The classics in the medieval and Renaissance classroom

Feros Ruys, Juanita, John O. Ward & Mélanie Heyworth, eds., The classics in the medieval and Renaissance classroom the role of ancient texts int the arts curriculum as revealed by surviving manuscripts and early printed books, Turnhout, Brepols, 2013, VIII-420 p., ISBN 978-2-503-52754-3, prix: 100 euros.

An innovative volume exploring the premodern classroom contexts that produced the medieval and Renaissance texts of, and commentaries and glosses on, the ancient classics. Medievalists and Renaissance specialists contribute to this compelling volume examining how and why the classics of Greek and Latin culture were taught in various Western European curricula (including in England, Scotland, France, Germany, and Italy) from the tenth to the sixteenth centuries. By analysing some of the commentaries, glosses, and paraphrases of these classics that were deployed in medieval and Renaissance classrooms, and by offering greater insight into premodern pedagogic practice, the chapters here emphasize the ‘pragmatic’ aspects of humanist study. The volume proposes that the classics continued to be studied in the medieval and Renaissance periods not simply for their cultural or ‘ornamental’ value, but also for utilitarian reasons, for ‘life lessons’. Because the volume goes beyond analysing the educational manuals surviving from the premodern period and attempts to elucidate the teaching methodology of the premodern period, it provides a nuanced insight into the formation of the premodern individual. The volume will therefore be of great interest to scholars and students interested in medieval and Renaissance history in general, as well as those interested in the history of educational theory and practice, or in the premodern reception of classical literature.
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