- Paperback: 506 pages
- Publisher: Phaidon Press; New edition edition (21 Sept. 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0714833630
- ISBN-13: 978-0714833637
- Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 1.3 x 18.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (Arts and Letters) Paperback – 21 Sep 1995
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'Mini-triumphs of contemporary design … the words contained within these gem-like covers are lapidary as well.' (Times Literary Supplement)
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Published in 1860, Burckhardt's great work redefined our sense of the European past, wholly reinterpreting what has since been known simply as the Italian Renaissance. With unsurpassed erudition, Burckhardt illuminates a world of artistic and cultural ferment, innovation, and discovery; of revived humanism; of fierce tensions between church and empire; and of the birth of both the modern state and the modern individual. "The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy remains the single most important and influential account of this crucial moment in the history of the West. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It begins by looking at despots, dynasties, republics and society. Once groups are dealt with, personalities are explored. It then moves into antiquity and the significance of humanism, the classics etc for Italy at the time. The exploration of the world is addressed, followed by categorised information about society - festivals, customs, even a paragraph or two on what measures some women took to improve their appearance. To close, Burckhardt looks at religion, morality, and the general state of mind in renaissance Italy.
I've never read a more information-packed book, full of characters and events; it is by his genius that Burckhardt managed to stitch this altogether so seamlessly.
In many ways it is a fool's errand to review such a historical monolith. It is inevitable that new historical evidence will emerge over time and force re-consideration of every piece of historical literature. Hence works such as this remain relevant despite the constant empirical advance due to the influence, if any, they continue to exert on the field in general. Given that, the question for the modern reader is whether the book is still worth reading.
Yes. The wealth of historical knowledge and anecdote presented in the fields of politics, religion, literature and art (to name a few) gives any reader that illusive phenomenon, the feel of the period. This insight into a prevailing culture evades capture by stale lists of works or important figures. It is a snapshot of the fabric of life for people of this period that few historians ever evoke with such success.
Politics and Papacy
After the fall of feudalism, Condottieri, independent rulers created proto-States in Italy. At first, these rulers were brutal despots, controlling rigorously their populations and killing in the bud all `legal' opposition. But, when this despotism became more `human', a new historical fact appeared: a State, like the Republic of Venice. The first really modern State was the Republic of Florence with its struggles between the ruling nobility, the middle classes and the plebs.
The Papacy was an anomaly among the powers in Italy. Its rulers thrived on phenomenal corruption: vote selling by the cardinals during Papal elections, selling of offices and killing the buyers in order to able to sell the offices again or massive trading in spiritual (Heaven!) and also secular (pardon for murder) `favors'. Nepotism (!) was rampant.
During the Renaissance people became spiritually and materially individuals in search of wealth, fame, brilliant `outward features' or simply of naked survival. Keeping one's honor was paramount. If it was attacked, offenders had to face vendetta. Differences of birth or between men and women lost their significance. As Dante said, `nobility rests on excellence'. Each individual felt himself inwardly emancipated from the `illegitimate' control of the State and its violence (police).
They expressed themselves in music (invented the orchestra), poetry (Dante, Petrarch), comical, satirical and theatrical sketches based on the daily course of human life (Commedia dell'Arte).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Does what it says on the tin. Gives the reader the facts in a readable form.Published on 28 Aug. 2014 by St Colms
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