History of Political Thought 27 (2):221-262 (2006)

The paper argues that modern 'linguistic nationalism' has intellectual roots in Renaissance humanist thought. In their study of classical antiquity, the humanists found a powerful model of the relationship between language and politics, one which had eloquence as its central concept and theorized language as a source of social and political power and as a vehicle for glorifying the deeds of statesmen. This model was originally revived by the humanists in the context of their belief that the Latin language had been badly degraded and corrupted since the fall of Rome. Emphasizing the power and glory that would accompany a return to Latin eloquence, they advocated a programme of Latin revival. By the sixteenth century, poets and intellectuals who were immersed in Renaissance humanism, and who were oriented to the political problems of emerging European nation-states, began applying this model to the vernacular. The view eloborated here suggests a factor that is ignored by both modernist accounts of nationalism and their critics: the importance at the threshold of modernity of a specific pre-modern conception of language and politics that had been retrieved and adapted to contemporary circumstances by Renaissance humanists
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,410
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
5 ( #1,207,957 of 2,519,874 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #406,012 of 2,519,874 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes