Description : With Italy at its centre, but encompassing the whole of Renaissance Europe, this evocative history challenges some of the popularly-held views on the Renaissance period. In particular, whilst always acknowledging the brilliance and exhuberance of Renaissance culture, Robin Kirkpatrick draws equal attention to the strangeness and often unresolved tensions that lay beneath the surface of that culture.Insisting on a European rather than purely Italian viewpoint, he embraces Renaissance thinking and culture in all its diversity: from Northern thinkers such as Cusanus, Luther and Calvin, to the painting of Van der Weyden and El Greco, and the music of the Flemish musicians, Josquin des Prez and Orlando Lassus. Special attention is also paid to the unique contribution made by Margueritte of Navarre to the development of humanist culture. The book concludes with a study of Shakespeare in which his plays are viewed as a searching critique of some of the main principles of Renaissance culture.
Description : Within the Italian city states of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, a relatively high degree of mutual tolerance and tranquility existed between the enlightened Christian majority and the small Jewish minority. With the prevalence of favorable political, social, and economic circumstances for Jewish life in Italy, a considerable number of Jews participated freely in Renaissance culture while upholding an intense awareness of their own particular identity. This work is a study of the life and thought of one such Jew, Abraham b. Mordecai Farissol (1452-ca. 1528). While born in Avignon, Farissol spent most of his life in Italy close to the cultural centers of Renaissance society, primarily in Ferrara, but also in Mantua, Florence, and other Italian cities. As scribe, educator, cantor, communal leader, polemicist, Biblical exegete, and geographer, Farissol developed variegated interests and associations which provide exciting vantage points from which to view his cultural and social world. As one of the first comprehensive studies of any Italian Jewish figure of the period, this book represents an important contribution to an understanding of Jewish society and culture. But the significance of this study of Farissol's life extends beyond what can be learned about the man and his immediate community of co-religionists. Utilizing the life and thought of one person, it explores and explicates the dialogue between Judaism and the culture of the Italian Renaissance. Despite its intrinsic interest, Jewish intellectual history in the Renaissance has remained an underdeveloped field. Many sources still remain unexamined; monographs on specific themes and figures have yet to be written. David Ruderman's study breaks new ground by making use of extensive, yet previously unpublished sources on Farissol and his society and by integrating them into the broader context of Jewish and Renaissance culture. The work is of particular interest to historians of the Jews and of Renaissance Italy. It also offers the general reader an excellent case study of the symbiotic relationship between Western culture and its Jewish minority in one of the most fertile periods of European civilization. In dramatic fashion it illustrates how Jews not only survived but creatively flourished in a pluralistic setting by appropriating from the outside new forms and ideas which they integrated into their own vital cultural experience.
Description : The volume contains studies by eleven distinguished scholars, concerning changes in ethical and religious consciousness during this important era of Western culture themes consonant with the scholarship of Charles Trinkaus. It begins with three general essays: the Renaissance discovery of human creativity (William Bouwsma), the Renaissance and Western pragmatism (Jerry Bentley), and the new philosophical perspective (F. Edward Cranz).The remaining contributors deal with similar issues in Petrarch (Ronald Witt), Nicholas of Cusa (Morimichi Watanabe), Lorenzo Valla (Salvatore Camporeale), Marsilio Ficino (Michael Allen and Brian Copenhaver), Savonarola (Donald Weinstein), Battista Carioni (Paul Grendler), and Calvin (Heiko Oberman).The volume opens with a tribute to Trinkaus by Paul Oskar Kristeller and concludes with bibliographies of Trinkaus's publications and of works on Valla in English (Pauline Watts and Thomas Izbicki).Publications by Charles Trinkaus: Edited by C. Trinkaus and H.A. Oberman, The pursuit of holiness in late medieval and renaissance religion, ISBN: 978 90 04 03791 5 (Out of print)
Description : Possible Lives uses the saints'lives written by humanists of the Italian Renaissance to explore the intertwining of classical and religious cultures on the eve of the European Reformation. The lives of saints were among the most reproduced and widely distributed literatures of medieval and early modern Europe. During the century before the Reformation, these narratives of impossible goodness fell into the hands of classicizing intellectuals known as humanists. This study examines how the humanist authors received, criticized, and rewrote the traditional stories of exemplary virtue for patrons and audiences who were surprisingly open to their textual experiments. Drawn from a newly constructed catalog of primary sources in manuscript and print, the cases in this book range from the lure of martyrdom as the West confronted Islam to the use of saints'lives in local politics and the rhetorician's classroom. Frazier discusses the writers'perceptions of historical sanctity, the commanding place of the mendicant friars, and one unique account of a contemporary holy woman. Possible Lives shows that the classical Renaissance was also a saintly Renaissance, as humanists deployed their rhetorical and philological skills to "renew the persuasive force of Christian virtue" and "save the cult of the saints." Combining quantitative and anecdotal approaches in a highly readable series of case studies, Frazier reveals the contextual richness of this little-known and unexpectedly large body of Latin hagiography.
Description : By 1520, Niccolò Machiavelli’s life in Florence was steadily improving: he had achieved a degree of literary fame, and, following his removal from the Florentine Chancery by the Medici family, he had managed to gain their respect and patronage. But there is one figure whose substantial contributions to Machiavelli’s restoration has been hitherto neglected – Lorenzo di Filippo Strozzi (1482–1549), a younger and fabulously wealthy Florentine nobleman. As manuscript evidence suggests, Strozzi brought Machiavelli into his patronage network and aided many of his post-1520 achievements. This book is the first English biography of Strozzi, as well as the first examination of the patron-client relationship that developed between the two men. William J. Landon reveals Strozzi’s influence on Machiavelli through wide-ranging textual investigations, and especially through Strozzi’s Pistola fatta per la peste – a work that survives as a Machiavelli autograph, and for which Landon has provided the first ever complete English translation and critical edition.
Description : This cultural, historical, and scientific exploration of sleeplessness by Eluned Summers-Bremner begins with the literature of ancient times, and finds its sufferers in prominent texts such as the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Mesopotamian epic Gilgamesh, and the Bible. Moving to Romantic and Gothic literature, she shows how sleeplessness continued to play a large role as the advent of street lighting in the nineteenth century inspired the fantastical blurring of daytime reality and night visions and authors connected insomnia to the ephemeral worlds of nightmares and the sublime. Meanwhile, throughout the ages insomnia has been variously categorized by the medical community as a manifestation of a deeper psychological or physical malady. Today’s medical solutions tend to involve prescription drugs—but, as Insomnia reveals, important questions linger about the role of the pharmaceutical industry and the effectiveness of such treatments. “Summers-Bremner’s account of literary usages of insomnia, from Gilgamesh to Garcia Márquez, is a rich one, sufficient to make the case that insomnia is a recurrent theme in Western culture.”––Wall Street Journal “A whimsical tour of the history of how different cultures have viewed not only insomnia but also the night itself, sleep, dreams, darkness, and activities that occur in the dark.”—New England Journal of Medicine “Summers-Bremner’s excellent account of insomnia shows that the consideration of our waking moments is indicative of the changing ways we think about life.”—Financial Times Magazine
Description : Plague and Pleasure is a lively popular history that introduces a new hypothesis about the impetus behind the cultural change in Renaissance Italy. The Renaissance coincided with a period of chronic, constantly recurring plague, unremitting warfare and pervasive insecurity. Consequently, people felt a need for mental escape to alternative, idealized realities, distant in time or space from the unendurable present but made vivid to the imagination through literature, art, and spectacle.