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Renaissance and Reformation Juan Luis Vives
by
Charles Fantazzi, Enrique González González, Víctor Gutiérrez Rodríguez

Introduction

Juan Luis Vives (or Joan Lluís Vives in Catalan) was born into a Jewish converso family in Valencia in 1492, according to the traditional dating as inscribed on his tombstone, and died in 1540. He attended the newly founded University of Valencia and in 1509, after his mother’s death from the plague, set out for Paris to pursue his studies, probably forced into exile to escape persecution by the Inquisition. He studied scholastic logic in Paris, gave private lectures on humanistic subjects, and published some early writings. In 1514, he moved to Flanders, where two years later he met Erasmus at the court of Brussels, a meeting that would change his life. A steady stream of writings issued from his pen during this period, including a huge commentary on Augustine’s City of God, a labor that taxed his strength severely. Through his acquaintance with Thomas More he entered into the good graces of Queen Catherine of Aragon and wrote a treatise on the education of women, dedicated to her. It is an extremely important book, the first systematic study to address, explicitly and exclusively, the universal education of women. Shortly afterward, he wrote the first modern treatise on the relief of the poor and a series of works on pacifism, in the form of letters to monarchs and high-standing prelates, culminating in a long treatise addressed to Charles V, “On Concord and Discord in the Human Race.” In the meantime, his position as the queen’s counselor became perilous as the king’s Great Matter progressed. Returning to Bruges, he produced a huge work in twenty books, De disciplinis, a comprehensive critical review of all learning and the state of the academic disciplines in his time. This was followed by a supplementary work on rhetoric and a penetrating and original treatise on human emotions, which investigated the operations and functions of the soul. His perceptive analysis later earned him the title of father of modern psychology. Vives remained a faithful disciple of Erasmus, with whom he shared views on such matters as the love of the classical languages, pacifism, and the aspiration to a learned personal piety rather than external show. Among Vives’s last works was a handbook of private prayers intended for the laity. Juan Luis Vives was a towering figure of the Renaissance, a man of immense learning, integrity, and originality, yet he still remains very little known, even to the scholarly world.

Bibliographies

Since the early 1990s, there have been a good number of bibliographies of Vives, and, as of 2012, professors Enrique González González and Víctor Gutiérrez Rodríguez are engaged in compiling an inventory of all the unknown printed editions of his works, as part of a vast panorama of the reception of Vives through the centuries. The exhibitions and catalogues of Paris in 1941 (Estelrich 1942) and of Leuven in 1993 (Tournoy, et al. 1993) are excellent partial views of Vives’s writings. Except for a brief bibliography, Noreña 1990, there has hardly been anything in English. Five years after Vives’s death and ten years before the publication of his complete works, Gesner 1545 listed an almost complete list of his works. Palau y Dulcet 1976 provides a very copious and detailed listing; Estelrich 1942 and Tournoy 1993, the latter more fully, give an exemplary account of the Vives holdings of the Bibliothèque Nationale and Leuven University Library, respectively. Calero and Sala 2000 is the most complete to date; González y González and Gutiérrez Rodríguez 1999 is a marvelous description, with photographs, of the first editions of Vives, and González y González, et al. 1992 is an exhaustive census of the editions of the popular Linguae latinae exercitatio.

  • Calero, Francisco, and Daniel Sala. Bibliografía sobre Luis Vives. Valencia, Spain: Ajuntament de Valencia, 2000.

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    The most complete bibliography available, with 2,196 entries grouped by subject. This thematic organization results in repeated citations.

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  • Estelrich, Joan. Vivès: Exposition organisée à la Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, Janvier–Mars 1941. Dijon, France: Darantière, 1942.

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    Annotated catalogue of an exhibition of about five hundred books, all from the Bibliothèque Nationale and other Parisian libraries, written either by Vives or contemporaries of his.

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  • Gesner, Conrad. Bibliotheca universalis. Zurich, Switzerland: Christoph Froschauer, 1545.

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    First catalogue of Vives’s works, which appeared shortly after his death, executed with great accuracy, pp. 430-431.

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  • González y González, Enrique, Albiñana, Salvador, and Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Víctor, eds. Edicions princeps. Valencia, Spain: Universitat de València-Generalitat Valenciana, 1992.

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    Inventory and description of all the first editions and revised editions of Vives’s works. It carefully investigates the question of when each work was published for the first time. The book is beautifully produced with reproductions of title pages; some in color, others in black and white.

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  • González y González, Enrique, and Víctor Gutiérrez Rodríguez. Los diálogos de Vives y la imprenta: Fortuna de un manual escolar renacentista (1539–1994). Valencia, Spain: Institució Alfons el Magnànim, 1999.

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    A critical census of 601 editions of Vives’s Linguae latinae exercitatio, known popularly as Diálogos, most of which were inspected personally by the authors in libraries throughout Europe, the first of three projected volumes to provide an inventory of all of the editions of Vives.

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  • Noreña, Carlos G. A Vives Bibliography. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 1990.

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    Organized by century, good for its repertory of non-Spanish publications, especially from the 1970s and 1980s; numerous errors in the older works. Bibliographical essay, informative but scattered.

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  • Palau y Dulcet, Antonio. Manual del librero hispano-americano. Vol. 27. Barcelona: Libreria anticuaria de Antonio Palau, 1976.

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    Contains 416 entries. It is valued for its richness of sources, which, however, are not always reported exactly. Though intended as a manual of and for booksellers, and despite its disorderliness, it is of great interest for the rare items it records. See pp. 392–436.

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  • Tournoy, Gilbert, Jan Roegiers, and Christian Coppens. Vives te Leuven. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press, 1993.

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    A catalogue with excellent running commentary on an exhibition of the Vives holdings of the Centrale Bibliotheek of the University of Leuven, together with contributions from the faculties of letters and theology and from the library of Kortrijk.

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Vives’s Works

After Erasmus’s death, Basel became the publishing center of Vives’s works. The Episcopius Opera (Episcopius and Parcus 1555) is still unsurpassed. The monumental edition of Mayans (Mayans y Siscar and Antonio 1964) is serviceable, although it contains a number of errors. It is the only edition of all of Vives’s works that is readily available, especially in North America, through the Gregg reprint. The Brill series, Matheeussen, et al. 1987–, is a very promising successor to these early editions in the publication of critical editions of single works. Other critical editions are appearing from Spanish publishers, especially the Ajuntament of the city of Valencia, with introductory studies and translations into Spanish. It is hoped that the current Valencia project of the Opera omnia (Pérez Durà and Estellés González 1992–2010) will proceed regularly in homage to its native son. Both de Vocht and Cranevelt 1928 and IJsewijn, et al. 1992 are of great importance for the further light they shed on Vives’s life through his letters.

  • de Vocht, Henry, and Cranevelt, Francis. Literae virorum eruditorum ad Franciscum Craneveldium 1522–1528. Louvain, Belgium: Librairie universitaire, 1928.

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    A collection of previously unpublished letters to the Flemish jurist Franz van Cranevelt, forty-eight of which were from Vives. Because they are private letters not intended for publication, they provide great insight into Vives’s character.

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  • Episcopius, Nicolaus, and Ioannes Parcus, eds. Io. Lodovici Vivis Valentini Opera. 2 vols. Basel, Switzerland: Nikolaus Episcopius, 1555.

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    The editors did not include the De operibus Aristotelis censura, the short essay Veritas fucata, and the Commentarii ad divi Aurelii Augustini De civitate Dei.

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  • IJsewijn, Jozef, Tournoy, Gilbert, Sacré, D., IJsewijn-Jacobs, Line, and Mund-Dopchie, Monique. “Litterae ad Craneveldium Balduinianae: A Preliminary Edition: 1: Letters 1–30.” Humanistica Lovaniensia 41 (1992): 1–85.

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    Also see 2: Letters 31–55 (Humanistica Lovaniensia 42 [1993]: 2–51); 3: Letters 56–85 (Humanistica Lovaniensia 43 [1994]: 15–68); 4: Letters 86–116 (Humanistica Lovaniensia 44 [1995]: 1–78). A trove of letters addressed to Cranevelt were rescued from auction at Sotheby’s in 1992 by the intervention of Professor IJsewijn, with funds from the King Baudouin Foundation. This packet contains more than thirty letters from Vives written in the years 1520–1522.

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  • Matheeussen, Constantinus, Fantazzi, Charles, and George, Edward V., eds. Selected Works of J. L. Vives. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1987–.

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    This series publishes a critical text of each work, with English translation, introduction, and commentary. Eight volumes have been published thus far and two are in preparation.

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  • Mayans y Siscar, Gregorio, and Juan Antonio, eds. Ioannis Ludovici Vivis Valentini Opera omnia. Facsimile edition. London: Gregg, 1964.

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    This is the most available edition of the complete works of Vives. It is a reprint of the original edition (Valencia, Spain: Benito Montfort, 1782–1790) and is based on the Basel edition, once again omitting the commentary on the City of God; contains a considerable number of typographical and editorial errors.

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  • Pérez Durà, F. Jorge, and José María Estellés González, eds. Ioannis Lodovici Vivis Valentini Opera omnia: Commentarii ad divi Aureli Augustini De civitate Dei. Vols. 2–5. Valencia, Spain: Edicions Alfons el Magnànim, 1992–2010.

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    Regrettably, the editors chose to print Vives’s important commentary together with the latest Teubner edition of Augustine’s text, instead of using the text that Vives himself devised from the sources available to him. This results in a less than satisfactory beginning of this ambitious project.

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Biographies

Mayans y Siscar 1782 is valuable for its information on Vives’s youth in Valencia but is deficient in its reporting of his later years in Paris, Louvain, Oxford, and Bruges. Some of this imprecision, especially concerning his stay in Louvain, was rectified in Namèche 1841. Watson 1922 is a romanticized, popular account of Vives’s life. Noreña 1970, a biography written by a self-exiled Spaniard who taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz, rescued Vives from his portrayal as an ultraconservative, pious scholar by Spanish biographers who were influenced by the oracular Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo. Bonilla y San Martín 1929 is still valuable for its abundant annotation. González y González 1987 has become the undisputed authority in the biography and printing history of Vives. Guy 1972 is a diminutive volume with fifty-four pages of brief excerpts from Vives’s works and exiguous commentary. Fantazzi 2004 is an up-to-date, brief biography.

  • Bonilla y San Martín, Adolfo. Luis Vives y la filosofía del Renacimiento. Madrid: Nueva Biblioteca Filosófica, 1929.

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    Constituted the chief reference work for Vives for half a century. It is divided into three parts: a biography, a philosophy of Vives, and a bibliography. Bonilla, heavily influenced by his mentor, Menéndez y Pelayo, tended to see Vives more as a precursor of Kant, Bacon, and the Scottish school of common sense than as a philosopher in his own right. It was first published in 1903 (Madrid: Imprenta del Asilo de Huérfanos).

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  • Fantazzi, Charles. “Vives, Juan Luis.” In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 56. Edited by Matthew, H. C. G. and Harrison, Brian, 569–572. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

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    A brief biography of Vives, emphasizing his English connections, especially his teaching at Corpus Christi in Oxford and his association with famous English humanists of the day, such as Cuthbert Tunstall, William Linacre, and Thomas More.

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  • González y González, Enrique. Joan Lluís Vives de la escolástica al humanismo. Valencia, Spain: Generalitat Valenciana, 1987.

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    An epoch-making book in the biography and works of Vives, illuminating his early days in Valencia as well as his stay in Paris. Based on the author’s astounding discovery in the University Library of Utrecht of a 1514 edition of Vives’s writings, the book illustrates the transition of Vives’s thought and style from scholasticism to humanism.

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  • Guy, Alan. Vivès ou l’humanisme engagé. Paris: Seghers, 1972.

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    A slight contribution to the biography of Vives, meant for the general reading public. It views Vives from a postconciliar, progressive Catholic perspective.

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  • Mayans y Siscar, Gregorio. Vita Vivis: Ioannis Ludovici Vivis Valentini Opera omnia. Vol. 1. Valencia, Spain: Benito Monfort, 1782.

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    This is the first extensive biography of Vives, amounting to 220 pages, written in Latin for a wider audience. It contains a great variety of information, some of which is not always trustworthy, and is replete with tedious digressions, but still of interest.

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  • Namèche, Alexandre-Joseph. Mémoire sur sa vie et les écrits de Jean-Louis Vivès. Brussels: Académie royale de Bruxelles, 1841.

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    The first modern biography of Vives. It organized materials found in Mayans y Siscar 1782 and added information about Louvain during the time of Vives.

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  • Noreña, Carlos G. Juan Luis Vives. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1970.

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    A revolutionary biography that reveals truths about Vives that had been covered up previously in Spanish biographies with a chauvinistic and apologetic bias: the trials he faced as a converso, his great independence of mind, and his affinities to Northern humanism. Noreña later published a Spanish version of the book (Madrid: Ediciones Paulinas, 1978), which did not have the impact of the original English version.

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  • Watson, Foster. Luis Vives, el gran Valenciano. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1922.

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    Watson was a professor of education at the University of Aberstwyth in Wales, who “rediscovered” Vives and introduced him to the English-speaking public. The book is in English, and the title is derived from a name by which Vives was known, according to the author.

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Collections of Papers

The Wolfenbüttel papers contain essays in German, English, and French on a broad number of subjects, beginning with Buck 1981, an essay on Vives’s views of humanistic scholarship. To mention but a few others, Jozef IJsewijn from the Catholic University of Leuven makes a plea for a critical edition of all of Vives’s works (see IJsewijn and Losada 1986), and the Jesuit scholar Miguel Batllori (Batllori 1987) gives an aperçu of the Renaissance in Aragon and Catalonia to provide a background for Vives’s contribution. Europalia, a Belgian-sponsored cultural organization aimed at making the history of Europe better known, dedicated its first meeting, Europalia 1985, to Spain. Vives was aptly chosen as the topic, a historical figure representing both Belgium and Spain. The themes were very diverse, on political, literary, philosophical, and historical subjects. Sáinz Rodríguez 1977 puts a new emphasis on Vives as a promoter of classical studies, studia humanitatis. Mestre Sanchis 1992 is an introductory volume to the new Valencia Opera omnia of Vives, with articles on various aspects of his writings; the first one is by Antonio Mestre Sanchis on the spirituality of Vives. Fantazzi 2008 contains a general introductory essay followed by eight lengthy essays on major works of Vives.

  • Batllori, Miguel. “Las obras de Luis Vives en los colegios jesuíticos europeos del siglo XVI.” In Humanismo y Renacimiento: Estudios hispano-europeos. Edited by Miguel Batllori, 124–149. Barcelona: Ariel, 1987.

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    Batllori chronicles the attitudes of the Jesuits toward Vives, beginning with Loyola himself, how Vives’s name was usually linked with that of Erasmus, and the widespread use of his Exercitatio linguae latinae in Jesuit schools, as far away as Goa, for the teaching of Latin.

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  • Buck, August, ed. Juan Luis Vives: Arbeitsgespräch in der Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel vom 6. bis 8. November 1980. Hamburg, Germany: Hauswedell, 1981.

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    Published versions of fourteen conferences, by a group of international scholars on various aspects of Vives’s career and writings.

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  • Fantazzi, Charles, ed. A Companion to Juan Luis Vives. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2008.

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    An aggiornamento of scholarship on Vives’s life and works. A team of specialists contributed essays on the life and reception of Vives; his social and political thought; his magnum opus De disciplinis; his contribution to rhetoric and psychology; and his apologetic work on the Christian faith.

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  • IJsewijn, Jozef, and Ángel Losada, eds. Erasmus in Hispania, Vives in Belgio. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 1986.

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    This first in a series of Colloquia Europalia features articles in Spanish and French on Vives’s idea of Europe, his De subventione pauperum, the study of his works in Jesuit schools, and the frequent references to the New World in his works.

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  • Mestre Sanchis, Antonio. Ioannis Lodovici Vivis Valentini Opera omnia. Vol. 1, Volumen introductorio. Valencia, Spain: Edicions Alfons el Magnànim, 1992.

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    Papers on various aspects of Vives’s life and works, intended as an introduction to a prospective collection of critical editions of all of Vives’s works. The topics include philology, rhetoric, pedagogy, law, theology, and social and political thought. Essays in Spanish and English.

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  • Sáinz Rodríguez, Pedro. Homenaje a Luis Vives: Ponencias leídas en el VI Congreso Internacional de Estudios Clásicos, celebrado en Madrid del 2 al 6 de septiembre de 1974. Madrid: Fundación Universitaria Española, 1977. Sixth International Congress of Classical Studies held in Madrid in 1974.

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    A selection of papers on Vives from the Sixth International Congress of Classical Studies held in Madrid in 1974. Here, Vives is seen from a more international point of view as a Neo-Latin author rather than as a champion of Spanish learning.

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Language, Rhetoric, and Philosophy

Vives made his name, one might say, through the virulent attack he launched against the scholastic logicians in Paris in 1519, which drew the high praise both of Erasmus and More. Guerlac 1979 provides texts, translations, and commentary of the work. Vives continued this attack in one section of the De disciplinis, which is discussed in Vasoli’s 1968 chapter. Del Nero 1991 gives a penetrating analysis of that work in all of its aspects. Casini 2009 explicates Vives’s brand of skepticism, which is discernible in the De disciplinis. Noreña 1990 makes a very useful contribution to Vives scholarship both in translating and commenting on the third book of De anima et vita, which is a kind of appendage to Aristotle’s De anima. Vives discusses rhetoric in eleven of his published works, as Peter Mack points out in his article (Mack 2008), but did not write a formal treatise until the end of his life. Vives’s book De ratione dicendi did not replace the standard manuals because it was too revolutionary in character. Rodríguez Peregrina 2000, with its comprehensive introduction, is an important addition to our knowledge of Vives’s concept of rhetoric. George 1992 gives a fine synopsis of the evolution of Vives’s ideas on the subject. Mack 2008 emphasizes the originality of Vives both in dialectic and rhetoric.

  • Casini, Lorenzo. “Self-Knowledge, Scepticism and the Quest for a New Method: Juan Luis Vives in Cognition and the Impossibility of Perfect Knowledge.” In Renaissance Scepticisms. Edited by Gianni Paganini, 33–60. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2009.

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    Investigates the skepticism discussed by Vives about the possibility of attaining certain rational knowledge and his place among different currents of skepticism.

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  • Del Nero, Valerio. Linguaggio e filosofia in Vives: L’organizzazione del sapere nel “De disciplinis” (1531). Bologna, Italy: CLUEB, 1991.

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    Examines the structure of the work in its totality, addressing also the later De ratione dicendi which Vives intended as a supplement to De disciplinis. Views Vives’s pedagogy in the light of his philosophy of language, which he shared with various Italian and Northern humanists.

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  • George, Edward V. “Rhetoric in Vives.” In Ioannis Lodovici Vivis Valentini Opera omnia. Vol. 1, Volumen introductorio. Edited by Antonio Mestre Sanchis, 113–177. Valencia, Spain: Edicions Alfons el Magnànim, 1992.

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    Chronological survey of Vives’s rhetorical theory, usage, and pedagogy. Best essay on this subject in English.

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  • Guerlac, Rita, ed. Juan Luis Vives against the Pseudodialecticians: A Humanist Attack on Medieval Logic. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Reidel, 1979.

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    In addition to Vives’s text, Guerlac also prints excerpts from other Vives works, from Thomas More, and from Gaspar Lax, Vives’s teacher of logic. She also provides a good discussion of the terminist logic then being taught in Paris.

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  • Mack, Peter. “Vives’ Contributions to Rhetoric and Dialectic.” In A Companion to Juan Luis Vives. Edited by Charles Fantazzi, 227–276. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2008.

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    Of the two disciplines of rhetoric and dialectic, Mack sees Vives more as an innovator in rhetoric but also perceives a new and unified synthesis of the two in his various works. A very illuminating essay.

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  • Noreña, Carlos G. Juan Luis Vives and the Emotions. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1989.

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    A commentary on the third book of De anima et vita, which is an analysis of the emotions. Noreña also relates its contents to the first two books, thus giving a complete picture of Vives’s psychology. He places Vives in a tradition that extends from Aristotle to the Stoics and the fathers of the church to Saint Thomas, but he omits the Italian humanists and his own contemporaries.

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  • Noreña, Carlos G. The Passions of the Soul: The Third book of De anima et vita. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 1990.

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    Vives’s treatise on the emotions has no counterpart in Aristotle’s De anima. He is not so much interested in speculative questions as in the observation of sensible actions and passions, the operation of the soul rather than abstract definitions.

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  • Rodríguez Peregrina, Manuel, José, ed. Del arte de hablar. Granada, Spain: Universidad de Granada, 2000.

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    Critical edition of Vives’s De ratione dicendi, based on the editio princeps, Louvain, Belgium, 1533, with translation into Spanish and a thematic introduction of 127 pages on Vives’s rhetorical works and the classical traditions of rhetoric.

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Education

After Erasmus, Vives is the greatest name in the history of education in the 16th century. As for women’s education, he is far and away the chief authority. A critical edition of his De institutione feminae christianae, in two volumes, is provided in the Fantazzi and Matheeussen 1996 and Fantazzi and Matheeussen 1998 publications in the Brill series of Selected Works of J. L. Vives. In the English version published in the highly successful series The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe (Chicago University Press), Fantazzi 2000 dwells more in the introduction on other treatises for and against women published in Spain at that time and on subsequent translations into various languages. The early English version by Richard Hyrde was very important in the Tudor and Elizabethan tradition of conduct books (see Beauchamp, et al.2002). The Linguae latinae exercitatio, Vives’s popular Latin text for schoolboys, is now available in García Ruiz 2005, a splendid critical edition with rich commentary. Sinz 1963 remains one of the best essays on Vives’s ideas on the reform of learning. Watson 1908 is an English adaptation, set in the Tudor age, rather than a translation of Vives’s Latin dialogues. Fantazzi 1989 is the only modern, fully annotated edition and translation of Vives’s important treatise on letter writing. Del Nero has published his indispensable translation (Del Nero 2011) of the De tradendis disciplinis.

  • Beauchamp, Virginia Walcott, Elizabeth H. Hageman, and Margaret Mikesell, eds. The Instruction of a Christen Woman. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2002.

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    An edition of the translation of Vives’s work by Richard Hyrde, a member of Thomas More’s household, first printed in 1529. A very fine introduction traces the history of this Tudor text in eight succeeding 16th-century editions that reflect the social, religious, and political changes of each period in the evolution of the text.

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  • Del Nero, Valerio, ed. L’insegnamento delle discipline. Florence: Leo Olschki Editore, 2011.

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    In this latest of Del Nero’s publications on Vives, we have at last a superlative translation into a modern language of the second section of the De disciplinis on the transmission of the various disciplines of learning, and for the first time a complete annotation of the multitudinous sources cited by Vives, without which one cannot appreciate the immense erudition of the work. This is followed by Vives’s chapter on the life and morals of the teacher.

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  • Fantazzi, Charles, ed. De conscribendis epistolis. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1989.

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    Among the numerous Renaissance treatises on the epistolary art, so important a subject of study at that time, Vives’s essay easily occupies second place after that of Erasmus, which is much more exhaustive. Vives’s piece is a convenient summation of Renaissance views of the art of letter writing.

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  • Fantazzi, Charles, ed. The Education of a Christian Woman: A Sixteenth-Century Manual. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

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    This is a slightly revised translation of the Leiden publication, with a longer introduction on the circumstances surrounding the composition of the work, the sources, and the cultural background of Vives’s treatise.

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  • Fantazzi, Charles, and Constantinus Matheeussen, eds. De institutione feminae christianae liber primus. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1996.

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    This and Fantazzi and Matheeussen 1998 are critical editions of Vives’s revised second version of the work, first published in 1538, accompanied by a double critical apparatus of variants and sources, facing English translation and notes. The first volume concerns young, unmarried women.

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  • Fantazzi, Charles, and Constantinus Matheeuusen, eds. De institutione feminae christianae liber secundus et liber tertius. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1998.

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    Here, Vives gives advice to married women (in the second book) and to widows (in the third). It is rather striking that, in contrast with the church’s usual teaching, he considers mutual companionship, rather than procreation, as the chief goal of marriage.

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  • García Ruiz, Pilar, ed. Los diálogos (Linguae latinae exercitatio). Pamplona, Spain: Ediciones de la Universidad de Navarra, 2005.

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    Critical text, Spanish translation, notes, and full introduction to the theme of this effective pedagogical treatise, which was a bestseller in its day, gradually replacing Erasmus’s Colloquies, which were too difficult for young students of Latin.

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  • Sinz, William. “The Elaboration of Vives’s Treatise on the Arts.” Studies in the Renaissance 10 (1963): 68–90.

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    In this early essay, before the “rediscovery” of Vives, Sinz shows great insight into the formation of Vives’s career and the composition of De disciplinis. It is the best essay on Vives in English published before Noreña’s biography.

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  • Watson, Foster. Tudor School-Boy Life: The Dialogues of Juan Luis Vives. London: J. M. Dent, 1908.

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    This dated book of the Welsh pedagogue Foster Watson is often cited as a true translation of Vives’s Linguae latinae exercitatio. But this is misleading, because it is only a brief summary of the dialogues, which are transferred to schoolboy scenes in Tudor England, as per the title, and it makes many gratuitous connections with English textbooks of the time.

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Vives and Society

For Vives, the basis of the whole social order resided in concord: concord of man with himself, concord with his fellow citizens and the magistrates, and concord among nations. On the contrary, discord and war were at the root of every social breakdown. Poverty was viewed as essentially a lack of solidarity with one’s fellow men. Vives was very interested in the primitive life of Homo sapiens and the beginnings of civilization, which he reflects upon in various works. Far from being a recluse or misanthrope, Vives reveals himself as a thinker concerned about his immediate environment and the political vicissitudes of his time. Although he was a member of the Emperor Charles’s court in Brussels and was retained as a kind of honorary counselor of the emperor, his principal occupation consisted of trying to establish peace among Christian princes, who were occupied in interminable wars, and among all Christians, who were torn apart by fratricidal struggles as a result of the various reform movements. Above all, as many authors have emphasized, Vives was a pacifist.

Vives and the Poor

As a converso living in a foreign land, Vives had a difficult life and could understand the condition of those who found themselves on the fringes of society. His treatise on the relief of the poor is one of his most important works, and it had great influence in regulations for the poor that were prescribed in various cities in Flanders. He shows great humanity to those who were truly in need, but he was severe with feigned beggars and the indolent. Matheeussen and Fantazzi 2002 provides a much-needed critical text of this important text, with full critical apparatus, translation, and notes; Del Nero 2008 contributes a superb Italian translation and commentary; Tello Brugal 2009 supplies a fluent translation into Vives’s own tongue, Catalan, with full commentary; and Bataillon 1952 gives a lucid, brilliant analysis of the work in a little known essay. Zeller 2006 argues cogently for the profound Jewish roots of Vives’s treatise.

  • Bataillon, Marcel. “Luis Vivès, réformateur de la bienfaisance.” Bibliothèque d’humanisme et Renaissance 14 (1952): 141–158.

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    An excellent article, in which the great French scholar stresses that Vives was in sympathy with the mercantile bourgeois spirit of Bruges in his plan to solve the problems of poverty but did not wish to secularize poor relief altogether.

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  • Del Nero, Valerio, ed. L’aiuto ai poveri. Rome: Fabrizio Serra Editore, 2008.

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    An excellent translation into Italian, with ample introduction treating the problem of poverty and the welfare state, and with citations from many eminent modern sociologists.

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  • Matheeussen, Constantinus, and Charles Fantazzi, eds. De subventione pauperum sive de humanis necessitatibus libri II. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2002.

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    A landmark in the history of the relief of the poor. Vives wrote this text at the behest of the administration of the city of Bruges. It consists of two books: the first is a theoretical, thoroughly Christian treatise on the human condition, man’s needs, in particular, and the necessity of mutual assistance; the second is an astonishingly modern practical program on how to deal with the needs of the poor.

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  • Tello Brugal, Joan, ed. and trans. L’assistència als pobres: De subventione pauperum. Barcelona: Llibre de l’index, 2009.

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    The first translation of this work into Catalan, based on the Matheeussen-Fantazzi text. It is a fluent and faithful translation, accompanied by historical, philosophical, and linguistic notes, and preceded by an annotated chronology of Vives’s life and a genealogical tree of his family.

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  • Zeller, Susanne. Juan Luis Vives (1492–1540): (Wieder)Entdeckung eines Europäers Humanisten und Sozialreformers jüdischer Herkunft im Schatten der spanischen Inquisition. Freiburg-im-Breisgau, Germany: Lambertus Verlag, 2006.

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    An approach to Vives’s De subventione pauperum, by a professor of social work who brings to her analysis the knowledge of the rabbinical writings, Talmudian precepts, and the views of the medieval Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides. An appendix includes a German translation of the work extant in an anonymous typed manuscript in the library of the Caritas society for the poor in Freiburg, dated 31 December 1924.

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Political Writings

At a certain point in his life, Vives was caught up in the turmoil of war and civil strife. He wrote several open letters, so to speak; the first was to Pope Adrian VI on the tumultuous state of Europe, and he subsequently wrote to Henry VIII and John Longland, bishop of Lincoln. Vives had more success with his letter to the Emperor Charles V on concord and discord. Calero, et al. 1999 is a good compilation of Spanish translations of Vives’s pleas for peace. Fernández-Santamaría 1998 provocatively discusses Vives’s political and pacifist ideas, from a broad philosophical perspective. Curtis 2008 is a very original view of the English background of Vives’s pacifist writings.

  • Calero, Francisco,Echarte, M. José,Arribas, M. Luisa, and Usábel, M. Pilar, eds. and trans. Obras políticas y pacifistas. Biblioteca de autores españoles 304. Madrid: Atlas, 1999.

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    General introduction situating the various works in their historical setting. Translations, by various hands, of Vives’s letters to Pope Adrian VI, Henry VIII, and John Longland, the bishop of Lincoln and confessor of the king, pleading for peace. Also includes translations of De concordia et discordia and De pacificatione, a Lucianic dialogue of the dead that is set in the underworld concerning the Turkish menace.

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  • Curtis, Catherine. “The Social and Political Thought of Juan Luis Vives: Concord and Counsel in the Christian Commonwealth.” In A Companion to Juan Luis Vives. Edited by Charles Fantazzi, 113–176. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2008.

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    A hitherto-little-examined aspect of Vives: the development of his concepts of peace in relation to the writings and diplomatic milieu of the English and Erasmian humanists and their Italian precursors.

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  • Fernández-Santamaría, José Antonio. The Theater of Man: J. L. Vives on Society. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1998.

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    A study of Vives’s Fabula de homine, in which man is presented on the stage of the universe as a spectacle to the gods. Fernández-Santamaría gives a philosophical and political exegesis of this scene, emphasizing the importance of the arts for the proper functioning of society and also of charity as the principal bond of society.

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Vives and Law

Vives tells us that as a young boy his maternal uncle, Enric March, a lawyer who had studied in Bologna, taught him the rudiments of the Justinian code. As a youth, Vives wrote several short pieces on the subject of law and continued to manifest interest in it throughout his life. Matheeussen 1984 makes available two hitherto-neglected texts of great interest. His edition is a model of clarity and precision. Monzón i Arazo 1992 is the only authoritative essay to have been written on Vives’s juridical ideas.

  • Matheeussen, Constantinus, ed. Praefatio in leges Ciceronis et Aedes legum. Leipzig: Teubner Verlag, 1984.

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    A preface (written in Latin), in which Vives claims that law is a subject also for philosophers. Vives is more concerned here with the spirit, rather than the letter, of the law, as opposed to the technical formalities of medieval law.

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  • Monzón i Arazo, August. “Humanismo y derecho en Joan Lluís Vives.” In Ioannis Lodovici Vivis Valentini Opera omnia, Vol. 1, Volumen introductorio. Edited by Mestre Sanchis, Antonio, 263–316. Valencia, Spain: Edicions Alfons el Magnànim, 1992.

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    Utilizing various texts of Vives’s, Monzón situates Vives’s thought in the context of the dispute between scholastic and humanist jurists. He sees Vives as a philosopher who concerned himself with law in the larger context of equity with all its political and social implications.

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Vives and the Inquisition

Américo Castro was the first, in his book La realidad histórica de España (1954), to point out the converso origins of Vives, but it was not until ten years later, with the publication of the inquisitorial trials in Pinta Llorente and Palacio y de Palacio 1964, that the awful truth about what befell his parents was verified. The verbatim transcript (in Catalan) of his mother, Blanquina March, is reported in the first volume. Vives’s father and many other members of his family were burned at the stake. González y González 1998 gives a well-documented and vividly narrated description of the methods of the Inquisitional trials in Valencia and elsewhere in Spain. García 1987 is the best account of the vicissitudes of Vives’s family, persecuted by the Inquisition.

  • García, Angelina. Els Vives: Una família de jueus valencians. Valencia, Spain: Eliseu Climent, 1987.

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    Provides genealogies of Vives’s Jewish ancestors. It would have been useful to include the publication of the documents themselves rather than just excerpts. The book and excerpts are all in Catalan.

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  • González y González, Enrique. “Vives: Un humanista judeoconverso en el exilio de Flandes.” In The Expulsion of the Jews and Their Emigration to the Southern Low Countries (15th and 16th c.). Edited by Luc Duqueker and Werner Verbeke, 35–81. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press, 1998.

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    González gives us a riveting exposé of the condition of life of a converso under Ferdinand and Isabella, especially in the city of Valencia, which drove Vives into forced exile. He describes in detail the impact made on the Spanish public by the publication of the Inquisition trials.

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  • Llorente Pinta, Miguel de la, and Palacio y de Palacio, José María de, eds. Procesos inquisitoriales contra la familia judía de Juan Luis Vives. Vol. 1, Proceso contra Blanquina March, madre del humanista. Madrid and Barcelona: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Instituto Arias Montano, 1964.

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    Paleographic transcription of the trials.

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Reception

Much has been achieved up to the present with the goal of the rediscovery of Vives and the historical significance of his person in the framework of the Northern Renaissance. As new critical editions appear, new translations of his works are published in various languages, and new studies of his works and his influence are released, Vives will recover in the collective memory the place he occupied among his contemporaries, alongside figures such as Erasmus, Budé, and Thomas More. Moreno Gallego 2006 is a magisterial account of the diffusion and reception of Vives in Europe and America. González y González and Gutiérrez Rodríguez 2007 is the fruit of twenty years of investigation in libraries worldwide, an incredible combination of bibliography and history of the reception of Vives. González y González 2008 is a much-abbreviated version of the previous work, with sections on the fortune of Vives’s works in various countries.

  • González y González, Enrique. “Fame and Oblivion.” In A Companion to Juan Luis Vives. Edited by Charles Fantazzi, 359–413. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2008.

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    A succinct, informative account of the reception of Vives through the centuries in Europe and North America.

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  • González y González, Enrique, and Víctor Gutiérrez Rodríguez. Una república de lectores: Difusión y recepción de la obra de Juan Luis Vives. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2007.

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    While Moreno Gallego focuses on Spain and the reception of his works primarily through the analysis of manuscript sources (Moreno Gallego 2006), González and Gutiérrez propose a global vision of how the works of Vives were diffused by means of the printing press, giving attention also to the commentaries they inspired in other authors.

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  • Moreno Gallego, Valentín. La recepción hispana de Juan Luis Vives. Valencia, Spain: Generalitat Valenciana, 2006.

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    A beautifully written book of vast erudition, introducing voluminous new material discovered in a dozen Spanish archives and the principal Spanish libraries. It was awarded the prestigious Premio Rivadeneyra by the Royal Spanish Academy.

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LAST MODIFIED: 06/26/2012

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195399301-0113

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