Renaissance humanists modified rather than rejected the medieval adaptation of classical rhetoric to letter writing, but they came to scorn the “barbaric” grammar of the ars dictaminis. This development followed the widespread dissemination through printing, beginning in 1471, of the Elegantiae of Lorenzo Valla and its imitators. Niccolò Perotti incorporated Valla's approach to language in a section on epistolography of his Rudimenta grammatices, and soon letter writing and elegantiae became closely associated in textbooks. By about 1500, not only medieval writers but even humanist pioneers of an earlier generation and contemporary professionals who dared to defend established epistolary etiquette were under attack. By 1522, when Erasmus published his De conscribendis epistolis, medieval formulas had become merely comic.
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