Renaissance and Reformation Guarino da Verona
by
Craig Kallendorf
  • LAST REVIEWED: 04 July 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 May 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0084

Introduction

Guarino da Verona (b. 1374–d. 1460, also known as Guarino Guarini) is one of the better known of the early Italian humanists, primarily because of his work in solidifying the educational theory of the new movement and the curriculum and pedagogical practice of humanistic education. He was also renowned for his knowledge of Greek, which played an important part in the school he ran for approximately twenty-five years in Ferrara. The grammar that he wrote for use in his school has attracted considerable attention, and a number of scholars have recently turned their efforts to the translations he made of the Greek classics. Like many great teachers, he spent more time teaching than writing, but he left a letter collection that has been extensively mined as a source both for his life and for its insights into contemporary culture. Nevertheless, given that a number of his key works lack modern editions and the basic biographies are decades old, Guarino stands out as someone who deserves more scholarly attention than he has received of late.

Biography

Guarino is one of a number of humanists for whom the key biographical works of an increasingly distant past have not been replaced. Verger 1997 and Pistilli 2003 offer a useful orientation, and Garin 1967 goes into somewhat more detail; however, Rosmini 1805–1806, Sabbadini 1891, and Bertoni 1921 remain the fundamental studies. Carbone 1952 presents an interesting contemporary source.

  • Bertoni, Giulo. Guarino da Verona: Fra letterati e cortigiani a Ferrara, 1429–1460. Biblioteca dell’ “Archivum Romanicum,” Serie 1, Storia, letteratura, paleografia 1. Geneva, Switzerland: Olschki, 1921.

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    A detailed study of Guarino’s years in Ferrara, placing his work there into the contexts both of early Italian humanism and of the court culture that supported it. Contains copies of relevant documents as well.

  • Carbone, Ludovico. “Oratio habita in funere . . . Guarini Veronensis.” In Prosatori latini del Quattrocento. Edited by Eugenio Garin, 382–417. Milan: Ricciardi, 1952.

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    A moving eulogy to Guarino by one of his students. An important witness to what his contemporaries valued in his work.

  • Garin, Eugenio. “Guarino Veronese e la cultura a Ferrara.” In Ritratti di umanisti. By Eugenio Garin, 69–106. Florence: Sansoni, 1967.

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    A lively introduction to Guarino that stresses the importance of the culture of Ferrara, the city in which his teaching and scholarship primarily developed.

  • Pistilli, Gino. “Guarini, Guarino (Guarino Veronese, Varino).” In Dizionario biografico degli Italiani. Vol. 60. By Alberto M. Ghisalberti, 357–369. Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 2003.

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    An excellent introductory assessment of Guarino and his work, with an extensive bibliography.

  • Rosmini, Carlo de’. Vita e disciplina di Guarino Veronese e de’ suoi discepoli. 4 vols. Brescia, Italy: Bettoni, 1805–1806.

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    Contains a biography of Guarino in Volumes 1 and 2, followed by biographical sketches of thirty-one individuals closely associated with him in Volume 3. Old, but still worth consulting.

  • Sabbadini, Remigio. Vita di Guarino Veronese. Genoa, Italy: Istituto Sordo-Mutti, 1891.

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    Still the essential treatment of Guarino’s life and works, by one of the great scholars of Italian humanism. Reprinted 1964 in Guariniana, edited by Mario Sancipriano, pp. 1–177 (Turin: Bottega d’Erasmo).

  • Verger, Jacques. “Guarino de Vérone (Guarino Guarini) (1374–1468).” In Centuriae Latinae: Cent une figures humanistes de la Renaissance aux Lumières offertes à Jacques Chomarat. Edited by Colette Nativel, 411–416. Travaux d’humanisme et Renaissance 314. Geneva, Switzerland: Librairie Droz, 1997.

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    A brief overview of the life and works of Guarino, with a basic bibliography. A good introduction.

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