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The Demarcations of “Blotterature” and “Literature” in John Colet’s Latin Prose

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Chapter Summary

The present-day description of the classics curriculum in St. Paul's School, London notes that the school's sixteenth-century founder, Dean Colet, "envisaged a school to teach the classical languages to children of 'all nations and countries', and that today's Paul's maintains a vigorous provision of these subjects. In his distinction between blotterature and literature, Colet placed a premium on the Latin style of early Christian writers because of the combined advantage of Christian content expressed in a humane idiom, qualities which neither the pre-Christian writers nor, as Colet saw it, many medieval Christian writers had in the same combination. In light of some observations, a description of the material elements of Colet's writing style can be made in relation to the distinction he made between blotterature and literature and in the light of his exegetical and epistemological practices. As with Paul's Greek, Colet's Latin style is aptly suited for its purpose.

Keywords: blotterature; Christian content; Colet; Latin style; literature



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