Let’s Have Something New!

Leon Battista Alberti,
On the Advantages and Disadvantages of Literature (Part III):

“Let those other guys set down histories, let them deal with the habits of princes and the accomplishments of republics and the outcomes of war. But we of the younger generation, let us bring forth something new! Let us not fear the stern and I might even say excessively censorious judgments of those who, since they themselves, unspeaking and speechless, offer up their ears only to hear excessively refined things, as if it were enough for the learned to have educated ears but not an educated heart. We ought not to seek primarily the praise of ancient eloquence with all of our studies – a goal toward which, even though we have for some time applied ourselves to it, we have never been able to attain even with middling success.

Rather, we should hold on to our own method of training. And we should do it not in order to please those who in all their lives learned nothing more than to praise nothing. We have, by setting our writing on this path, with this gift of considering their desire, brought it about that we are more pleasing and more well received by those dear to me. In this, we will think it well done in our case if we can get to the point that the educated do not condemn us inwardly.”

Leon Battista Alberti

Condant illi quidem historiam, tractent mores principum ac gesta rerum publicarum eventusque bellorum; nos vero iuniores, modo aliquid novi proferamus, non vereamur severissima et, ut ita loquar, nimium censoria iudicia illorum, qui cum ipsi infantes et elingues sint tantum aures ad cognoscendum nimium delitiosas porrigunt, quasi doctis sat sit non pectus sed aures eruditas gerere. Nobis magnis vigiliis non prisce in primis eloquentie et elegantie expetenda laus est, ad quod etsi viribus totis iam diu contenderimus, nunquam tamen ne mediocriter quidem assequi potuimus.

Verum exercitationum nostrarum vetus consuetudo nostra tenenda est; atque id quidem non quo illis placeamus qui per omnem vitam suam nihil plus quam nihil laudare didicerunt, sed hoc ad scribendum instituto accessimus, ut meis, eorum voluntati obtemperando, simus hoc munere gratiores atque acceptiores; in quo bene nobiscum agi arbitrabimur si id assequemur ut nos eruditi non penitus contemnant.

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