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Humanism For Sale » General Comments

15 General Comments

Ray Clemens says:

Is there a bibliography where the citations in the notes are expanded?

June 1, 2009 11:24 am

admin says:

Yes. You must go to the associated web site:
There is a link for the full bibliography, in pdf form.

June 1, 2009 11:27 am

Paul F. Gehl says:

Our plan is –eventually– to have live links to some of the bibliographical information. Meanwhile, you have to use this cumbersone work-around. Sorry.

June 20, 2009 5:02 pm

mikegoddard says:

I tried posting this comment in the body of the text, but it was not working. This is probably a mistake on my end. What strikes me about “Humanism for Sale” is that the scholarship seems to speak to the concerns of Christopher S. Celenza. His 2004 work “The Lost Italian Renaissance” expresses the dire need for scholars to study the Latin texts of Renaissance authors for a broader understanding of the time period. He also urges researchers to take the time for the thankless duty of translating these texts to encourage further graduate study, especially in the United States. “Humanism for Sale,” though focusing on a specific set of writings, is a step in the direction Celenza envisions for Renaissance Studies. Is this a fair assessment?

September 21, 2009 5:23 pm

Paul F. Gehl says:

You got caught in the Chicago rush hour, Mike. When you put in a comment for the very first time, the system puts you on hold until I or another administrator can approve you, i.e. you personally. This is just so we don’t get the comment fields filled up by spambots (lots of them in Russia it seems). I was on the bus in heavy downtown traffic when you put in your first note, and just got home. From now on your comments should show up automatically. Let me know if they do not. I will reply to your note about Celenza’s book in text –at section 8.02.

September 21, 2009 5:55 pm

sarah says:

In Chapter 5, you discuss conservativism with regard to Jesuit education. You say “ Educational conservatism sometimes consists of such inertia. Teachers and (just as often) parents want the children of today to learn the same lessons in the same ways that their elders had. Attachments to textbooks, especially books that were widely memorized, often took this form — affection reinforced by inertia.”(5.07). This, and the sections that followed raised some questions for me. Is there any indication that parents challenged the centralization of Education that was part of the Jesuit program? The chapter emphasizes this combination of issues: localism, conservativism and education, which is interesting because my immediate assumption is that they indicate a demand for cultural autonomy (rather than just the cultural sensitivity that was the cause of localized printing). Would you say that people in general were reacting to the centralization of education in a way that advocated local control?

September 22, 2009 11:48 am

Paul F. Gehl says:

Sarah: Thanks for this comment. See my reply at the other spot where you you posted it, section 5.17.

September 22, 2009 12:30 pm

Sean Franzel says:

Dear Paul,

Is this excellent site still active? I was hoping to use a chapter (the one on emblems) in a MA-level course on Medieval and Baroque Literature this fall, having the students engage with the text and maybe post comments and questions. This would not be until November. Thanks for a very inspiring and informative project!

Sean Franzel
Assistant Professor of German
University of Missouri, Columbia

August 15, 2011 10:54 am

Greta Westerwald says:

Hello, Mr. Gehl,
I am aware that, during the Middle Ages and a good part of the Renaissance, the Virgin Mary was presented as the ideal woman in Christian parts of the world. Women who did not live up to such a standard of purity, submissiveness, and gentleness were often looked upon as deviants, whores, or worse. How have you seen this dichotomy played out in the emblems, woodcuts, and engravings of the period? What effects do you think these representations of women had in the lives of the men and few women who were able to access books?
What Thomas Laquer has called “the One-Sex Model” was still being taught during this period. I have seen several illustrations of this model in medical textbooks from the time, and I am curious to know if you have seen examples in non-medical books for students of other disciplines, and also in books of literature and/or poetry. I agree that people of lower classes and women in general would have been ignorant of how their bodies and their genders were being defined, but how aware of the One-Sex construction of the human body were people who could access education? Is there any evidence to suggest that anyone was aware or suspected that sex and thus gender were/are social constructions, and that these constructions serve not only to materialize the body, but also to form our conceptions of “nature” itself, as Judith Butler has argued?

November 26, 2011 11:47 am

Paul Gehl says:

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.

November 26, 2011 5:31 pm

Mary9010 says:

As is discussed in the chapter “Humanities in Crisis” It is interesting that humanists’ own critical intellectual nature led to the demise of their monopoly on learning, do you know of any educators who began as humanists and changed the type of teaching format they used because their critical education made them question some fundamental aspect of humanism?

In the section on Terrence Calliopious’ manuscripts it is discussed that the task of sorting out manuscripts was a lengthy process, and required “a century or more.” Since most of those interests in his manuscripts were educators I wonder who would actually undertake this task? Would it be educators themselves, or would humanists collaborate with monks or another group in order to sort out the manuscripts?

March 11, 2013 2:35 pm

JemyrMae says:

Hello Mr. Paul Gehl,

I am taking professor Stevens’ History of Book class and we were instructed to contact you with comments and/or constructive criticism.

The first constructive criticism I would like to make is on your website layout. It is an unresponsive layout rather than responsive. Meaning no matter the size of the browser window the content remains the same. This is somewhat of a problem as on my laptop screen the content is to the left takes up only 2/3 of the page, leaving the last right side 1/3 a gray area. This causes the actual page to look odd.

There are also two “Table of Content” sections on the homepage which is unnecessary.

The website is also not mobile-friendly which makes it difficult for mobile readers. This is a shame because one of the plus-sides of e-books are there portability.

Lastly, the e-book is also not accessibility-friendly. This website:


is a useful tool showing what improvements can be made to make websites accessibility friendly.

May 1, 2016 9:20 pm

Paul F. Gehl says:

Hi, Jemy. Your notes are good ones, all things we need to put on a list for an eventual revision of the site. Humanism For Sale was published in 2008 with off-the-shelf software dating from 2006 or so, and so it is way out of date nowadays. The hand-held devices we use so much today didn’t exist then, so it is no surprise the site does not work well in those formats.

May 2, 2016 8:42 am

akinskey says:

The format of this book has some spectacular advantages. The ability to move between sections easily is really helpful for referencing material in other parts of the book. Also, the integration of images with zoom-in capability allows the reader to better understand each textual example. I really like that other scholars and readers can comment on specific sets of information, ideally to enhance the book by bringing in new insights. The organization into chapter sub-divisions does pose some issues for me because the chapters seem overly-fragmented and disconnected. The comment section on each page also seems a bit too large, pushing the text too far to one side. I do think this original type of format has the potential to spread, especially with the ability to jump between various sections and images. The vast majority of e-books do not have such accessible images. The book, however, could benefit from less sub-divisions and more prominent text. I understand this is a difficult balance to achieve.

October 10, 2018 4:47 pm

Paul Gehl says:

Thanks for your input, Mr. Kinsky. Newer versions of the software move the comments and the contents to separate screens, which is a more contemporary (and now more familiar) way of navigating linked info of the sort. But when we tried to move the content to the new software earlier this year, we lost all the comments, so we have gone back to what we had, at least for the moment. Your endorsement of the robust comment feature in general is important to our thinking going forward, since most of the software out there now assumes readers will make pretty brief (and perhaps emotional) notes rather than thoughtful comments, additions of information, or questions posed to the author/editors.

October 11, 2018 11:33 am

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