Basle, in the time of Erasmus, had a reputation for tolerance and liberalism rare in the sixteenth century. This book captures the intellectual climate of the city in Erasmus' time and after his death. It shows the gradual spread and modification among the French-speaking public of humanist attitudes and ideals associated with the Erasmian Basle.
Based on extensive bibliographical research and perusal of much correspondence, published and unpublished, of the early humanists, the study investigates the contracts between the city of Basle and the French-speaking regions of sixteenth-century Europe. It is not primarily a political history, for the political influence of the town was insignificant, not is it a history of ideas in the usual sense. Rather than analysing the contexts of the books produced in Basle, Professor Bietenholz studies the people who produced them and distributed them in France. He examines their reading habits and motives for writing and printing, and their personal contacts.
The volume includes biographical information about Francophones in Basle: students, professors, political agents, merchants, doctors, ministers, and printers. Many were religious exiles and participated in the various theological controversies of the Reformation.
In addition, the book includes a bibliography of over 1200 books and dissertations published at Basle by Francophone authors, editors, and translators.
About the author
Peter G. Bietenholz is a professor emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan.