The Whip Hand: Elite Class Formation in Ascham’s The Schoolmaster, Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, and the Present Academy

  • Daniel Bender


This essay describes the ideological correlations between Tudor Latin School practices and twenty-first century higher education. Focusing on Roger Ascham’s The Schoolmaster, and Love’s Labour’s Lost, this essay suggests that historical work on the Humanists, including recent studies attuned to contemporary theoretical requirements, fails to articulate fully the brutal, and class-based nature of an education designed to equip ministers of state with the rhetorical skills to silence popular dissent. Scholars’ blindness to the social function of their work, the domination inherent in Humanist—and humanities—education, is no accident. The essay concludes by urging early modern scholars to examine both research and pedagogy through this lens to ask how professors, especially those at elite institutions, ensure they, too, are not enforcing “the whip hand”?


Humanism Cultural reproduction Class Education Ascham Tudor Shakespeare Love’s labour’s lost Dominance Student–professor relations 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Bender
    • 1
  1. 1.Pace UniversityPleasantvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations