Lewis citing Hutton’s Aretino on calumny

Predicting the present with pinpoint accuracy, Lewis in The Lion and the Fox (1927) cites from Edward Hutton’s Pietro Aretino: The Scourge of Princes (1922):

Something evil and corrupt had entered into the civilisation of all Europe at this time, and not least of Italy. The Middle Age which had held out to humanity so great a promise, had in some inexplicable way and for some inexplicable reason failed, failed in endurance and in life. The fifteenth century had been full of disaster almost everywhere save only in Venice, and even Venice could not escape the spiritual disaster which that century made apparent. For with the sixteenth century we are face to face with the spiritual break-up of Europe and European society. Something evil, depraved, venal and mean appears. The pen is bought and sold, futile praise and blame are purchased by popes, kings and prelates, and we see a monster appear, a monster of genius blackmailing and blackmailing successfully every authority, every power. (…) An epoch had appeared which was an anarchy, in which everything was questioned, everything doubtful; in which anything might happen and anything might be thought to be true; an epoch without principles and without authority; in which a charlatan of genius might do anything, might destroy the unity of Europe or the spiritual and philosophical basis upon which Europe stood, by one multiple weapon — calumny. (74/75)