Renaissance Encyclopaedism: Studies in Curiosity and Ambition

Edited By W. Scott Blanchard and Andrea Severi - ES41

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The information explosion of the last two decades has triggered an interest in the historical precursors of such a phenomenon. We are conditioned to some extent to associate the origins of the modern encyclopaedia with the efforts of the French philosophe Denis Diderot in the eighteenth century, and to travel back even further in time for pre-modern examples of the encyclopaedia to the thirteenth century, to the great collections of knowledge of scholastic figures like Vincent of Beauvais. For a variety of reasons that are explored in this volume, Renaissance humanists differed from their scholastic predecessors in their attitudes toward knowledge, their practices of compilation and organization, and the goals towards which they oriented their scholarly pursuits.

Scott Blanchard is Professor of English at Misericordia University. He is the author of Scholars’ Bedlam: Menippean Satire in the Renaissance (Bucknell University Press, 1995) and translator of Francesco Filelfo’s dialogue On Exile for the I Tatti Renaissance Library Series (Harvard University Press, 2013).

Andrea Severi is research fellow at the University of Bologna. He is the author of Filippo Beroaldo il Vecchio un maestro per l’Europa. Da commentatore di classici a classico moderno (1481-1550) (Il Mulino, 2015) and editor of the critical edition of Baptista Mantuanus’s Adolescentia (Bononia University Press, 2010).

467 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-7727-2189-1 softcover
Published: 2018


“This volume presents important work on a major topic that will remain of interest in coming decades.” - William Connell, Seton Hall University

“One of the main appeals of this book is that it explains the apparent paradox of how a culture that valued breadth of knowledge did not really produce many encyclopedias as we would recognize them.” - Craig Kallendorf, University of Texas at Austin

“The erudition and learning in these essays truly are impressive.” - Brian Maxson, East Tennessee State University

Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme 41/4 (2018): 212-214. Reviewed by Janice Liedl.

Neo-Latin News, 66.1/2 (2018). pp. 108-109. Reviewed by Craig Kallendorf.




Introduction: Facets of Renaissance Encyclopaedism – W. Scott Blanchard and Andrea Severi

Roman Context
1.  Clementina Marsico, "'Talking about Everything is a Nearly Infinite Task': Encyclopaedism and Specialization in Lorenzo Valla’s Elegantie Lingue Latine"
2. Paola Tomè, "The Learned Encyclopaedism of Giovanni Tortelli"
3. Anne Raffarin, "Roma Instaurata. Italia illustrata, Roma Triumphans: Flavio Biondo’s Encyclopaedic Project for a Dictionary of Antiquities"

Encyclopaedism in Bologna
4. Loredana Chines, "Encyclopaedism and Philology in Humanistic Bologna"
5. Andrea Severi, "'Since They know and profess the entire encyclopaedia': New and Old Encyclopaedism in Codro Urceo’s Satirical Sermo primus"

Angelo Poliziano
6. Annarita Angelini, "A New Beginning: Poliziano’s Panepistemon"
7.  W. Scott Blanchard, "Poliziano between Philology and Poetry"

Encyclopaedism in the Sixteenth Century and in Northern Europe
8. Dustin Mengelkoch, "Virtù and the Physician: Giorgio Valla’s De expetendis et fugiendis rebus opus"
9. Lorenzi M. Ciolfi, "When the Proverb Collection Became an Encyclopaedia: Erasmus of Rotterdam and Arsenius Apostolis"
10. David Marsh, "Erasmus’ Adagia: A Cultural Encyclopaedia"
11. Luigi-Alberto Sanchi, "Producing Knowledge: Guillaume Budé‘s Encyclopaedic Horizon"