Passion for Learning

“Let me, at the outset, begin with a caution.  No master can endow a careless and indifferent nature with the true passion for learning.  That a young man must acquire for himself.  But once the taste begins to develop, then in Ovid’s words ‘the more we drink, the more we thirst.’  For when the mind has begun to enjoy the pleasures of learning the passion for fuller and deeper knowledge will grow from day to day.  But there can be no proficiency in studies unless there be first the desire to excel.  Wherefore let a young man set forward eagerly in quest of those true, honorable, and enduring treasures of the mind which neither disease nor death has power to destroy.” Battista Guarino, “On the Means of Teaching and Learning,” in The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, ed. Kenneth R. Bartlett, 2nd edition (Toronto 2011), p. 190.

Battista Guarino wrote this short treatise on classical, humanist education about 1459.  His father, Guarino of Verona, had served as a master (i.e. teacher) in the palace school of Ferrara since the 1430s.  In the 1450s Battista Guarino also began teaching in Ferrara and preserved their pedagogical methods for posterity.  For excerpts from the text see



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