Professor Sarah Knight (University of Leicester):

Surge, age surge: the Latin Writing of London Students’

November 23, 5.00-6:30 p.m.

The Lecture Room, Westminster School, Little Dean’s Yard, London SW1P 3PF

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, every author who went on to write in English studied Latin at school, learning how to compose, imitate, translate, declaim and debate: academic success fundamentally rested on a student’s facility and confidence in using and understanding Latin. I will consider how textbook marginalia, institutional poetry anthologies and published orations all help illuminate how Latin was taught and which aspects of language-learning were particularly encouraged. My exploration of London student life will include the two prominent early seventeenth-century examples of George Herbert, who attended Westminster School, and John Milton, who studied at St Paul’s School. Both Herbert and Milton then became undergraduates at Cambridge, and the subject of educational experience continued to be of interest to them both in their Latin and subsequent vernacular writing.

This talk will examine how young men educated in London during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries represented their Latin education, in works written both while they were still students and after they had left the institutions of learning. I will show how their imaginative and intellectual formation and Latin writing were shaped by the places where they studied, by the people who taught them, and by the powerful courtiers, politicians and scholars who had influenced the institutions they attended. Humanist schools offered many writers the chance to conduct their first literary experiments in this institutionally mediated language, and the move from school to university encouraged them to further develop their Latin-speaking voices.

If you would like to attend, please register here by 19 November 2018: