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date: 19 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the relationship between the early modern universities and literary production, and considers how the composition of poetry, prose, and drama was supported, and sometimes inhibited by academic curricula and by institutional priorities. Original Latin writing was fostered by curricula and boosted by the universities’ efforts to showcase their talents, but several European writers also reflected seriously and sometimes satirically on the relationship between latinity and higher education. This chapter examines works from three contexts—Quattrocento Bologna, the Parisian collèges of the mid-sixteenth century, and seventeenth-century Cambridge—and discusses Leon Battista Alberti’s De Commodis Litterarum atque Incommodis (written in the late 1420s), the controversies that arose around Pierre de la Ramée and pedagogical reform, and the writings of James Duport and John Milton. These authors represented their university experiences thoughtfully, and their ideas about the impact of higher education on their own Latin compositions are particularly interesting.

Keywords: universities, collèges, higher education, students, satire, rhetoric, declamation, elegy, Juvenal

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