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Joseph Scaliger’s Letters: Collaborator, Teacher, Impresario [Book review]

Haugen, Kristine Louise (2014) Joseph Scaliger’s Letters: Collaborator, Teacher, Impresario [Book review]. In: History of Universities. Vol.28:1. Oxford University Press , New York, pp. 105-147. ISBN 9780198726340.

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[Introduction]. Joseph Scaliger was the most famous humanist in northern Europe after the time of Erasmus. This enormous correspondence will yield major discoveries for many decades, and it will also make some convenient orthodoxies impossible to sustain. We assume, for instance, that humanistic study flourished in private academies, courts, and noble houses, and was all but strangled in its crib in the early modern universities. But Scaliger published erratically while he lived in the retinue of a French gentleman, then moved at the age of 53 to a lucrative professorial chair at Leiden, where he started a period of relentless productivity and compulsive involvement in others’ scholarly projects. As for Scaliger’s personal world, the letters graphically reveal that his brilliance was far from making him solitary. Instead—especially once his position at Leiden attracted the attention of supplicants from across Europe—Scaliger planned other people’s projects for them, admonished them about their progress, sent them notes and contributions of his own, and advised them on the best places to print. In short, not only was Scaliger a great scholar, he was also a collaborator and teacher of tremendous energy. Finally, the letters show that Scaliger’s interests stretched even wider than his well-known publications disclose. This, too, connected him with a series of communities across Europe. Anthony Grafton’s intellectual biography of Scaliger has long been a landmark for understanding both the scholarship of this era and its most extraordinary practitioner. But the new availability of Scaliger’s correspondence will excite fresh generations of inquiry, because the letters can answer virtually inexhaustible questions about the period, limited only by the imagination of the historian.

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Alternate Title:The Correspondence of Joseph Justus Scaliger
Additional Information:I am indebted to Anthony Grafton and Mordechai Feingold for numerous suggestions about this review, for which I am extremely grateful. Theodor Dunkelgrun was also kind enough to share an unpublished article. Book review of: The Correspondence of Joseph Justus Scaliger, ed. Paul Botley and Dirk van Miert, supervisory editors Anthony Grafton, Henk Jan de Jonge, and Jill Kraye, 8 vols. (Geneva: Droz, 2012), xcv þ 4,823pp. ISBN: 9782600015523.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150301-170736977
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:55361
Deposited By: Kristine Haugen
Deposited On:02 Mar 2015 20:07
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 08:05

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