Università di Verona, Italy/Université Paris Ouest-Nanterre, France. Fields of research: History of the education of the elites in France and Europe (16th-18th centuries); intellectual history; cultural history (Europe, 16th-18th centuries)
Latest publications related to history of education:
- ‘Dei pedagoghi a servizio delle élite europee: i maestri d’italiano e di francese nella Francia del Sei e Settecento’, in “Annali di storia dell’educazione”, 20 (2013), pp. 123-132.
- ‘«Litterae» et «arma»: l’aspiration à l’encyclopédisme des premières académies nobiliaires françaises (1598-1612)’, in “Seventeenth-century French Studies”, 34/2 (2012), pp. 133-142.
- ‘Des projets pédagogiques trans-confessionnels au temps des guerres de religion: les gentilshommes huguenots et les premiers desseins d’académies nobiliaires’, in “Bulletin de la Société de l’Histoire du Protestantisme Français”, 158 (2012), pp. 531-542.
- (Forthcoming) Le accademie nobiliari francesi tra progetto e realtà. 1577-1750 circa, Milano, Unicopli.
Studying Vernaculars, Studying in Cernaculars: Modern Languages in the Education of the Élites (France, 17th and 18th Centuries)
In seventeenth and eighteenth-century France (and Europe), the study of vernaculars and invernaculars concerned particularly, although not exclusively, the nobility. On one hand, in the late 16th century, texts revolving around many “noble” disciplines, such as history, moral philosophy, geography, heraldry and fortifications, began being written in modern languages: this allowed noblemen to receive a targeted theoretical education without spending most of their time to learn ancient languages, especially Latin. On the other hand, the members of the elites were supposed to master more than one vernacular, because of their travels and as a part of their court culture. In the 17th and 18th centuries, writings on “noble” subjects were often used to teach foreign languages, by reading and translating them into a different vernacular: young noblemen, either by themselves or with the help of a teacher, could thus simultaneously learnboth the content and how to express it in another language.
In my paper, focused on France, I analyse treatises, memoirs, modern-language manuals, hand-written notebooks and some excerpts from the periodical press of the time with the purpose of reconstructing:
-the use of the French vernacular for “sciences” and the teaching of foreign languages in some French noble academies from the mid-17th century onwards, in particular in the short-lived school founded by Nicolas Legras in the town of Richelieu;
-the progressive definition of a group of multi-subject writers and teachers, who taught French as well as foreign noblemen in vernaculars and, through those vernaculars, acquainted them with all the disciplines that could not be found in traditional institutions, such as “collèges” and universities.