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The Two Latin Cultures and the Foundation of Renaissance Humanism in Medieval Italy

$125.00 (R)

  • Date Published: March 2012
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521764742

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About the Authors
  • This book traces the intellectual life of the Kingdom of Italy, the area in which humanism began in the mid-thirteenth century, a century or more before exerting its influence on the rest of Europe. Covering a period of over four and a half centuries, this study offers the first integrated analysis of Latin writings produced in the area, examining not only religious, literary, and legal texts. Ronald G. Witt characterizes the changes reflected in these Latin writings as products of the interaction of thought with economic, political, and religious tendencies in Italian society as well as with intellectual influences coming from abroad. His research ultimately traces the early emergence of humanism in northern Italy in the mid-thirteenth century to the precocious development of a lay intelligentsia in the region, whose participation in the culture of Latin writing fostered the beginnings of the intellectual movement which would eventually revolutionize all of Europe.

    • The book's scope includes a four hundred and fifty year period of the cultural development of western Europe as related specifically to the Kingdom of Italy
    • Latin culture is broadly defined as comprising religious writings, literary works, legal scholarship, and documents
    • Cultural change throughout is related to economic, political, and religious history not only in Italy but in France, Germany, and England
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    Prizes

    • Winner of the Medieval Academy of America's Haskins Gold Medal 2014

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Recommended."
    Choice

    "... Ronald Witt has composed a compelling, panoramic, and masterful prequel to his earlier study, In the Footsteps of the Ancients."
    Elizabeth M. McCahill, Renaissance Quarterly

    "This large and complex book makes a powerful case for Italy as the precursor of the modern, educated Western world. To facilitate navigation, Witt provides lengthy footnotes … a vast bibliography, and a detailed and useful index."
    Charles G. Nauert, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History

    "A work of this scope and breadth leads one to inquire into the author's historical method. Witt employs, it seems to me, a careful logic rounded by skepticism. His book showcases an experienced, thoughtful historian at his craft, constantly alert to the limitations of his sources even as he derives the principles and themes that guide his argument forward."
    Timothy Kircher, Reviews in History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521764742
    • length: 616 pages
    • dimensions: 261 x 185 x 30 mm
    • weight: 1.4kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    Part I. The Two Latin Cultures of Medieval Italy:
    1. The Carolingian conquest
    2. Italy and the Ottonian renaissance
    3. The golden age of traditional book culture and the birth of a new book culture (1000–1075)
    Part II. The Birth of New Order:
    4. The investiture conflict and the emergence of the communes
    Part III. The Dominance of the Legal-Rhetorical Mentality:
    5. The triumph of the legal culture
    6. The institutional structure of education, 1100–1180
    7. Literary creativity in an age of intensifying legal-rhetorical culture
    Part IV. The French Renaissance of the Twelfth Century:
    8. French literary and scholarly achievement in the twelfth century
    Part V. Toward a Broader Intellectual Life:
    9. The destabilization of the elites and the expanding market for education
    10. New knowledge and the tempering of the legal-rhetorical culture
    11. The development of the traditional disciplines and the resolution of the crisis of language
    12. The return to antiquity
    Conclusion
    Appendix.

  • Author

    Ronald G. Witt, Duke University, North Carolina
    Ronald G. Witt is currently William B. Hamilton Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University. His most recent book, In the Footsteps of the Ancients: The Origins of Italian Humanism 1250–1420 (2000), received the Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize of the American Historical Society (2001); the American Philosophical Society's Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History (2001); and the Renaissance Society of America's Gordon Book Prize (2001). He is also the author of Humanism and Reform, (2001); Hercules at the Crossroads; The Life, Works and Thought of Coluccio Salutati, (1331–1406) (1983); and Coluccio Salutati and His Public Letters (1976); as well as numerous articles.

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