Date of this Version
University of Nebraska Studies November 1945. STUDIES IN THE HUMANITIES NO. 4 PUBLISHED BY THE UNIVERSITY AT LINCOLN, NEBRASKA
While he was still in his middle twenties,2 Harvey distinguished himself at Cambridge as a teacher and one of the University's most accomplished Latinists. He was warmly praised and encouraged by older scholars like William Lewin and Bartholomew Clerke; he inspired the devoted friendship of Edmund Spenser; and he enjoyed the patronage, at one time or another, of statesmen of the eminence of Sir Thomas Smith, Sir Walter Mildmay, Lord Burghley, and the Earl of Leicester. The man whose character and talents were thus admired and commended became one of the most learned scholars of his age and exerted a significant influence upon English letters. But Harvey's claims to serious attention from students of English literature have been too easily disregarded; for these claims are displayed at their best not in the informal pamphlets of his controversy with Nashe but in his less known scholarly writings, which we should also consult for a complete and judicious estimate of the man. The Latin orations which Harvey delivered as lectures in his capacity of Praelector or Professor of Rhetoric at Cambridge University in 1575-76 and published in 1577 under the titles of Ciceronianus and Rhetor are among the most interesting literary documents of the time. They provide not merely a much needed commentary upon Harvey's own character, literary accomplishments, and influence, but one of the best illustrations remaining to us of Elizabethan learned interests and what passed for Latin eloquence among university men at the time when writers like Spenser and Shakspere were finishing their formal education. The extent to which the Latin studies pursued in the schools and universities influenced and formed educated Englishmen of the Renaissance is yet to be fully demonstrated.3 Many of the tools which every English writer of the age of Elizabeth knew and used from his youth up, in getting his literary education-the Latin logics and rhetorics, the phrase books, the pedagogical works of great educators like Sturm and Ramus, as well as such representative accounts as occur in Harvey's rhetoric lectures of the teaching methods and practices that flourished at the universities-are not yet easily available to students of the period. These means were often decisive in shaping the aims and methods of Elizabethan literature. Toward a better understanding of these means, the present edition of Gabriel Harvey's Ciceronianus is especially designed to contribute.