Erasmus Seminar: Erasmus and the Uses of Declamation

Thursday 23 Feb 2023, 15:00 - 17:00

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Eric MacPhail 2022

The Erasmus of Rotterdam Research Centre (ERRC) regularly organizes the so-called Erasmus Seminars, where we bring together academics who have an interest in Erasmus from their research. The content of the seminars is diverse, from discussions on recent publications to extensive lectures. On behalf of the ERRC, we cordially invite you to the upcoming seminar on Thursday, February 23rd, 2023. During this meeting Eric MacPhail (Indiana University Bloomington) will join us online from the U.S.A. to give a seminar on Erasmus and his uses of declamation.

What? Erasmus Seminar with a lecture by Eric MacPhail
When? Thursday, February 23rd, 2023, 15:00-17:00 hrs (GMT+01).
Where? Zoom:



In 1518 Erasmus published his Encomium matrimonii in a collection entitled Declamationes aliquot with Dirk Martens in Louvain. This work and its challenge to the Christian ideal of coelibatus provoked quite a hostile reaction from the theologians of the University of Louvain. Erasmus responded to the controversy the following year with his Apologia pro declamatione de laude matrimonii, in which his main defense is the definition of declamation. The use of declamation to evade responsibility for controversial opinions proved quite attractive not only to Erasmus but also to other Renaissance authors including the French prose writer François Rabelais. This presentation proposes to examine Erasmus’ apologetic notion of declamation and its possible influence among his contemporaries as well as the enduring debate that it has sponsored.



Eric MacPhail is Professor of French and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University, where he has taught since 1988. He is the author of five monographs and numerous articles and book chapters on European Renaissance literature. Since 2013 he has served as editor of Erasmus Studies, published under the auspices of the Erasmus of Rotterdam Society. He is the coeditor, along with two colleagues, of the scholarly edition of Jean Bodin’s Démonomanie des sorciers (Droz, 2016) and the editor of Montaigne and the Historians (special issue of Montaigne Studies 2017). His most recent publication is Odious Praise: Rhetoric, Religion, and Social Thought (Penn State Press, 2022) 

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