4.0028 Poland, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance (38)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Thu, 10 May 90 17:05:53 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0028. Thursday, 10 May 1990.

(1) Date: 09 May 90 17:56:37 EST (29 lines)
From: James O'Donnell <JODONNEL@PENNSAS>
Subject: Epochenabgrenzung,

(2) Date: Thu, 10 May 90 00:05:03 EDT (9 lines)
From: Germaine Warkentin <WARKENT@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Did Poland have a Renaissance?

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: 09 May 90 17:56:37 EST
From: James O'Donnell <JODONNEL@PENNSAS>
Subject: Epochenabgrenzung,

From: Jim O'Donnell (Penn, Classics)

which is what the Germans call these discussions. For the alleged end
of the so-called Middle Ages, I would make two observations: first, that
the importation of the word `Renaissance' into English is, on the
evidence of the OED, a 19th century act of conscious cultural
construction (Ruskin, Pater, usw.) -- many marvelous things happened in
Italy and elsewhere in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, but the
decision to enshrine that rebirth, capitalize it, and make it part of
our thought-furniture is a conventionalism of the 19th century, not
something intrinsic to the evidence; second, P.O. Kristeller had a
marvelous article in the *Dante Jahrbuch* perhaps five years back on the
survival of Latin as learned and diplomatic language. The success of
the vernacular (one of the conventional points of difference marked
between medieval and modern times) was nowhere near universal,
comprehensive, and thorough: particularly east of the Rhine and south of
the Alps and Pyrenees, Latin had a lively and vigorous existence on many
levels until well into the eighteenth century.

So to quarrel about whether the 16th cent. is medieval or not is quite
beside the point: the predication can be useful (`the 16th cent. is
medieval' thus meaning that, for purposes of the present discussion, the
16th cent. shares a variety of useful characteristics with the centuries
that preceded) but not predictive or determinative (it does not make
sense to say that `the 16th cent. is medieval and therefore people then
were superstitious, backwards, and unmodern': that is either tautology
or nonsense).
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------19----
Date: Thu, 10 May 90 00:05:03 EDT
From: Germaine Warkentin <WARKENT@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Did Poland have a Renaissance?

Are we connected to Poland yet? If so, the lines will be burning with
messages from Polish neo-Latinists, etc., in response to Daniel
Boyarin's very thoughtless observation. Poland did indeed have a
Renaissance, as my colleague Dr. Jacqueline Glomski taught me during her
period at our Centre for and Renaissance Studies! Germaine Warkentin.