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Printed Commonplace-Books and the Structuring of Renaissance Thought$

Ann Moss

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198159087

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198159087.001.0001

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Commonplace-Books at School

Commonplace-Books at School

(p.134) 6 Commonplace-Books at School
Printed Commonplace-Books and the Structuring of Renaissance Thought

Ann Moss

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

The prescriptions for commonplace-books to be found in the works of Desiderius Erasmus, Philipp Melanchthon, and Juan Luis Vives were published together as excerpts in manuals De ratione studii. Their presence there, together with other examples of good practice in the matter of education, points us to the schoolroom environment within which boys were conditioned to think in ways determined by the instrument they used to probe material they were set to study, store in their memory, and retrieve for reproduction, that is to say, by their commonplace-book. From now on, the history of the commonplace-book becomes an integral part of the history of Renaissance culture in general, because it is the history of its technical support system, and consequently of one of the most important factors contributing to its intellectual paradigms. From now on, also, the documentation of the history of the commonplace-book becomes enormous.

Keywords:   commonplace-books, Desiderius Erasmus, Philipp Melanchthon, Juan Luis Vives, excerpts, manuals, education, schoolroom, Renaissance

Despite, or perhaps because of, their differing emphases, the prescriptions for commonplace-books to be found in the works of Erasmus, Melanchthon, and Vives were published together as excerpts in manuals De rattorte studii. Their presence there, together with other examples of good practice in the matter of education, points us to the schoolroom environment within which boys were conditioned to think in ways determined by the instrument they used to probe material they were set to study, store in their memory, and retrieve for reproduction, that is to say, by their commonplace-book. From now on, the history of the commonplace-book becomes an integral part of the history of Renaissance culture in general, because it is the history of its technical support system, and consequently of one of the most important factors contributing to its intellectual paradigms. From now on, also, the documentation of the history of the commonplace-book becomes enormous. We cannot do more than sample it in its most representative manifestations and catch moments when interesting shifts of focus seem to occur. In what remains of the sixteenth century, we shall mostly find ourselves involved with schoolroom curricula and schoolboy exercises. In the seventeenth century, we shall also find ourselves in the private studies of erudite and enthusiastic adults.1

However, even manuals on classroom practice are locked into the larger issues which shaped the developmemt of the intellectual universe of early modern Western Europe. Our history of commonplace-books will not be accurate to any degree unless we keep these broader issues in mind. Not least among them is the question of continuity and change with respect to the cultural norms and expectations of the later Middle Ages. We have already seen from its prehistory that the commonplace-book carries forward characteristics formed in the medieval period. Their subsequent (p.135) retention and variation will make interesting markers of conservatism and innovation in response to evolving intellectual, social, and technical environments. In the very broadest sense, the commonplace-book of the Renaissance period still feeds into the same areas as medieval florilegia, concordances, and encyclopaedias of quotation had done: into the teaching of Latin grammar and composition, into religious exhortation and argument, and into the information repositories of the academic disciplines.

The classroom Latin composition resourced by commonplace-books is part of the humanists’ attempt to recover a whole linguistic complex formulated in the past and to make it express the present. Pressing in on the schoolboy's commonplace-book at every point is the current debate about the viability of Ciceronian Latin and about the validity of the imitation of ancient literary forms and of the appropriation of ancient literary language. In the fourth decade of the sixteenth century, the arena of this debate was moving northwards from Italy to France.2 If the evidence of numbers of printed commonplace-books can be taken as a guide, the systematic commonplace-book, as distinct from the phrase-book and private jotter, was perhaps not yet as institutionalized in the school programmes of Italy as it was in northern Europe.3 There is, as we have already deduced from reading Politian, Agricola, Vives, and Erasmus, a correlation between the practice of using collected quotations as a stimulus to composition and an anti-Ciceronianism which favoured an eclectic linguistic base and a ‘personal’ style. The commonplace-book is therefore likely to be a crucial factor in the linguistic awareness and, indeed, self-awareness of boys learning to express themselves in Latin. More than that, the debate on different varieties of Latin coincided in mid-century northern Europe, especially in France, with debates on different kinds of literary language in the vernacular. The stylistic values which determined the choice of Latin passages (p.136) hoarded in the private notebook or in printed collections were translatable into the linguistic currency of French or English or the other languages of northern Europe, as were the rhetorical and dialectical procedures which put such excerpts into circulation.

Not only did the Renaissance student's commonplace-book function at a deeper level of his linguistic consciousness than its equivalent had done for his medieval counterpart, but it also played a much stronger role in structuring his receptivity as a reader of texts. The invention of printing may not have fundamentally altered the technology of the commonplace-book in terms of its storage, cross-referencing, and retrieval mechanisms, but it did mean that texts of the approved authors were much more easily available. Whereas in the Middle Ages reference from a florilegium to anoriginal text was usually represented as desirable rather than normal, the Renaissance schoolboy was constantly using his commonplace-book as an interpretative grid for texts he was reading himself, or applying it at his teacher's dictation while texts were read in class. As we have already glimpsed in Melanchthon's treatment of allegorical interpretation, the commonplace-book was becoming a paradigm for reading analysis, whether by distributing what was read under preassembled headings or by tracing through the passage strategies of argument and development determined by the dialectical and rhetorical ‘places’ which the student was learning to handle with material supplied by his notebook.

From Melanchthon, too, we have seen how closely the commonplace-book was involved with the religious crisis of Reformation Europe. Not only did it continue to resource sermon rhetoric (albeit constructed on linguistic premisses very different from those of medieval preaching), but it was the very locus where the heads or ‘articles’ of the faith were assembled for adversarial debate, in order to be rigorously defined by being run through the mechanism of the dialectical places of proof and authenticated by collected quotations from Scripture. For many a Protestant schoolboy in the second half of the sixteenth century, sectarian bias was built into his commonplace-book by appropriately placed quotations from the Bible. With respect to the intellectual disciplines, including theology, one of the more pertinent questions we might ask is precisely whether the systematic division of academic subjects into general heads, as recommended by Melanchthon, was a force for conformity and potentially an instrument of control. This question is also relevant to the general moral heads and the way they were organized in the commonplace-books of young students and non-specialists, where the operative language is patently moral and rhetorical, but the concealed message is political and social. This sort of question arises more especially in the case of the publicly available models constituted by printed commonplace-books and the academic reference (p.137) works patterned on them. However, the making of a commonplace-book was also a private occupation and a private enthusiasm. Even in printed prescriptions for commonplace-books, the idiosyncracies of particular individuals are sometimes revealed.

Tributaries of copia

One such individual was Joachim Fortius Ringelbergius (c.i499-sometime after 1531), a native of Antwerp, whose enthusiasm for the humanist curriculum manifested itself in a run of textbooks on dialectic, rhetoric, mathematics, and cosmography, and a De ratione studii, all written with in three years prior to their inclusion in an edition of his Opera at Lyons in 1531, and, especially in the case of his Rhetorica, reprinted with some frequency in France over the next twenty years or so.4 Ringelbergius was educated from 1519 at Louvain, moved between various German towns, Basle, and Antwerp, and from 1529 was in France, at Paris, Orléans, Bourges, and Lyons. In the curiously biographical later part of his De ratione studii (pp. 38 onwards in the 1531 edition), he tells us how he solves the problem of transporting his books from place to place during his frequent removals. This will not be the last time that the fairly unsettled lifestyle of some humanist teachers emerges as a factor in the history of the making of the commonplace-book. In the case of Ringelbergius, in the absence of any recommendation about storing information in commonplace-books, the alternative is rather drastic. He takes with him only the books he has annotated himself, and mostly removes the pages he has marked and discards the rest (pp. 58–9).

What those annotations consisted of may be gleaned from an earlier passage in the De ratione studii, where the student is advised to mark up his books with commonplaces.(159) So Homer's reference to the resource and experience of Ulysses should be signalled in the margin by the heading ‘Prudentia’; a slightly later reference to Ethiopians, by the word ‘Aethiopia’. Underlying such annotations by heads are the prescriptions for commonplaces we have already met, perhaps especially Melanchthon's earlier prescriptions for commonplace-books based on moral/rhetorical and on encyclopaedic principles. Ringelbergius relates his ‘Prudentia’ head to ‘ethics and the praise of persons’, and his ‘Aethiopia’ to the ‘description of the earth’ or geography (treated as a specific discipline in his De ratione studii). His own accounts of dialectic and rhetoric are in line with Agricola and Melanchthon, and lay particular stress on the use of the dialectical and rhetorical places of argument as a strategy for generating copia and for (p.138) reasoning for and against a given proposition (p. 238). What characterizes his presentation is his fondness for ramified diagrammatic tables, setting out the material appropriate to various subjects by means of the bracketed divisions and subdivisions invented for medieval sermon distinctions and destined to be much used later in the century as an instrument of analysis and a visual demonstration of the interconnected parts of any whole.

The other feature which distinguishes Ringelbergius from the general run of contemporary textbook writers is his personal tone. Not only do we glimpse him in physical contact with his books, be it annotating them or tearing them apart, but we also have his reasoned preference for writing over speaking (pp. 34–6), and his advice to have a slate or notebook handy at all times of the day and night, so that one can write down immediately any nice combination of words that comes into one's head or any interesting observation of things (p. 46). These words and things are not quotations collected from books. They are transcriptions of the individual's own felicitous verbal creations (‘Venusta verborum connexio’) and his own experience of his environment (‘rerum observado’), albeit conditioned, shaped, and given their value by the literary culture of humanism. Ringelbergius's fervent devotion to the language of that culture is the moral and spiritual centre of his life. Finding the right words, words fitly join edand beautifully ornamented, is a discovery more precious than gold, a pleasure fit for gods, and the supreme joy of the mind. (160) Ecstasy is struck from the combining of words, rather than from the ‘things’ to which they may refer (or, indeed from their conceptual relationship with common-places). Morality and religion are absent from these confidences of a man haunted only by the fear of passing time, of work not done, of words not written, and who was destined to disappear almost immediately from recorded history.

A rather more conventional German contemporary of Ringelbergius, Fridericus Nausea (Friedrich Grau, died 1552), writing in 1529 De puero Uteris instituendo, returns us to a conventional similitude:

If you expect to profit from your reading, my advice to you is to imitate the activity of bees…They roam abroad and gather from flowers, then they arrange what they have brought back and divide it into honeycombs…In like manner, whatever you have acquired from your varied reading, you should set down in writing, in order for it to coalesce in some clear sort of order. (161)5

This is an almost word for word transcription not of Seneca, but of Macrobius. And, like Macrobius, Nausea stresses the virtues of order and (p.139) retention, rather than those of transformation and reproduction. Authors set to be read should be read thoroughly from beginning to end, and their more edifying sayings should be extracted and listed in a notebook in alphabetical order of their first words. (162) This practice, says Nausea, will ensure a vigorous intellectual grasp of things, a good memory, sagacious discourse, pure Latinity, and a plentiful supply of exempla. (163)6

Nausea's alphabetically ordered notebook functions as a filter and a storage system, but it lacks the retrieval and combinatory mechanisms which enable the true commonplace-book to produce discourse of almost limitless versatility on almost any topic. It is interesting, therefore, to note that this work, though published in Cologne, was written in Italy (the final epistle from the author is dated Pavia, 1529) and, like Nausea's other works on related rhetorical subjects, was a product of his very extended periods of residence south of the Alps. His references to dialectic in the De puero literis instituendo, despite listing Agricola among his approved authors, show no very great interest in the places of argument. Indeed, he pleads for dialectic to be deferred until after the pupil has acquired good Latinity and an extensive knowledge of history, literary culture, and science from his careful perusal (and annotation) of ancient texts and their modern commentaries. Moreover, Nausea's dialectic is primarily a formal logic for testing propositions, ‘iudicatrix’ rather than ‘inventrix’, to use the contemporary terminology. Commonplaces function neither in Nausea's dialectic, nor in his proposed notebook. On the other hand, if Nausea's notebook does not have the facility to generate discourse, it certainly functions as amemory bank from which composition may be supplied with quotation and illustration. The collected extracts are there primarily to be memorized, and Nausea recommends that they should be written up day by day, year by year, so that the accumulated notebooks of sayings come to form a sort of series of almanacs, to be conned, repeated, chewed over, regurgitated (but not, apparently, transmuted). (164) As for the method of memorizing, unlike a good many of the northern humanists, and, in particular Erasmus, Nausea reminds us of a variety of ‘place’ we had almost forgotten: the artificial memory places as described in the Rhetorca ad Herennium, Quintilian, and Peter of Ravenna.7

(p.140) If Nausea's attitude to the florilegiutrìs potential for abundant production smacks some what of the caution we have already noted in Italian examples of the genre from the early years of the sixteenth century, flower-gathering for purposes of riotous display proceeded apace in the North on territory marked out by Erasmus and Melanchthon. Collected quotations were relocated to illustrate manuals devoted exclusively to a particular type of excerpt, saying, or linguistic expression from among the great variety picked out for inclusion in the headed notebook. Separate handbooks of fables, examples, strange occurrences, pithy remarks, proverbs, epithets, metaphors, comparisons, and similitudes (to combine the specimen lists given by Erasmus and Melanchthon) proliferate after about 1515. However, what was needed for elementary classroom composition exercises in copia were relatively easy explanations of what the rhetorical figures of ornamentation were and how they worked, together with selected examples for students to memorize and to practise on by way of applying them appropriately and varying them. Two short manuals on rhetorical figures were to supply the needs of classes in grammar and rhetoric for several years to come. The Tabulae de schematibus et tropis of Petrus Mosellanus (Peter Schade, c. 1493–1524, a particularly close associate of Erasmus) gives succinct definitions of the various figures of speech, with examples from the ‘most approved Greek and Latin authors’. This book (or, rather, visualaid, for it was meant to be displayed on the classroom wall along with Latinquotations of all kinds, as Erasmus had recommended in his De ratione studii) was first published at Frankfurt in 1516, but its greatest publishing success was in France. There and elsewhere from at least 1529 onwards it was thoroughly integrated into the rhetorical programme of Erasmus and Melanchthon by a supplement consisting of summaries in tabular form of Melanchthon's Institutiones rhetoricae of 1521 and the De copia of Erasmus.

The Epitome troporum ac schematum et grammaticorum et rhetomm, ad auctoresturn prophanos turn sacros intelligendos, first published in 1541, was conceived by its author, Joannes Susenbrotus (1485–1542), as a supplement to the manual by Mosellanus and an improvement on it, but it was destined in factto replace it in northern, more particularly Protestant, schools in the second half of the sixteenth century.8 The reason was not only that it was fuller and more systematic than Mosellanus and adhered more rigorously to the order of the figures as they appeared in Melanchthon's rhetorical writings, but, as the title indicates, it took its examples of figures of speech not (p.141) only from classical authors, but also from the Bible. Under the influence of the Reformation, the business of collecting quotations, whether it be to formulate commonplaces or to illustrate tropes and figures, set writers of schoolbooks foraging in Scripture. The dubious Latinity of the Vulgate putit out of bounds to Italian humanists of a Ciceronian disposition, and the disputes of the Reformation rendered Catholics uneasy about making very young boys familiar with the sacred text. But what Protestant schoolboys had served up to them were not only Latin quotations from Scripture, to be inserted into rhetorical categories and therefore to be read rhetorically, but also quotations from their vernacular Bibles. Susenbrotus goes a step further, and uses idioms in German to exemplify rhetorical figures side by side with quotations from the ‘most approved Greek and Latin authors’. The exploration of language in a variety of authors, so assiduously promoted by northern editors of Latin commonplace-books, begins to take in modern languages, and, in the process, both gives them a status on a par with Greek and Latin and also ensures that they come to be articulated and deployed in the ways exemplified by the excerpts from the ‘most approved authors’ quoted in the rhetorical handbooks. It is here, perhaps, that we find the crucial, and ultimately so profitable, link-line between the notebooks of phrases and sayings which Vives had recommended in common with Erasmus and Melanchthon, and his rather sudden bifurcation towards the vernacular.9

A rhetorical figure especially valued by all humanist writers was the sententia, or pithy remark of general import, valued not only as a form of expression in words, but as a way of encapsulating generally accepted opinions of the sort which had provided the matter of dialectical argumentation from Aristotle onwards. In Erasmus's De copia the subdivisions for classifying material in his proposed commonplace-book had taken the form of sententiae, as well as exempla. The conflation of sententia and locus communis continued to reinforce the dialectical status of sententiae, whether they were generally accepted opinions of no precise origin or quotations from the best (and most authoritative) authors. This status was enshrined for schoolboys (p.142) in their commonplace-books, as may be deduced, for example, from arhetorical textbook written in 1540, the Elementa rhetoricae, sive capita exercitiomm studii puerilis et stili of Joachim Camerarius (Joachim Kammermeister,1500–74):

The sententia is a short clause or sentence, comprising a general saying susceptible of very wide application, as Quintilian has it, by which an audience may be easily moved and even persuaded to give its assent. For this reason sententiae can also be designated the heads of common places of proof. For since, as I have said, they move the minds of all hearers to assent, they will serve as a firm base from which to generate rational argument. (165)10

Sententiae are to be collected from all the best writers and arranged under places (loci) or heads (capita) reminiscent of Melanchthon's well-known chapter on commonplaces. They shall consist of virtues and vices and of other matters encountered in ‘common life’ or particularly relevant to specific areas of learning:

And so once these heads have been separated out and arranged in some kind of order, then morally edifying, intellectually weighty, and rhetorically stylish sententiae will be entered underneath, which we shall gradually learn to work into our own little compositions and apply to whatever theme we have been set. (166)11

Sententiae in Camerarius purvey moral insights at the same time as they retain their full dialectical and rhetorical powers to generate argument and secure assent. As the student learns to manipulate them for all these purposes his commonplace-book is constantly at hand to resource his writing. The other necessary aid is a sense of discrimination. Camerarius is far from being the last of our promoters of commonplace-books to warn against an excessive display of borrowed sententiae tacked on to thread bare efforts at composition like so many patches.

The publications we have examined from the 1530s and 1540s exemplify certain rather piecemeal developments of the projects for commonplace-books outlined in the extracts from Agricola, Erasmus, Melanchthon, and then Vives, which circulated from Cologne, Paris, and Basle between 1531 and 1556 in the composite volumes De ratione studii. The developments so far have mostly been initiated by Germans, although several of the results (p.143) have been marketed in France and even in England. It was in German territories that the drive to systematization was to remain strongest throughout most of the rest of the sixteenth century, prompted by the alliance of Lutheran Church leaders with civil authorities in meticulously constructing a Protestant cultural matrix of which the foundation was laid in the schools.12 Its public language was the language of humanistic Latin, by now the language of Europe, and its method of induction into that language had been formulated by Melanchthon, who in turn channelled into the German programmes Erasmus's rhetoric of copia and Agricola's dialectic.

However, in the matter of commonplace-books, Melanchthon's slightly mitigated enthusiasm in the Elementa rhetorices of 1531 was not to be the lastword. Jodocus Willichius (1505–52) recovered some of the verve of Erasmus in his De formando studio in quolibet artium et sacrarum et prophanarumgenere consilium (Frankfurt, 1550), even while struggling to contain copia within the constraints of dialectic and of pedagogic efficiency. An interesting feature of this work is that it demonstrates an interaction between classroom practice and developments in printing. The tutelary spirit of Erasmus reigns over the division of the work into two books, de copia verborum andde copia rerum. And that division is reflected straight away in instructions to beginners to make themselves two separate books, one for words and one for things.(167)13 The quotations excerpted into these notebooks are to be clearly identified with references to author, page numbers, books, scenes, acts, etc., and Willichius points out the advantages of ensuring that all the pupils are using the same edition of the text.(168) The inference of this is not only that pupils did have books ‘in their hands’, but that the commonplace-book was probably one of the most pressing forces persuading printers to standardize editions and eventually to number the lines of poems. Another printing development promoted by commonplace-books was already proving a mixed blessing. Texts were appearing equipped with indices of words and commonplaces (an early example had been the 1508 Adagia of Erasmus, but it was followed by many more). Willichius bemoans the effect on students, who scribble down references and cross-references from indices without any comprehension or order, and then replicate this confusion in their own compositions.(169)

Perhaps the greatest contribution the printing industry made to the teaching of Latin was to supply it with dictionaries. Willichius is able to draw attention to a growing number of lexicons of the Latin language and (p.144) to a diversity among their methodologies. There are alphabetically arranged dictionaries, which give equivalents and paraphrases (in the manner, though Willichius does not say so, of the explanations of vocabulary to be found in Italian humanist commentaries of the end of the fifteenth century and early years of the sixteenth); there are collections of words found in a single author (Willichius cites the Cornucopiae of Nicolaus Perottus (1429–80), derived from Martial); there are lists of selected words, with their proprieties of usage and parallels (Lorenzo Valla, Guillaume Bude); and there are alphabetical dictionaries which refer to the usage of words in specific authors (exemplified by contemporary lexicographers, Bartolomeo Ricci, Etienne Dolet, Robert Estienne). This awareness of the availability of lexical reference works is very different from the lack perceived by Vives and which he sought to compensate by his advice on notebooks of linguistic expressions. However, in practice, Willichius does not envisage that dictionaries will in any way undermine the process of collecting one's own copia verbomm. His own commonplace-book method is not only a way of compiling a dictionary of Latin usage, but initiates the student into a philosophy of language and a universal paradigm of thought.

In a rather un-Erasmian fashion, Willichius subdivides copia verbomm into two, for the better understanding of vocabulary and how it works (Deformando studio, 17). On the one hand, there are figurative expressions, which demonstrate the use of any single locution by showing how it may be varied, for example in the figure congeries, which accumulates synonyms, and in the whole range of tropes, which operate transferred meanings. On the other hand, there are what Willichius calls the natural or dialectical explanations of words, by which he means that any word is to be defined by running it through all the dialectical places into which it will fit, or perhaps through the pedagogically more manageable ‘predicaments’ (i.e. Aristotle's categories: Substantia, Quantitas, Qualitas, Relatio, Actio, Passio, Quando, Ubi, Situs, Habitus, which Agricola and Melanchthon had integrated into their topical theory). Rhetoric and dialectic together thus provide a methodological approach to exploring the semantic range of Latin words.This is a definite shift from the historically and philologically based investigation of the Latin language typified by the Elegantiae of Valla, although the canonical ‘optimi autores’ remain the repository from which words are normally to be drawn. Willichius directs his students to collect from texts studied in the classroom examples of figurative usage and material for definitions according to the different dialectical categories of explanation. Heis resolutely anti-Ciceronian in matters of vocabulary. As seems to bealways the case, excerpting from a variety of authors encourages eclecticism, although Willichius stipulates that the student should note when words belong to different registers of style (oratorical, poetical, historical) (p.145) or to technical terminologies (the ological, medical, legal, agricultural). This is to encourage, not deter from, the use of technical terms. Willichius's Latin is a modern language for modern times, and new things require new words. (170) In addition, his Latin, constituted on dialectical definitions rather than on the usage of writers conditioned by a different, and irretrievable, historical context, is free of a whole nexus of cultural determinants which in practice prevented humanistic Latin from being a universal model of language generation. Willichius's most elaborate examples of the definition of words according to the places of genus, division, circumstances, a loco, a qmlitate, a similitudine, and the rest, are articles of clothing,‘garden’, ‘Vine’, and ‘chicken-coop’, with technical terms, German words, and excerpts from classical authors filling out the lists. Abundance of words is assured, but with a dialectical substructure to language which is not typically Erasmian.14 According to Willichius, it is just this substructure which provides a more effective mechanism of production:

The result will be that if you list explanations of individual locutions by way of their kind, parts, and the other seats of invention which we call ‘places’, you will also have them already analysed and ready at hand for use in [the dialectical and rhetorical procedures involved in] speaking and writing. (171)

A further piece of organization brings the dialectical places of vocabulary and their illustrative quotations into the headed commonplace-book:

It is not a bad idea to draw up a number of common heads {capita) or containers (receptacula) for words, which afterwards, with the application of a little more effort, can be subdivided more narrowly, to provide ultimately for a rigorously divided explanation according to the places. (172)

The suggested heads represent the universe of literature and natural things, listed in descending order from ‘names of gods, muses, heroes, angels, or spirits (both good and bad), feast-days, hymns, ministers of the church’ by way of the liberal arts, man, his physical parts, ills, and social organization, down to animals of all kinds. The organization of the vocabulary commonplace-book proposed by Willichius is thus a closer reflection of the order of things in nature than those we have met so far, and less tied to rhetorical models. He also envisages other sequences, based on words linked by affinities of meaning, and, in this instance, cites the arrangement of the Onomasticon of Julius Pollux, an ancient Greek lexicon (and laterhe will cite the florilegium of Stobaeus). The reference to these Greek antecedents is obviously an attempt to give the present proposals an (p.146) illustrious pedigree, but it is a very short pedigree. Neither had been in wide circulation for much more than twenty years, and Willichius reveals the much longer ancestry of his notebooks divided into heads when he imagines the reader distributing material on the Onomasticon model ‘like a busy little bee gathering single words and phrases into their appropriate places or cells for storage’.(173)

The second part of the work, De rerum copia parartela, mirrors the first. Res as well as verba, items of subject-matter as well as the vocabulary of the Latin language, are to be analysed individually into dialectical places and also collected under commonplace-heads. Like Melanchthon, Willichius insists that each academic discipline has its own constituent commonplaces, basic principles, tenets, or axioms. From riches gathered into these carefully separated ‘containers’ students will draw a supply of material to deal with any question put to them, ‘so that when they come to write they shall not be deficient in copia’.(174) Unlike Melanchthon, Willichius catalogues in some detail the loci proper to some of the disciplines, Dialectic, Physics (in effect a summary of Aristotelian physics in tabulated form), Medicine, Ethics and Rhetoric, Law, and Theology (where he pays due deference to Melanchthon's theological Loci communes and also recuperates the Sentences of Peter Lombard, by claiming that they are arranged by commonplaces). His section called ‘loca ethica et rhetorica’ conflates moral philosophy and rhetoric, institutionalizing a conjunction which we have often recognized as implicit. Within this section the arrangement of heads replicates the rhetorical sequence of affinities and contrasts familiar from earlier prescriptions for commonplace-books, but it is under tighter control. The generalhead ‘Pietas’ is subdivided into proper respect for God, country, parents, wife, children, relations, and friends, and then followed by ‘Impietas’, similarly subdivided, and running on to superstition, ceremonies, portents, divination, fate, necessity, and fortune. Primary and secondary divisions augment the sense of system, but the heads themelves are remarkably similar to those listed by Melanchthon and Fladrunus.

By 1550, when Willichius published his De formando studio, the formulae for commonplace-books were indeed becoming standardized. What was needed was perhaps not so much elaborate description of contents and methodology as advice on how to implement all that in the classroom. The rest of Willichius's book runs through the sort of material to be excerptedin the three earliest classes, so as to reinforce instruction in grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric, with plentiful examples. What his work does demonstrateis how closely commonplace-book collections of quotations have become implicated with a view of language which regards it as predicated on the dialectical places of inference. Willichius is not consciously a philosopher of language, and, bilingual humanist as he is, he is certainly no cratylist in (p.147) the naive sense of supposing a necessary connection between specific conjunctions of phonemes and what they are taken to designate. But the way his prescriptions for a commonplace-book of vocabulary mirror his prescriptions for a commonplace-book of things points to what they have in common and supposes a necessary, not a conventional, link between the universe of language and the universe of things. The factors they have in common are, firstly, that they are apprehended by means of the dialectical places of rational thought, which are the ‘repositories of all things and of all appellations (vocabula), which are the signs of things’ (p. 48); secondly, that they relate to the commonplaces into which all knowledge is divided and which, according to Melanchthon, are not conventional, but deep-seatedin nature. The flowers in the commonplace-book may contain the seeds of an infinite variety of worlds of words, but, digging them out of his commonplace-book, the student will perceive them to be referentially rooted in nature and reason.15

Commonplace-books in the curriculum

Schools of the Reformation

One of the first, and perhaps the most influential, of all the programmes designed for the school of a Lutheran municipality was the curriculum published by Joannes Sturmius (Johann Sturm, 1507–89) for the school at Strasburg in 1538, and entitled De literarum ludis recte aperiendis.16 Although Sturm does not give specific instructions for composing commonplace-books, it may be fairly said that their existence is taken for granted at every stage of his programme. His insistence on oral repetition depends on memorizing. His insistence on written exercises presupposes a pattern-book of material and linguistic expressions, and the means of retrieving them. Memory, ‘invention’, and practice will be facilitated and improved if the material involved

is divided up and with the help of a common system of indicators is gathered in short phrases, dismembered, as it were, under general heads, so that any piece of connected discourse the mind is able to repeat from memory it may also know where to find, separated and divided up in ‘places’.(175)

(p.148) Just as our experience of a particular terrain is illuminated if we subsequently look at a map, so passages we read and intend to commit to memory or replicate in writing are more easily apprehended if we analyse them into separate ‘places’. In the sixth grade, when the pupil, at about 9 or 10years old, has become acquainted with a fair amount of Cicero, Virgil, and selections from some other poets, and is beginning Caesar and Terence, Sturm specifies that he should have three separate notebooks, primarily for the purpose of ‘dismembering’ chosen passages from Cicero into examples of procedures of proof, or nately worked periods, and rhetorical figures. These are to be committed from the notebook to memory, as far as possible, but the notebooks are also to be drawn on directly for excerpts to be imitated and worked into the pupil's own attempts at writing. (176) At this point Sturm makes a careful distinction between the collections of extractshe proposes and the ‘jumbled catalogues of sententiae from different authors which were read out in class when I was a child’, doubtless referring to the stitched-together, moralizing verses of ‘Cato’, ‘Alanus de Insulis’, or theFlores poetarum, not to mention Eyb or Wimpheling. The individual sententiae were commendable enough, but the method of inculcation discouraged mental agility and dulled any sense of discriminationa(l77)17 The Notebooks Sturm requires correspond to the prepared and written out passages which the ancient orators of Greece and Rome themselves used as prompts for the speeches they delivered as occasion demanded.

However, Sturm is less than clear about the organization of his proposed notebooks. This is because he envisages them in the first instance as tools for analysing selected passages in order to demonstrate how language operates, rather than as repertories of quotations under subject-heads. He is quite adamant that elocutio, the manipulation of words and phrases, should precede inventio, the finding of material to write about. Language and its uses can be taught by example, analysis, and imitation; material is acquired as a by-product of such teaching and in the course of more extended reading and composition. So the primary objective is ‘copia verborum and varied patterns of phraseology.(178) Slightly later in his programme, Sturm prescribes another set of three notebooks, perhaps for more advanced and more permanent use than those specified for the sixth grade. They are to be employed to analyse passages into ‘places of words’, ‘places of things’, and ‘places of the art’ (i.e. examples of the theoretical procedures of rhetoric put into practice).(179) However, it is only in a digression, and only very roughly sketched, that Sturm offers a scheme for a universal map on to which the pupil may plot his findings and from which he may draw ideas and vocabulary for his own use. This map is to be designed after the (p.149) pattern of the order of nature, divided into things divine, things natural, and things human. Subdivisions separate out true and false religion, insensible phenomena of nature from creatures endowed with organs of sense, and man into soul, body, and estate, with numerous subsections organized according to opposites and affinities. Texts are to be analysed and their vocabulary and linguistic formulae entered under these heads. The process of finding words involves a search of this universal map and also, within the places of words, the operation of rhetorical and dialectical ‘places’, or mechanisms for filling out discourse by reference to conjuncts, antecedents, consequents, and at least five of the Aristotelian predicaments. The influence of Agricola's topical dialectic is telling here, as Sturm attempts to incorporate the loci of argumentation into his framework of organizational places for words.(180)18

The primary inspiration for this rather hazy project for organizing a universe of words and things may well be the inventories of thoughts and appropriate categories of verbal expressions which form part of the Periideon logou of Hermogenes, published in Greek in Paris in 1531, a work Sturm rated highly and was later to translate and annotate himself.19 However, in another work published in 1538, his De amissa dicendi ratione, Sturm makes it clear that the nearest analogy to his proposed scheme is to be found in the elaborate structures of affinities devised to accommodate the places and images of artificial memory, and in particular the Memory theatre planned by Giulio Camillo to facilitate, among other things, the acquisition of languages and abundance of speech. Sturm had probably seen a model of this Memory Theatre built by Camillo at the time when they were together in Paris and in contact there in 1534.(181)20

In Camillo, places and images of memory may have had Ficinian, Kabbalistic, and occult ramifications, but in Sturm these are severely pruned. His prearranged places do not encapsulate images, but words and phrases gathered from the canon of ‘best authors’, operating within segregated registers of vocabulary (oratorical, historical, poetical), and with their (p.150) provenance carefully labelled. By dissecting his texts into well-ordered places the student supplies himself with a much more efficient vocabulary resource than that provided by the alphabetical monoglot Latin dictionaries of prior humanists, which can only elucidate the meaning of single words already seen. What Sturm's project does is to input words into a series of places accessible to all comers because they constitute a recognizable map of nature, and then operate dialectical mechanisms for extending discourse in order to lead the enquirer into linguistic territory quite new to him, by such pathways as similarity, difference, antecedence, consequence, cause, effect, synonomy, and contrariety. A publication of this sort would, according to Sturm, be desirable (though his own drafts, such as the one in his initial programme for the school at Strasburg, are too inchoate to be practicable). A dozen years later, as we have seen, Jodocus Willichius was able to transform Sturm's model into a workable programme, firstly by amalgamating it with Erasmian notions of a double copia of words and things, and, secondly and even more profitably, by applying to it much more rigorously the processing system of the commonplace-book.21

In some of his own later works, Sturm acknowledges that his ‘places for words’ are virtually the same as his ‘places for things’, which, in turn, are ‘generally called commonplace-books’.(182) He also acknowledges and approves the proliferation of printed commonplace-books, which does not preclude the beneficial exercise of making one's own commonplace-book and especially of exploiting the printed collections by adding to them, taking from them, and practising imitation on their quoted excerpts by introducing changes and substitutions.(183) Private and printed commonplace-books do not exist in opposition or even in parallel, but in a state of symbiosis. In 1573, in a lecture entitled Linguae latinae resolvendae ratio (published in 1581), Sturm was to return with undiminished enthusiasm to his grand scheme for digesting the whole universe of the Latin language into ‘domicilia’, ‘cellae’, ‘sedes’, or ‘receptacula’, lodged within a ‘natural order’ of ‘places’ constituted by ‘res divinae’, ‘res naturales’, and ‘res humanae’, the latter now consisting of two primary divisions, ‘res artificiales’ and ‘res humanae’. As before, these are to be further subdivided into ever more specialized subsections, and the words and phrases located within them are to be categorized by generic register and their horizons of meaning explored by putting them through the dialectical predicaments. Sturm is conscious that the universal scope of his endeavour goes beyond the moral commonplaces envisaged by Erasmus and Melanchthon. He still refers to Giulio Camillo's Theatre of Memory as the only comparable scheme. (184) (p.151) But Camillo's had been an esoteric system, and indeed the ultimate secret of how to operate his Memory Theatre had perished with him in 1540. Sturm proposes something that ‘can be understood by everyone’ because it is predicated on the ‘natural order of things’ (rather than ‘mathematical’), and can be operated without difficulty. What Sturm has in the end salvaged from Camillo ‘s grandiose project is a commonplace-book, or, rather, three contributory notebooks envisaged jointly as an instrument of systematic research into the universe of things as well as of language. One book (‘ephemerides’, ‘diarium’) is to be carried with one for random registration of experience; one, definitively ordered, is to be kept at home to receive material when it has been duly classified; the third gathers the fruit of dialectical and rhetorical analyses of books read.

Linguistic and rhetorical analysis were ever Sturm's main concern, together with the production of discourse, which was their final cause. In his De imitatione oratoria of 1574 the three notebooks from his earliest pedagogic works reappear, with their contents rather more clearly defined: vocabulary and phraseology; things and the matter of the various branches of instruction; and examples, to be collected from historians and poets and other types of written composition as well as oratory.(185) The De imitatione is a rhetorical manual for relatively advanced students and is based on Sturm's favourite, Hermogenes, together with Aristotle's rhetorical work and Cicero's De oratore. Persuasive discourse is to be derived from the dialectical places of rational inference, the rhetorical places of moral evaluation, and a third set of places, procedures which excite emotion, as catalogued in the second book of Aristotle's Rhetoric. Sturm's analysis of these strategical places is more sophisticated than anything he had attempted in his school programme, but his commonplace-books have not much changed. Their primary function is to sift, store, and supply vocabulary, to constitute, as he says, ‘a universe of purest diction’, ordered in such a way that it mirrors the ordered universe of nature. As words are divided into their appropriate categories, so will be the things to which they refer. Classification of words and classification of things are effected simultaneously. (186)

Yet, even so, words, or, at least, words embodied in text are resistant to this wholesale dismemberment, and Sturm, the practical teacher, a little at variance with Sturm, the theorist, encouraged his pupils from their earliest years to recognize the manifold potential of the short integral passages they were instructed to excerpt for memorizing and practice. Collections of such passages, Poetica volumina, graded to suit the needs of classes at Strasburg from the sixth grade up to the first, were published under Sturm's direction at intervals from 1565, and used as the school's main textbooks in poetry. These, too, are commonplace-books, but of a relatively (p.152) unorganized kind, better matched to Erasmian variety than to any classificatory system. Identified extracts from the ‘best authors’ among the poets, increasing in length and difficulty as the pupil progresses, are printed in a loosely linked sequence. Headings indicate the salient feature of the extract, be it the topic treated or the mode of expression, be it by example, enumeration, contraries, comparison, similitude, enthymeme, allegory, division, or any other figure of rhetoric. There are no rigorous categories. The Quotations form a continuous weave, picking up associations and decking themes in demonstrations of various techniques of rhetorical embroidery.

Sturm's short prefaces to each of the year groups stress that this is above all a memory store for recitation by heart, but it could also be a preselection of material for subsequent analysis, dissection, and filing in Sturm's three recommended notebooks. However, these quotations are also to be taken whole, as ‘salubrious nourishment’ because of their moral content, but also, and especially by the more advanced students, as morsels of wit. Sturm presents them as examples of all the categories of verbal wit (‘genera facetiae’) described in Cicero's De oratore (II. liv—lxxi. 217–89).22 As such they are to be remembered and reproduced in conversation, for if moral sententiae help to form character, it is wit that adds humanity and urbanity to social intercourse. The student's commonplace-book instructs him in the social language of an educated élite, as well as in good Latin and good morals, and fluency in that language depends in no small degree on his ability to recognize quotations and allusions. The same is true of his written exercises done in imitation of the excerpts presented to him as models in his textbook anthology. Later instruction in dialectic and rhetoric will reveal how the wit he enjoys in his extracts is produced.(187) Then, he may reproduce it in his turn by procedures of variation which expand, contract, and make substitutions of words and things. But the very technique by which the writer disguises imitation must also prompt the erudite reader's memory of the inherited original, which provides the present text with an authentic pedigree. (188) Learning by commonplace-book defines a cultural community as well as a social style.

Sturm's successor as Rector of the school at Strasburg, Melchior Junius (1545–1604), was just as enthusiastic a promoter of the commonplace-book, if more inclined to stress the virtues of prudence, discrimination, industry, judgement, and method to be acquired by a commonplace-book training in analysis and distribution. The pleasure involved is not so much the pleasure of erudite wit as the bourgeois satisfaction of seeing one's empty place-headings gradually fill up with a wealth of accumulated (p.153) matter.(189)23 Like Sturm, Junius does not discourage his students from starting from printed commonplace-books and adding to them, provided they understand the frame of reference proper to the headings they are using. (190) Junius also assumes that his students will have access to a library of texts, when he suggests that invariably they will merely make a note of the appropriate reference rather than write out a quotation in full, thereby saving time and expediting the business’.24

Whereas the quoted words of classical authors are sacrificed in the interests of economy, good order is a positive adjunct. Junius gives directions for the organization of the commonplace-book and himself provides specimen lists of ‘locorum communium indices atque tituli’, under the general heads of Ethics, Politics, Domestic Economy, and History. Within these disciplinary divisions subsections consisting of clusters of topics related by affinities and contraries are to be arranged in an order suggested by a reading of the ‘approved authors’.(191) Sturm's grand design for enregistering the universe has been reduced to a much more limited and pragmatic spectrum of human concerns. In effect, Junius returns to something rather nearer the pattern of Melanchthon's rhetorically determined sequence of headings for ‘res humanae’ and his notion of places specific to the academic disciplines. The ethical commonplaces of Junius run through virtue and vice, prudence, fortitude, temperance, justice, and so on, together with related and opposite qualities. However, there is a definite philosophical stiffening to this traditional material. The list of moral qualities is derived from Aristotle's ethics rather than Cicero's rhetoric, and the cognates and contraries within each related group turn out to be the extremes on either side of an Aristotelian mean. Temperance is accompanied by intemperance and abstinence, liberality by prodigality and avarice. This is a more schematic arrangement than those which responded primarily to the demands of demonstrative and deliberative rhetoric.

More schematic too is the way Junius links together the commonplaces of his disciplinary divisions by cross-reference between them. So, within his ‘historical places’, famous personages from the past are to be arranged according to the ethical places they exemplify; and the contexts, causes, and consequences of their actions catalogued in terms of the places of demonstrative and deliberative rhetoric which have to do with nature, ability, country, station of parents, education, honour, glory, fame, and so on. After History, Junius touches on ‘places from poets’, though he does not list them. What are to be taken from poets are sententiae, short pithy phrases (p.154) for eventual insertion in the pupil's own composition, to serve both as ornament and as proof from authority. (192) The commonplace-heads under which they are to be entered are to replicate the ethical and rhetorical places already listed under History, ‘for the sententiae of poets are as it were the precepts contained in the examples to be found in history’.(193) Poetry, reduced to something very like maxims, is bound into a rhetoricoethical system for organizing and reproducing discourse to service a cultural matrix in which language has an economic rather than an exploratory role, where outlay in terms of the operational framework is reduced to a working minimum, and there is not much profit in the free play of wit. The Commonplace-book headings can contract as well as expand the production of copia.25

Junius is evidence that the commonplace-book was still an essential component of the teaching methods employed at Strasburg in the late sixteenth century, and as a working tool it was taken for granted wherever Sturm's system was adopted or adapted. The published programmes for the Strasburg school and Sturm's own personal influence were pervasive throughout the educational establishment in Lutheran territories. Further afield, in England, Roger Ascham (1515–68) refers repeatedly to the opinions of his ‘dearest friend’, Joannes Sturmius, in his Scholemaster, published posthumously in 1570. On imitation he cites his Nobilitas literata and De amissa dicendi ratione: ‘Sturmius only hath most learnedly declared, who is to be followed; what is to be followed; and the best point of all, by what way and order true Imitation is rightly to be exercised.’26 One may deduce that this includes the order of Sturm's notebooks of words, things, and examples:

(p.155) Indeed books of common places be very necessary to induce a man into an orderly general knowledge, how to refer orderly all that he readeth, ad certa rerum capita, and not wander in study.27

In French-speaking areas, the influence of Sturm's programme was mediated primarily by Protestant foundations: the school established at Lausanne in 1547; the school at Geneva which Calvin, drawing on his years with Sturm at Strasburg, refounded in 1559 and put under the direction of The Odore de Bèze; and, even before these, the school at Nîmes, which Claude Baduel had organized on the Strasburg model from 1540.28 One of Baduel's pupils vouches for the fact that he taught them to analyse their texts into commonplace-books:

If you think it is a good idea, I would not be averse to your collecting words and phrases from Cicero (always taking care to choose them with discrimination and pay special attention to their sound value) and to your transferring them to those commonplaces which Baduel recently drew up for us at Nîmes, which are so well designed to generate abundance in discourse and devised for the particular benefit of those with poor memories; they involve an enormous amount of hard work, but they are very useful. (194)29

Some thirty years or so earlier, Sturm's influence in France had been more direct. Before he moved to Strasburg, Sturm had been a teacher at Paris, where he was the first to introduce Agricola's dialectic into the programme. Among his more receptive students was one who was to have an impact at least equal to Sturm's own on the pedagogy of Protestant Europe, though in terms of curriculum development rather than of classroom organization. Petrus Ramus (Pierre de La Ramée, 1515–72), Calvinist convert and victim of the St Bartholomew massacre, is best known for his impact on the methodology and textbook presentation of dialectic and rhetoric.30 He was committed to the humanists’ conjunction of analytical reading and production, and he believed that the whole universe of knowledge was (p.156) encapsulated within the humanists’ canon of texts. Yet, unusually, he did not expressly employ the commonplace-book either as an intellectual paradigm or as an instrument of research. This has been noted before, and attention drawn to his stress on the analysis of the ‘empty’ places of dialectical schemes of argumentation, presented as a more potent trigger to production than the verbal ornamentation to which rhetoric in his own programme was largely reduced. Equally relevant is the weak role he ascribed in his dialectic to proof from authority or testimony.31 The ‘divine testimony’ of ‘oracles and prophecies’, and the ‘human testimony’ of‘les sentences des poètes et personnes illustres’, including proverbs, are classed by Ramus as species of inartificial proof, proof from evidence external to the process of rational argument. They are not in themselves deemed probative, and therefore have a merely ancillary or ornamental role in rational discourse. Nevertheless, for purposes of exemplification, Ramus feels obliged to have constant recourse to quoted extracts from prose-writers and poets in order to ‘prove his points’:

L’argument inartificiel, quand l’exquise vérité est subtilement examinée n’a pas grand force de preuve…Et quant à ce qu’en ceste discipline nous citons tant soigneusement Platon et Aristote et autres philosophes anciens pour les préceptes, Cicerón, Virgile et autres poètes pour les exemples, nous ne faisons poinct tant cela pour argument et raison de science que pour rendre l’honneur et louange aux auteurs de chacune partie qu’ilz ont ainsi entenduz et pratiquez.32

In fact, his citation of brief excerpts counts for more than the pat on the back which is all Ramus seems to allow his ‘auteurs’ at this point. It is a sign of that alliance between dialectic and the literary use of language which had characterized the revolutionary work of Valla and been so marked a feature of his northern successor, Agricola.33 Agricola had tended to exemplify dialectical argumentation by analysing extended passages from Cicero and Virgil, as often as not reproduced in paraphrase. Ramus belonged to a generation reared on the commonplace-book, with its stock of short excerpts at the ready to provide model formulae for all the figures of rhetoric, and examples of dialectical procedures at work. From the 1530s, commentaries printed in France habitually analysed literary texts into the places of dialectic and rhetoric, and students were prompted to enter selected lines into their notebooks, memorize them, and recall them to use on appropriate occasions. The frequency with which short illustrative excerpts appear in (p.157) Ramus's Dialectic (and in the Rhetoric of his alter ego, Audomarus Talaeus (Omer Talon, c. 1510–62)) implies just such a collection at source. Moreover, if, as Ramus insists, the exercise of theory consists in the grammatical, rhetorical, and dialectical analysis of prior texts and in the genesis of new ones on the basis of that analysis, this presupposes some mechanism of conservation and retrieval.34 Ramus's dialectical analysis reduces texts to a memorable order based on the steps of the argument he finds inscribed in them, but for memory storage on a larger scale he proposes no substitute for the familiar mechanism of the commonplace-book, of which he has left tell-tale evidence in his fund of quoted extracts.

However, Ramus did something more than subliminally reinforce the intermediary role of the commonplace-book. For the French version of his work on dialectic, the Dialectique of 1555, Ramus engaged the notable vernacular poets of his day to translate his excerpts from Latin poetry into French. In the same year, the Rhétorique françoise of Antoine Fouquelin, closely based on the Latin Rhetorica of Ramus's collaborator, Talaeus, replaced the original excerpts from Latin poetry by extracts from contemporary French writers.35 In other countries north of the Alps vernacular quotations in treatises on the arts of discourse were at this time almost exclusively excerpts from the vernacular Bibles, and were there to put a pious and sectarian gloss on classical rhetoric. In France they were there to demonstrate that contemporary writing in French (well schooled in the expressive techniques taught by humanist pedagogues) was interchangeable with the sophisticated language of the best authors of Antiquity, was constructed on the same dialectical and rhetorical principles, and could produce flowers to grace any gathered garland.36

A distinctive feature of school programmes based on the curricula and the text books of Ramus and his colleagues was the serious role given to the (p.158) vernacular, not merely enlisted as ‘a light to guide and a staff to support’ early steps in Latin, but as a language worthy of the same attention and capable of all the ‘Variety, elegant turns of expression, and rhetorical figures’ which the student was taught to admire in Latin. These are the words of Henricus Schorus in his plan for a school programme organized on Ramist principles, to be implemented in 1572 at Saverne, only a few miles from Strasburg.37 Sturm could be forgiven for thinking that in feeding Ramus's early appetite for dialectic all those years ago in Paris he had reared a cuckoo in his nest, but he generously contributes a preface to Schorus's little book, in which he commends diversification of pedagogic method. In true Ramist fashion, Schorus reduces traditional Ciceronian rhetoric to figures of speech and a training in delivery. One thing, however, he does retain, perhaps from ingrained scholastic habit, is the ‘paper note-book’ for students to jot down things to memorize and have always to hand for collecting new material (Specimen, 25).

Evidence at a more sophisticated level for the infiltration of Ramist methodology into the territory of Melanchthon and Sturm is provided by the almost missionizing output of Joannes Thomas Freigius (1543–83). His Ciceronianus of 1575 has a prefatory letter addressed to Henricus Schorus, a fact which signals that it is part of a broadly collaborative effort to graft Ramist branches on to the stock progamme of the Lutheran humanists. The Propagation of overtly Ramist school manuals and the reception of Ramist features into the Lutheran curriculum largely shaped by Melanchthon and Sturm was, like all debates over classroom methodology, a manifestation of a deeper intellectual and political up heaval, in this case the incursion of Calvinism into Lutheran Germany in the latter half of the sixteenth century.38

What is most interesting from our point of view is that Freigius also provides evidence of the plotting of Ramist dialectical analysis on to the coordinates of the well-established commonplace-book. He says that it was precisely when he was explaining to his pupils how to organize their (p.159) commonplace-books that he realized the utility of using this method to collect and display the riches to be mined from Cicero. The riches to which Freigius refers are not words and phrases, the ‘little flowers’ which the Italian Ciceronians had so loved to cull, but things, the ‘vast abundance of excellent things, most profitable to know’, which are hidden in the treasure stores of Cicero. Moreover, the value of these treasures is to be measured in the currency of Christian doctrinal and moral teaching.(195)39 Yet, unlike Mancinellus, for example, whose De poetica virtute, compiled nearly a hundred years before, was still being reprinted, Freigius does not use the commonplace-book as a crude instrument of forced cultural assimilation by making commonplace-heads out of the specificities of Christian dogma. What he does intimate by his praise of Cicero's Christian virtues is that the headings he has himself selected from the by now traditional array familiar from Erasmus, Melanchthon, Sturm, and countless printed commonplace-books can be used as containers for blending the extracted essence of Cicero with the commonplaces of the faith.

Freigius's proposed commonplace-book is divided into ten principal or general heads, ‘loci omnium communissimi et generalissimi’: ‘Deus’, ‘Homo’, ‘Natura’, ‘Doctrina’ (scholastic programmes, textual canon, and school organization), ‘Exercitado’ (exercise of mental and physical faculties), ‘Artes’ (intellectual and ‘mechanical’ disciplines), ‘Affectus’ (passions), ‘Virtutes’, ‘Bona corporis’, ‘Bona fortunae’. These heads are in turn to be subdivided at the discretion of the individual compiler, but Freigius provides a table of 125 specimen subdivisions (or ‘special places’) derived from various sources, some ancient, like Aristotle, from whom Freigius takes his catalogue of virtues (as Melchior Junius was to do later on at Strasburg), some modern, like Agricola, Erasmus, Ramus, and David Chytraeus. The Arrangement of commonplace-books begins to constitute a discipline in itself, with its own theory, alternative systems, and its own authorities. Their practical utility, however, makes them still very personal instruments of research and reference. Not only do they provide a memory bank immediately available to the individual, but in specific circumstances (travelling, poverty), a ‘copious and well-stocked portable library’. (196)

The individual fills the places, but not at random. The dialectical sense of the notion of ‘place’ intervenes to direct the method by which the places are filled and exploited, as it had when Sturm and Willichius had included operators within their places of words and things in the shape of the logical predicaments and other topical mechanisms for ‘finding’ discourse. Freigius is rather more explicit about how this will look on the pages of the (p.160) commonplace-book. Each individual locus’ will be divided into ten ‘sedes’ (seats of arguments) or ‘cellulae’ (little storerooms), which are the places of dialectical argumentation, set out as they had been by Ramus: causes, effects, subjects, adjuncts, contraries, comparisons (including similitudes), name, division (including exempla), definitions, testimonies or authorities (including proverbs, sententiae, apophthegms). All the while insisting that logic should be the organizing principle within the commonplace-book, Freigius has in effect, via Ramus, provided dialectical justification for including the sort of excerpt with a more rhetorical slant (similitude, exemplum, sententia, apophthegm) which contributed most to Erasmus's golden river of copia and, indeed, most of the flowers gathered in contemporary printed books of commonplaces.

The bulk of Freigius's Ciceronianas is an attempt, rather less systematic than his theory, to redistribute readings from Cicero under his commonplace heads. But this is only an interim exercise. His project for an ideal commonplace-book is anything but exclusively ‘Ciceronian’. Its ‘little storerooms’ will be decked and filled with extracts from a continuous reading of poets, historians, philosophers, orators, doctors, legal writers, and theologians, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, German, French, and Italian, from all periods. (197)40 On the other hand, the Ciceronianus he has actually produced does not look either like the dialectically organized model he had sketched in his opening remarks or like a typical printed commonplace-book. Instead of short, separate excerpts duly ascribed and entered under the chosen heads, we find long passages of continuous prose preceded by headings, a layout which to the modern reader looks much more like a series of brief disquisitions on subjects designated by titles. The prose is Cicero's, the principle of organization and reproduction is the commonplace-book, but the format is the book of essays.

Earlier evidence of Ramist infiltration into the Lutheran school curriculum can be detected in theorists more inclined to eclectic compromises than was Freigius. One such was David Chytraeus (David Kochhafe,1531–1600), a schoolmaster who spent his professional career at the school in Rostock, but his pedagogic writings were widely influential and his catechism a standard text. His De ratione discendi et ordine studiorum in singulis artibus recte instituendis (Wittenberg, 1564) was probably the most widely based of the multitude of curriculum studies generated by the establishment of municipally controlled schools in Lutheran towns, nearly all of which published their prospectus, with more or less detail about the methods of study to be implemented. One method they were almost bound to mention was the commonplace-book. Chytraeus brings the commonplace-book (p.161) into most prominent focus in his section on ‘Reading the Authors’. The process of reading is to probe and anatomize the given text from three angles:

(i) Instruction about things. For this it is necessary to consider from the outset to which category of the intellectual disciplines or to which part of philosophy any piece of writing belongs; the matter on which the writer wishes to instruct the reader; the particular question at issue (status) or principal matter of the book, which is generally indicated by the title; the main divisions and probative arguments used with respect to the themes (loci) appropriate to the kind of subject matter to which the piece of writing belongs.

(ii) Important passages and selected sententiae worthy of note are to be culled, like so many flowers, studied as models of discernment and rules for attitudes and behaviour to be adopted in life, and imprinted on the memory.

(iii) Attention is to be paid to the overall plan and diction of the piece of discourse, to choice words of particular note, to figurative expressions which stand out, to examples of narrative passages, to apposite amplifications, and to skilfully contrived word-order, with a view to close observation and imitation. (198)

There follows immediately :

So that the more important passages in the authors set for reading and the more brilliant sententiae, exempla, similitudes, words, phrases, and outstanding figurative expressions may be the more easily imprinted on the memory and available and ready for use as occasion requires, it is extremely useful to have the commonplaces of the main intellectual disciplines arranged in a definite order, under which students may note down everything worth storing to memory from what they hear or read in their texts, apportioning their excerpted material into clearly defined categories. In this way students will construct an index to the major texts and a storehouse from which to draw an abundant supply of excellent material (res), sententiae, similitudes, narrations, and so forth, for any matter on which they are required to speak or write.(199)

For advice on how to arrange a commonplace-book Chytraeus refers the student to his Praecepta rhetoricae inventionis, published two years previously at Leipzig. There we find a slightly more detailed definition of the places to be allocated in the notebook. Firstly, in almost the same words as he was to use two years later, Chytraeus stipulates that every book or passage of writing should first be catalogued within the overall scheme of the encyclopaedia of learning, and then its main elements excerpted and correctly distributed among the pre arranged sequence of places appropriate to the discipline with which the book or passage is dealing. Secondly, it is to be understood that the commonplace-heads are not merely a cataloguing system, but are to be generators of argumentation, of amplification, and of ornamentation. They function as the major premisses for syllogistic strategies of argument; they and their assembled contents provide models for (p.162) definitions and signal paths of inferential reasoning according to the logical predicaments, causes, effects, contraries, and the rest of the dialectical ‘sedes argumentorum’; they are the general themes or ‘theses’ of which all particulars are specific instances, and all matters of discourse are rendered ‘more copious and more brilliant (uberiores et splendidiores)’ if they are ‘amplified’ by being referred to their appropriate general heads; and they collect and supply a fund of sententiae, exempla, similitudes, and so on, for ornamentation. Chytraeus proposes that the order of headings in the commonplace-book should proceed from God and the Ten Commandments, to man and topics related to man, in particular those pertaining to political institutions and moral philosophy, and finally to the artes, the intellectual disciplines which comprise all learning.41

Chytraeus, writing when the commonplace-book was a fully established mechanism for collecting and reproducing written material, inscribed much intellectual history into his recommendations. His expression for establishing to which category of academic discipline or ‘to which part of philosophy a piece of writing belongs’ is so close to the formula customary in medieval accessus ad authores that the distance between them and Melanchthon is suddenly foreshortened. His use of the Ten Command-ments as schematic heads recalls the religious grid of late medieval florilegia, or Mancinellus, although his own prescriptions for subsuming all ‘rules of life and descriptions of virtues’ under the Ten Commandments must have looked much more sophisticated, with dialectical places of argumentation (definition, parts, species, causes, effects, contraries, and cognates) labelling subsections to each subdivision of a commandment.42 However, it is Melanchthon who is the presiding genius of the places of Chytraeus, both the earlier Melanchthon of copia, ethical commonplaces, and disciplinary compartmentalization, and the later Melanchthon of dialectical rigour. This is entirely consistent with the overall pedagogic programme sketched by Chytraeus, for which Melanchthon is the major authority on most of the disciplines. The exception is dialectic, where Chytraeus not only acclaims the pedagogic virtues of Ramist methodology (and in his brief introduction to the subject of dialectic he follows the order of Ramus, rather than that of Melanchthon), but singles out Ramus's application of dialectic to the ‘understanding and explanation of the writings of eloquent (p.163) poets and orators’. Analysis of written texts into the places from which their procedures of argumentation and amplification are derived is the area in which Chytraeus is able to engineer a synthesis between Ramus and Melanchthon, who in 1531 had made analytical reading the primary aim of his teaching of rhetoric.

In his De ratione of 1564 Chytraeus reduced the scope of his own description of rhetoric to what was residual to grammar and dialectic, in effect to the ‘ornaments of speech’ which constituted its diminished domain in Ramist rhetorical treatises, and to practice in imitation of exemplary passages from the ‘approved authors’. But the status of the commonplace-book, which in his Praecepta rhetoricae inventionis of 1562 had appeared as something of an appendix to his non-Ramist survey of the implementation of the rhetorical places of invention, was considerably enhanced in 1564. Forming, as it did, an essential part of the section on ‘Reading the Authors’ which preceded his description of the separate disciplines, the commonplace-book was given a role more crucial than it had had in either Ramus or the later Melanchthon. It is to be the fundamental tool of the analysis they had both recommended, applicable to all the ways in which language is manipulated, grammatically, dialectically, and rhetorically, and normativein respect to the division of material between Theology, Ethics, Politics, Law, Physics, Medicine, Mathematical Sciences, and History. Grammatical analysis is to initiate a private collection of words, phrases, and figurative expressions, culled from the student's reading and registered under heads or commonplaces arranged systematically. (200)43 This the student will use in tandem with printed resources of vocabulary. Dialectical analysis involves noting down examples of procedures of argumentation employed in the various divisions of the disciplines. Rhetorical analysis refers particular instances to the repertory of general themes or theses provided under the disciplinary heads, and collects appropriate sententiae, illustrative examples, and figurative expressions. All this stores the commonplace-book and the memory, and practice in elegant writing and eloquent speaking is a lesson in retrieving, recycling, recomposing, and transposing the accumulated material in all its rich variety. The commonplace-book was the medium between analysis and genesis. It was also the juncture between the different approaches to rhetoric, in the widest sense, filtered into the school curriculum from the theoretical works of Erasmus, Melanchthon, and Ramus, (p.164) as well as from all the other compilations of exemplary material listed by Chytraeus to serve as manuals in all the disciplines.

What perhaps characterizes Chytraeus's approach (but in this, also, he is a mirror, not an idiosyncratic diffractor of the intellectual world in which he moved), is his easy slippage between the notion of analysis, the notion of evaluation, and the exercise of moral judgement:

By this kind of exercise [practice in analysis, followed by writing in imitation of the passage analysed] students will equip themselves with the ability to judge (iudicium) and to understand their texts, and with the capacity to express their ideas in appropriate words, acquiring a sense of the proper signification and proper choice of words, a range and variety of figures of speech, and the discrimination (prudentia) to make right judgements about what other people have written and about many aspects of life. (201)

Verbal discrimination is inseparable from the moral virtue of prudence, judgement of texts inseparable from judgements in life. The divorce between dialectic and rhetoric typical of Ramist theory may seem to allow no home in its manuals for the morally loaded places of deliberative and demonstrative rhetoric, but, as Chytraeus and Freigius bear witness, they are still in effect to be found comfortably housed in the places of the commonplace-book and at work in the sort of directives commonplace-book analysis gives to the act of reading, excerpting, and memorizing. Teleologically, also, the commonplace-book, so firmly placed in every Lutheran schoolboy's hand, is designed to underwrite a programme aimed to generate morally responsible, reliable, and articulate servants of Church and State:

The twin aims of education are as follows: knowledge of things and the capacity to use words well; or, to put it another way, to make it possible for us to have right opinions and make right judgements about God, moral behaviour, the nature of things, and other matters, to understand what is to be considered good and what is to be considered evil, and to explain and articulate what we think, clearly and to the point. (202)

Prospectuses for schools all over Lutheran Germany demonstrate how the programme described by Chytraeus was put into effect in the classroom. A prospectus with some pretension to set a universal pattern is to be found in the Harmonia de ratione institutionis scholasticae edited by Johannes Garcaeus at Wittenberg in 1565.44 It describes the curriculum gymnasium triviale, very much a first school and roughly equivalent to the con-temporary English grammar school, which aimed to give its pupils a (p.165) thorough grounding in all aspects of language manipulation. At every stage they were employed in transferring extracts from their printed texts to their own little books, and at every stage passages from ancient Latin writers were being entered there side by side with sentences from Scripture. A boy's earliest collection of elegantly phrased rules for living’, mainly distichs from ‘Cato’ and verses from Proverbs, must have looked not unlike sequences of quotations we have already seen in Eyb and Wimpheling. Slightly later he was noting down words and phrases at his teacher's dictation, to be copied into an alphabetically organized notebook at home, learnt, and reproduced in his own attempts at composition. In the highest class the teacher's ‘grammatical’ exposition of texts began to draw attention to the ‘places of invention’ and to figurative expressions, and simplified precepts from Melanchthon's works on dialectic and rhetoric were introduced, together with written exercises of various standard types (progymnasmata) on themes taken from ancient authors, from collections of aphorisms, and from Scripture. It was at this stage that the brighter pupil was likely to learn how to transfer the contents of his classroom jotter into a commonplace-book. Notable excerpts from the authors were dictated to the class for insertion in their class notebooks:

Next, careful advice is to be given as to which illustrative examples (exempla), which things, which definitions, and which outstanding moral sententiae may be immediately transferred to which places. If any pupils are able to draw up a book of philosophical commonplaces into which to transfer [at home] the sort of things just mentioned, their store of learning will be all the more richly increased. However, those who do not yet have the assiduity for this sort of task are to enter in alphabetical order whatever is suggested to them in a suitable little book, until such time as they acquire the ability to draw up a bigger book.(203)

By the time the student had moved from the gymnasium to the academia and into more specialized academic studies, he would probably need several ‘bigger books’, at least one for each of the disciplines, and a clear sense of orientation for sorting out where to locate his excerpts. Victorinus Strigelius (died 1569), in a more general De ratione discendi katolika theoremata, printed in the 1565 collection, warns against the confusion likely to arise from overzealous entering of the same excerpt in different subject books. With The same concern for demarcation and restraint as was evident in Melanchthon's later comments on the commonplace-book, Strigelius warns the enthusiastic collector of quotations against mere quantity. Knowledge does not lie in the commonplace collection itself, but in the thorough understanding of topics which it ensures, and in the penetration acquired from practice in elaborating on them in written composition which draws on what the student has collected. The bees are as busy as ever building their honeycombs, but the most prized end-product of their digestion of the (p.166) nectar from the flowers they have culled is neither variety, nor copia, nor stylistic refinement, but general concepts, either distilled from the collected quotations or packaged in them, but fully incorporated into the students’ system of thought and applied as the measure of all experience.45

Schools in Catholic Europe, mainly Jesuit

However far north and east one tracks the development of pedagogic programmes (and commonplace-books as part of their equipment), one finds oneself periodically looping back, in time and in space, to the powerhouse which generated so much of the intellectual energy of the northern Renaissance. That powerhouse was Paris in the second, third, fourth, and fifth decades of the sixteenth century, the Paris where Erasmus's De copia was first published, where Bude and others established a humanistic curriculum of study in the colleges of the university, where Melanchthon's books on grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric were printed, where the advice of Agricola, Erasmus, and Melanchthon on the keeping of commonplace-books appeared in editions of the De ratione studii, where Sturm taught Agricola's dialectic and Ramus learnt from Sturm, a city where indeed a Grandgousier might well believe that ‘toutes disciplines sont restituées, les langues instaurées…tout le monde est plein de gens savans, de précep teurs très doctes, de librairies très amples’.46 The sparks from the crucible that was Paris ran south as well as north and east.

(p.167) One of the most luminous trails was from Paris to Bordeaux, whither, at intervals between 1533 and 1539, the municipal authorities enticed some of the most ‘doctes’ of the Paris ‘précepteurs’ to staff the Collège de Guyenne in that city and ensure a humanist programme run on the most up-to-date lines.47 We can be fairly certain that that included commonplace-books, although evidence for the actual curriculum at Guyenne dates from 1583 and is not specific on this point. However, one of the recruits, Petrus Lagnerius, was before long to publish a volume of extracts from Cicero arranged under commonplace-heads, of which the intent, if not the rather loose organization, would have been entirely agreeable to Freigius.48 They are offered to the teachers of law at Toulouse, where Lagnerius was then employed, as a resource for adding copia to their dry legal style, but itis to the meaning of his excerpted sententiae that he wishes to draw attention, to their substance, rather than to the diction and phraseology which had been the preoccupation of most enthusiasts for Cicero. The greatest profit to be had from reading is not how to speak well, but how to live well.(204)49 The Collège de Guyenne's most famous pupil, Michel de Montaigne, who was there from 1539 to 1546, would later endorse this sentiment, as he would endorse by his own practice in his Essais the commonplace-book formula for writing, recommended by Lagnerius as a way of ensuring that substantial matter underlay the copious stream of empty words too often produced by a surfeit of Ciceronian phrase-collecting.

Lagnerius distributes sententiae from Cicero under heads which start conventionally enough with God and nature, and then proceed from the proposition that all things seek their own good, to man's love of himself and his children, children's respect for parents, man's natural desire to learn, praise of good letters and various exhortations there unto, wisdom, stupidity, prudence, philosophy, eloquence, military arts…The list works within the same parameters as other lists we have seen drawn up for the commonplaces of moral philosophy and ‘things which are of particular note in human affairs’, but it is relatively uncoordinated, only very freely reproducing the antithetical patterns of rhetorical commonplaces, (p.168) subscribing hardly at all to any systematic schema derived from the academic disciplines, and not explicitly programmed to strict dialectical development. Lagnerius intends his collected quotations to be transferred to the writer's own composition as stars to highlight and illuminate it.(205) The Spirit behind the enterprise is the spirit of Erasmus, the spirit of copia rerum ac verborum and collected exempla, and the Erasmian connection is clearly signalled by the fact that Lagnerius appends to his headed sententiae three even more motley selections from Cicero without headings: a group of apophthegmata, a group of ‘parabolae aliquot, vel similia’ (both of which recall Erasmus's own collections of apophthegmata and similitudes taken mainly from Plutarch), and a small assembly of ‘piae sententiae’.

The Ciceronian commonplace-book of Lagnerius was extremely successful, with at least five reprintings in the 1540s, and like all successful commonplace-books it grew with successive editions. In a series of enlargements over the next twenty years or so, it acquired quotations from a range of other poets and prose-writers, classified by Lagnerius under single-word headings (‘virtue’, ‘prudence’, ‘fortitude’, ‘friendship’, and so on); extracts from Terence and from the Apophthegmata of Erasmus; a collection of the lives and opinions of the Greek philosophers as relayed by Cicero; and excerpts from Demosthenes, translated into Latin and arranged under heads. Meanwhile, its international reputation was growing. Editions of Lagnerius's augmented commonplace-book in its final state are attested at Lyons in the late 1550s, at Antwerp in 1564, and at least three times at Cologne between 1567 and 1573. The earliest version possibly appeared at Venice in 1548, and the most complete version, with the extracts from Demosthenes, was certainly tidied up and re-edited there in 1565. In Protestant Germany, Lagnerius's Sententiae form the core of a slightly different compilation which was marketed there from 1567 onwards. The most complete version was printed in London by Thomas Marsh in 1580, and then in 1584 by Vautrollier, a one-time agent of the Antwerp printer, Plantin, and holder of a patent to print school texts, which he used to publish editions and manuals originating from either side of Europe's confessional divide. There were subsequent re-editions in England in 1614, 1619, and 1648, and probably far more than that, as it is recommended on frequent occasions by John Brinsley (1585–1665) in his Ludus literarius (London, 1612, reprinted 1627):

This booke I doe acount of all other to bee the principali; the Latine of Tully being the purest and best, by the generali applause of all the Learned: and because that booke is a most pleasant posie, composed of all the sweete smelling flowers, picked of purpose out of all his workes; that one booke, together with the bookes which the children have or doe learne, shall also helpe to furnish them with some sentences, contayning some of the choysest matter and wordes, belonging to all morall (p.169) matters whatsoever; whether to understand, write, or speake there of; that they shall bee able to goe forward with much ease and delight.50

The doctrinal neutrality of the Lagnerius compilation gave it an English passport, and its passage was doubtless assisted at first by the commercial interest of a continental publishing-house investing in the English market. Of all types of school textbook, it was the anonymously, or almost anonymously, edited collection of excerpts, which, with the occasional adjustment to the headings, most easily crossed the confessional boundaries ostentatiously flagged up by the rhetorical and dialectical manuals, with their identified authors and often tendentious examples. In the last half of the sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth century, printed commonplace-books circulating with relative freedom, together with editions of the school authors provided only with impartially erudite notes or marginal markers of passages to excerpt, may have been as important a factor as any in ensuring that the educated élite of Western Europe continued to speak the same language, literally, culturally, and morally.

Meanwhile, the frequency with which Lagnerius was reprinted in the1540s and 1550S at Paris and at Lyons presupposes a thriving home market of bulk purchasers, which could only be schools. Bordeaux was not the only city to recruit schoolmasters from Paris. Many a qualified scholar of lesser attainments found employment at this period in the public schools founded or refounded by municipal authorities up and down the country which were provident and affluent enough to have their young lay citizens educated according to the ‘style of Paris’. By this was meant the standard of articulate, cultured, and humanistic Latinity by now expected from graduates of the Paris colleges, and the sort of well-planned efficiency Sturm had transported thence to Strasburg.51

Some provincial religious authorities with ambitions to improve the education of clergy and people in their dioceses also recognized the value of employing teachers trained at Paris. Between 1543 and 1546 Guillaume (p.170) Du Prat, Bishop of Clermont, went so far as to plan a college in Paris for the specific purpose of supplying educated clergy to his own region. Included in his projected organization, which apparently had close analogies with Sturm's, was a precise reference to the advice of Erasmus, Agricola, and Melanchthon on the keeping of commonplace-books.52 Du Prat communicated his plans to a Jesuit theologian he met at Trent in 1546. The Jesuit sent them to Ignatius Loyola in Rome. We have no record of Loyola's response to Du Prat's enthusiasm for the commonplace-schemes so well known in the North, and can only speculate as to whether his ideas on scholastic programmes in general were influenced by Du Prat and what Du Prat had in common with Sturm. What we do know is that Du Prat was persuaded by his conversations at Trent to ask the Jesuits to take over the organization of his college, which, in the teeth of violent opposition from the University of Paris, was eventually established as the Collège de Clermont.

From 1528 to 1535, Loyola himself had been a student at Paris in that heyday of humanist ideas and ferment of educational reform, first attending the Collège de Montaigu and then transferring to Sainte-Barbe (where the Bordeaux authorities had head-hunted with conspicuous success). He, too, was convinced of the superiority of ‘the style of Paris’, and it was the ‘style of Paris’, with his blessing, that was transported to the far south of Europe to be imprinted on the first Jesuit college, established in 1548 at Messina, under the supervision, among others, of graduates of the University of Paris committed to the humanist programme of studies.53 An immediate problem was the supply of textbooks and manuals, a problem magnified as Jesuit schools began to proliferate in Italy and the Iberian peninsular after the founding of the Roman College in 1551, and then spread northwards to spearhead the Catholic counter-offensive to the Reformation. The earliest teachers at Messina sent back to Paris for editions of the authors, and freely used Erasmus, especially De copia and De conscribendis epistolis. The graduates of ‘the style of Paris’ kept their loyalty to the books which had formed them, and that seems to have included even Melanchthon's grammar textbook and the more contracted versions of his dialectic and rhetoric (provided his name was deleted on the title-page). Loyola himself, his own Paris training now adapted to a greater glory than (p.171) loyalty to the letter of the humanist curriculum, disapproved of this liberal attitude, as did the Index of 1559, which proscribed all books by heretics, and that included Erasmus (and Melanchthon a fortiori). Replacements of unimpeachable orthodoxy were urgently needed (and it is interesting that, except for the occasional use of Lorenzo Valla, the Jesuits do not seem to have found much to suit them from among the products of fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Italian humanists). A first attempt at substitution was made by the French Jesuit, Andreas Frusius (died 1556), one of the founding fathers at Messina, whose versified De utraque copia verborum et rerum praecepta, written at Loyola's instigation, was published at Rome in 1556 and then repeatedly at Jesuit centres in northern Europe. It was indeed in the North, in dangerous proximity to the rival humanist schools of Lutheran Germany, that alternative textbooks were most essential.

One of the most interesting writers to provide such alternatives was Simon Verepaeus (Simon Verreept, 1522–98), a Catholic compatriot of Erasmus who ensured the survival of his ideas on written composition, if not his name, in the northern Catholic schools. Verepaeus, not himself a Jesuit, was sympathetic to their programme, but he was also a teacher thoroughly wedded to the pedagogic methods already current in the Low Countries, and convinced of the utility of commonplace-books. His Institutionum scholasticarum libri tres (Antwerp, 1573) incorporated (and advertised) the Jesuit curriculum, which he had culled from the unpublished prospectuses of nine colleges. (206)54 His sequence of classes (five from basics to proficiency in Latin grammar, syntax, and prosody, one for more advanced prose and poetry, the last for precepts and practice of rhetoric in its fullest forms) are roughly comparable to the Jesuits’ division of their colleges into classes for Grammar, Humanity, and Rhetoric. It is in the fourth of his Grammar classes, when the pupils are reasonably adept at grammar and syntax and are beginning to write connected prose in the form of letters, that Verepaeus proposes that they should be required to obtain three books of empty sheets of paper (Institutiones, 113–14). One is to be for noting down the matter of all epistles dealt with in the year. The Second, to be called ‘Commonplaces of Diction or Phrases’ (‘Loci communes Sermonis seu Phraseon’), is to be a phrase-book, composed of extracts taken from passages read in class. The third, larger than the other two, is to be headed ‘Commonplaces of Things or Ideas’ (‘Loci communes Rerum seu Sententiarum’). This last is to be held ready for more use in the next class, when Verepaeus will recommend that it be arranged in the manner suggested by Erasmus in the second book of De copia, that is to say, in the passage we have seen excerpted in the manuals De ratione studii:

(p.172) And, in short, it is highly desirable that wise, clever, and witty sayings in any language whatsoever should be entered under these heads.(207)

The language (apart from the hint about vernaculars) is reminiscent of Erasmus, but Erasmus did not envisage three books. This trio of books for class subject-matter, for model phrases, and for commonplaces in the strict sense smacks more of Sturm and the Lutheran method. Be that as it may, the pupils at Verepaeus's school implemented commonplace-book analysis of their authors at every stage of their progress, marking stylish phrases in their texts with an asterisk or jotting them down in order to transfer them neatly into their phrase-books on Saturdays, and similarly with material destined for the Commonplace-book of things’: ‘proverbs, fables, anecdotes, similitudes, sententiae, which have any bearing on virtue, piety, ethics, and good morals are to be assigned to their appropriate places on Saturdays.’(208) Nor did Verepaeus stop at private commonplace-books in manuscript. Boys in the highest Grammar class were also to peruse printed compendia and doubtless copy out phrases and synonyms, notably from the Adagia of Erasmus and from Ravisius Textor's repertory of epithets taken from ancient and modern Latin authors.55 In the next class up, when the boys were attending most assiduously to their commonplace-books of things, they were also devoting part of their private study time to ‘Flores et Sententiae veterum Poetarum’, in all likelihood either or both of the two most frequently reprinted commonplace-books of the sixteenth century, the Illustrium poetarum flores of Octavianus Mirandula, which we have already met in a primitive version, and the Sententiae veterum poetarum of the Lutheran Georgius Maior, which we shall meet in our next chapter. In the top class, in which the precepts of rhetoric were analysed, exemplified, and exercised, private reading was directed towards the Adagia of Erasmus ‘already expurgated and amplified’ (this probably now means a version of the commentary Erasmus had appended to his adages, whereas the Grammar class would be looking at the locutions only); the Officina of Ravisius Textor; and the De inventione dialectica of Rudolphus Agricola.

In complete conformity with all other humanist programmes, the reading, analysis, and excerpting stipulated by Verepaeus served a purpose, and that purpose was the production of formal discourse, written and oral. His elementary pupils began by composing variations on short Latin sentences (in particular, the distichs of ‘Cato’); proceeded to the writing of letters (carefully modelled on Cicero's); increased their range of intellectual experience and their expressive potential by studying Latin poets and other (p.173) prose-writers (paying special attention to their use of rhetorical figures, schemes, and tropes, and to every device for increasing ‘both kinds of abundance, that of words and that of things’); until, in the top two classes, they graduated to analysis of the rhetorical and dialectical places from which discourse is generated and to exercises in deploying them. At the most advanced level, these were to include declamations involving the traditional themes of demonstrative and deliberative rhetoric, and dialectical disputations requiring argumentation for and against a given proposition. In his approach to all these questions, and in the very language he uses, Verepaeus unambiguously recalls Erasmus, but an Erasmus shorn of his exuberance, and a copia disciplined by the injection of doses of dialectic prescribed from Agricola and, almost certainly, though the brand name is not mentioned, from Melanchthon:

What is abundance of things (copia rerum)? Abundance of things is the ability, taught by the rules of the art, to expand on any brief proposition or on any subject, so that it is developed more fully and more copiously…And where can one find methods of expanding on propositions? Above all, in the places of dialectic, without knowledge of which one is most unlikely to achieve success in enriching discourse according to the formulae which follow. (209)

This exchange between master and pupil is taken from Verepaeus's Praeceptiones de verborum et rerum copia of 1582. The layout of the work is catechetical, a form characteristic of contemporary Lutheran manuals on rhetoric (Georgius Maior had distilled Cicero, Quintilian, and Melanchthon into Quaestiones rhetoricae as early as 1535). The ‘formulae which follow’ are quite simply those of Erasmus, the ‘locupletandi radones’ of the second book of his De copia, abbreviated and simplified for the benefit of schoolchildren, but with dialectical terminology more firmly stressed and with Christian extensions into pulpit rhetoric and saintly exempla (mainly the biblical figures described in works by the humanist, Joachim Périon, in the 1550s). In the earlier part of his book, devoted to ‘abundance of words’, Verepaeus plagiarizes Erasmus in a similar fashion and just as obviously. Erasmus is being rewritten, or, rather, converted into a textbook suitable for post-Tridentine Catholic schools in such a way as to signal that all the best in Erasmus has been preserved, indeed, has even been made pedagogically more efficient.

Verepaeus was responding to the northern Catholics’ need for textbooks to match those of their Protestant competitors in areas where the Lutherans and their allies of dubious orthodoxy had set the standards and made all the running. His Praeceptiones de copia, together with the accompanying Praeceptiones de figuris sive de tropis et schematibus, were in fact a response to a request for just such manuals from a teacher in Catholic Cologne who had (p.174) read Verepaeus's plan for the organization of a school, the Institutions, with great approval. The Praeceptiones were offered on publication to schools in Liège, and, in particular, to the new school which was in the process of being established there that very year ‘by the venerable and learned teachers of the Society of Jesus, to the great joy and anticipation of many’.56 Verepaeus provided the new foundation not only with an Erasmian De copia reinforced with a dialectical substructure, but also with an Erasmian manual on exercises in letter-writing, De epistolis latine conscribendis libri V.57 And in the manual on figures published with the Praeceptiones de copia, he provided it with a substitute for ‘any number of little books on tropes and schemes, in which illustrative examples are frequently taken from the perverted dogmas of our enemies, with the result that young people all unawares imbibe the dogmas of heresies and forbidden sects along with their school-lessons, before they even know what heresy is;(210)58 In reply, Verepaeus fights the Protestants on their own ground, compiling his own selection of the definitions and quotations he found in their ‘little books’, including quotations from the Latin Bible. This was an offensive strategy perhaps more permissible at the frontier than in the main theatre of action in the Catholic South, but it was one which would ensure that Catholics in the Low Countries had the same frame of cultural reference as their Protestant neighbours.59

Turning from Verepaeus to the mainstream Jesuit publications on school curricula switches us into another channel by which the humanist programme was disseminated. In the definitive Ratio studiorum of 1599 (the blueprint for all Jesuit schools), and in the various draft versions of it published in previous years, one crucial feature marks a rupture with mental habits engrained in the North. Colleges offering pre-university instruction, that is to say, the schools in which the majority of pupils completed their education, the equivalent of German gymnasia and English grammar schools, consisted normally of three classes in Grammar, one in Humanity (usually a two-year course), and one in Rhetoric. But at no point was there any direct instruction in dialectic. Dialectic was explicitly deferred to the Philosophy classes of institutes of higher education, and there it was taught (p.175) as a rather subsidiary part of the course on Aristotle, which covered all his texts on logic.60

This is quite different from the situation in the northern schools, where rhetorical analysis and dialectical analysis of texts ran in parallel, and where, in the case of commonplace-books, Agricola, Sturm, Willichius, and so on had insisted that their students should know how to manipulate dialectical operators as part of the mechanism for composing out of places. Ramus and his followers had drawn rigid lines of demarcation between dialectic and rhetoric, but their students were still taught to apply them concurrently to analysis of their authors, as is reflected in the annotations to editions of school texts printed in northern Europe in the latter half of the sixteenth century. Even among the Jesuits themselves and their supporters there were those who clearly would have preferred to keep together the two artes sermocinales, not only Verepaeus, conditioned as he was in his northern location by the influence of Melanchthon's teaching rhetoric, but also, for example, the Spanish Jesuit, Petrus Perpinianus (1530–66), a teacher at the Roman College and in Lyons, who wrote in 1561 to the effect that instruction in dialectic should precede exercises in rhetorical composition, because rhetorical argument was largely based on the ratiocinative procedures of dialectic.(211) When asked to comment on the 1586 draft of the Ratio, the Jesuits of the Province of Upper Germany submitted a scheme for the praelectio of orations which gave equal attention to rhetorical and dialectical places of argument. Nevertheless, the compilers of the 1591 draft of the Ratio studiorum moved in the opposite direction when they ruled that the Rhetoric class should replace the Topica of Cicero by the seventh book of Quintilian's Institutio oratoria (concerned with status theory, or grounds of argument very much contextualized in the procedure of the lawcourt, but very relevant to the quaestio of religious disputation), and concluded peremptorily: ‘ex Rudolpho autem Agricola nihil.’

Behind the Jesuits’ exclusion of the dialectic of places lay the whole tradition of Italian humanism, from the schools of Guarino and Vittorino da Feltre to the erudite commentators of the later fifteenth century and the Ciceronians of the early sixteenth.61 To a large degree this tradition was compatible with the broadly based and loosely organized commentary on (p.176) Latin texts which Erasmus had recommended and demonstrated in his De ratione studii. The suggestions which Erasmus makes in that work for praelectiones authorum correspond remarkably closely to requirements set down in the Ratio studiorum for a praelectio, or the expository lesson teachers gave as a preliminary to detailed work on texts set for study. It must cover stratagems which the author employs to persuade the reader intellectually and move him emotionally; figures of thought and figures of diction; passages from other authors which provide parallels to the ways words are used or rhetorical manœuvres are executed; quotations from other authors to substantiate facts and opinions or provide additional information; evaluation of words and their function in the present context.62 In this instance the Jesuits were happy to overlap with Erasmus, whose pedagogic texts they had as similated from the start of their enterprise. They also used the same pattern-book of gradated exercises in composition as their northern rivals: the Progymnasmata of Aphthonius.

Nevertheless, the Jesuits’ lessons in writing Latin were essentially lessons in Ciceronian imitation. The basis of their training in composition was the sophisticated and sensitive pastiche of the Italian humanists, not the northeners’ methodical dismemberment of chosen passages into excerpts catalogued under diverse heads, to be reassembled as composite and independent creations. After five or six years’ practice in varying short phrases culled from Cicero, putting together letters modelled on Ciceronian prototypes, and following the twists and turns of Cicero's rhetoric through extended passages, the students in the final class of the Jesuit school will have acquired ‘an instinctive knack of imitating Cicero’.63 The paper notebooks they were all required to keep from the lowest Grammar class up will have played a role in this. There they will have collected examples of vocabulary and phraseology ready to be produced and reproduced. In the higher classes a small part of every day, particularly while the master was busy marking exercises, was likely to have been spent excerpting ‘the more elegant phrases’ from orators and poets.64 Nothing is said about the way these notebooks were to be ordered, but it is clear that they were primarily a linguistic and stylistic resource, like the phrase-books of Barzizza. The Student would mine his notebook for ready-made expressions or for material on which to practise a whole range of variations and permutations. He (p.177) did not have the necessary dialectical training nor did his notebook have the arrangement of systematically ordered heads which would enable him to use it as a means of generating rationally co-ordinated discourse as his northern contemporaries could use their commonplace-books. Nevertheless, the Jesuits promoted a stylistic versatility which meant that their students were adept at much more than Ciceronian prose. Their characteristic skills were in short, epigrammatic pieces, versified inscriptions, brief descriptions, emblems and enigmas usually associated with some real or imaginary picture, hieroglyph, or ‘Pythagorean symbol’. These were the sort of written exercises pupils were given in spare moments during the school day. They exercised their linguistic dexterity, but, as far as conceptual content was concerned, they mostly turned on the ability to make connections between disparate objects. The key to such conjunctions was the characteristic language of rhetorical elocutio: metaphor, allegory, irony, and every type of trope and figure derived from similitude and antithesis. The set of mental tools here being sharpened to apprehend the world and formulate connections in it is rather different from those required to build up discourse from the resources of place and commonplace. This is the slick ingenuity of wit rather than the prudent motion of argumentation, though they are not mutually exclusive and may be equally serious. Moreover, the one needs servicing as much as the other, as was apparent to compilers and publishers of collections of similitudes and related material, as often as not indexed as commonplaces to maximize their market. The clear lines of thinking in the Ratio tend to tangle in the schoolroom.65

(p.178) The Italian background to the Jesuits’ Ratio shows in the way boys learnt about ‘things’, as well as words. From the Humanity class onwards they were educated in the background to their authors by being fed erudite information to explain references in their texts. The manner in which this was done, by means of succinct accounts of fables, historical events, geographical facts, philosophical theories, and so on, together with citations from authoritative authors, is highly reminiscent of the scholarship of late fifteenth-century Italian commentaries on classical works, on which the early humanism of northern Europe was reared, but which continued to be the manner of Italian editions long after the North had adopted a more analytical approach. The students were certainly required to write down this information, but, it would appear, in the more or less haphazard manner of the tradition inherited from Guarino. At any rate, the Ratio makes no mention of any system akin to the careful disciplinary divisions into which a pupil of Melanchthon or Chytraeus would have distributed information and quotations collected in his commonplace-book, much less does itenvisage the ambitious scheme of Sturm. The Jesuit student was not encouraged to make his own world of knowledge. On the other hand, perhaps with a more sagacious eye to modern developments in the sphere of printed books, the compilers of the Ratio were keen to direct young researchers to publicly available (and well-vetted) works of reference in the relevant spheres.66

For a directory of works of reference and indeed of all the literature on any subject, provided it was of unimpeachable orthodoxy, the Catholic student could turn after 1593 to the Bibliotheca selecta, qua agitur de ratione studiorum in historia, in disciplinis, in salute omnium procuranda of the Jesuit, Antonius Possevinus (1534–1612). The coverage of this enormous repertory of the sources of knowledge is extensive, but it is not a neutral work of scholarship, any more than the Jesuit schools were neutral about authors to be placed on the curriculum. Beginning with Loyola himself, the Jesuit authorities had insisted on testing the morality of pagan classical authors as stringently as they tested the orthodoxy of modern textbook writers. Some were to be used selectively or in expurgated editions, others banished altogether. Erasmus in the De ratione studii may have provided a model for the Jesuits’ own praelectio, but neither he nor the texts he used as his chief (p.179) examples of how a Christian boy might be taught the classics (the plays of Terence and Virgil's second eclogue) would be found on their school premises. Erasmus had used the commonplace-book as a way of insinuating a morally acceptable reading of Virgil's second eclogue. For Possevinus, Latin and Greek poetry is not primarily literature to be read, but a quarry for apprentices learning to write the ‘poetic style’. It will suffice, therefore, to extract from all good poets respectable passages which will provide a range of examples, model descriptions of things, places, persons, and seasons, comparable passages, parallels, and rhetorical figures, and to ‘collect them under four commonplaces, as it were, and subheads’.67 The commonplaces are: descriptions (of battles, spring, the day, times, Envy, rivers, animals, and suchlike topics); comparable passages (to be arranged in the order adopted by Julius Caesar Scaliger in the fifth book of his Poetices libri septem); worthy and weighty sententiae, (to be arranged according to ‘the order of the virtues and vices’); fictions which purvey profound and edifying truths and demonstrate that fictive writing can do better than tell obscene stories (for example, the fictions of the golden chain of being and of the serpent Time which bites its tail).

Possevinus would like to see such a commonplace-book in print. There is no suggestion that students should compile one for themselves. It belongs to the same category as the Jesuits’ expurgated editions for schools, to be used as a substitute for the original texts. For the first time in our history the commonplace-book functions primarily and explicitly as an organ of censorship, though it has often played that role secondarily and more or less discreetly. And yet, Possevinus is not out of step with the evolution of the commonplace-book in northern Europe. He states that attempts have already been made by Protestants to produce an ‘apparatus poeticus’ of the kind he proposes (an example would be the De re poetica of Georgius Fabricius, which had had its first edition in 1565, but it is also true that ‘poetry’ at the school at Strasburg consisted almost exclusively of Sturm's volumes of selections). In this matter, he recognizes less of a distance between himself and his Protestant contemporaries than between what he requires of a commonplace-book and the ‘flowers, or rather, thorns’ collected ‘without any sorting of the precious from the base’ by Ravisius Textor in the age of Erasmus.

Prose style is the subject of the last book of the Bibliotheca, called Cicero, named in honour of Cicero the letter-writer and philosopher as much, if (p.180) not more, than Cicero the public orator and rhetorical theorist. The imitation of good authors is firmly established as the foundation of good style, and Cicero as the only model for beginners. But Possevinus is no doctrinaire Ciceronian:

Once the apprentice writer has grown to adulthood in the art of imitation, I would allow him free rein to roam through every kind of writer. Let him read, observe and gather flowers out of every field to compose the garland-crown of eloquence. (212)

Possevinus is doing some gathering of his own at this point, and in fields far to the north of Rome. He has gone to the pages of a compatriot of Erasmus and Verepaeus, to the Institutio epistolica of Justus Lipsius (1547–1606), latterly a friend of the Jesuits, whose treatise on letter-writing is a far cry from the elementary phrase-books of a Barzizza or even the more wide-ranging school manuals of Erasmus and Verepaeus. Lipsius made the style of the private letter the very mirror of the ranging intellect and educated sensitivity of the adult humanist pondering in private on any and every matter of concern to man. But for the northern Lipsius (and for the Italian Possevinus in his wake), the acumen and versatility of this style, so quick to catch the movements of the individual mind and to register shades of response, will be serviced by rich reserves of reading experience in many authors:

But reading alone does not suffice, not even repeated reading, however well endowed one is with power of memory. What is needed is to excerpt and note down exceptional things and words for purposes of imitation. I should like these excerpts to be contained in memorandum-books, as in a storage-chest, from which these riches of language may be brought out for use at the right time. Moreover, there should be three separate books…(213)68

What is to be assembled in the three books are, firstly, turns of expression for moving between different phases of a letter and for the most common things that need to be said; secondly, ‘ornaments’, that is to say, similitudes, allegories, icons (‘imagines’ or brief comparisons made for vivid presentation, not for proof), witty or sharp sayings, and sententiae, to be collected under heads; thirdly, telling phrases and unusual vocabulary, the phrases to be arranged by author, and the words alphabetically. The range of contributing authors is wide, with an emphasis on Cicero, Pliny, historical writers, Seneca, and Plutarch, but ‘words, in a word, are to be taken from every author’. Once again, as with Politian and Pico, whom Possevinus also quotes, the eclectic commonplace-book resources a personal style. Possevinus, at least for the adults Lipsius very firmly has in (p.181) mind, does not demur. For Lipsius, this personal style, this Communication of the soul with absent friends’ will be marked by brevity and clarity, by the simplicity of educated conversation, and by an engaging sprightliness, energy, and animation, which he calls by the grammarians’ term, ‘Venustas’. ‘Venustas’ may be a natural quality, but it is helped by mixing in adages and clever adaptations of sayings and events found in ancient writers, and quoted lines of poetry and pithy remarks. (214) It was precisely the language Montaigne, kindred spirit to Lipsius who so admired the Essais, used to write to his forever absent friend.

In France, the Jesuits at first made rather less headway in establishing schools than they had in Italy or the Iberian peninsular. Apart from political considerations and the difficult climate of the French Wars of Religion, they were competing with schools supported by the municipal authorities, like Montaigne's own Collège de Guyenne at Bordeaux, where the humanist programme in the ‘style of Paris’ could well stand comparison with anything the Jesuits brought in.69 Nevertheless, before their temporary banishment from most of France after 1594, the Jesuits did found schools in several large towns, and they had their admirers, who commended

l’honneste et gracieuse façon d’enseigner que pratiquent en leurs escholes ces sçavans personnages de Tordre très recommandable des jésuites, pource que je conseille à tous précepteurs de la jeunesse d’en estre curieux imitateurs.70

Etienne Tabourot des Accords (1547–90) is here referring specifically to the school the Jesuits had taken over from the secular authorities at Dijonin the 1580s. What he admires most is the competitive spirit the Jesuits engineered in their classrooms, and the public performances in which their pupils showed off their rhetorical prowess three or four times a year. His commendation of the Jesuit method comes in the chapter entitled ‘Quelques traits utiles pour l’institution des enfans’, with which he begins the fourth (or second) book of his miscellany on word play and rhyme schemes, Les Bigarrures du Seigneur des Accords, probably first published in 1583. Prior to that chapter, Tabourot had reviewed various ways of fostering the education of children, not specific to the Jesuits. Foremost among them was the commonplace-book, with heads listed alphabetically:

En ce mesme âge encor [i.e. quand l’enfant est congru, et qu’il commence d’avoir jugement] on peut les accoustumer desjà de faire des collections par lieux (p.182) communs de ce qu’ils liront, du commencement selon les simples morales par ordre d’alphabet, (p. 156/p. 23)

Tabourot pro vides a specimen list of moral heads in French, thus reinforcing the prominent role he would prefer to give to the vernacular in the teaching of Latin. The list for the letter A runs: ‘Abstinence’, ‘Abus’, ‘Accusation’, ‘Adultère’, ‘Acquitté’, ‘Affliction’, ‘Agriculture’, ‘Aide’, ‘Alliance’, ‘Ambition’, ‘Ame’, ‘Amitié’, ‘Amour’, ‘Antiquité’, ‘Apparence’, ‘Armes’, ‘Astrologie’, ‘Arts’, ‘Avarice’, ‘Audace’, ‘Aulmosne’, ‘Autorité’. Tabourot could have derived this list from any number of printed books indexed by commonplace-heads. The most frequently published alphabetically arranged commonplace-book of quotations, the Illustrium poetarum flores of Octavianus Mirandula, has many of the same heads. But printed commonplace-books are just what Tabourot wants to avoid at the outset. Primed at first by their teacher into selecting quotations from their texts and into explaining the reasons for their choice, the boys are to go on touse their own initiative to collect ‘sentences et histoires’ (sententiae and exempla) from their reading and distribute them under appropriate heads, ‘sans s’amuser aux lieux communs qui sont colligez par d’autres et imprimez, car cela les rendroit paresseux et asnes en fin’ (p. 157/p. 26). Later, when their own collections are well under way, they will find it informative to compare them with printed commonplace-books, among which Tabourot, as is customary by this time, classes ‘tous ces livres de sentences des poètes, de Cicerón, d’apophthegmes, d’exemples et autres’ (p. 157/p. 27).

The most useful lessons from printed collections of commonplaces will be to see where editors have put quotations and where this differs from the student's own choice of place for the same excerpt. This chimes with Tabourot's general view of the value of the exercise, which is that it trains the mind to operate flexibly. Cross-reference is all important, be it cross-reference between opposites or between related concepts within a category.71 Tabourot's alphabetical commonplace-book is open, like its forerunners in the Middle Ages and later periods, to the infinite permutations of cross-referral. With its potential for drawing out clusters of similars and opposites, it is also open, like the ordering systems of the Renaissance humanists, to the requirements of rhetorical argumentation. The end-product is copia: the facility to ‘enrichir ses discours’; a memory ‘fertile d’innumérables discours choisis à sa fantasie’; and the capacity to mobilize references and quotations to a variety of occasions. Tabourot's notion of (p.183) the commonplace-book corresponds closely to the guidelines of Agricola and Erasmus, familiar from the compilations De ratione studii in the 1530s and 1540S, as well as to the numerous printed commonplace-books devised on that model in the intervening period. The moral/rhetorical purpose of the exercise remains the same, with the addition that Tabourot would extend the method beyond the initial collection of moral commonplaces into the specialist disciplines of higher study, a move more reminiscent of Melanchthon and the Lutheran pedagogues. In matters of advanced or professional study, collections of commonplaces can furnish the matter of whole books, as, indeed, by the end of the sixteenth century they didalready do:

Et des morales ils en viendroient aysément après aux naturelles, politiques, et telle science qu’ils voudroient principalement suivre pour s’y rendre sçavans; de sorte qu’à la fin, au lieu de simples lieux communs, ce leur seroit autant de matière préparée pour bastir des discours, voire des livres entiers, sur tous subjets qu’ils entreprendroient de traiter, (p. 157/p. 28)

Tabourot speaks as a gentleman amateur, with suggestions for consolidating and improving the education he had himself received, but without any radical criticism. He represents the majority of satisfied customers who ensured the remarkable continuity of the humanist curriculum over the hundred years after Erasmus. Among professional practitioners of the higher disciplines, some of Tabourot's French contemporaries had their reservations. Guillaume Du Vair (1556–1621), musing in 1595 on the poor standard of public speaking in France in the arena of political debate and in the lawcourts, uses his criticism of the speeches of one legal orator to exemplify a radical fault in the current style:

Ces discours estoient si remplis de passages d’allégations et d’authoritez qu’à peine pou voit-on bien prendre le fil de son oraison…D’avantage il affectoit de dire tout ce qui se pouvoit sur un subject, de sorte que l’abondance l’empeschoit, et la multitude ostoit à ce qu’il avoit de beau sa grace et venusté. Or ces defFauts là n’ont pas nuy à luy seul, car la grande reputation qu’il avoit a…faict passer quasi en tous de nostre temps ceste vitieuse affectation de vouloir beaucoup alléguer et parler long temps.72

Du Vair was not diverting French eloquence from the paths of humanist rhetoric. The way to improvement still lies along the well-signposted paths of imitation and theory. His proposed models for deliberative and (p.184) judicial rhetoric are Cicero and Demosthenes. For his theoretical substructure, he turns to ‘la Moralle et la Dialectique’: to moral philosophy (especially to knowledge of the passions, to which Aristotelian rhetoric, now increasingly fashionable, had given a rather more prominent role than had the Latin tradition), and to the places of dialectic and strategies for deploying them in rhetorical argumentation:

pour persuader et contraindre par raisons l’auditeur à croire ce que l’on luy propose, ne faut-il pas nécessairement estre exercé en l’art qui nous suggère les arguments, et aide l’invention par certains lieux et reservoirs, qui les examine et apprent leur force et certitude, qui nous enseigne puis après la façon dont nous les devons disposer, à fin qu’ils ayent plus de poix et de force? (De l’éloquence françoise, 156)

What Du Vair criticizes is an abuse of those features which put a characteristically humanist, or, even more narrowly, an Erasmian stamp on discourse: abondance’ (copia); ‘authoritez’ (auctoritates); ‘allegations’ (quotations). Behind all three lies the commonplace-book, fostering a relish for copious displays of words and things, verbal pyrotechnics, and strings of quotations. Accumulated quotations were, indeed, alien to the classical period of Greek and Roman oratory, and could, especially in spoken as distinct from written discourse, and especially if it were in the vernacular and for a vernacular audience, lead easily enough to charges of empty ostentation and ridiculous excess.73 Nevertheless, the cure for such unwholesome superfluity is not to renounce the diet or the preparation of its ingredients, but, as so often since Seneca, to ensure they are properly digested, to turn ‘en suc et en sang’ everything collected in one's larder from expeditions to the emporia of the various arts and sciences. Du Vair himself returns to vary this particular commonplace with a slightly exotic flower from a fragment of Euripides:

Celuy qui voudra acquérir quelque gloire en l’éloquence…remplira son esprit d’une grande varieté de belles choses qu’il y mettra en reserve, et fera dans les jardins de la Philosophie ce que faisoit ce gentil nourrisson de Hypsiphile, lequel

  • Alloit cueillant de main tendrette
  • Mainte fleurette sur fleurette,
  • Ne pouvant son coeur enfantin
  • Rassasier d’un tel butin:

(p.185) Car il est bien aisé puis après d’un tel magasin de suaves et odorantes fleurs tirer un miel doux et savoureux, (p. 154)74

In the next forty or fifty years which remain of the working life of the commonplace-book its detractors will feel less and less obliged to speak its code, and its supporters will compensate for losses in the field of rhetoric by building honeycombs of ever increasing complexity.


(1) Previous research by modern scholars writing on the general history of the commonplace-book is noted in the Appendix of Bibliographical Information; other seminal books in the field, and still among the most interesting and informative, are primarily studies of the two major writers of the northern Renaissance: P. Porteau, Montaigne et la vie pédagogique de son temps (Paris, 1935); T. W. Baldwin, William Shakspere's Small Latine and Lesse Greeke, 2 vols. (Urbana, I11., 1944). At a more lowly level, the class notebook of a Dutch student learning his Latin grammar, probably some time in the 1530s, has recently been examined in exhaustive detail, see J.-C. Margolin, J. Pendergrass, and M. Van der Poel, Images et lieux de mémoire d’un étudiant du XVle siècle: étude, transcription et commentaire d’un cahier de latin d’un étudiant néerlandais (Paris, 1991); the little book gives an excellent representation of elementary grammar teaching, and includes a collection of lines excerpted from poets and a few prose-writers to stand as examples of grammatical points and models for composition, but it is not organized as a commonplace-book.

(2) Exemplary contributions by major French humanists to the Ciceronian debate were the De studio literamm recte et commode instituendo of Guillaume Budé (Paris, 1532) and the Dialogus de imitatione ciceroniana, advenus Desiderium Erasmum Roterodamum, pro Christophoro Longolio of Etienne Dolet (Lyons, 1535)- A slightly earlier work on the subject, the De elocutionis imitatione ac apparatu liber units by a German scholar, Jacobus Omphalius, was printed at Paris, where he was teaching, in 1533 and in 1537, and several times subsequently. This included the exchange of letters between Politian and Cortese and another exchange of letters on language and imitation which took place between G. F. Pico and P. Bembo in 1512 and 1513. Another important contribution, by an Italian, Bartolomeo Ricci, De imitatione libri tres, first published at Venice in 1545, came out in Paris in 1557. For interconnections between French vernacular theorists of literary imitation and Latin writing on imitation and rhetoric (especially Ramus) in the early part of the second half of the century, see K. Meerhoff Rhétorique et poétique au XVle siècle en France: Du Bellay, Ramus et les autres (Leiden, 1986).

(3) The notebook plays a role, but rather a subordinate role, in P. F. Grendler's Schooling in Renaissance Italy (Baltimore and London, 1989), which occasionally refers to instructions for using it to record maxims, descriptions, and phraseology (e. g. pp. 231, 249–50), but does not quote them directly; it seems clear that in Italy exercises in composition were normally conducted by means of extensive paraphrases of model passages from Cicero, involving analysis and reproduction of their vocabulary, phraseology, and word order.

(4) The 1531 Opera is reprinted in facsimile as the third volume of Monumenta humanística belgica (Nieuwkoop, 1967).

(5) The work was written in 1529, during one of Nausea's many visits to Italy; he was a great admirer of Erasmus and an irenic Catholic, who was appointed Bishop of Vienna in 1541 and was a member of the Council of Trent when he died in 1552.

(6) The benefits are word for word those listed by Macrobius (Saturnalia, i, Praef, 11), except for the last mentioned ‘copia exemplorum’, which has a more specifically modern ring.

(7) The theory of memory places was on the whole treated dismissively by major northern humanists until later in the century, when there was a recrudescence of interest, of which we shall catch traces in commonplace-books. Nevertheless, arts of memory with all the traditional places and images were not only in circulation, but attempts were made to accommodate them to the memorizing of discursive prose produced by the application of modern humanist rhetoric, primarily to public speeches and sermons. A particularly interesting example is the Artificiosae memoriae Melius of Nausea's Lutheran contemporary, Johannes Spangenberg (1484–1550), which was published at Leipzig in 1539; the much more ambitious projects of Giulio Camillo, to which we shall have occasion to refer later, have as their more utilitarian purpose the production and memorizing of just such compositions, see F. A. Yates, Art of Memory (London, 1966), 144.

(8) For Susenbrotus, see J. X. Brennan, ‘Joannes Susenbrotus: A Forgotten Humanist’, Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, 75 (1960), 485–96. His manual was frequently reprinted in England, where it replaced Mosellanus as the standard textbook, but not in France.

(9) The close connections between the Reformers’ use of biblical quotations to illustrate rhetorical figures and the emergence of the vernaculars into rhetorical consciousness is nicely exemplified in Richard Sherry's Treatise of Schemes and Tropes very profytable for the better understanding of good authors, gathered out of the best Grammarians and Oratours (London, 1550): ‘Schemes and figures…veraly come no sildomer in the writing and speaking of eloquente english men, then either of Grecians or Latins…Not only prophane authors wythout them may not be wel understand, but also they greatelye profit us in the readinge of holye scripture’ (sig. A iii + 3–3 v ). Sherry claims that his work on figures and tropes is both plainer and fuller than Mosellanus, Quintilian, Cicero, and Erasmus. Many of his English examples are from the English Bible, as is the case with his successor Henry Peacham, whose Garden of Eloquence Conteyning the Figures of Grammer and Rhetorik (London, 1577) has close parallels with Sherry and also with Susenbrotus, whose Epitome was first published in England in 1562 and was destined to become the standard text on rhetorical figures in English schools.

(10) I have until now mostly translated ‘sententia’ as ‘pithy remark’, avoiding ‘maxim’ and ‘aphorism’ because of their technical use in philosophical, legal, and medical terminology. From now on I shall feel free to use the Latin word, sententia, without further explanation.

(11) Camerarius insists that pupils should develop this habit from their earliest years, and his list of possible headings would not be out of place in quite elementary classes: life, death, agriculture, state government, private household, military matters, seafaring, horses, wealth, poverty, physical appearance, religion, earth, sky, sea, war, peace, public renown, private life, ages, social conditions, fortune, friendship. Even this relatively pragmatic list retains the arrangement by similars and opposites inherited from demonstrative rhetoric.

(12) For the history of this alliance, see G. Strauss, Luther's House of Learning: Indoctrination of the Young in the German Reformation (London and Baltimore, 1978).

(13) The instruction is followed by a sympathetic aside in which Willichius recognizes the difficulties in the commonplace-book routine, but urges the pupil to try and keep at it. Willichius has a personal touch which allies him to an Erasmus or a Ringelbergius, rather than to the impersonal directives of the later organizers of curricula.

(14) Willichius refers to L. G. Giraldus as a precedent for his dialectical method of collecting and defining vocabulary (p. 31), but it was also to be found nearer home, as we shall see, in the projects outlined by Johann Sturm for his school at Strasburg in 1538, in which the influence of Agricola's dialectic of places is readily apparent.

(15) For an analysis of Renaissance attitudes to language, see R. Waswo, Language and Meaning in the Renaissance (Princeton, 1987);, which does not, unfortunately, refer to commonplace-books (nor, indeed, to the formative experience of bilingualism, which was every humanist's initiation into the study and sophisticated use of language).

(16) For a very detailed acount of the organization and history of Sturm's school at Strasburg, see A. Schindling, Humanistische Hochschule and freie Reichstadt: Gymnasium and Akademie in Strassburg 1538–1621 (Wiesbaden, 1977).

(17) If Sturm is here referring to his own personal experience, it would be to his years as a pupil at the school run by the Brethren of the Common Life at Liège, which he attended between 1521 and 1524.

(18) Evidence that Sturm continued to teach verbal expressivity by means of a combination of orderly classification and dialectical operators may be found in the commentary on the Ars poetica of Horace derived from his lectures, Commentarti in artem poeticam Horatii confetti ex scholis Io. Stimmi (Strasburg, 1576), in which he claims that this method of reducing ‘copia verborum’ to ‘certi ordines’, subdivided by dialectical places or predicament-heads, is a better training than word-by-word exposition of texts: ‘…huiusmodi digestione plus proficeremus paucis annis, quam multorum autorum interpretatione’ (sig. F v + 2).

(19) See A. M. Patterson, Hermogenes and the Renaissance: Seven Ideas of Style (Princeton, 1970).

(20) For a full description and history of Camillo's Memory Theatre, see Yates, Tlie Art of Memory. Yates hints at Sturm's relationship with Camillo (pp. 238–9), on which see F. Secret, ‘Les Cheminements de la Kabbale à la Renaissance: le Théâtre du Monde de Giulio Camillo Delminio et son influence’, Rivista critica di storia della filosofia, 14 (1959), 418–36. Camillo shared Sturm's enthusiasm for Hermogenes, and translated him into Italian. This confirms the suspicion that Sturm's scheme for loci verborum derived to some extent from that source.

(21) The scheme proposed by Willichius was almost certainly an improved version of Sturm's. A letter by Sturm dated 1540 and appended to the Erotematum dialectices libri ires of Willichius describes Willichius as one of his pupils.

(22) Poeticum primum volumen, etc. (Strasburg, 1565), 3–5.

(23) Protestantism and capitalism keep joint stock in the commonplace ‘account-book’, if nowhere else. One suspects that Junius had the measure of his Strasburg clientèle.

(24) Sturm had inclined to leave a choice between writing out excerpts in full, indicating them by a reference, or summarizing the main points (see e.g. Nobilitas literata, 50–1).

(25) The listing and cross-referencing of historical commonplaces by Junius suggests an agenda for writing history. In the third chapter of his Methodus adfacilem historiarum cognitionem, first published in 1566, Jean Bodin explicitly grounds the writing of history in a well-ordered commonplace-book in which ‘commonplaces of things worthy of record should be assembled in a clearly defined order, so that from these, as from a treasure-store, we may extract and cite a variety of examples to direct our actions’. Bodin's historical commonplace-book is conceived as the first of three which deal with matters human, natural, and divine. Human history is thus located in a universal scheme of things reminiscent of Sturm's, planned on an interlocking system of topics which cover the whole range of human activities. The historical contextualization of those various activities comes in collected exempla, but these exempla are also annotated with reference to rhetorico-ethical categories: praise and blame, honourable, dishonourable, and expedient. Bodin's groundplan of history is the commonplace-book of human affairs, which normally amalgamated the subject-heads of ethics, politics, and ‘economica’ (domestic management). It fractures the chronological line of a writing of history which is temporally based, and redistributes its components on to another map where affinities and differences become more highly visible. The influence of the commonplace-book on historiography (and on men's perceptions of the history of their own times and of their own lives) would be a large subject for research. A challenging start has been made by Z. S. Schiffman, On the Tlireshold of Modernity: Relativism in the French Renaissance (Baltimore and London, 1991).

(26) Tlie Whole Works of Roger Ascham, ed. J. A. Giles, 3 vols. (London, 1864–5), iii. 222.

(27) Ibid. 201. For a detailed examination of the methods of analysing school texts and imitating them in operation in England at the time Ascham was writing (substantially the same as those prevalent on the Continent, from which they were derived), see T. W. Baldwin, William Shakspere's Small Latine and Lesse Greeke, 2 vols. (Urbana, 111., 1944).

(28) There is a useful description of these foundations in G. Codina Mir, Aux sources de la pédagogie des Jésuites: le ‘Modus parisiensis’ (Rome, 1968), although in general this work overrates the role of the Brethren of the Common Life and underplays that of the Protestant humanists.

(29) The book from which this quotation comes is a very Ciceronian work, printed by Etienne Dolet, and endebted to Dolet himself and to Jacobus Omphalius. Baduel's own programme is sketched in his De officio et munere eorum qui iuventutem erudiendam suscipiunt (Lyons, 1544).

(30) Beginning with W. J. Ong, Ramus, Method and the Decay of Dialogue (Cambridge, Mass., 1958), more research has been devoted to Ramus and his influence than to any other comparable humanist. There is a very useful survey of that research by P. Sharratt in a special number of Argumentation devotedto Ramus, 5 (1991), 335–45. For Ramus's dialectic in particular, see N. Bruyère, Méthode et dialectiquedans l’œuvre de La Ramée: Renaissance et âge classique (Paris, 1984).

(31) See W. J. Ong, ‘Ramus éducateur: les procédés scolaires et la nature de la réalité’, in Pédagogues et juristes (Paris, 1963), 207–21.

(32) Pierre de La Ramée, Dialectique (1555), ed. M. Dassonville (Geneva, 1964), 98.

(33) By way of contrast, the evolution of Melanchthon's work on dialectic between the Compendiaria dialectices ratio of 1520 and the Erotemata dialectices of 1547 is marked by a decrease in literary illustrations and a more frequent use of formally set-up logical examples, typically incorporating doctrinal statements.

(34) ‘Comme par l’analyse de la Grammaire et Rhétorique nous considérons et examinons la pureté et élégance du langage proposé à imiter, et par leur genèse nous l’imitons et composons en autre sentence. Aussi par l’analyse de la Dialectique, nous cognoissons et espluchons depuis le commencement jusques à la fin de l’oeuvre tout entier les disputes, discours et raisons des poetes, orateurs, philosophes, jurisconsultes, historiens, bref de toute espèce d’esprit et sorte de bons autheurs que nous nous proposons d’imiter. Et par la genèse nous les imitons et représentons le plus commodément que pouvons tant par escriture que par voix et harangue en aultre question et matière semblable aux choses qu’ils ont traic-tées𠀧 (an addition made to the Dialectique of Petrus Ramus in 1576, 155). Ramus's analysis is a close cousin of the analysis or ‘partitio’ prescribed by Sturm, though very much more systematic in application and in presentation.

(35) For the details, see M. Dassonville, ‘La Collaboration de la Pléiade à la Dialectique de Pierre de laRamée’, BHR 25 (1963), 337–48; R. E. Leake, ‘Antoine Fouquelin and the Pléiade’, BHR 32 (1970), 379–94. For the background to Ramus's attitude towards the vernacular language and for his relationship with the theory of vernacular writing, see Meerhoff, Rhétorique et poétique.

(36) Ramist rhetoric instigated a parallel development in England a few years later, see the Arcadian Rhetorike of Abraham Fraunce (London, 1588), a version of the Rhetorica of Talaeus, with illustrative quotations from Homer, Virgil, Sidney, Du Bartas, Tasso, Boscán Almogaver, and Garcilasco, in their respective languages.

(37) Henricus Schorus, Specimen et forma legitime tradenti sermonis et rationis disciplinas, ex P. Rami scripts collecta, et Tabemensi Scholae accommodata (Strasburg, 1572), 18.

(38) However, J. S. Freedman, in his survey of German school and university curricula, ‘The Diffusion of the Writings of Petrus Ramus in Central Europe, c15 70-c.1630’, Renaissance Quarterly, 46 (1993), 98–152, which charts where and when Ramist manuals were used (as often as not in conjunction with manuals showing the influence of Melanchthon), concludes that the presence of Ramist works is to be explained by the pragmatic requirements of the classroom, rather than by ideological competition. The area in which Ramist manuals do follow a distinctive dogmatic line is the exemplification of tropes, where, for example, metonymy is often illustrated by the quotation, ‘hoc est corpus meuin’ (as, for example, in the Syntagma Philippo-Rameum artium liberalium by Joannes Bilstenius, published in 1594). At a much more sophisticated level, the rivalry between Lutherans and Calvinists is to be read in works on metaphysics produced in Germany in the years either side of 1600, see K. Jensen, ‘Protestant Rivalry: Metaphysics and Rhetoric in Germany, c. 1590–1620’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 41 (1990), 24–43.

(39) The very title of the book (195), with its reference to Ramus's famous oration De stuâiis philosophiae et eloquentiae coniimgendis, published in 1546, is emblematic of the present enterprise, in which Freigius intends to integrate the commonplace-book into the Ramist system.

(40) On p. 508, Freigius states his intention to publish just such a commonplace-book.

(41) The section on commonplaces, De iustituendis locis communions, is to be found on sigs. K 5—L 4V of David Chytraeus, Praecepta rhetoricae inventions (Leipzig, 1562).

(42) See his edited lecture notes on the Ten Commandments, Regulae vitae. Virtutum descriptions methodicae in Academia Rostochiana propositae (Wittenberg, 1570; preface by the editor dated 1554). All forms of moral behaviour are distributed under the Commandments, for example, under the fourth come every kind of ‘pietas’ and justice, together with ‘sedulitas’, ‘gratitudo’, ‘reverenda’, and ‘gravitas’, illustrated with quotations and exempla from Scripture and pagan authors. The editor, Petrus Sickius, specifically recommends the scheme as a model for a commonplace-book collection of sententiae, biblical, poetical, and philosophical, and of legal maxims ‘digested’ from the civil law.

(43) As for the ordering of grammatical or vocabulary commonplace-books, Chytraeus mentions the alphabetical arrangement employed by Robert Estienne, Ricci, and Dolet, desiderates Camillo's Memory Theatre, about which he has read in Riccius and Sturm, and endorses with enthusiasm the scheme proposed in the first part of the Deformando studio of Jodocus Willichius, particularly his application of the predicaments to definitions of vocabulary, in which Chytraeus sees the possibility of a cross-reference system to the ‘places’ of the disciplines and a bridge to cognate semantic areas.

(44) The preface is dated 1564. At the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbiittel, it is usefully bound with prospectuses for schools at Gandersheim, Braunschweig, Chemnitz, Magdeburg, Lübeck, and Luneburg (120.3 Eth).

(45) Our survey of developments in Protestant Germany is not relevant to that area alone. We have already seen that Paris was the place where Sturm lectured on Agricola and consorted with Camillo, where Ramus learnt from Sturm, and himself taught until his death in 1572. There is plenty of evidence that teachers at Paris adopted the principles of Ramist analysis, see, for example,A. Grafton, ‘Teacher, Text and Pupil in the Renaissance Class-Room: A Case Study from a Parisian College’, History of Universities, 1 (1981), 37–70; J.-C. Moisan, ‘Commentaires sur les Rhetoricae praeceptiones, épitomé ramiste anonyme de 1572’, Humanística lovaniensia, 39 (1990), 246–305. The subject of the earlier of these two articles, Claude Mignault, who taught at Paris in the 1570s, is put in parallel with the English Ramist, Gabriel Harvey (1550–1631), in A. Grafton and L. Jardine, From Humanism to the Humanities (London, 1986). Harvey was an English Freigius. Generally speaking, as far as grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric were concerned, and the role assigned to commonplaces and commonplace-books, pedagogic programmes and textbooks produced in England in the 16th cent, replicated developments in pre-Reformation and Protestant Germany, with a slight delay. Erasmus, Agricola, Melanchthon, Joannes Caesarius (an uncontroversial Catholic with a commendably readable style, but nothing very much on commonplace-books), Sturm, Ramus, Talaeus, Chytraeus, and Freigius were, successively, the authorities cited in all the home-grown manuals. Although the Ramist programme was heavily promoted in the 1570S and 1580s by writers like Gabriel Harvey and Abraham Fraunce and by William Kempe's Education of Children in Learning of 1588, evidence seems to suggest that, as in Germany, Erasmus, Agricola, Melanchthon, and Sturm were still in current use. For details see Baldwin, William Shakspere's Small Latine and Lesse Greeke; W. S. Howell, Logic and Rhetoric in England, 1500–1700 (Princeton, 1956); L. Jardine, ‘The Place of Dialectic Teaching in Sixteenth-Century Cambridge’, Studies in the Renaissance, 21 (1974), 31–62.

(46) Rabelais, Pantagruel, eh. 8; for some information about the influence and activity of German humanists in Paris in the 1530s, see K. MeerhofF, ‘Logic and Eloquence: A Ramusian Revolution?’, Argumentation, 5 (1991), 357–74.

(47) For a brief, but informative description of this episode and the people involved, together with a summary of Elie Vinet's syllabus of 1583, see I. D. McFarlane, Buchanan (London, 1981), 79–90.

(48) Marci Tullii Ciceronis sententiae illustriores. Apophthegmata item, et Parabolae sive Similia: aliquot praeterea eiusdem piae sententiae (Paris, 1546); preface dated from Toulouse, 1541.

(49) This is in direct opposition to a French contemporary, Jacobus Lodovicus Strebaeus, an enthusiast for pure Ciceronian style, who deplored the collection of sententiae quotations for variation practice (he cites the Elegantiolae of Datus), because this method of imitation does not train the ear to perceive and reproduce the rhythms and word order of Cicero's own prose; see his De electione et oratoria collocarne verborum libri duo (Paris, 1538). France at this time was the crossroads of different currents of imitation theory. Strebaeus himself wrote in elegant, harmonious periods of utter vapidity, a Ciceronian style which would go out of fashion with the generation of Montaigne, reared on pithy excerpts suitable for commonplace-books.

(50) John Brinsley, Ludus litemrius: or, the Grammar Schoole (London, 1612; facsimile repr., Menston, 1968), 153; in the next paragraph Brinsley makes it clear that he is referring to the Lagnerius compilation by quoting its first ‘chapter’, as he calls the commonplace-head (or caput). I am endebted to T. W. Baldwin, William Shakspere's Small Latine and Lesse Greeke, i, 699–703, for part of this very inadequate account of the printing history of Lagnerius. The subject needs further study. The Protestant German printing tradition of Lagnerius, not mentioned by Baldwin, seems to have been inaugurated by the eminent humanist, Georgius Fabricius (whom we shall meet later as an interested party in commonplace-books). It supplements the earliest version of Lagnerius's Sententiae with the accounts of the Greek philosophers included in the mainstream compilation (they were in fact reproduced from the Placita philosophomm of Desideriusjacotius, originally published in Paris in 1554), and with a collection of definitions of a large number of proper nouns (the list begins ‘Abalienatio’, ‘Absolutio’, ‘Abusio’), extracted from the works of Cicero by the French writer, Hubertus Sussannaeus, in his Dictionarium Ciceronianum of 1536.

(51) For the French municipal schools of this period, see G. Huppert, Public Schools in Renaissance France (Urbana, 111., and Chicago, 1984).

(52) See F. de Dainville, L’Education des jésuites (XVIe-XVIIIe siècles), edited by M.-M. Compère (Paris, 1978), 150–2, and his reference.

(53) For the organization and curriculum of the college at Messina, see Codina Mir, Aux sources de la pédagogie des Jésuites. On Jesuit schools in general the documentation is vast, though much of it excessively partisan. Among the more impressive and most recent studies, see F. de Dainville, La Naisssamede l’humanisme moderne (Paris, 1940) and L’Education des jésuites; A. Scaglione, Tìte Liberal Arts and the Jesuit College System (Amsterdam and Philadelphia, 1986); for the history of the various drafts and revisions of the Ratio studiorum before its finalization in 1599, see A. P. Farrell, The Jesuit Code of Liberal Education: Development and Scope of the ‘Ratio studiorum’ (Milwaukee, 1938).

(54) For Verepaeus, see M. A. M. Nauwelaerts, ‘La Correspondance de Simon Verepaeus (1522–1598)’, Humanística lovaniensia, 23 (1974), 271–340.

(55) Textor's Epitheta, first published in 1518 and reprinted numerous times in expanded and abridged forms, was one of the most universally scoured linguistic resources of the 16th cent.; see I. D. McFarlane, ‘Reflections on Ravisius Textor's Specimen epithetorutn’ , in R. R. Bolgar (ed.), Classical Influences on European Culture A.D. 1300–1700 (Cambridge, 1976), 81–90.

(56) The Jesuit school replaced the school of the Brethren of the Common Life where Sturm had learnt his first lessons.

(57) Published at London in 1592; the preface is dated 1586.

(58) Verepaeus does not exaggerate. The authorities in Catholic Bavaria were particularly concerned to remove from their schools textbooks ‘in which we have found heretical examples freely mixed with rules and paradigms’ (quoted from Strauss, Luther's House of Learning, p. 192).

(59) For a comparable Protestant compilation, catechetical and illustrated by quotations from the Bible and from ancient authors, see Jeremias Homberg, Succimctae de tropis et schematibus tarn in scriptum sacra quam in aliis autoribus usitatis, praeceptiones ex loannis Susenbroti, Petri Moseliani, Thomas Linacri, Erasmi Roterodami, Ciceronis, Quintiliani aliorwnque traditionibus collectae et quaestionibus comprchensae (Frankfurt, 1564).

(60) The rules for teachers of philosophy in the 1591 Ratio are particularly fierce on this point, obviously to counter the opposite tendency: ‘neque enim ferendum, ut ad finem aestatis in classe Rhetoricae compendium Logicae exponatur audituris anno sequenti Dialecticam’. The separation of dialectic from rhetoric was built into the Jesuit system from the beginning in Messina , see Scaglione, The Liberal Arts and the Jesuit College System, 77. The standard i6th-cent. Jesuit textbook on dialectic, Petrus Fonseca's Institutionum dialecticamm libri octo (1st edn., Lisbon, 1564), was a full-scale Logic, in which loci communes, defined as ‘differentiae maximarum’ or as ‘maximae’ themselves, occupy half of Book VII; all the way through the work quotations are used only sparingly to illustrate logical operations, and such quotations as there are come mainly from Aristotle, the Bible, the Fathers, or the great medieval theologians.

(61) For Jesuit schools in their Italian context, see Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy.

(62) Ratio studiorum (Rome, 1606; text as in the definitive, 1599 Ratio), 116–171 summarize the points to be made in an explicatio or praelectio of a speech or poem studied in the Rhetoric class. Similar expositions for the lower classes were strictly tailored to the requirements of the syllabus in those classes. No such sense of organized gradation checks the abundant flood of ideas for commentary in Erasmus's De ratione studii (pp. 136–46). The common source is Quintilian, Itistitutio oratoria, 11. v. 4–9.

(63) ‘…occultam Ciceronis imitandi facultatem et consuetudinem nancisc[entur]’ (from the regulations for teachers of Rhetoric in the 1591 Ratio).

(64) Ratio studiorum (Rome, 1606), 115, 125, 131, 166.

(65) In fact the Jesuits’ insistence on rhetoric without dialectic was not quite what it appears in the brief prescriptions of the Ratio. For a hundred years and more after its first edition in 1562, the standard Jesuit textbook on rhetoric was the admirably clear and user-friendly De arte rhetorica libri tres of Cyprianus Soarius (Cipriano Soárez, 1524–93), based on Cicero and Quintilian and, to a lesser extent, on Aristotle's Rhetoric. The first book defines sixteen loci or ‘sedes argumentorum’, which include the abstract, dialectical places of definition, genus, species, and so on, as well as the rhetorical places appropriate to the different types of oratory. The second book deals with the application of these places in argumentation, introducing the student to various rhetorico-dialectical procedures of proof, such as enthymeme, induction, epicheireme, and sorites, whilst studiously avoiding the rigours of strict logic. But he is advised to seek rhetorical diversity, rather than argumentative proficiency: ‘adhibeatur in argumentando varieras, et iucunda quaedam distinctio: figuris verborum, et ornamentis sententiarum argumentado expoliatur. Quo fuerit enim uberior, ac suavior, eo etiam erit credibilior’ (De arte rhetorica libri tres (Seville, 1569), fo. 37v). For a partial description of this influential manual, see B. Crampé, ‘De Arte Rhetorica: The Gestation of French Classicism in Renaissance Rhetoric’, in P. Desan (ed.), Humanism in Crisis: Tlte Decline of the French Renaissance (Ann Arbor, 1991), 259–77. Also, the absence of fully developed commonplace-books from the Ratio does not mean that they were not used in Jesuit schools. The fact that the Lagnerius collection of headed quotations from Cicero was published in its amplified version at Venice in 1565, in an edition which did not refer on its title-page to the extracts it included from Terence and did not acknowledge that Erasmus was the source of its selection of apophthegmata, probably means that the publishers were looking for a market in Jesuit schools, from which Terence had been banned for indecency and Erasmus for heresy. In addition, the 1591 Ratio does also make specific reference to collections of adages and apophthegmata as repertories of ‘elegance and erudition’ suitable for the Humanity class, and this would provide a way into the Jesuit school market for printed commonplace-books (cf. the revision of Erasmus's Adagia made by Paulus Manutius at the instigation of the Pope and of the Council of Trent (Venice, 1575), with its ‘index proverbiorum iuxta locos’). Lagnerius is listed among modern works on rhetoric in the Bibliotheca selecta of the Jesuit, Possevinus, which we shall be looking at shortly, in a catalogue of rather disparate names which include ‘Hieremias Paduanus’ (Hieremias de Montagnone).

(66) Commentaries to editions of Latin texts published for use in Jesuit schools reflect and reinforce all the facets of the Jesuit programme which we have emphasized here. This is particularly true of the expurgated edition of Ovid's Metamorphoses published at Antwerp in 1618 by the Jesuit Jacobus Pontanus (Jakob Spanmüller, 1542–1626).

(67) ‘…ut ad quattuor tamquam locos communes, et capita redacta essent’ (Bibîiotheca selecta (Venice, 1603), 477; 1st edn., Rome, 1593); for a general account of the Bibliotheca selecta, see A. Biondi, ‘La Bibliotheca selecta di Antonio Possevino: un progetto di egemonia culturale’, in G. P. Brizzi (ed.), La ‘Ratio studiorum’: modelli culturali e pratiche educative dei Gesuiti in Italia tra Cinque e Seicento (Rome, 1981), 43–75.

(68) For Lipsius and epistolary style, see M. Fumaroli, L’Age de l’éloquence: rhétorique et ‘res literaria’ de la Renaissance au seuil de l’époque classique (Geneva, 1980), 154–8.

(69) For the history of Jesuit schools in the French context, see Huppert, Public Schools in Renaissance France.

(70) Les Bigarrures du Seigneur des Accords avec les apophthegmes du sieur Caulard…revus sur les éditions originales de 1583, 1584, 1585, 1586 et 1588 (Brussels, 1866; repr. Geneva, 1969), 158 (iii. 29 of the 1866 edn.).

(71) ‘D’avantage il s’accoustumera de faire des renvois, des opposites les uns aux autres, comme vertu, voy vice, jeunesse, voy vieillesse, avarice, voy libéralité, dont il s’accoustumera à enrichir ses discours. Qui plus est, il fera aussi renvoy des synonymes sous un seul de tous qu’il choisira à son gré, comme richesse, pécime, sordidité: il fera renvoy à avarice’ (p. 157/p. 27).

(72) Guillaume Du Vair, De l’éloquence françoise et des raisons pourquoy elle est demeurée si basse, ed. R. Radouant (Paris, 1907; repr. Geneva, 1970), 136–7. This edition contains an excellent appendix on printed commonplace-books and similar productions (pp. 169–81). For Du Vair's place in the history of French rhetoric, and, in particular, of what the author calls ‘la rhétorique des citations’, see Fumaroli, L’Age de l’éloquence, 498–519.

(73) Du Vair was by no means the only professional lawyer and councillor to voice such criticisms of the style of French legal rhetoric (doubtless formed, at least in part, by the highly successful commonplace-book Lagnerius had compiled for the benefit of students at the Faculty of Law at Toulouse). Etienne Pasquier speaks admiringly of the ‘belles similitudes’ of a learned colleague, but deplores speeches full of ‘eschantillons de divers Autheurs’, a thing ‘du tout incognuë aux anciens Orateurs, tant Grecs, que Romains’ (Les Recherches de la France, iv. xxvii (Paris, 1621, 409) ). For similar criticisms in French legal and parliamentary circles, see Du Vair, De Véloquence françoise, 170; Fumaroli, L’Age de 427–585 passim.

(74) In the same year as Du Vair lodged his complaints, Philip Sidney dared to ‘wish…the diligent Imitators of Tully and Demosthenes, most worthie to be imitated, did not so much keepe…paper bookes, of their figures and phrases, as by attentive translation, as it were, devoure them whole and make them wholly theirs’ (Philip Sidney, Ttte Defence of Poesie (London, 1595; repr. in facsimile, Menston, 1969), sig. I 3–3v).