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2016 Erasmus Lecture: Ann Blair

November 10, 2016 at 4:15 pm - 6:00 pm



“Erasmus and His Amanuenses”

Franz Bierlaire (in la Familia d’Erasme, 1968) called attention decades ago to the role of amanuenses in Erasmus’s work, as gleaned from his correspondence and occasional references in print. Erasmus was not unusual in relying on helpers to take dictation, draw up indexes, copy, annotate, and correct texts, among other tasks. Despite textual and iconographic representations to the contrary, intellectual work in the Renaissance was routinely carried out with the help of others, including servants, students, or family members; but we are often at a loss for sources that shed light on these relationships. Erasmus’s working methods can be traced in more detail than usual thanks to surviving manuscripts and to the trajectory of one of his secretaries who went on to become a published author himself. In this talk I will offer some general perspectives on the role of amanuenses in early modern Europe and a more focused account of Gilbert Cousin who worked for Erasmus as young man, 1530-1535, then launched a humanist career of his own.

Ann Blair is Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor at Harvard University, where she specializes in the cultural and intellectual history of early modern Europe (16th-17th centuries), with an emphasis on France. Her interests include the history of the book and of reading, the history of the disciplines and of scholarship, and the history of interactions between science and religion.

Tea 4:15 pm

Lecture 4:30 pm


November 10, 2016
4:15 pm - 6:00 pm
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Emmanuel College, Room 119 (75 Queen’s Park Crescent)
75 Queen's Park Crescent
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1K7 Canada
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