Browse results

Restricted Access

Series:

Edited by Robert Sullivan and Arthur E. Walzer

Abstract

is a defense of women as faithful wives and good governors. It was first published in 1540 and is dedicated to Queen Anne, who married Henry in January of that year. The dialogue pits the currish Caninius as misogynist against the open, innocent Candidus, a defender of women. Elyot makes clear that he stands with Candidus. The dialogue is set in Rome under the Emperor Aurelian, whose relatively brief rule from 270–275 included the time when Zenobia, the queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Syria, was held in house arrest in Rome. In the climatic third section of the dialogue, Zenobia joins Candidus and Caninius’ discussion. She describes an education that is modelled after that which Elyot set forth for governors in the Governor. As a result, she was well-prepared to governor, and her governing style conforms to Elyot’s ideals: she reformed the laws, being sure to set an example by observing them first in her own household; she took pains to meet with her subjects by traveling throughout the realm; in the council chamber, she deferred speaking until others expressed their views—all points that resonant with the Elyot’s formation of the ideal governor. In publishing a defense of women as governors, Elyot appears to be advising England that a woman governor may be an eventuality and should not be feared.

Restricted Access

The Defence of Good Woman: Text

With the Editorial Assistance of Emily Gallik

Series:

Edited by Robert Sullivan and Arthur E. Walzer

Abstract

Chapter 10 consists of a modern scholarly edition of The Defence of Good Woman. The text is based on the 1540 first edition and is supplemented by a critical apparatus of variant readings from the 1545 second edition of that text. The text includes extensive notation.

Restricted Access

Series:

Edited by Robert Sullivan and Arthur E. Walzer

Abstract

Elyot’s Doctrinal of Princes is probably the first translation of a text directly from Greek to English. Thus, the work is important to an understanding of the history of translation of Classical texts in England, especially in the context of the humanists’ program. Elyot’s translation is also of interest because it is a translation of Isocrates, who was considered by the humanists as a most important Classical author, in part because his works were often exercises in counseling the prince, as was the case with his To Nicocles, in which Isocrates counsels Nicocles, the Cyprian prince, on his ascendance to the throne. The introduction, then, considers Isocrates’ importance to humanists during the Tudor period and assesses Elyot’s facility as a translator of Isocrates’ Greek.

Restricted Access

Series:

Edited by Robert Sullivan and Arthur E. Walzer

Abstract

Chapter 4 consists of a modern scholarly edition of Doctrinal of Princes. The text is based on the 1540 edition of Elyot’s translation of Isocrates’ To Nicocles and is supplemented by a critical apparatus of variant readings from the very rare 1532 edition of the same text. The text is extensively noted.

Restricted Access

Series:

Edited by Robert Sullivan and Arthur E. Walzer

Abstract

This chapter analyzes Elyot’s theories of rhetoric and of counsel and the relationship between them. In the Governor, Elyot describes rhetoric as both an invaluable skill for the governor and a sophistic art that is a dangerous threat to civil peace. The chapter shows how Elyot reconciled these seemingly contradictory views in the context of counseling the prince. In the Governor, Elyot prescribed norms for counsel and consultation that he thought would enable rhetoric to function as a responsible deliberative art for adjudicating disagreement and discovering the best solution in situations of uncertainty.

Restricted Access

Series:

Edited by Robert Sullivan and Arthur E. Walzer

Abstract

Thomas Elyot (1490–1546), one of the most important humanists of his generation, has recently garnered attention from both historians and literary scholars interested in the role that counseling the prince played in the political culture of the Early Modern period. This volume provides the first modern scholarly editions of four works on counsel by Thomas Elyot: Doctrinal of Princes (1533), Pasquill the Playne (1533), Of That Knowlage Whiche Maketh a Wise Man (1534), and The Defence of Good Women (1540). These works have in common a political concern with educating and counseling the prince and with the moral responsibilities and rhetorical challenges attendant on those roles.

Restricted Access

Series:

Edited by Robert Sullivan and Arthur E. Walzer

Abstract

In Knowlage, which Maketh a Wise Man, Elyot again dramatizes the challenge of giving counsel in an autocratic court. In this case, Elyot chose a famous confrontation between Plato and Dionysius I (432–367 BCE), the so-called “tyrant of Sicily.” Drawing on the version in Diogenes Laertius’ “Life of Plato,” in which Plato, summoned by Dionysius to describe the difference between a tyrant and a good king, answers in a manner that implies that Dionysius is a tyrant. According to the legend, an offended Dionysius banishes Plato from Sicily and has him sold into slavery. Elyot’s dialogue begins on Plato’s return to Athens. Elyot adds to the traditional account the figure Aristippus, a hedonistic philosopher, who functions in the dialogue as a rhetorician. Aristippus challenges Plato’s response as tactless and ill-timed; Plato defends it as appropriate in the context. As a prelude to attempting to come to an agreement, Plato leads Aristippus through a dialectical discussion on the nature of wisdom. When the two agree that knowledge is wisdom only if one acts on what he knows, Plato argues that he had no choice but to enact his philosophy when challenged by Dionysius. Despite Plato’s dialectics, Aristippus does not agree and the dialogue ends with the issue unresolved.

Restricted Access

Of That Knowlage Whiche Maketh a Wise Man: Text

With the editorial assistance of Julia Becker

Series:

Edited by Robert Sullivan and Arthur E. Walzer

Abstract

Chapter 8 consists of a modern scholarly edition of Of That Knowlage, Whiche Maketh a Wise Man: a disputacion Platonike. The text is based on the 1540 second edition and is supplemented by a critical apparatus of variant readings from the 1533 first edition of that text, as well as extensive notation.

Restricted Access

Series:

Edited by Robert Sullivan and Arthur E. Walzer

Abstract

Elyot’s Pasquill the Playne is probably the first English pasquinade. The pasquinade took its name from a tradition that began in 1501 in Rome after students and other wits affixed satiric verses to a statue excavated from the Tiber and named Pasquin. Elyot found in this emergent tradition an appropriate vehicle for his satiric dialogue that opposes the free-speaking, tactless Pasquill to Gnatho, a flatterer, and Harpocrates, a counselor and confessor to the prince who advocates silence as a mode of counsel. Pasquill seems to win the debate but his frank speech (parrēsia) is not welcome and he remains banished from the court. The dialogue thus dramatizes the dilemma of counsel: the impossibility of offering honest, needed advice and surviving to be heard.

Restricted Access

Series:

Edited by Robert Sullivan and Arthur E. Walzer

Abstract

Chapter 6 consists of a modern scholarly edition of Pasquill the Playne, Elyot’s pasquinade in dialogue form. The text is based on the 1540 second printing of the second edition and is supplemented by a critical apparatus of variant readings from both the 1533 first edition and the 1533 first printing of the second edition. The text is extensively notated.