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dianarobin on...

8.04 Profits, paragraph 4

Good conclusion. I like the disavowals
and qualifications in this concluding
section. These modify some of the
sweeping statements
you make earlier which sometimes
appear to equate textbook
pedagogy and the teaching of
elementary Latin with Renaissance
humanism. Should you make the
distinction clearer in your introduction to the book? Just a question.

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Posted March 17, 2009  5:30 am
8.01 A Market for Humanism, paragraph 3

Re.03. The identification of humanism
and the humanist movement in early
modern Europe with elementary
Latin pedagogy in its commercial
forms trivializes humanism. Yes, there
is always a connection between
education and its commercial uses
and value. But, again, a distinction
needs to be made between the
philosophy of humanism as a world
view, on the one hand, and one of its
most rudimentary components:
i.e. the teaching of Latin grammar
and its transmission via little sayings supposely culled from Latin authors.
Yes, elementary Latin grammar was
sold — and sold successfully — as
you have shown. But I find
it confusing and reductive to identify
humanism with the teaching of the
mechanics of one language.

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Posted March 17, 2009  5:13 am
8.01 A Market for Humanism, whole page

Re .03. I think it is much too sweeping a generalization to say that a hallmark of
humanist thought was the use of
commonplaces. A hallmark of
humanist pedagogy yes. But of
humanist thought, no. To say this
would be to suggest that humanism
(the rediscovery, cultivation, and
preservation of the once lost thought
and literature of Greece and Rome)
itself consisted in, or could be
boiled down into, slogans.

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Posted March 17, 2009  4:44 am
7.16 Conclusion: Schools of Emblematic Thought, paragraph 6

Excellent chapter, every paragraph
of it. And all of this chapter raises
so many questions about the way
modern publishing works for us
readers – for us students!

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Posted March 17, 2009  4:33 am
7.08 Trademarks Good or Bad?, whole page

This is very interesting: emblems used
as hallmarks of quality, but ones that
had to be evaluated by the early
modern reader and not taken for
granted as such. This seems very modern
as you say.

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Posted March 17, 2009  4:30 am
7.06 Reading Emblems Every Day, paragraph 9

So emblems were also important
tools for communicating across
borders in Europe. Emblems served
as connectors among, say, French,
British, and Italian readers — and
printers (who as you point out had
the final say on which emblems were
to be used in the production of a text.)

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Posted March 17, 2009  4:25 am
7.06 Reading Emblems Every Day, whole page

Again, Paul, you’ve packed so much
information into your discussion here
that you’ve opened up a whole new line
of inquiry for me not only about
humanist pedagogy but about
humanist reading.

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Posted March 17, 2009  4:18 am
7.05 Emblem Books, paragraph 3

The connection between Latin
pedagogy and emblem reading
as playful puzzle solving is

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Posted March 17, 2009  4:12 am
7.04 Visualizing the Text, whole page

The images of emblems are
beautiful and evocative encouraging
your present-day readers to
participate in the interpretive process
and to become active readers of
your text.

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Posted March 17, 2009  4:09 am
7.03 Emblem as Machine, paragraph 5

Here you invite your reader to enter
into the process of emblem reading
and 16th-century puzzle solving.

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Posted March 17, 2009  4:06 am
7.01 Marketing and Moralizing, paragraph 6

You also make it clear that emblems
were an important tool in the cultivation
of philosophical thinking.

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Posted March 17, 2009  4:03 am
7.01 Marketing and Moralizing, whole page

This my favorite chapter. I learned so
much about the culture of
sixteenth-century printing and, above
all, about the role analogy plays in
pedagogical theory and practice.

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Posted March 17, 2009  3:59 am
7.00 CHAPTER SEVEN: Emblems in the Classroom, whole page

This chapter is my favorite. I will return
later with comments.

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Posted March 15, 2009  3:57 pm
6.20 Conclusion: Into the Future, whole page

I very much like your conclusion to this
chapter. It pulls everything together
so well. In fact the books —
textbooks for a number of different
disciplines — you’ve been talking
about do evince a new mentalite:
an interest, as you say, in self-help
or how-to manuals and a new valuing
of the quantitative arts and sciences.
The trend, as you note, is toward the
conquering nature and the
privileging of quantification. Have you
included these important conclusions
in the Intro to the book?

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Posted March 15, 2009  3:39 pm
6.00 CHAPTER SIX: Vernacular Literacy, Commercial Education, and How To Do Stuff, whole page

Same comment I made about the
sudden discussion of geography
text books. Are we prepared for your
discussion of arithmetic, music and
other “skills”? Vernacular literacy?
Textbooks that teach double-entry
accounting in a book titled
“Selling Humanism” seems
incongruous. I’m waiting for you to establish the connection between “humanism”
and vernacular school subjects.
(I think the term “humanism” should
be defined in your Introduction to the
“How To Do Stuff” I would drop from
the chapter title.

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Posted March 15, 2009  3:24 pm
4.14 Geographical Fiction and Fact, whole page

Suddenly we reading about geography
books. I missed the connection to
Latin grammar texts. Did you prepare
us for this transition earlier? Could you
give us perhaps in the introduction to
the book a sense of why you
planned to include geography other
than that such books were also
published in Latin?

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Posted March 15, 2009  3:12 pm
1.11 Can You Sell Philology?, whole page

I don’t see that these textbooks —
Latin grammars for school boys —
can be classified as philology, the
advanced study of all aspects of
a language or languages. What
you are talking about selling is
something much more mechanical
and elementary.

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Posted March 15, 2009  3:04 pm
1.01 Why Terence?, paragraph 3

“Harder to imagine that so ancient
and minor a text [as Terence] would
provide useful specimens…” “Minor”?
No text could be more thoroughly
canonical and major-league among
classical texts than Terence.

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Posted March 15, 2009  2:49 pm
0.01 Humanism in Crisis, paragraph 7

latinitas should be translated “latinity”
or “a pure Latin style” (Lewis and

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Posted February 12, 2009  12:19 pm
0.01 Humanism in Crisis, paragraph 1

I find the breaking up of the chapters into small bubbles serves to fragment the concepts. I find myself constantly stopping to scroll back up to begin the next section when I want simply to read on, to move from section to section.In this way I lose the flow and continuity of the chapter. Why all these short sections? These would be perfect for museum wall texts moving us nicely from exhibit to exhibit. But for the continuous narrative or exposition of a book the sections interrupt and irk, I find.

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Posted February 2, 2009  4:56 am