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Dr. Blanchard's new academic research book examines 'Renaissance Encyclopaedism'
Posted 02/27/2018 03:59PM

W. Scott Blanchard, Ph.D., professor of English at Misericordia University, collaborated with Andrea Severi, a research fellow at the University of Bologna, Italy, to edit the academic research book, "Renaissance Encyclopaedism: Studies in Curiosity and Ambition.''

W. Scott Blanchard, Ph.D.

Published by the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies at Victoria College in the University of Toronto, the 467-page paperback is a collection of essays co-edited by Drs. Blanchard and Severi that examine the historical precursors to the modern encyclopedia. The 11 essays by French, Italian and American academics explore how Renaissance humanists differed from their scholastic predecessors in their attitudes toward knowledge, their practices of compilation and organization, and the goals towards which they oriented their scholarly pursuits.

The recent information explosion has sparked an interest in the historical precursors of information management. Many scholars associate the origins of the modern research tool of the encyclopedia with the efforts of the French philosopher Denis Diderot in the 18th century or to Vincent of Beauvais in the 13th century. The authors and co-editors examine why the Renaissance humanists' approach was different through essays referencing Roman contexts, encyclopaedism in Bologna and the career of Angelo Poliziano, an Italian classical scholar and poet of the Florentine Renaissance.

"One of the main appeals of this book is that it explains the apparent paradox of how a culture that valued breadth of knowledge did not really produce many encyclopaedias as we would recognize them,'' Craig W. Kallendorf, Ph.D., of Texas A & M University, wrote in his review of the book.

"The erudition and learning in these essays truly are impressive,'' Brian Maxson, Ph.D., of Eastern Tennessee State University, added in his review.

A resident of Clarks Summit, Dr. Blanchard has been a member of the faculty at Misericordia University since 1991. In 1995, he authored the book, "Scholars' Bedlam: Menippean Satire in the Renaissance'' (Bucknell University Press), a genre study of Menippean satire in the Renaissance. His translation of Francesco Filelfo's (1398-1481) dialogue, "On Exile," in 2013 for the I Tatti Renaissance Library Series (Harvard University Press) was the first complete translation into any modern language of the Italian humanist. Dr. Blanchard prepared the translation, while his colleague, Jeroen De Keyser, Ph.D., prepared the Latin text. A widely published scholar, Dr. Blanchard also has made numerous national and international presentations at conferences.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Middlebury College in Vermont and a doctoral degree in English from Columbia University in New York.

The Misericordia University Faculty Research Grants Program supported the "Renaissance Encyclopaedism: Studies in Curiosity and Ambition'' project.

For more information about the Department of English at Misericordia University, please call (570) 674-6400 or visit


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