Roger Ascham Criticism - Essay

Samuel Johnson (essay date 1763)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Johnson, Samuel. “Life of Ascham.” In Two Great Teachers: Johnson's Memoir of Roger Ascham and Selections from Stanley's Life and Correspondence of Thomas Arnold of Rugby, edited by James H. Carlisle, pp. 11-34. Syracuse, N.Y.: C. W. Bardeen, 1890.

[In the following excerpt, from an work originally published in 1763, Johnson considers Ascham primarily as a great teacher, one who advocated the value of experience as a means of education.]

Ascham is said to have courted his scholars to study by every incitement, to have treated them with great kindness, and to have taken care at once to instil learning and piety, to enlighten their minds, and to form their...

(The entire section is 1041 words.)

C. S. Lewis (lecture date 1944)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Lewis, C. S. “Drab and Transitional Prose.” In English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, Excluding Drama, pp. 272-316. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954.

[In the following lecture on early Renaissance prose style, originally given in 1944, Lewis characterizes Ascham's work as full of life and practical information, distinguished by a clear style that is straightforward and free from excessive ornament.]

On the whole it is difficult (though not impossible) to understand why Hall receives from most critics so much less attention than either Elyot or Ascham.

As regards Elyot and Ascham in common, the explanation presumably lies in that...

(The entire section is 1682 words.)

Linda Bradley Salamon (essay date spring 1973)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Salamon, Linda Bradley. “The Imagery of Roger Ascham.” Texas Studies in Language and Literature 15, no. 1 (spring 1973): 5-23.

[In the following essay, Salamon discusses Ascham's use of metaphors in The Scholemaster, Toxophilus, and A Report on Germany, marking his emphasis on the mundane and simple aspects of life. Salamon interprets Ascham's imagery as a reflection of the author's own tastes and interests, as an indication of his genial personality, and as a suggestion of the egalitarian potential of his humanism.]

Sackville: “Seeing God did so bless you, to make you the scholar of the best master, and also the...

(The entire section is 9200 words.)

Robert M. Strozier (essay date 1973)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Strozier, Robert M. “Theory and Structure in Roger Ascham's The Scholemaster.Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 74 (1973): 144-162.

[In the following essay, Strozier attempts to place Ascham in the Renaissance intellectual tradition, highlighting Ascham's concept of imitation as a method for learning and for action. Strozier examines the structure of The Scholemaster as it supports the development of that theme, arguing that the organization of the work is more coherent and purposeful than early commentators have allowed.]

Scholars of the sixteenth century have always been grateful to men like Sir Thomas Elyot and Roger Ascham. They move with a...

(The entire section is 8370 words.)

Kenneth J. Wilson (essay date 1985)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Wilson, Kenneth J. “Roger Ascham: Ciceronian Archery.” In Incomplete Fictions: The Formations of English Renaissance Dialogue, pp. 109-35. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1985.

[In the following essay, a revised version of an article originally published in 1976, Wilson discusses the connection between Ascham's prose style and his subject and themes—not merely archery but also knowledge, learning, order, and perfection. Wilson sees in Ascham's work an example of the humanist love for learning par excellence, for the realization of knowledge in the practical application of it.]


Roger Ascham's...

(The entire section is 10016 words.)

Alvin Vos (essay date summer 1976)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Vos, Alvin. “Form and Function in Roger Ascham's Prose.” Philological Quarterly 55, no. 3 (summer 1976): 305-22.

[In the following essay, Vos focuses on the use of parallelism and antithesis as structuring elements in Ascham's prose, giving it force and clarity. Vos corrects the critical notion that Ascham's emphasis on style in his treatises overshadows the content to be learned, arguing that Ascham employed specific rhetorical forms to underscore the practical and moral lessons of his works.]

Nearly all modern students of Renaissance prose have been of a divided mind concerning Roger Ascham's style. On one hand, virtually everyone has agreed that he...

(The entire section is 7357 words.)

Richard Helgerson (lecture date 1984)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Helgerson, Richard. “Barbarous Tongues: The Ideology of Poetic Form in Renaissance England.” In The Historical Renaissance: New Essays on Tudor and Stuart Literature and Culture, edited by Heather Dubrow and Richard Strier, pp. 273-92. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

[In the following lecture, originally presented in 1984, Helgerson looks at the connection between language and national identity, considering Ascham's The Scholemaster as an influential text in the history of Renaissance literary self-fashioning. Placing Ascham between Edmund Spenser and Ben Jonson, Helgerson discusses Ascham's role in the search for new national prosody.]


(The entire section is 8840 words.)

Karen Cunningham (lecture date 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Cunningham, Karen. “‘She Learns as She Lies’: Work and the Exemplary Female in English Early Modern Education.”1Exemplaria 7, no. 1 (spring 1995): 209-33.

[In the following lecture, originally presented in 1990, Cunningham takes a historicist approach to Ascham's Scholemaster, comparing it to Richard Mulcaster's Elementarie and demonstrating how the authors used the idea of woman to support the idea of intellectual work. Cunningham also addresses how Renaissance pedagogues like Ascham contended with the figure of Queen Elizabeth in imagining an exemplary female.]

The impulse toward social engineering in education has been a...

(The entire section is 9939 words.)

Alan Stewart (essay date 1997)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Stewart, Alan. “‘Traitors to Boyes Buttockes’: The Erotics of Humanist Education.” In Close Readers: Humanism and Sodomy in Early Modern England, pp. 84-121. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1997.

[In the following excerpt, Stewart considers Ascham's place among pedagogical writers of the period, focusing on the issues of violence and eroticism in the relationships between teachers and pupils. Stewart suggests that the relationship between student and master—and many models were advocated by Renaissance scholars—is a function of humanist learning and its imagined uses in English society.]

… whilst I should haue...

(The entire section is 8522 words.)

Melanie Ord (essay date June 2002)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Ord, Melanie. “Classical and Contemporary Italy in Roger Ascham's The Scholemaster (1570).” Renaissance Studies 16, no. 2 (June 2002): 202-16.

[In the following essay, Ord analyzes Ascham's use of Italy as both classical ideal and, in its contemporary state, an example of barbarity. Ord sees in Ascham's construction of Italian culture an effort to establish England as the new center of humanist learning.]


Roger Ascham's The Scholemaster (1570) is an extended contribution to a debate held at Windsor Castle on 10 December 1563, on whether it is preferable to be ‘allured by love, [or] driven by beating, to atteyne...

(The entire section is 7349 words.)