These essays are concerned with the nature of early renaissance political thought and the relationship between humanism and medieval rhetoric. One group traces the influence of medieval political thought on the rise of the modern conception of republicanism; others focus on the medieval art of letter writing and its place in the medieval cultural context; while still others analyse the often contradictory thought of the early humanist, Coluccio Salutati (1331-1406), who struggled to reconcile his classical learning with his medieval allegiances. In the collection as a whole humanism emerges as a literary movement drawing as heavily on patristic and medieval culture as on antiquity. Awareness of its various debts permits recognition of what humanism itself contributed to the development of western thought and ethics.
Contents: Medieval Italian culture and the origins of humanism as a stylistic ideal; Medieval Ars dictaminis and the beginning of humanism: a new construction of the problem; Boncompagno and the defense of rhetoric; On Bene of Florence's conception of the French and Roman Cursus; Brunetto Latini and the Italian tradition of Ars dictaminis; The De Tyranno and Coluccio Salutati's view of politics and Roman history; Coluccio Salutati and the conception of the Poeta Theologus in the 14th century; Salutati and Plutarch; Still the matter of the two Giovannis: a note on Malpaghini and Conversino; Cino Rinuccini's Risposiva alla invettiva di Messer Antonio Lusco; What did Giovannino read and write? Literacy in early Renaissance Florence; Index.