valla's On Free Will, trans. Charles E. Trinkaus, in 
The Renaissance Philosophy of Man, ed. E. Cassirer et al (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago, Press, 
1959), p. 157. 

16 Guidi, p. 119. 

17 Marsh, pp. 6, 55, refers to the Socratic method adopted in Valla's treatise. 

18 Fois, p. 277, points out that the Friar might have quoted Acts 18:18, according to which vows 
appear to be acceptable. 

19 Terence, Phormio, Act V, Scene 2, line 15 (= v. 780). 

20 The sources for the two tales are, respectively, Quintilian, XI, iii, 1 30 and Cicero's Tusculan Dis- 
putations, II, xxii, 53; II, xv, 35. 

2 1 For instance, in Book III of the Confessions, Augustine speaks of having hungered after God and 
he compares good food to divine truth, bad food to falsehood. For a survey of the topos, see Ernst 
Robert Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, tr. W. R. Trask (New York: 
Harper & Row, 1963), pp. 134-136. 

22 Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Raw and the Cooked (New York: Harper & Row, 1969). 

23 This event is narrated in Valerius Maximus, Anecdotes, VII, iii, 4. 

24 CfEphesians 6:16-17. 

25 Plato, Theaetetus, 143c; Cicero, De Amicitia, I, 3; Petrarch, Secret, Preface. 

26 Fois, pp. 280, 291. 

Book Reviews/Comptes Rendus 

Alexander Brome. Poems, ed. Roman R. Dubinski. Toronto: University of 
Toronto Press, 1982. $75.00 

Among the poets who responded to England's decades of civil turmoil, Alexander 
Brome wrote numerous and various reactions to the seventeenth-century crisis. 
Though literary historians usually associate his poems with the ballads and songs 
of Lawrence Price and Martin Parker rather than with the more significant satires 
of Cleveland and Marvell, Brome merits serious attention as a loyalist caught up in 
the era's conflicting allegiances. From the early 1 640s to the first years of the Res- 
toration his often direct and uncomplicated modes sustained the Cavalier spirit. 
To his contemporaries Brome appeared another "English Anacreon," a sack- 
inspired writer whose "familiar strain" and "sharp wit" lifted the drooping spirts 
of ^e royalists during their bleakest moments. But as Roman R. Dubinski suggests 
in the first modem edition of the poems, Alexander Brome gives dimension to the 
literary and historical stereotypes of the Cavalier sensibility. The carefully edited 
and handsomely produced two-volume Poems published by the University of 
Toronto Press provides a welcome opportunity to reassess a popular, even 
seminal voice among the lesser-known Caroline and Interregnum poets. 

Tht Poems uses as its copy-text the 1661 edition of Songs and Other Poems. 
Brome authorized the manuscript of 2 1 poems his brother Henry pubHshed in the 
first of three editions, and he seems to have been responsible for the inclusion of 
thirteen new poems in the 1 664 edition as well as the four additional poems in the 
posthumous 1668 edition. Major collections of the poems in a Bodleian and a 
Folger manuscript provide collateral verifications of the 1661 text, and Professor 
Dubinski also considers variations of individual poems found in some twenty-five 
manuscripts and fourteen miscellanies and song books. The final sections of the 
edition add a number of largely dedicatory poems Brome had written for his con- 
temporaries and two poems of uncertain authorship. The scholarly edition does 
not include the play Brome apparently wrote entitled The Cunning Lovers, nor 
does it contain the twenty-five poems he translated for the first complete edition in 
English of The Poems of Horace. The ballads, satires, songs, epistles, transla- 
tions, and paraphrases in Dubinski's painstakingly edited collection fall generally 
into the three categories the sensitive and sensible introduction labels "Love 
Poems," "Wine and the Happy Life," and "Political Satire." 

Though none of his contemporaries describes Brome as another "natural, easy 
Suckling," their commendatory poems and Professor Dubinski's introductory 

276 / Renaissance and Reformation 

comments on the love poetry value an unstrained, lively directness. Manuscript 
versions and allusions within the poems convincingly date the majority of them in 
the 1 640s, a period during which an unusual number of love poems were published. 
Like their more famous authors. Brome develops a protean voice equally at ease 
celebrating the conventional tributes of the beloved and mocking the established 
romantic notions. He does at times support the "Cavalier trinity" Douglas Bush 
once described as "beauty, love, and loyal honour," and he often echoes the 
studied poses the Caroline wits affect, but Brome develops his most interesting 
voice in a series of poems reminiscent of Suckling. Besides obvious imitations of 
specific songs, the love poems appropriate Suckling's notion (and label) of the 
wise lover. Its wary, somewhat cynical, and decidedly solipsistic attitude pro- 
claims supreme the power of the poet and his fancy. The wise lover, Brome 
repeatedly insists, knows that fancy determines both beauty and pleasure; he also 
realizes that wealth often creates love. His awareness of money 's power stresses a 
materialism not found in Suckling's poetry and accentuates a pragmatism central 
to Brome's vision. Together with the psychological realism Dubinski justly 
emphasizes in the love poems, this worldly-wise attitude underlines and even 
qualifies the commitments made in the drinking and political poems. 

Although the introduction considers these poems in separate categories, they 
are integral parts of the same vision. Poems in the vein of Anacreon scorn riches, 
minimize cares, and laud drinking as desirable responses to a mutable, mad world. 
In their most carefree moods the drinking songs value only rounds of sack; wealth 
has importance only as a means to more drink, and the fancy found in brimmers 
sustains illusions of well-being. The Anacreontic indifference to the troubled 
times complements the Horatian desire for the safe estate Dubinski finds central to 
Brome's poetry. With a full bowl and close friends, the speakers in these poems 
often turn away from a society they cannot change. The security and pleasure they 
extol in the honest mind and moderate life provide more than content; from their 
vantage the secure can scorn those caught up in the frantic and rapacious rebellion. 
Brome not only laughs at the times and their folly; as the introduction suggests, he 
often dramatizes its shortsightedness in a variety of personae. Levellers, troopers, 
Scots, and royalists reflect in their own concerns the common desire to succeed at 
any cost. The satiric portraits imply if not always support a commitment to a mod- 
erate government of monarchy and parliament, but they become increasingly sen- 
sitive to the reality that war and reform are merely a trade. By dating many of the 
poems Professor Dubinski enables readers to trace a growing bitterness par- 
ticularly noticeable in the pieces written near the time of Charles' execution and 
again at the restoration of the monarchy. Besides the traditional evils of pride and 
lust Brome's speakers reveal either in themselves or in their ridicule an all- 
consuming greed. Might makes right, money determines merit, and inconstancy 
governs behaviour. Poems that look back upon the twenty-years of civil upheaval 
cynically dismiss lip service to principles and sardonically recognize that the 
unscrupulous will always flourish. For his own part. Brome admits in a series of 
epistles presumably written in propria persona, "I've been for th'midle twenty 
years." Though he also counsels his friends to "Stick to the strongest side, and 
think, and laugh" and scorns those who turn with the times, he also realizes right is 

Renaissance et Réforme / 277 

not easily determined "When Charles with himself did fight." His poems remain a 
valuable record of the struggles he and other contemporaries underwent in search 
of this balance. 

Unfortunately little is known for certain about the man who wrote them. A 
seventeenth-century account notes, "He was Eminent in the worst of Times for 
Law, and Loyalty, and yet more for Poetry," but biographical details are sketchy. 
Professor Dubinski acknowledges his indebtedness to the specifics J. L. Brooks 
documented in an unpublished dissertation: bom in Dorset around 1620, Brome 
may not have attended either Oxford or Cambridge before he began a successful 
legal career in London about 1640. In the absence of substantial information, the 
introduction avoids undue speculation about the poet's London years. Brome's 
commendatory pieces in the Cartwright and Beaumont/Fletcher editions lead 
Dubinski to conclude he must have been a poet of some stature among royalists, 
but the introduction and notes are cautiously conservative about spelling out 
relationships. Despite P. W. Thomas' central study of this period, literary and 
social relationships among the London loyalists are largely conjectural, and many 
of the initials in Brome's poems defy indentification. Still it would be interesting to 
consider whether Brome's marriage about 1 650 to the widow of a bookseller who 
possessed all or parts of 126 copy rights (Brooks, p. 43) affected Bromes's own 
decision to write commendatory pieces or to edit Richard Brome's plays. And it is 
tempting to note the irony that the poet who complains about time-serving and 
parasitic opportunists was also a lawyer who pledged his loyalty to the ruling 
powers and gained some wealth during this most litigious period. 

The volume of notes does, however, establish a sound context for the poems. 
Besides finding classical precedents, the extensive annotations list many useful 
parallels with other contemporary poems. The citations include a number of minor 
poets not generally known, and they are particularly helpful in noting relationships 
both with the large body of popular satires and among the other poems in Brome's 
canon. Readers interested in more direct relationships will also not be misled by 
the attempts to clarify personal references. Professor Dubinski does not hastily 
conclude, for example, that L B. must be Joseph Beaumont or that T. S. could be 
the Thomas Sturges mentioned in Brome's will; when adequate proof cannot be 
offered, references remain unidentified. Instead the notes sensibly discuss pos- 
sible literary associations, such as those among the royalists gathered at Oxford in 
1656, and establish chronological continuities. In the tradition of Allan Pritchard's 
Toronto edition of Cowley's The Civil War, the annotations also clarify extremely 
well the poems' historical backgrounds. Seventeenth-century primary sources 
and current modem research form the basis for a thorough yet not pedantic discus- 
sion of the complex events surrounding the changing royalist fortunes. 

The thoroughness of the notes, indeed, raises the only minor reservations about 
the edition. Curiously the section on dubia includes no discussion of authorship. 
The Short-Title Catalogue and the catalogue of the John Henry Wrenn library list 
a number of attributions, and it may well be, as Brome's friend Valentine Oldis 
suggests, that contemporaries granted him the authorship of many pieces, "Such 
reputation has thou gain'd." Some attention to the question of attribution would, in 
any case, complement the edition's laudable standards without affecting its pre- 

278 / Renaissance and Reformation 

sent design. The comprehensiveness possible in the two-volume format, in fact, 
creates its own drawback. Certainly the publishers carefully weighed the advan- 
tages and disadvantages of publishing the poems in one 393-plus page volume and 
the notes in a second 1 44-plus page volume. A single volume would have made the 
notes less cumbersome and awkward to use, and it might have made the poems still 
more accessible by lowering the price of $75.00. 

And Alexander Brome deserves to be more widely known. His poems offer, as 
Professor Dubinski contends, an interesting index to loyalist concerns during the 
decades of great upheaval. By dating many of the poems and placing them in their 
literary and historical contexts, the edition provides a valuable opportunity to 
trace in detail the search for both meaning and survival in the destructive course of 
civil war. The struggles the poems record call into question C. V. Wedgwood's 
influential view of the disheartened and disillusioned "Vanquished." Though 
Brome's songs and catches often praise the solace of sack, his calculated stances 
reveal neither escapism nor "the rotting away of a cause." His is a Cavalier sen- 
sibility attuned to the realities of rebellion and determined to endure a period of 
national madness. His varied responses capture the altering moods of revolution 
with a complexity and authentically readily apparent in Roman R. Dubinski's 
thoughtful, judicious edition. 

RAYMOND A. ANSELMENT, University of Connecticut 

David Quint. Origin and Originality in Renaissance Literature: Versions of the 
Source. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1983. $20.00. 

It would be a mistake if scholars would only read the chapters of Quint's splendid 
study relevant to their own specialties. It requires and deserves a careful reading 
from beginning to end because it cogently and stylishly examines the central criti- 
cal question posed by the Renaissance epic in theory and in practice: "the literary 
text's claims to allegorical truth in light of a new Renaissance awareness of history 
and human creativity." This tension is textually focused on the figure of the 
source, the mythic origin of the rivers of the earth, a commonplace found in the 
Aristaeus-Orpheus epyllion in Virgil's Fourth Géorgie. In its narrowest scope. 
Quint demonstrates, in the manner of E. R. Curtius, how Renaissance authors 
rang the changes on the topos, although the nearer paradigm might be John Frec- 
cero's profound and resonant study of the Jordan image in Inferno II. This focus 
on the source topos produces some remarkable local insights, such as Quint's 
detection of the allusion to Matthew 23:35 in the opening chapter of the Pan- 
tagruel, a crucial echo overlooked by generations of Rabelaisian specialists, but 
the deeper value of his book lies in his discernment of the larger issues that hover 
around the appearance of the source topos and that give particular shape not 
merely to the commonplace, but to the individual epic as a whole. 

If the overall tendency of the Renaissance was to replace the nostalgia for the 
source, emblematic of the traditional imposition of a closed form upon the claim of 
experience, with relativistic historicism and originality, whereby value is sepa- 
rated from priority, Quint, to use his own categories, eschews a linear historical 


Renaissance et Réforme / 279 

treatment in favor of an "allegorical" approach which begins with the thematic 
and emblematic self-consciousness of Erasmus and Virgil. In a briUiant rereading 
of the Praise of Folly, Quint shows that this major "source" book for the Renais- 
sance moves from a historicist, philological analysis of an idolatrous culture 
blithely unaware of its own historicity to an allegorical mode that reaches outside 
itself to an original and privileged dispensation of divine meaning, a shift that is not 
to be had without a loss of Folly's distinctive voice for more conventional lan- 
guage. Quint's convincing allegorization of the satire shows that Erasmus not only 
set forth, but embodied the tension between autonomy and authority. But the 
Praise of Folly is a highly problematic, teasing text. It might be said as well that 
Folly allegorizes human folly by articulating the self-consciousness (and author- 
ity) it presumably lacked, while she historicizes the humanist and Evangelical 
tradition by pointing out the self-conscious humility ( and ambiguity) of its utteran- 
ces, for if Erasmus had an Evangelical heir in Rabelais, who, for Quint, best syn- 
thesizes the claims of autonomy and authority, he also had skeptical and 
humanely tolerant heirs in Montaigne and MoHère. A problematic air also sur- 
rounds the Fourth Géorgie, which, as Quint convincingly demonstrates, offers the 
figure of Proteus, the vates whose language is adequate to represent the truth, and 
the poetry of Orpheus, the fragmented poet who symbolizes the displacement of 
human language from truth. This being so, it would seem clear that the Renais- 
sance predicament, the history of which Quint so skillfully traces, is not his- 
torically unique, but an inevitable allegory of literary self-consciousness in 

Most satisfying, because most expansive and ultimately symmetrical, are 
Quint's central chapters on Sannazaro and Tasso. Jacopo Sannazaro's poetic 
itinerary moves from Orpheus to Proteus, the historical evasions of the pastoral 
Arcadia {\50A) to the QpicDepartu Virginis (1526) in which "pastoral fictions 
come true in the context of the Nativity." Whereas the themes of pastoral point to 
an "intratextual" poetics of autonomy, which cannot absorb the larger themes of 
desire, history and death, ihcDepartu Virginis, by making its meaning absolutely 
dependent upon the divine Word, and by its timid academic classicism, tran- 
scends the confines and conventions of the pastoral, but at the expense of poetic 

Ariosto, by contrast, in his account of Astolfo's voyage to the moon in the 
Orlando furioso exemplifies the rejection of allegory as a means to recover mean- 
ing. While the extraterrestrial journey should give a privileged view of things 
below as in the Commendia, the circular, self-referential landscape of Ariosto's 
moon serves only to indict all literature, even sacred texts, of bad faith, and 
indulgent relationship between patron and poet. Despite Ariosto's deconstruction 
of allegory as textuaJly generated, he is able to sustain major epic fiction. 

Although the visit to the Magus of Ascalon in the Gerusalemme liberata 
parallels the voyage to the moon, and the VirgiUan archetype, the cave of the 
Magus is not in Tasso the source of primal truth, but a figure of natural magic, 
human philosophy unilluminated by Revelation. The source of truth is above, not 
below, and the divine presence is separate from, but works through, natural pro- 
cesses. Yet Tasso's fundamental commitment in the Liberata is to the poet's 

280 / Renaissance and Reformation 

autonomy and the freedom of human action, with all its attendant confusion and 
pathos, until it is perfected by Providential inspiration. The ongoing movement in 
the Liberata is from autonomy to external authority and this is intensified in the 
revisions that culminated in the Gerusalemme Conquistata of 1593 where the 
figure of the source is overlaid with learned typology which nevertheless fails in 
giving deeper significance to human events. Tasso's inability to wed securely 
divine meaning and human history reaches its inevitable culmination in his 
Mondo creato, which depicts natural unity before the fall. 

The oscillation between the material and spiritual, figured by the River Thames 
which flows back upon itself, that Quint finds in Giordano Bruno's Degli eroici 
furori (1585) offers a way out of Tasso's dilemma, as do the multiple levels of 
allegory in Spenser's Faerie Queene. But for Quint, the most successful and 
original of synthesis between poetic autonomy and authority is represented by 
Rabelais's great comic prose epic. It is not the least of Quint's achievements that 
he has found a framework broad and powerful enough to include Rabelais's work 
among the great continental Renaissance epics, whereas too often it is treated as 
sui generis, formally and thematically too dissimilar from its Italian analogues. 
Taking his departure from the central Pantagruelion episode of the Tiers Livre, 
emblematic of human knowledge moving towards a divine goal. Quint sees the 
action of Rabelais's work as an unfolding of salvation history from Pentecost to the 
Apocalypse, an optimistic trajectory qualified by a sense of present history and 
typified by the open-endedness of the Rabelaisian books which return us to the 
realm of contingency despite the ultimate confidence in Redemption. As Quint 
shows, the ebuUient, transgressing autonomy of Rabelais' copia is checked by an 
allegorical impulse that reaches not only back to scriptural authority but out to an 
interpretative community. Interpretation is then akin to a sacramental hermeneu- 
tics, cathoUc, but Evangelical in the maimer of Erasmus, in which each reader- 
believer receives according to his or her own spiritual light. Interpretation is 
continually thematized in the book, particularly in the "paroles dégelées" episode, 
which Quint plausibly reads as a reenactment of the interpretative process in history, 
an allegory of the impossibility of fixing allegorical meaning within a disparate and 
evolving human community. Quint links Panurge's bondage to the Judaic letter to 
an unwillingness to trust in the historical process and to desire to seek the inau- 
thentic closure of certitude. The constant failure of his interpretative quest is what 
fuels the last Rabelaisian books and the refusal of the Dive Bouteille to offer defini- 
tive meaning could serve as a measure of the authenticity of the Cinquième Livre. 

In an all too brief epilogue. Quint demonstrates how Milton's return to the 
originary story underlying the fictions of his predecessors paradoxically esta- 
bHshes both the poet's originality and authoritativeness and reduces all prior texts 
to secondary imitations. Satan's appearance by the Edenic fountain is at once 
symbolic of his desire to usurp divine meaning and an emblem of the poem's own 
assertion of originality. What Quint says of Milton might be said of his own very 
satisfying study, that he simultaneously establishes his originality and authority, 
and that in tracing the history of the Renaissance epic, he discovers the allegory of 
its own emerging consciousness of itself as text 

PHILIP R. BERK, University of Rochester 

Renaissance et Réforme / 281 

Charles Trinkaus. The Scope of Renaissance Humanism. Ann Arbor, Mich.: 
University of Michigan, 1983. Pp. xxvii, 479. $28.50. 

Renaissance historiography has undergone some major changes in emphases in 
recent decades, and none has been more significant than the réévaluation of the 
reUgious thought of the humanists, especially the Italian humanists. This is not 
simply a rejection of the old theories about the "paganism" of the humanists, but a 
serious reconsideration of the content of humanist thought on religious topics. 
Among the scholars writing in English no one has been more active in changing the 
way we judge the humanists as religious thinkers or has produced more fruitful 
lines of research than Charles Trinkaus. Culminating in his magisterial study, In 
our Image and Likeness: Humanity and Divinity in the Italiam Renaissance 
(Chicago, 1 970), he has consistently sought to demonstrate that the Renaissance 
humanists were not empty rhetoricians when they turned to religious questions. 
Rather they seriously, if on occasion idiosyncratically, desired to deal with the 
vital questions of faith and knowledge, of morality and sin within the Christian 
tradition, and offered their audience the means to act morally. While /« our Image 
and Likeness is his most important statement on this question, it did not exhaust 
what Trinkaus had to say on the relationship between humanism and religious 
thought as indicated by his more recent study on Petrarch, The Poet as Philo- 
sopher: Petrarch and the Formation of Renaissance Consciousness (New 
Haven, 1979). 

The book under review is a collection of Trinkaus' essays stretching from his 
early work to his most recent. It is valuable both because it expands certain aspects 
dealt with in/« our Image and Likeness, and also because it gives us a clear pic- 
ture of his own development as a Renaissance historian. These essays have a 
further interest since Trinkaus' career has paralleled the development of Renais- 
sance studies in North America. Trinkaus studied with Lynn Thomdike at Colum- 
bia University before World War II and was taught the anti-humanist and 
anti-Renaissance attitude that was typical of American medievalists and that the 
late Wallace Ferguson so aptly called "the revolt of the medievalists." His thesis 
and first book. Adversity's Nobleman: The Italian Humanists on Happiness 
(New York, 1940), reflected this orientation and partly modified it. To study 
"pessimism" in Renaissance humanism strikes one as especially medieval in 
inspiration. When he reissued the book in 1965 Trinkaus accurately noted that 
"Renaissance studies in America were at a low point in 1940, but now they are 
flourishing with a much more expert and sophisticated scholarly community 
engaged in their pursuits. They have experienced their own Renaissance" (p. v). 
While Trinkaus' statement might seem overly optimistic today, it did reflect the 
state of Renaissance studies at the time. If there has been a renaissance of 
Renaissance studies, then it is greatly due to the work of men like Trinkaus and 
Paul O. Kristeller whose writings so happily complement Trinkaus'. 

The essays in this collection show that Trinkaus from the outset of his career as 
an historian has been concerned with certain fundamental themes and problems in 
Renaissance and Reformation intellectual history and has basically continued to 
deal with them in a variety of contexts and with ever-growing sophistication. This 

282 / Renaissance and Reformation 

is not a case of a man merely redoing the same topic, but of his early centering on 
the essential questions in his field and working through them carefully, work 
requiring much time and effort and ever finer differentiations. 

These eighteen essays are divided into three equal sections. The first entitled 
"Renaissance Humanism, Its Character and Influences," consists of essays in 
which Trinkaus defines what he sees as the basic characteristics of humanism as a 
unique intellectual movement. Here much of his emphasis is to respond to the 
criticisms of men like Thomdike who denied that there was a distinct character to 
humanism, or at least any serious content. The section lays special stress on the 
rhetorical aspects of humanism. Trinkaus gives an especially close reading to the 
rhetorical and literary writings of the humanist Bartolommeo della Fonte as an 
example of the rhetorical and literary foundations of humanism. The topics 
covered are very broad, and Trinkaus relates humanism to Renaissance art and 
the sciences as well as ancient moral philosophical thought. Especially useful are 
the surveys of the history of Renaissance humanism included in the treatments of 
art and the natural sciences. These pieces would be useful to students trying to un- 
derstand the variety in humanist thought. 

The second series of essays is grouped around the topic of "Renaissance and 
Reformation." It concerns the relationship between humanist thought and Chris- 
tian theology in general, and with medieval and Protestant Reform ideals in par- 
ticular. In their treatment of medieval monastic models, Trinkaus shows that the 
humanists offered to their readers a special religious consolation that reflected 
their readers' secular needs. They were as perplexed by the problems of justifica- 
tion and salvation as any professional theologian but did not offer the same 
metaphysical answers. Rather the humanists stressed the rhetorical basis of their 
thought as a means of dealing with Christian dilemmas. They did not cast their 
special brand of theology, the so-called theologia rhetorica or rhetorical theology, 
in opposition to medieval ecclesiastical establishment in general, but felt that they 
were returning to the theology of the Church Fathers who has stressed rhetoric as a 
means of making Christian truth immediate. Yet their rhetorical theology did 
separate them from the dogmatic theology of the Protestant Reformers. 

The final section concentrates on the topic most closely related to Trinkaus' 
scholarship, one which has been the centre of his work from its earliest period, the 
"Renaissance Philosophy of Man," especially the "dignity of man." He shows 
that the growth of the fundamental idea of man's dignity stenmied from humanism's 
special view of the human condition and anthropology. Humanists were aware of 
the limits of the human condition and did not ignore its misery. They discovered 
the basis for man's special character by exploiting both ancient pagan philosophy 
and the Christian ideals represented in Augustinian Trinitarianism, which sees 
man as a reflection of the Trinity. For all its theoretical aspects, humanism was 
very much aware of the urban environment of its Italian readers and it emphasized 
the active element in man's life, a theme that concurred with its rhetoric. The 
humanist theme of man's dignity, and its accompanying paradoxes, had simi- 
larities with medieval Nominalism but also significant differences with it and with 
Protestant theology. 

Read either independently or as a supplement to Trinkaus' major writings, these 


Renaissance et Réforme / 283 

essays have a wealth of ideas that touch a variety of questions fundamental to 
Renaissance humanism. Their value is enhanced by what they show of the scho- 
larly growth of a major interpreter of humanism. They are a valuable index of the 
development of Renaissance studies in North America, one that amply justifies 
Professor Trinkaus' optimistic vision of the field in his statement of 1965. 

JOHN D'AMICO, George Mason University 

Paolo Brezzi and Maristella Lorch, eds. Umanesimo a Roma net Quattrocento. 
Rome: Istituto di studi romani; New York: Barnard College, Columbia Univer- 
sity, 1984. Pp. 349. 

This interesting collection of essays constitute eighteen of the papers on the theme 
of humanism in Rome in the Fifteenth Century delivered to a conference held in 
New York in 1981. The contents are divided into four sections discussing the 
political, economic and cultural environment of Rome in the fifteenth century, 
Rome and the papal court, Rome and the arts, and humanists and Rome. 

Paolo Brezzi begins the volume and the first division by providing a general, 
chronologically organized review of the condition of Rome from approximately 
1420, the year Martin V repatriated the Holy See to the city, to 1 527, the year of 
the terrible sack by the soldiers of Charles V. Thereafter follows a series of papers 
ranging from the interpretation of the restoration of classical statues by Sixtus IV, 
through the role played by cardinals' entertainments, to a study of certain aspects 
of the book trade in Renaissance Rome. 

The next section, dealing with the papal Curia, contains essays on humanism 
and individual humanists in the services of the popes, thestudium urbis between 
1473 and 1484, and a trio of papers on Lorenzo Valla and his works. 

Rome e le arti has just three articles on art and architecture, whereas Umanisti e 
Roma, the final division, enjoys five contributions on a wide variety of subjects, 
including studies on the theme of decline and rebirth in Bruni and Biondo, a survey 
of the extant manuscripts of the latter's/ra//a illustrata , Pier Candido Decembrio 
and Rome, Ancient Theology in Annius of Viterbo and a synoptic concluding 
address by P. O. Kristeller on "La cultura umanistica a Roma nel quattrocento." 

As with any collection of conference proceedings, the selections presented here 
vary in quality, style and character. Some are very abstract and directed to a more 
specialized audience (such as Savarese's "Filosofia di un nuovo comportamento 
umano nel De voluptate di Lorenzo Valla"); some are useftil contributions to 
specific, limited subjects (e.g., Lombardi's "Aspetti della produzione e cir- 
colazione del libro a Roma nel XV secolo," or Lee's "Humanists and iheStudium 
Urbis, 1473-84"); some arebibliographical(suchas White's "Towards a Critical 
Edition of Biondo Flavio's Italia illustrata: A Survey and Evaluation of the 
Manuscripts"); and some are provacatively exploratory (e.g. Hersey's "The 
Classical Orders of Architecture as Totems in Vitruvian Myth"). 

In short, this collection offers a wide variety of insight and scholarship on the 
broadly defined theme of humanism in all of its manifestations as applied to the 
city and idea of Rome and the papacy in the fifteenth century. The rich material of 

284 / Renaissance and Reformation 

this volume and the excellent quality of the illustrations provide a comprehensive 
survey of the subject for any reader concerned with either humanism or Rome in 
the quattrocento. The significance of the city and all of its complex associations in 
the ancient, ecclesiastical and Renaissance worlds, and the significance of the 
period - the years in which the values and ideals of humanism were incorporated 
into the restored city and Church after the Babylonian Captivity and the Schism - 
are such that any study of them is welcome. However, the editors, Brezzi and 
Lorch, have succeeded in welding together a singular vision of their subject in a 
creative and inclusive way, making this volume an example of how conference 
proceedings can be edited and shaped to conform to a coherent but broad theme. 

KENNETH R. BARTLETT, Victoria College, University of Toronto 

William F. Hansen. Saxo Grammaticus and the Life of Hamlet: A Translation, 
History, and Commentary. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 
1983. Pp. xvi, 202. $17.95. 

This is most definitely not the story of a man who could not make up his mind. Wit- 
ness Saxo's version of how Hamlet disposed of Polonius: "He cut up the body, 
cooked the pieces in boiling water, and dumped them through the hole of the 
outhouse for the swine to eat, strewing the putrid refuse with the wretch's limbs" 
(p. 102). The excerpt shows how refined and intellectualized a Hamlet Shake- 
speare gives us, compared with the Prince's earlier Scandinavian avatars. It also 
shows what a clear, lively translation William F. Hansen has produced in this 
admirable book, which discusses and interprets the evolution of Hamlet's legend 
as well as translating and elucidating Saxo's account. 

The story of Hamlet reaches far back into Scandinavian history. Although there 
is no evidence that Hamlet (or Amleth, as Saxo calls him) was an historical 
character, the traditional oral tales in which he features probably date from the 
early tenth century; by 1 000, he was a familiar enough figure to be alluded to by an 
Icelandic poet. When Saxo Grammaticus gave a more permanent literary form to 
the oral story in his Gesta Danorum (c. 1 200), he was able to draw on both Danish 
and Icelandic traditions, and so his Vita Amlethi rests on a deliberate collation of 
information from several sources. 

What kind of information? By himself collating Saxo's tale with ihQAmbales 
Saga, an independent analogue first given literary treatment at about the same 
time Shakespeare was writing his version, Hansen isolates what seem to be the 
essential plot elements. The story begins with the murder of a king by his jealous 
brother, who then assumes the throne and weds or attempts to wed the widowed 
queen. Her son, the hero, saves his neck by pretending to be a simpleton, and care- 
fully plans his revenge while the villain puts him to three tests. In the first, his con- 
duct with a young woman (Ophelia's prototype) is observed; in the second, the 
king's spy hides in the queen's room to overhear her conversation with the hero, 
and consequently experiences the meat processing referred to above; the hero sur- 
vives the third test by altering a letter of reference written by the villain to a foreign 
king, and winds up marrying the king's daughter. After a time, he returns home and 

Renaissance et Réforme / 285 

accomplishes his revenge by setting fire to a banquet hall in which he has trapped 
the villain and his entire court. The hero is then proclaimed king. 

Shakespeare's rather more noble Dane stands at two removes from the oral 
legend, and Hansen explores in fascinating detail the composition of each step. 
The first step was the shorter, when Saxo imposed the format of a literary text on 
an oral tale. As Hansen shows, Saxo's attempted metamorphosis did not succeed 
completely because his story's shape was in places inextricably related to the 
demands of oral narrative. Indeed, looking at the particular demands that Hansen 
describes, one might conclude that the primary result of this step was to preserve in 
the chrysalis of written form some essential attributes of an oral performance, 
attributes that Shakespeare's dramatic performance would liberate from the 
chrysalis in a much more successful metamorphosis; but more about this below. 
The second step in the legend's evolution was really the fulfilment of Saxo's move 
away from the archetypal mistiness of folklore towards the clear particularity of 
historical narrative. In this step, the following crucial changes occur: Hamlet's 
inner life materializes, with the rich complications and contradictions we asso- 
ciate with him ( - what he calls "conscience" may make cowards of us all, but it 
gives Hamlet an identity apart from his actions); the world around the hero 
becomes more historically detailed and unfolds in a more clearly sequential man- 
ner; and finally, these subjective and objective worlds are manoeuvered into a pro- 
blematical dialogue with each other. Hansen's discussion is deeply sensitive to 
this last aspect, especially to the relation between Hamlet and the other charac- 
ters: "It is as though his mind has been analysed into its component parts, which 
are then personified, intensified, and set free to haunt him and taunt him" (p. 74). 
Belleforest, who retold Saxo's story in the Histoires tragiques ( 1 570) with which 
Shakespeare was most likely familiar, was responsible for a small though signifi- 
cant number of the changes (he invented the ghost and the melancholic disposi- 
tion, for instance); the rest belong to Shakespeare and whoever wrote the lost 
Ur-Hamlet oHhe 1580s. 

Chapter Four ("The Shakespearean Transformation") is devoted to a thorough, 
fascinating discussion of these changes, and it also examines the important techni- 
cal features that mark Shakespeare's near abandonment of the trappings of oral 
narrative. Hamlet is characterized by: the disappearance of the narrator - a 
natural step in any dramatization; a more compressed and concise treatment of 
time than any legend requires; an expansion of the number of characters per scene, 
since drama allows a more complex scenic perspective than a storyteller or his lis- 
teners can manage; and a departure from the somewhat self-contained episodes of 
the narrative, resulting in extended story-lives for many of the characters. Such 
features are essential to the identity and success of Shakespeare's play, and Han- 
sen's emphasis on their importance is warranted. However, what struck me as I 
read Chapter Three ("Legend and Literature") was how many of the features of 
oral storytelling survived to become dramatic strengths in Hamlet. As the close 
ties between traditional folktales and many Elizabethan plays demonstrate, the 
one form translates readily into the other. For instance, the oral emphasis on the 
present moment, and its relative freedom from the chains of connectives that one 
finds in a sophisticated literary work like The Faerie Queene, is a characteristic of 


286 / Renaissance and Reformation 

good drama. Similarly, the fact that "readers dealing with orally inspired literature 
have a habit of putting together things that listeners perceive separately" (p. 52) 
calls attention to an audience response that is particularly appropriate to Hamlet. 
And the oral tale's absence of reference to the physical appearances of the charac- 
ters or to their customary habits of dress - relying instead on an expression of 
character through action - underlines an approach that Aristotle as well as the 
Elizabethans found inherently dramatic. These are not connections that Hansen 
makes, but they come easily as a result of his clear, stimulating presentation of the 
intrinsic qualities of both play and legend. 

I have spent most of this review on the aspects of Saxo Grammaticus and the 
Life of Hamlet that should be of greatest interest to students to Shakespeare; this 
group will doubtless be providing Hansen with the majority of his readers, who will 
be enjoying and profiting from the book for many years. However, the book's 
merits are broader than any group's special interests. In fact, Hansen has given us 
one of the best book bargains around, compressing into this volume a first-rate 
translation, an exhaustively researched and illuminating commentary on Saxo' s 
work, a timely investigation of the form and implications of oral narrative, and a 
new study - with much fresh information - of how Shakespeare adapted his source 
material. And the book's style is throughout so clear and lively that it merits the 
final judgment usually given to that modem descendant of Hamlet, the classic 
murder mystery: the reviewer could hardly put the book down while he was read- 
ing it, and did so with reluctance when it was finished. 

JOHN REIBETANZ, Victoria College, University of Toronto 

Kevin Brownlee. Poetic Identity in Guillaume de Machaut. Madison and Lon- 
don: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984. Pp. x, 268. 

Dans cette étude sobre et fort intéressante, Kevin Brownlee se penche sur les 
aspects du "je" poétique chez Guillaume de Machaut, nous offrant une révision de 
sa thèse doctorale (université de Princeton), laquelle est exclue de sa biblio- 
graphie, me citant que des titres publiés. 

On a longtemps reconnu Machaut comme le meilleur compositeur français du 
quatorzième siècle, maître technicien en vers, grand "faiseur" pour qui les exigen- 
ces du rondeau et de la ballade ne semblent poser que des problèmes mineurs. 

A Brownlee de démontrer que le faiseur peut être ajuste titre reconnu comme 
"poète" (c'est son élève Deschamps qui l'avait baptisé ainsi), c'est-à-dire dans le 
sens d'un créateur conscient de son identité à l'égard d'un ensemble poétique 
unifié, qu'il a d'ailleurs présenté comme tel, étant le premier à publier ses poèmes 
dans un ordre préalablement établi et sa musique sous forme de recueil. Insertion 
du moi qui va beaucoup plus loin si l'on regarde les textes de près, car le poète 
s'intègre et se re-présente dans sa création d'une façon plus complexe qu'on ne 
l'aurait imaginé. L'étude présente, approfondissant les travaux de Câlin, Uitti, 
Kelly et Poirion en particulier, nous révèle un narrateur qui se complaît à mani- 
puler plusieurs identités selon les niveaux de narration. Ces processus, avec leurs 
dédoublements et modulations d'orientation, sont explicités dans l'analyse 

Renaissance et Réforme / 287 

méthodique de sept dits amoureux, suivant l'ordre du manuscrit A (sigle de 
Hoepffner, B.N. 1584), qui semble correspondre aux intentions de l'auteur. 

C'est surtout dans le Voir-Dit (histoire vraie) que nous apercevons les finesses 
de la technique de narration-composition. Et cette technique fait penser non seule- 
ment à la filiation littéraire qui amène au 'je suis moy-mesmes la matière de mon 
livre' de Montaigne ou aux propos ironiques des personnages de Cervantes sur 
leur auteur, mais aussi aux jeux subtils de Gide, notamment dans les Faux- 
Monnayeurs et la Symphonie pastorale, où il s'agit d'événements évoluant dans 
un plan de réalité qui s'approche chronologiquement d'un autre. Mieux encore, 
car cette fois c'est comme si l'auteur avait lui-même composé la symphonie: la 
bien-aimée de Machaut-participant reçoit non seulement des rondeaux de la part 
de 'Guillaume' mais aussi la musique. Ajoutons que notre poète ne lésine pas tou- 
jours sur sa propre valeur et n'oublie pas de commenter très favorablement ses 
propres vers. Le tout à être considéré sous l'optique du prologue dans lequel le 
faiseur se constitue être exclusif: ("Je, Nature . . . Vien ci a toy, Guillaume, qui 
fourme / T'ay a part, pour faire par Toy fourmer / Nouviaus dis amoureus 

Le Livre du voir^dit (chapitre III de la présente étude) a pour thème l'histoire 
d'un amour et la genèse d'un livre. Le narrateur se présente sous plusieurs formes: 
celle d'amant, de clerc et de poète. L'examen détaillé de la combinaison de ces 
aspects démontre une fois pour toutes que la majorité des questions concernant la 
'réalité' biographique du Voir-dit (un homme d'au moins soixante ans aurait-il 
vraiment vécu cette aventure amoureuse?) ne sont que d'une importance secon- 
daire. En premier lieu le voir-dit fait partie d'un service amoureux dont les grandes 
lignes sont traditionnelles. Histoire sans véritable drame, car nous en connaissons 
déjà la fin - seul un amour heureux puisse engendrer la poésie ... Le poète crée un 
Guillaume anti-"macho," pour ainsi dire, petit, peu courageux, sans noblesse ni 
vigueur, dont l'amour ne se justifie que par la composition du livre. Si la louange de 
sa Toute-Belle reste fidèle aux stéréotypes, ce sont les structures de leur com- 
munication qui sont tout à fait nouvelles. Au début, l'amant se trouve dans un 
locus amoenus obligatoire, cependant, à l'inverse du Roman de la Rose, le 
narrateur est vieux et triste, l'absence d'amour lui ayant enlevé l'inspiration poéti- 
que. Il faut la livraison d'un rondeau de Toute-Belle ("Celle qui onques ne vous 
vit, / Et qui vous aime loi-aument") pour le ranimer. Il envoie son rondeau- 
réponse et nous entamons une suite d'échanges Httéraires, y compris quarante- 
sept lettres en prose. Comme Rémy de Gourmont l'a suggéré, Toute-Belle est une 
Laure qui se crée en s'attachant au Pétrarque français. Notons ici que Brownlee, 
qui fournit à l'intention des lecteurs non-spécialisés des traductions littérales de 
toutes les citations en français, aurait eu intérêt à souligner le parallélisme chrono- 
logique entre la carrière de Machaut et celle de son contemporain italien qui, lui, se 
reconnaissait ouvertement commQ poeta. 

Quant au Voir-dit et la déclaration du narrateur (w. 425-32) qu'il n'a pas menti 
dans son histoire, nous savons qu'un tiers des poèmes apparemment inspirés par 
sa dame ont été composés avant ce livre. La circulation des poèmes individuels de 
Machaut nous autorise à croire que sons public a dû interpréter la réalité de l'his- 
toire dans un sens particulier. L'authenticité visée est celle d'un jeu réciproque de 

288 / Renaissance and Reformation 

realités internes: les mêmes événements se répètent dans les octosyllabes de la 
narration, les morceaux à formes fixes que l'on s'envoie et la prose des lettres. 
Ainsi garantit-on l'authenticité poétique d'un récit qui se déroule selon les normes 
avec rêves et losengiers. Guillaume joue un rôle quasi-fixe d'amant couart, donc il 
incombe à Toute-Belle à faire toutes les démarches dont le poète s'inspire pour 
chanter un amour d'humble clerc non-courtois. En se re-créant par le moyen de 
points de vue multiples, Machaut parvient à combiner allégorie (rencontre d'Es- 
pérance dans la forêt) et actualité (pilleurs de la Grande-Compagnie qui mena- 
çaient les voyageurs entre 1360 et 1365). 

Pour Brownlee la deuxième partie du récit n'est nullement inférieure à la pre- 
mière, bien que la critique ne s'est pas montrée très enthousiaste envers ce qui 
semble être une fragmentation peu dramatique de la trame narrative. Guillaume 
annonce qu'il est en train de composer un livre et l'évolution du texte devient le 
mobile de l'histoire. Il se met à apprécier "leur" expérience d'une façon de plus en 
plus érudit. Dans un rêve, il recontre le roi Charles, ce qui lui permet déjouer les 
rôles de poète, amant, amant bafoué, clerc, spectateur ironique de lui-même et 
commentataire des maux du pays. Les paradoxes se multiplient quand le roi ob- 
serve qu'il ne faut pas croire aux songes et la réalité s'interroge quand le poète- 
narrateur envoie le texte inachevé de son livre à sa bien-aimée, en la priant de 
corriger ce qui bon lui semble afin que l'histoire de leur amour ne s'éloigne pas de 
la vérité. Lorsque Péronne (son nom maintenant révélé) déménage pour être plus 
près de son amant, c'est l'activité littéraire qui s'intensifie, Guillaume se trouvant 
en proie aux médisants et aux problèmes de déplacement pour un homme âgé et 
peu robuste. Il préfère Is voyages à l'intérieur de son propre oeuvre et remplace la 
sortie sous la pluie par l'excursus intertextuel et la visite des lieux communs. 
Quand les amants sont enfin reconciUés, nous ne nous intéressons plus SLUgradus 
amoris. Le livre est devenu^cfwm ou cinquième degré. 

Pour faire son livre du livre du voir-dit et participer dans ce jeu subtil de niveaux 
d'expérience, Brownlee se sert des lumières de Genette, Benveniste et Weinrich 
sans trop se fourvoyer dans une forêt terminologique qui risque toujours de se met- 
tre elle-même en abyme. Son voyage ouvrira bien d'autres sentiers dans un vaste 
domaine qui reste largement inexploré. C'est un travail soigné, muni d'amples 
notes. Regrettons qu'il n'ait pas porté la même attention rigoureuse à son style qui 
pèche trop souvent par des répétitions et une pléthore de "problematize," "valo- 
rize" et de 'OF' (à la page neuf on compte vingt "of et cinq "OF" du genre). 

The clerkly narrator figure is an essential component of both OF hagiography 
and OF romance narrative. . . . 

Mais l'étude ne s'en trouve pas pour autant trop "devalorized." Nous attendons 
avec impatience la suite de ce voyage et ceux d'autres explorateurs pour voir si les 
jeux d'approche narrative se retrouvent dans l'illustration des manuscrits et sur- 
tout dans la musique de Machaut. 

JOHN HARE, Memorial University of Newfoundland 

Renaissance et Réforme / 289 

Mark U. Edwards, Jr., Luther's Last Battles: Politics and Polemics, 1531-46. 
Cornell University Press,: Ithaca and London, 1983. 254 pp. 

Like the author's first book, Luther and the False Brethren (Stanford University 
Press, 1 975), which dealt with Luther's attacks on his evangelical opponents, this 
new work contributes significantly to our understanding of Luther by examining 
his activity as a polemecist. The focus here is on the older Luther's treatises, writ- 
ten in the period 1531-46, attacking the papacy, papal councils, the Jews, the 
Turks, and an assortment of Catholic princes. Although the book is not, and does 
not claim to be, an exhaustive account of the controversies that produced Luther's 
polemics, the author nevertheless provides a great deal of interesting information 
about those controversies, which get little attention in most standard biographies 
and histories. 

Luther's later polemics have always been a stumbling-block for biographers and 
historians because their contents and their style are difficult to integrate into the 
picture of Luther that emerges from an examination of his early, 'heroic' struggles 
against the papacy and its allies. In some of the later treatises Luther seems to 
abandon positions of principle established in his earlier writings (e.g., on obe- 
dience to secular authority); in others he participates in a nasty gutter-dispute be- 
tween rival princes ( Saxony/Hessen vs. Braunschweig- Wolfenbuttel) seemingly 
unworthy of a theologian of his stature. And some of the polemics are so shock- 
ingly vulgar and violent that they off'ended contemporaries and continue to give 
offence to this day. The most notorious of these are the anti-Jewish tracts of 1 543, 
but others, such as Against Hanswurst (1541), aimed at Duke Henry of 
Braunschweig- Wolfenbuttel, and Against the Papacy at Rome, Founded by the 
Devil (1545) are just as bad or worse. 

Scholars have conventionally sought the explanation for these polemics either 
in Luther's theology or, where plausible theological motives could not be found, in 
the effects of ill health and old age. Edwards finds these explanations to be, at best, 
incomplete. The weaker of the two is that based on ill health and old age. Luther 
did indeed suffer much from poor health in his later years, and this doubtless made 
him more irascible than he might otherwise have been. However, the connection 
between this and the offensive rhetoric of the later polemics is extremely tenuous 
because, as the author repeatedly demonstrates, the violence and the vulgarity 
were turned on or off according to Luther's purposes at the moment. They were a 
deliberate tactic, not the uncontrolled ravings of a sick old man. 

Edwards finds more merit in the argument from theological motives. Theology 
was always important to Luther and none of his later polemics is wholly devoid of 
theological content. Moreover, the author, pursuing a theme already developed in 
Luther and the False Brethren, argues that Luther's apocalyptic world view is 
crucial to an understanding of the later polemics. Luther saw himself as a partici- 
pant in a great struggle between the true and the false church which was approach- 
ing its apocalyptic climax in his own day. Thus his polemics were not aimed at 
ordinary individuals, who might deserve moderate and charitable treatment, but at 
agents of Satan, upon whom it was both necessary and legitimate to heap the worst 
abuse one could muster. 

290 / Renaissance and Reformation 

Important as this theological explanation of Luther's later polemics is, how- 
ever, it has, in the author's view, two principal shortcomings. The first is that it 
ignores or undervalues the historical circumstances surrounding those polemics. 
By the 1530, Edwards argues, the Reformation was no longer a revolutionary 
movement made up primarily of theologically committed individuals but was, 
rather, a conservative movement led by territorial rulers whose leadership and 
support were vital to the survival of the movement but those policies were fre- 
quently not those recommended by Luther or the other theologians. This develop- 
ment had two important results. First, most of Luther's later polemics were 
addressed to his own supporters. The aim was no longer to win converts but to 
defend the righteous cause against numerous foes. Luther's apocalyptic view of 
those foes as agents of Satan led them to denounce them with emotional and 
abusive rhetoric that was useful to the movement's leaders and reassuring to its 
followers. Second, politics played a much larger role in Luther's later polemics 
than in the earlier ones. Most of the later polemics were, in fact, politically signifi- 
cant (those against the Jews being the chief exception) and many were written at 
the specific request of political authorities, usually the Saxon government, which 
wanted Luther's vast store of invective put to use in support of its policies or those 
of the Schmalkaldic League. Since compliance with such requests gave Luther the 
opportunity to heap abuse upon the pope and papists, he readily complied, even 
when his motives and views were not the same as those of the authorities (as on the 
questions of attendance at a papal council, armed resistance to the emperor, the 
seizure of the bishopric of Naumburg, and the war against Henry of Wolfen- 
biittel). Luther's denunciation of the enemy served the rulers' purposes despite his 
personal reservations about their policies for dealing with the enemy. For exam- 
ple, his blistering denunciation of papal councils (a denunciation that employed 
substantial historical, scriptural, and logical arguments as well as liberal verbal 
abuse) justified the decision of the Schmalkaldic Leaguers never to send a delega- 
tion to such a council even though Luther thought that one should be sent to bear 
witness to the truth. 

The second shortcoming of the exclusively theological explanation of Luther's 
later polemics is closely related to the first. It is the failure to understand that, in 
general, Luther's inflammatory rhetoric conveyed to his readers, most of whom 
could not follow his theological arguments, a meaning independent of those 
arguments. On occasion, as in the case of his Warning to his Dear German People 
(1531), theology and rhetoric actually seemed to work at cross-purposes. On the 
one hand, Luther's intricate argument indicated that he still harboured grave 
doubts about the legitimacy of armed resistance to the emperor and that he was 
unwilling to counsel such resistance. But what impressed contemporary readers, 
Edwards argues, was not Luther's theological caution but rather his vehement 
denunciation of the "unspeakable wickedness" of the "murderous and blood- 
thirsty papists" and his grim satisfaction at the thought that they would meet with 
resistance, whether licit or not. Luther's rhetoric encouraged armed resistance to 
attack from the emperor- both friend and foe perceived this - even though he had 
not yet formulated an adequate theological defence of such resistance. 

In his epilogue, Edwards draws the general conclusion that the meaning of 


Renaissance et Réforme / 29 1 

Luther's polemics "is not exhausted by a statement of his intentions, much less a 
statement of his theological rationale. The historian must also evaluate the mean- 
ing the polemics had for Luther's contemporaries . . . [and] such an evaluation 
must include a consideration of the rhetorical force of Luther's treatises as well as 
their specific content." He argues, moreover, that Luther's earlier writings (e.g., 
those associated with the Peasants' War and with the emergence of the Lutheran 
state church) must also be reassessed on this basis, although he gives little indica- 
tion of what new insights such a reassessment might lead to. 

The author informs us in his preface that this book was written, edited, and 
typeset on a computer. Unfortunately, it shows. Luther's Last Battles is not 
nearly as well written diS Luther and the False Brethren, nor is the material as well 
organized. As a result, the argument is often difficult to follow. To give just one 
example: Edwards waits until the very last page of Chapter Six before indicating 
how the treatises against the Jews, which do not really fit under the subtitle Po//r/c5 
and Polemics, are linked to the other polemics of Luther's later years (i.e., by the 
independent force of their rhetoric and by their apocalyptic context). Moreover, 
the text of the book is littered with the sort of blunders that should have been 
eliminated by careful revision and competent editing. There are numerous gram- 
matical solecisms. We are repeatedly informed, for example, that "the vulgarity 
and the violence [of Luther's polemics] w;as intention." There are sentences that, 
because of faulty syntax, have to be pondered at length for one to discover their 
intended meaning (see lines 1-3 on p. 95, for example). The author's translations 
of original texts are often bewilderingly unidiomatic and sometimes embarras- 
singly inaccurate. On pp. 60-1 , for example, we are told that Luther wrote aBrief 
Reply to Duke George's Next Book, whereas, in fact, he replied to the duke's 
"most recent" (newest) book. While the text contains relatively few purely typo- 
graphical errors, there is a huge one on p. 1 7, where three whole lines in paragraph 
two have been accidentally displaced by three lines from the following paragraph. 
In the preface, the author dutifully accepts responsibility for all these errors. But 
the Cornell University Press cannot be let off that easily. It was the duty of the press's 
readers and editors to spot the errors and correct them. That they did not do so is a 
great pity and a disgrace. 

That said, however, the fact remains that, despite all, the author's message 
comes through and is, on the whole, persuasive. This is an important and stimulat- 
ing book by one of the best Luther's scholars active today. 

JAMES M. ESTES, University of Toronto 

Franco Catalano, Francesco Sforza. Milan: Dall'Oglio, 1983. 

Early in 1984 there appeared on the shelves of the bookstores of Milan a new 
biography of one of the city's most famous figures - its fifteenth-century ruler, 
Francesco Sforza. Sforza has always attracted the attention of Italian historians, 
not least because he provides the most conspicuous example of the Renaissance 
success story: a soldier of fortune rising to become the ruler of a powerful state 
solely through his military and political prowess. Thus, Francesco can be re- 

292/ Renaissance and Reformation 

garded as an illustration of the supreme importance of the ability or "virtu'* so 
extolled by contemporary humanists, and which subsequently became, in the 
Burckhardtian tradition, a distinguishing characteristic of the "Renaissance man." 

Franco Catalano's biography lies securely within this historiographical tradi- 
tion, which sees in the Renaissance a period when the full development of human 
capacities was achieved in such exceptional individuals as Leon Battista Alberti 
or Francesco Sforza himself. Taking his cue from the humanists themselves, 
Catalano determines that chance or "fortune" (a major cause of events in human- 
ist historiography) had little to do with Francesco's success. Instead, it was his 
personal virtues that allowed Sforza to win and retain the Duchy of Milan: not 
merely his military skill but the exceptional prudence, moderation and humanity 
which he displayed, and with which he triumphed over the more brutal and violent 
tendencies of the age. Ultimately, Catalano sees the measure of Francesco's per- 
sonal value not merely in his conquest of Milan or in his contribution to the period 
of relative peace that followed, but, more particularly, in his far- sighted insistence 
on preventing foreign intervention in the Italian peninsula. As the success of this 
policy provided the tranquil conditions in which the Renaissance could achieve its 
full flowering, Sforza here receives a major share of the credit for promoting the 
climax of culture Italy experienced during the fifteenth century. 

Catalano's view of Sforza depends, then, on his interpretation of the Renais- 
sance and, to a degree, on his sense of value of the culture that the period brought 
forth. It is also influenced by the image of Sforza presented by the Duke's contem- 
porary biographers, on whom Catalano heavily and quite rightly relies. However, 
often humanists in Sforza employ, these writers tended to depict Francesco as the 
wise, magnanimous and virtuous prince, and, while Catalano recognises the 
eulogistic element in their work, he does little to counterbalance it. 

Despite the eulogistic element, there is much truth in this presentation of Sforza 
as the wise and prudent ruler. Like his friend Cosimo de' Medici, Francesco was 
noted for his good sense, his moderation and willingness to compromise, his desire 
to conciliate rather than employ high-handed methods, as he also was for his deci- 
sion, strength of purpose, patience and reliability once he had determined on a 
course of action. However, to concentrate on such personal qualities as motives of 
action is often to obscure the more pragmatic bases of Sforza's policies. Much of 
his moderation and humanity were, as they were with Cosimo, the result of his 
recognition of the insecurity of his position, as a ruler whose claim to Milan rested 
ultimately on conquest by force. While Catalano is fully aware of this, he tends to 
ignore the implications in favour of his more "humanist" approach to his subject. 
Thus, for example, he attributes Sforza's unduly optimistic conclusions regarding 
a particularly difficult piece of diplomatic bargaining to the Duke's confidence in 
man's capacities and virtues when, in realty, it is a typical example of Sforza's 
unwillingness to arouse hostility that might ultimately prove dangerous to himself. 
Similarly, Sforza's policy of keeping the foreigner out of Italy, while certainly a 
long-term commitment, was based on Francesco's fear of foreign claims to his 
Duchy rather than on any idealist considerations. It is quite possible therefore 
that, if pressed to extremities as he was during the early 1450s, he might again 
abandon this principle in favour of seeking foreign support for his own survival. 

Renaissance et Réforme / 293 

Thus, Catalano's depiction of Sforza as the virtuous Renaissance prince, while 
it does provide a thematic unity for the work, leads to certain distortions in inter- 
pretation. In addition, it affects the author's selection of his subject matter. 
Catalano has time, for example, to treat such broad questions as the humanist con- 
ception of "nature" and "mystery," but little to devote to such fundamental issues 
as Sforza's administration of his Duchy, the social bases of his support, or 
economic developments during his rule. When these subjects are raised, the 
coverage is at best superficial. Thus, Catalano interprets certain of Sforza's 
actions immediately following his acquisition of Milan as proof of a permanent 
change in his policy towards the towns and the nobility. However, he does not seek 
further evidence to support this conclusion nor try to trace later shifts in Frances- 
co's internal policies. 

Catalano's failure to deal with social and economic questions, like his presenta- 
tion of Sforza as the Renaissance prince, are typical of an earlier epoch of his- 
toriography. It is therefore illuminating, if a little shocking, to discover that 
Francesco Sforza is not really a recent work. Rather, it is an almost verbatim re- 
print of the section of volume VI of the monumental Treccani degli Alfieri Storia 
diMilano which the same author wrote some thirty years ago. Since his goal was 
then to produce a political history of Milan during the Sforza period, it was com- 
paratively easy to convert part of this into a biography of the first Sforza Duke. 
This transformation explains why the biography takes the form of a political narra- 
tive rather than a real analysis of Sforza's policies or an evaluation of his accom- 
plishments as the ruler of Milan. It also explains why the work has no real 
conclusion: in the original volume, the narrative merely continued with little 
interruption to an account of the accession of Francesco's son. Catalano did, it is 
true, add a brief introduction to cover the years prior to 1 450, when his section of 
the Storia began. However, as this is drawn solely from published biographies and 
secondary sources rather than from the wide archival material available, it adds 
little of new interest for the historian. Even the footnotes remain almost unchanged 
from the earlier work, and thus the reader is deprived of the benefit of new studies 
in Milanese history that had been published during the last thirty years. 

All this is not, however, to say that Francesco Sforza is devoid of historical 
value. As it shares in the limitations of the Storia di Milano, so it possesses its 
advantages, not least of which is its extremely thorough documentation. The com- 
pilers of the Storia had at their disposal the extraordinarily rich collections of the 
Visconti and Sforza archives, and, if they did not always exploit to the ftill the 
material regarding the internal affairs of the Duchy, they did dig deeply into the 
diplomatic correspondence. As a result, this biography is a mine of information 
concerning the positions and policies - indeed, at times the very words - of the par- 
ticipants in the principal political events in Italy between 1450 and 1466. The 
reader therefore receives a very precise and accurate view of events, in particular 
from the Milanese point of view and in those areas in which the Milanese archives 
shed a clear light. Obviously, given the original object of the study, much less effort 
has been made to search outrelevant material in other Italian repositories. Despite 
this, the wealth of documentation and the accuracy of the narrative make Fran- 
cesco Sforza, like its predecessor, an invaluable contribution to the literature on 

294 / Renaissance and Reformation 

the period. 

However, those who were hoping to find in this most recent volume on Sforza a 
definitive biography will inevitably be disappointed. No such result was possible 
ft-om a work that was written with very difi'erent aims in view. A definitive 
biography of Sforza therefore awaits a diligent historian with the patience to sift 
through the vast documentation available for the internal as well as the external 
history of the Sforza Duchy. Only then would it be possible to supply an in-depth 
study of Francesco Sforza rather than this hastily-compiled production pre- 
sumably put together under pressure from a pubHsher for consumption by a wider 
audience than that served by the Storia di Milano. 

PAULA CLARKE, Memorial University of Newfoundland 

John F. D'Amico. Renaissance Humanism in Papal Rome: Humanists and 
Churchmen on the Eve of the Reformation. Baltimore and London: The John 
Hopkins University Press, 1983. Pp. xviii, 33 L $24.00. 

This book fills a major gap in the history of Renaissance humanism. Professor 
D'Amico views Roman humanism not as an adjunct or footnote to Florentine 
humanism, but as a unique entity, indebted to Florence but developing themes and 
interests that grew out of its Roman ambience. D' Amico's analysis, which is based 
on a thorough reading of primary and secondary sources, begins in 1420, when 
Pope Martin V entered Rome after the Great Schism. At that time Roman 
humanism was but a "fragile transplant" in a cultural backwater. By the period 
1475-1520, however, humanism triumphed in Rome, which had become a centre 
of Italian intellectual activity. This development leads D'Amico to conclude that 
"Roman humanism stands out as a spectacularly successful example of the 
accommodation of Renaissance intellectuals to their political and social surround- 
ings ..." (xvi). 

In Part I of this rich and detailed study, D'Amico discusses the growth of 
humanism at Rome, analyzing the nature of Roman society, the careers of num- 
erous humanists, and the opportunities open to them in the city. Unlike Florentine 
society in the fifteenth century, which was republican and secular, Roman society 
was authoritarian, hierarchical, clerical, and exclusively male oriented. In order 
to integrate with Roman society, humanists had to adapt their life-styles and 
scholarly interests. For example, the predominance of the clergy encouraged lay 
humanists employed in the Roman administration or Curia to delay marriage until 
late in life or to accept minor orders for career purposes (p. 6). Roman humanists 
found employment in a number of areas. They were retained in the households of 
popes, cardinals, and bishops. The most sought-after positions, however, were in 
the Curia. D'Amico describes the judicial, financial, and administrative offices of 
the Curia, noting that only a minority of employees were humanists. Within the 
Curia, the Chancery, responsible for drafting papal letters and bulls, offered the 
best opportunities for advancement to humanists, who possessed broad literary 
skills rather than university degrees in law or theology. A number of humanists 
rose beyond simple Curial posts to bishoprics and even to the cardinalate. Among 

Renaissance et Réforme / 295 

these, D'Amico mentions the careers of Niccolô Perotti (1429-1480), Giannan- 
tonio Campano (1429-1477), and Adriano Castellesi (1458-1522?), noting that 
in appointments to the ecclesiastical hierarchy humanistic talents trailed other 
factors such as political considerations, family ties, and service to religious 

Humanists were drawn to Rome by more than the possibility of employment. 
The city represented an ideal, inspiring humanists through its association with 
classical greatness and through its ruins. To realize in full the inspirational value of 
the city, the humanists required contact with one another. Since encounters at 
work were only passing and infrequent, the humanists developed informal aca- 
demies to exchange and develop their ideas. D'Amico devotes Chapter 4 of his 
study to an examination of the academies of Pomponio Leto (1427-1498), Paolo 
Cortesi(1465-1510), Mario Maffei(1463-1537),AngeloColocci(1484-1549), 
and Johannes Goritz (d 1 5 27). He notes that academies were not unique to Rome, 
citing the most famous example of the academy of Marsilio Ficino in Florence. 
What separated the Roman academies from Ficino's was the fact that, while the 
Florentine academy followed the neo-Platonic philosophy, the Roman aca- 
demies were not dedicated to one philosophical school. The Roman academies 
were dedicated to Latin classicism, which exhibited itself in many forms: com- 
mentaries on Latin authors, neo-Latin poetry, Latin oratory, and the study of 

The Roman humanists, according to D'Amico, saw the Latin language as the 
force uniting humanist culture and the Curia, and papal Rome as the cultural con- 
tinuation of the Roman empire. D'Amico refers to this view as a "new ideology" 
which gave the Roman humanists a sense of worth and integration within Roman 
society. This new ideology cuhninated in the first decades of the sixteenth century 
in a strident Ciceronianism, mvolving the exclusive use of Ciceronian vocabulary 
and periodic sentence structure. Ciceronianism was not unique to Rome, but 
D'Amico argues that the fervour and intensity of Ciceronianism at Rome ran 
parallel to the authoritarian tendencies in Roman society and set it apart from 
Ciceronianism in other ItaUan cities. 

One characteristic of Roman humanists, long neglected by historians influen- 
ced by the myth that the Renaissance assumed a "pagan" character at Rome, was 
that they did not stop with classicism but went on to the study of theology, which 
they felt was essential to them as members of the ecclesiastical government. In 
Part II of this book, D'Amico examines the attempts of Paolo Cortesi, Adriano 
Castellesi, and Raffael Maffei (1451-1522) to reformulate theology along 
humanist lines. Cortesi's //i quattuor libros Sententiarum ( 1 504) was an attempt 
to apply Ciceronian standards to scholastic theology, for example, by referring to 
the church not as ecclesia but as senatus. Although scholars have viewed this 
"blending of classical language and Christian meaning" as either a paganization 
or a trivialization of Christianity, DAmico argues that it was an attempt to make 
theology appeaUng and intelligible to humanists and non- theologians. It was the 
logical outgrowth of the Ciceronianism of the Roman humanists. 

Cardinal Castellesi'sDe vera philosophia (1507) represents a different line of 
attack. Unlike Cortesi, Castellesi rejected scholastic theology and all attempts to 

296 / Renaissance and Reformation 

uncover Christian truth through reason. He asserted the primacy of the Scripture 
in Christian behef, and called for a return to patristic studies. 

Raffael Maffei'sDe institutione Christiana ( 1 5 1 8) and Stromata (1519-1521) 
followed a more moderate approach than the works of Cortesi or Castellesi. Maf- 
fei rejected the excesses of the scholastics, but used scholastic theology as a foun- 
dation for his work. His main inspiration, however, was Basil the Great (330-379), 
who had been educated in classical and Christian traditions, and presented a 
moral ideal for Christians. Maffei reviewed classical, patristic, and scholastic 
opinions on a variety of topics in order to provide the non-expert with basic 
arguments and ideas for leading a Christian life. 

D'Amico concludes with an examination of the ideas for reform of Cortesi, 
Maffei, and other humanists of the early sixteenth century. While they cr