The name Erasmus of Rotterdam conjures up a golden age of scholarly integrity and the disinterested pursuit of knowledge, when learning could command public admiration without the need for authorial self-promotion. Lisa Jardine, however, shows that Erasmus self-consciously created his own reputation as the central figure of the European intellectual world. Erasmus himself--the historical as opposed to the figural individual--was a brilliant, maverick innovator, who achieved little formal academic recognition in his own lifetime. What Jardine offers here is not only a fascinating study of Erasmus but also a bold account of a key moment in Western history, a time when it first became possible to believe in the existence of something that could be designated "European thought."
Lisa Jardine is professor of Renaissance studies at University College London, where she is also director of the UCL Centre for Humanities Interdisciplinary Research Projects and the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters.
List of Illustrations vii Preface to the New Paperback Edition ix Acknowledgments xiii Abbreviations xv INTRODUCTION Self-Portrait in Pen and Ink 3 CHAPTER ONE 'A better portrait of Erasmus will his writings show': Fashioning the Figure 27 CHAPTER TWO The In(de)scribable Aura of the Scholar-Saint in His Study: Erasmus's Life and Letters of Saint Jerome 55 CHAPTER THREE Inventing Rudolph Agricola: Recovery and Transmission of the De inventione dialectica 83 CHAPTER FOUR Recovered Manuscripts and Second Edition: Staging the Book with the Castigatores 99 CHAPTER FIVE Reasoning Abundantly: Erasmus, Agricola, and Copia 129 CHAPTER SIX Concentric Circles: Confected Correspondence and the Opus epistolarum Erasmi 147 CONCLUSION 'The name of Erasmus will never perish' 175 Appendices 191 Notes 207 Index 279