Classical and contemporary Italy in Roger Ascham's The Scholemaster (1570)
Ord, M. (2002) Classical and contemporary Italy in Roger Ascham's The Scholemaster (1570). Renaissance Studies, 16 (2). pp. 202-216. ISSN 0269-1213
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1477-4658.00011
This article seeks to show that a consideration of the use of Italy in Roger Ascham's The Scholemaster (1570) is illuminated by a study of the structural progression of book 1 (from educational methodologies, to a declamation against courtly vices, to an objection to travel to Italy). Specifically, it argues that the final section on Italy is conceived as a threat to those pedagogical and moral ideals of order, discipline and discrimination outlined in earlier sections; and that this closing statement forcibly demonstrates, and gives particular expression to, Ascham's humanist commitment to maintaining such well-schooled qualities against pernicious contemporary influences. Attention directed to the range of concerns addressed in the text also points to Ascham's conflicted use of Italy. For whilst his humanist educative project accompanies a concern to privilege the moral and cultural influences of classical over contemporary Italy, his national project of literary acculturation (witnessed in such things as his objection to courtly versifying) involves an attempt to conflate, rather than to distinguish, specific Italian identities.