bonæ litteræ: occasional writing from David Rundle, Renaissance scholar

D.Phil. thesis of David Rundle

Through this page you can access most of the text of D. Rundle, ‘Of Republics and Tryants: aspects of quattrocento humanist writings and their reception in England, c. 1400 – c. 1460′ (unpublished D.Phil. thesis, University of Oxford, 1997).

By way of introduction, I have explained some of the background in a blogpost. The thesis itself was formed of eight chapters, with an appendix providing just over twenty manuscript description. The appendix is available elsewhere on this site.

One chapter of the thesis is not provided in the attached pdfs; that is chapter V, entitled ‘Carneades’ Legacy: the rhetoric of Pietro del Monte’s humanist and papalist writings’. The reason for its exclusion is that it was, in lightly revised form, published in the English Historical Review, cxvii (2002), pp. 284 – 305. What the published article did not include was the ‘excursus’ to the chapter demonstrating Pietro del Monte’s debt to Poggio in his De vitiorum inter se differentia; that excursus is on-line on this site and is included here.

Another chapter which is provided here needs to be used with caution. Subsequent research by Massimo Zaggia has brought into question one piece of evidence which was fundamental to chapter VI, ‘Present Concerns: Pier Candido Decembrio and translating political philosophy for English audiences’. That piece of evidence was the claim, made in the Duke Humfrey’s Library exhibition of 1988, that BAV, MS. Vat. lat. 10669 was the dedication copy of Decembrio’s translation of Plato’s Republic sent to the duke. Prof. Zaggia has rightly shown that that is unlikely to be the case. Other points in my chapter stand.

I should make a more general point: as will be clear from my research, I have continued to be interested in aspects of the subject. Indeed, I am completing a volume, presently entitled England and the Identity of Italian Renaissance Humanism, c. 1400 – c. 1460 which will revisit issues discussed in some of the chapters of my thesis. The structure of the book is different and covers areas not touched upon in the thesis, while also not addressing as directly the issues of political thought which were one of the main interests of the dissertation. At the same time, some of the arguments of the book will be familiar to readers of this thesis.

Finally, I should explain one mistake in my thesis. Throughout I refer to the duke of Gloucester as ‘Humphrey’. This was a youthful error of which I was cleansed at my viva. One of the first questions Tilly de la Mare asked me was ‘Why do you insist on using ‘ph’ when all the evidence shows that it was spelt with an ‘h’?’ I learnt my lesson.

The main body of the thesis can be accessed as a set of pdfs through the contents page, itself uploaded as a pdf.

The appendix of the thesis can be accessed through the relevant webpage on this site.

In closing, a request: if you consult these chapters or descriptions, please send me an e-mail so I can know of your existence. I will be interested to hear of your work.

5 Responses

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  1. […] access the chapters of the thesis, go the dedicated page on this […]

  2. Clémence Revest said, on 21 January, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Thank you very much! I’ll read it with great interest!

  3. Amanda Daw said, on 8 May, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    First of all, this is such a useful website. I came across your thesis as part of my doctoral research, part of which involves a case study of Abbot Spofford. Until now I have been relying on O’Mara’s work for an understanding of BL MS Harley 2268 but your thesis has given me pause for thought. If you can spare the time I would like to know if you have revisited this manuscript since O’Mara’ published ‘Four Middle English Sermons’, particularly if you have expressed any opinion on its links with St Mary’s Abbey.

  4. bonaelitterae said, on 9 May, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Many thanks, Amanda, for dropping me a line. The short answer is that, no, I have not revisited this manuscript recently — though I realise I should do so at some point. In the meantime, though, I would be interested to hear your own thoughts on this and, if relevant to you, its ‘child’, the Cotton Tiberius ms, sometimes associated with Thomas Bekynton. And good luck with your work!

  5. Amanda Daw said, on 9 May, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I need to attempt some more unravelling before I will have anything remotely sensible to say. My focus is mainly on the vernacular sermons that O’Mara associates with Spofford and St Mary’s Abbey. If she is mistaken, my arguments concerning Spofford’s use of text and imagery will fall apart! In the meantime, I am looking forward to hearing your paper at the Cathedral Libraries Conference in July.


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