By K. Lesley Knieriem
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Additional info for Book-Fools of the Renaissance
Yet for all their efforts, "all these early English scholars accomplished little except to leave books for later students to use. No real enthusiasm for scholarship was aroused. . '15 Still, they earned for themselves the reputation of learning; and a scholarly name remained a powerful tool for social advancement. For example, towards the end of the fifteenth century, 27 John Shirwood demonstrated a humanistic facility with Latin and ability in Greek as well. He wrote works on mathematics and a Latin poem in praise of England: After he was named bishop of Durham, he travelled on the business of both church and state and collected books in the process.
213 This "second stage" of Renaissance humanism was particularly evident in the princely libraries of Italy during the fifteenth century. " 214 In the rest of Europe, this nostalgia was often expressed by a newfound interest in the "national literatures"; that is, the mostly vernacular epics and romances so evocative of a glorious history. When this literature was first composed, it was primarily an oral art form, and written copies existed principally to teach the words to new performers. But as the minstrels slowly became obsolete, their manuscripts became prized by those to whom they represented a bygone but more chivalrous past.
28s His interest in antiquities was clearly centered around their usefulness for historical and religious propaganda. " 284 His travels provided him with a formidable arsenal of weapons against those who would denigrate Britain's former glory. His main research interest was British literature and history. And thus his grand opus describing the antiquities of Britain would so to open this wyndow that the lighte shall be seene so longe, that is to say, by the space of a thousand yeres, stoppid up, and the olde glory of your renownid Britaine to reflorisch thorough the worlde ..
Book-Fools of the Renaissance by K. Lesley Knieriem