Paul Gehl on...
I expand on Aldo as teacher in section 2.05, paragraph 4 below, where I give the specific example of how he used red and black to aid students in comprehension. Your question is a little broader than that, Nancy, in that you ask about type faces. In fact Aldo did commission several types for his press, and it is usually said that the famous Aldine italic (there are examples in section 1.09 below) was invented for the sake of economy and legibility. But none of Aldus’s faces was designed specifically for textbooks. The significance of his teaching career really lies in the fact that he could control the entire process –from authorship, through design and printing, to marketing.
Right, Christina. We typically think of it as a usage in prayer books and liturgical books where it helps fairly sophisticated readers maneuver around complex texts. In schoolbooks it does that on a simpler level, and also serves to make the book more attractive to new, presumably inexpert readers.
In very general terms, basic textbooks are popularizations, so the emblems there(like other things–tables, charts, etc.) tend to function like posters or other public art –explaining complex ideas in a simple way, or at least at several levels, one of which can be understood quickly and without reflection. Once emblems are compiled into books, however, they can afford to be more complex because the book form invites slower,more thoughtful reading. As for today, we have lost the emblem theory, but designers of many things try to include several levels of meaning. The most obvious example is trademarks or logos –just think of the red-white-and-blue theme of many corporations. The name or image may not evoke patriotism but the designers try to stimulate it or just refer to it with that color scheme.
Good question, Vivian. I am generalizing here, so it may not be clear what the process of limiting meanings was. To understand how it happens, you have to remember that the emblem is structured from the start as a puzzle. The texts do not explain the meaning(s) outright, they only comment on the image and give clues to meaning(s), which are always potentially personal as well as comunitarian. That is, the reader always has the ability to create her own meaning for the image or to suggest alternatives that may or may not have been in the mind of the author. The more text the author adds, however, the more clues the reader gets to move in one direction or another. To cite a trivial example, say, if the author intimates that eagle in the image represents dominance, then it can only represent themes consistent with that, not those that have to do with flight away from power. There is still room for interpretation by the reader, but she is directed toward certain themes and not others.
Interesting that you make this geographical leap, Courtney. The printer’s mark certainly identified his firm, and usually printers had only one location, but most of the marks do not have geographical references. They tend to be based on literary sources, just as other emblems do. And some of them were deliberately international — firms like the Giunta had branches in several cities in Italy, Spain, and France but they always used some form of a lily mark. As for dates, they are rare in very early printed books but become pretty much universal by the end of the fifteenth century –except in exactly the case where the mark might be omitted, when the printer did not want his work to be easily identified or traced.
Further on the distribution of Mancinelli’s textbooks, see now my “Advertising or Fama? Local Markets for Schoolbooks in Sixteenth-century Italy,” in Print Culture and Peripheries in Early Modern Europe, ed. by Benito Rial Costas (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 69-99, esp. 82-89.
Another interesting document for the wide distribution of Terence is an inventory of a 1595 book ‘caravan’ published recently by Anastasio Rojo Vegas. Among the books sent from Valladolid (a major book entrepot) to Santiago (in much more provincial Galicia), there are six entries for Terence, including at least one used copy, two copies of a Spanish translation, and eight new copies of Latin editions in quarto and sextodecimo. See: Rojo Vegas, “From Europe to Finisterre: A Caravan of Books to Galicia (1595),” in Print Culture and Peripheries in Early Modern Europe, ed. by Benito Rial Costas (Leiden: Brill, 2013), pp. 381-401, at 391.
An interesting example of Italian use of illustrations for Terence is documented by G. Petrella, “Niccolò Gorgonzola e i plagi ai danni dei da Legnano: un Terenzio del Gorgonzola finora sconosciuto,” La bibliofilía 108, 159-177.
Thanks for your note, Monica! Although many of the early writing books are dated, there is some dispute as to their actual dates of publication. I based this very summary sentence and much of the rest of my account on A.S. Olsey’s Scribes and Sources, which suggests that the 1522 Operina of Arricghi was rushed into print in order to anticipate Tagliente’s known plan to publish, and that the actual date of its appearance was 1523, not 1522. That would put it very close in date to Tagliente’s 1524 book. It is certainly clear from the date on the 1522 Operina that Arrighi wanted us to believe that his book was first.
My friend of many years, Father Conrad Borntrager, O.S.M., has just called my attention to a book on censorship at Lucca, which I am anxious to see for what light it might shed on the case of Aonio Paleario. It is Flavia Bruni, “Erano di molti libri proibiti”: Frate Lorenzo Lucchesi e la censura libraria a Lucca alla fine del Cinquecento, Roma: Edizioni Marianum, 2009.
In a recent discussion with Maurizio Campanelli, he pointed out that when in 1561 Giovanni Maria Bonelli dropped the wording about incorporating emendations from the Aldine and Gryphius texts, he may have been trying to steer clear of the new privilege granted to the Aldine edition of 1555. My thanks to Maurizio for this suggestion.
Further on Ciceronianism: “Massimo Miglio, La diffusione della cultura umanistica negli incunaboli: Roma,” Accademe e biblioteche d’Italia 65, 15-32, esp. 26-28.
In her new book, Women, Language and Grammar in Italy 1500-1900 (British Academy, 2011), p. 46, n. 59, Helena Sanson says that there were over thirty five editions of the Libro maistrevole. I have not been able to verify this point, but if true, it would of course alter my statement here about Tagliente’s reading of his audience.
This Lyon tradition of publishing Mancinelli continued. Google Books recently put up on line a copy of a Lyon, 1511 edition (with the printer’s mark of Jean Huguetan) that is now in the Bavarian State Library. This copy has the intriguing note that it was acquired in 1516 for the monastery of Tegernsee, showing how international the market for such grammar books could be.
The conventions of publishing in this period are pretty fixed –only one title page, which is why it becomes a contested field. The solution when there was more than one party was often for the printer to put his mark at the end of the book, ceding the title page to the more prestigious author, academy, or public institution. Toward the very end of the sixteenth century you have the phenomenon of the second title page –usually an elaborate, engraved plate that was a good place for really extended emblem-making. This would be followed by a typographic title page with just the discursive information.
You are right, Chen, that many commonplace things (among them coins, paper money, and all kinds of flags) are or were originally designed to be emblematic. We are not systematically taught to read them, however, so we often just don’t see that dimension of them. These commonplace images frequently get parodies (think of all the dollar bill take-offs) and that makes us at least look a little more closely.
Since our principal evidence for emblems is the printed books, we don’t have a very clear sense of how widely the making of emblems was practiced by amateurs. School emblems (see below, sections 7.11 and 7.15) often had student input, but getting them into print obviously required participation from adults in school and printshop. The one area where we can see lots of amateur emblems is in the surviving manuscripts. There is a good 1997 bibliography of these by Sandra Sider (available on Google Books if your library doesn’t have it), but it needs updating already.
Good question, Ky, in the sense that the existing literature does not address these issues at all well. Wooden printing blocks are very durable and many got re-purposed in later centuries, in general for less and less pretentious kinds of book, eventually finding their way into chapbooks of the most popular sort. Bbut I know of no study that tries to trace this reuse systematically, and my impression is that emblem blocks were not resused this way very often.
You’re the second person to refer to the Simplicissimus Teutsch, Ky. I will have to find some time today to look at it myself. In general, there is plenty of irony in printer’s marks as in emblems more generally (and it is rife in Renaissance literary culture as a whole), but I cannot offhand think of an example that deliberately mocks a denominational group. False marks –or none at all– were, however, sometimes used on heterodox publications. As such they could be considered another kind of false imprint statement.
All of Alciati’s original emblems were composed without pictures. He invented the form as a literary one where the picture was supposed to be imagined by the reader of the poem. Once the reader had imagined the image, then he would re-read and understand the poem more fully. These original emblems were designed for manuscript circulation. The new emblems Alciati added for this later, larger collection, however, were composed after the first set had been published with images made up for the printed book by artists not working directly with Alciati; so we must imagine that he has already re-conceptualized the literary form he invented only a few years earlier and was now probably working with an artist to create emblems with both pictures and poems. This is an unusual moment in literary and media history. We can not only witness the invention of a new genre, but also watch how it was appropriated by new writers, and then watch the inventor respond to the changes wrought by others on his invention. We see this happening online everyday but it was also an exciting event for sixteenth-century people, to watch the media change before their very eyes.
This is very far from my proper field of study, but my impression is that the Monteverdi operas were staged for events at court and would not have been advertised to a wide public.
You are pointing here, Hana, to an essential skill for scholars in all fields concerned with the past. The context for most literary creations and most artistic ones before the nineteenth-century spread of popular literacy was exactly this kind of multi-level reading.
Partly as a result of the new fashion for the study of ancient iconography, hieroglyphics, and hermetic symbolism in fifteenth-century Italy, aristocrats began to take on personal symbols in addition to their family coats of arms. Some of these in turn became family symbols or devices. Several generations of the Medici, for example, used the device of a diamond ring.
As you noted later (on section 7.15), Lauren, this clearly did become a conscious strategy on the part of educators and public officials. However, there is very little scholarly literature that evaluates the extent or effectiveness of this kind of poster, just because what we can find easily is the printed works themselves and not discursive evidence (diaries,letters, other descriptions of the material). The paradox is that this poster survives because it was never posted –it was saved. We assume it was actually used, but there are no sources to tell us for sure that it was. If one could find good sources of this latter kind, it could make fine dissertation.
Yes, but see my note there (section 7.06).
Lauren: Both you and Sean are here pointing to a kind of reading that was applied to texts as well as pictorial works during the Middle Ages. In that period the number of readers was small and they concentrated in communities that could easily be policed. The issue for the authorities in the first age of print was exactly the one that moralizing (or politically controlling) public figures today use to suggest we should censor the internet –that people cannot be trusted to use the media.
Hi, Greta: Your note raises an interesting question, but I don’t have an easy answer. I certainly have not come across this image myself. The sources for most emblems are literary (usually but not always classical (and do not come directly from medical writings. The Blessed Virgin and writings about her, however, are sources for a few emblem books created in Italy, as discussed in section 7.14, where I think you originally posted this comment.
I like this (imperfect) analogy to Facebook, Sean! It points to the way the tools are handed to us and we make of them what we will, largely unfettered by the intentions of the toolmakers. The makers of emblems seem (after Alciati’s apparent initial shock at the way the form got away from him) to have accepted the notion of readers inventing new puzzles on the basis of the published emblems. Unlike printed emblems, of course, the Facebook page owner actually can change what is published, what the public encounters, while the user of an emblem had to be in a position to publish a new book in order to do that. The issue of who cares about how tools are used is perennial, however. Just to take the Facebook analogy one step further, recall how incensed people got a few weeks ago when Facebook changed some parameters –and indeed how annoying it is when any software update takes away familiar patterns of use.
Thanks for this thought, Sean. It has the possibility of contextualizing the emblem in a different way. This could be a good “how many can you name?” challenge for readers. The contemporary example that comes immediately to mind is the East Asian cell phone novel, but I am sure younger and better-wired people than I could think of other electronic examples. An earlier example might be the epistolary novel, but that is more your period of specialty study than mine. My understanding is that the genre resulted from the possibility of print reproducing a series of supposed manuscript documents of a sort and in a way that actual manuscript exchange would not likely have been assembled.
Right! It is always a little hard for us to place a price on morality, but printing made the whole issue more acute. That the economics of publishing end up influencing what ideas got out there and which ones became influential. Publishing on line eliminates one part of the economic equation, but it leaves another important question on the table. How do you get attention for your ideas in the babble of the internet?
Yes, but I think it worked the other way around even more often. Children were presented with religious symbols at a very early age and that made the kinds of symbols in formal emblems easier for them to understand when they encountered them in the classroom.
Copyright as we know it, to protect the author, is really an 18th-century development. Before that there were various kinds of registrations and privileges that protected the publishers, who were assumed to have made an investment worth protecting commercially. A good intro to the whole issue is Elizabeth Armstrong’s book, Before Copyright (Cambridge U. Press, 1990).
All of the typographical and layout devices you mention, Miles, originated in the manuscript period, but of course, in single manuscripts reproduced individually. They became much more common in the first age of print both because there were many more copies mad at once, but also because printers copied (and teachers began more and more often to demand) things like this that made it easier to use the textbooks.
We really don’t have too many clear, direct sources to tell us how the compositions of students were done, but sometimes notes of the sort survive as scrap paper. Well into the 17th century, however, people used wax tablets for various kinds of note taking, and that is probably how these exercises were most often performed. Paraphrase as a formal exercise always means rewording; it is a way to imagine ideas anew and to learn what kinds of expression work best.
There is an enormous literature and much debate on this question of how illustration was done. In textbooks specifically (and this cannot be generalized to all fields), the tendency is for the author of the text to specify the diagrams and illustrations required to the printer and the printer would then hire an artist to realize them. For manuscripts these artists were often part of a workshop team that confected the books to order. For printed books, the tendency was for a wood engraver to work from a pattern provided either by the author or by an artist. But typically in print there is an attempt to keep the illustrations closely related to the texts.
Good point, Liam. What I wanted to convey here is that what we now think of as mainstream Christianity is a highly rhetorical, language-centered faith, but that medieval Christianity –in the absence of widespread literacy, remember– was strongly visual and oral. One of the lasting effects of humanism was to reclaim the rhetorical tradition of classical culture and make it over into a central fact of Christianity. This could only happen because humanist rhetorical ideas were adopted and made universal through wider literacy and through the medium of commercial print.
Our evidence is almost entirely the surviving schoolbooks, which is why it is important to interpret the title pages, prefaces, and other introductory material so carefully. We do have documents to evidence the lives of some of the teachers, but for their actual teaching, the textbooks are our best source.
Kristeller’s 1974 essays and Rummel’s study, cited in the notes, are still the best treatments I know on this subject. It’s not one that I can claim to have done original research on. Rereading my own prose at this point, I can see that I may seem to have intended to suggest a direct, derivative relationship of genre between humanist invective and scholastic disputation. I really meant to say instead that the habit of antagonism typical of scholastic debate was still so much a part of scholarly life in the early Renaissance that it fed naturally into humanist forms. When dealing as I do in this book with the prefaces and other paratexts of published textbooks, it is striking how frequently authors refer to polemical attacks — often ones that do not survive or cannot easily be found in the record– that were violent and personal enough to merit replies in print. In the case of famous figures like Erasmus, we have a record of a great deal of the back and forth. For textbook authors (like Mancinelli to whom I refer here) we will probably never know who or how influential his critics were. We know only that he felt it necessary to take them on in second and subsequent editions of his textbooks, in letters that became a permanent part of these textbooks as they were printed and reprinted for fifty years and more.
It is rather surprising for exactly the reason you hint at. Hebrew, although a prestigious form of erudition, was only very rarely studied and it would be very odd indeed to try to learn it from self-help books like the Mercuries (at least that is what they purport to be). In the context of either Latin or Italian studies, the educational orthodoxies of the day suggested that the two languages could be used to improve facility and promote elegance of expression. I strongly suspect that Schoppe is making a show of his own learning in the quadrilingual books, and that the “utility” of the Greek and Hebrew was to the same purpose, to allow readers to stud their compositions with short phrases or proverbial sayings in those languages without really mastering them.
I have not, but that does not in itself exclude the possibility that there were such things. I will have to look around.
Sorry for the delay, Eddie. For a first comment you need to wait for approval. From now on you personally are approved to comment and new comments should show up immediately when you post them.
I might send your question on to Ted Cachey, Eddie –with your permission. He is the great expert on this subject. My immediate sense is that Italians in general were deeply interested in the discoveries themselves, and in all the issues around them, but that the humanists in particular did not feel that it was a field of study they owned.
Hi, Janice. The hyper-extended commentaries we see in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries are definitely a creation of the market for print. Some heavily commented texts existed in the Middle Ages, but they were reference copies owned by teachers, scholars, or libraries and usually confected exclusively for local use. Students most often took down the text and whatever notes they needed by dictation. The separate commentaries by humanists were intended for advanced study; I have never seen one bound with a base text, but that may just be because I have not been looking for them. As to the degree of dependence on commentaries, that is hard to say. Certainly there were more choices, and I suspect teachers by the early sixteenth century would not have been comfortable teaching without a commentary to hand. But what we know of teaching in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance suggests that was always true.
I think you have put our finger on one of the important factors that limited state intervention in Italy. Throughout the period, there was a great deal of debate as to whether it was a positive social good to educate non-elite citizens, and there was a strong party of opinion against it. Local churches in Italy came down strongly in favor of catechism education (Doctrina Christiana –see below, sections 6.11 and 6.12), involving reading and sometimes writing, but there was no impulse comparable to that in N. Europe to go much beyond the elementary skills needed for devotion.
Along with Verini, discussed in this page, another important but little-studied writing master who worked in a popularizing form was Eustachio Celebrino, author of the only book to treat the mercantesca hand systematically. On Celebrino and his circle see: Alessandro Giacomello, “Per una storia del libro di larga diffusione nel Friuli del Cinquecento,” in Societa e cultura del Cinquecento nel Friuli occidentale. Studi, Pordenone, 1984, pp. 355-373, esp. 359-362, 366-367.
Further to Liburnio (note 73), see Alessandro Giacomello, “Per una storia del libro di larga diffusione nel Friuli del Cinquecento,” in Societa e cultura del Cinquecento nel Friuli occidentale. Studi, Pordenone, 1984, pp. 355-373, at 368.
This detail shows the passage quoted in the next paragraph. If you click on it, you will see the entire title page of this edition by the highly successful Sessa-family publishing firm at Venice. (In this case the imprint is “heirs of Marchio Sessa.”) As in the Valgrisi title page above, the advertising prose is kept in tiny type so as to provide room for the firm’s trademark. When rival firm’s took on Fabrini’s text, they typically varied the wording and order of the advertising prose but reproduced the list of features on offer to prove that their edition was just as good as others on the market.
Scholars attribute the first edition to Vincenzo Valgrisi, a Venetian printer responsible for several later editions with Fabrini’s revisions. Note, however, that the title page shown here does not name a printer. None is named elsewhere in the book either, suggesting that this first edition was subsidized by the author or his friends and patrons and was not a commercial product. Compare this purely typographic title page, which though wordy is relatively uncluttered, with that of the 1558 Valgrisi edition below where the same advertising prose must be compacted to make way for the prominent commercial printer’s mark of Valgrisi.
The wording and the persistence of these claims suggest strongly that Fabrini himself composed these title page statements. As he added to the apparatus in subsequent editions, each new ‘feature’ was described in an additional title page blurb.
By “instrumentalizing” here I mean the (relatively modern) notion that language study is primarily an auxiliary or prerequisite to the serious study of other, more substantial disciplines, not a normalizing or moralizing discipline in itself. The Jesuits were pioneers in this view of language study. For a broad view of the history of Latin study, see especially Francois Waquet’s Latin or the Empire of the Sign.
Further on Paleario as an educational reformer, see Simonetta Adorni-Braccesi, Una citta` infetta, Florence: Olschki, 1994, pp. 190-209.
This condemnation of Erasmus’ Cato took place in Lucca in the context of the struggle of the city fathers there to avoid the imposition of a local tribunal of the Roman Inquisition. In addition to the article by Adorni-Braccesi cited in note 6 below, see also her more recent book-length study of Erasmanism, Calvinism, and the Inquisition at Lucca: Simonetta Adorni-Braccesi, Una citta` infetta, Florence: Olschki, 1994, especially pp. 218-219 on this incident.
There is some disagreement among scholars about when and how the Donat was used. My own thinking is as remarked in 2.01, that some time was first spent in learning the alphabet and a few prayers, memorizing first and then “reading” in the sense of recognizing texts already familiar. A sharp student could get through this quickly, but some took a fair amount of time at it. When ready they would be set to memorizing the Donat, but all the discursive sources agree that these donatistae were still rank beginners.
In addition to the small grammar mentioned in the comment on paragraph 2 above, Pescetti also penned a full-length Latin grammar which I have not been able to examine. As of this writing it is recorded in a single copy at the Biblioteca Civica di Verona: Grammaticae insitutiones magna exemplorum copia instructae (Verona, Merlo, 1618), reported by Federica Formiga, I Merlo tipografi veronesi fra Sei e Settecento (Florence, Olschki, 2009), p. 139. If this is a first edition, it postdates the entire Jesuit controversy and may have been intended as a reply to the counterattack of the Jesuits (the last word as far as we knew it when Humanism For Sale was published now two years ago) described in sections 5.11 and 5.12 below.
Pescetti also authored a small Latin textbook, which I have never seen: Tabulae ad grammaticam celeriter et feliciter perdiscendum utilissimae, in quibus uno velut intuiti, quicquid ad hanc artem pertinet, inspicere licet (Verona, Tamo, 1600). This title implies that it took the form of a summary aimed at beginners. At this date it was clearly intended as part of Pescetti’s campaign against the Alvares grammar.
Another significant use for Latin vocabulary studies was for Italian composition, since it was widely held that imitation of the classics would enrich the potential of Italian to achieve its full literary potential. A good example of a small manual with this aim is Girolamo Labella’s Regola della lingua tosca dell’ortographia volgare et Latina (Venice, Rampazotto, 1570) which claims to be based on the personal teachings of grammarian Girolamo Cafaro. My thanks to Giles Mandlebrote for examining a copy of this rare work for me at Kings College, London.