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The Renaissance in Italy
A Social and Cultural History of the Rinascimento

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  • Date Published: December 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521719384

$ 34.99 (G)

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About the Authors
  • This book offers a rich and exciting new way of thinking about the Italian Renaissance as both a historical period and a historical movement. Guido Ruggiero's work is based on archival research and new insights of social and cultural history and literary criticism, with a special emphasis on everyday culture, gender, violence, and sexuality. The book offers a vibrant and relevant critical study of a period too long burdened by anachronistic and outdated ways of thinking about the past. Familiar, yet alien; pre-modern, but suggestively post-modern; attractive and troubling, this book returns the Italian Renaissance to center stage in our past and in our historical analysis.

    • Presents a radical rethinking of the Italian Renaissance, designed to return the period to its central place in contemporary historical and literary discussion
    • Incorporates new research on gender and other non-traditional subjects
    • Melds the new social and cultural history with literary theory and criticism, without jargon or extended theoretical discussions
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    • Winner, First Prize, 2015 American Association for Italian Studies Book Award (Early Modern Category)

    Reviews & endorsements

    "A master historian of the Renaissance offers us a fascinating new means of understanding and appreciating Italy’s cultural development in the period between the Ancient and the Modern world. This is essential reading for undergraduate and graduate students across the disciplines as well as travelers off to explore the wonders of Italian civilization."
    Joanne M. Ferraro, San Diego State University, author of Venice: History of the Floating City

    "At a moment when many social and cultural historians have turned away from the very idea of the Italian Renaissance altogether or, at most, reduced it to an elitist movement, Ruggiero’s bold new synthesis calls on all of us to reconsider. Perhaps it still does make sense to think of the Renaissance as a decisive moment in the making of modern and even postmodern culture."
    John Jeffries Martin, Duke University, North Carolina

    "The most imaginative and compelling survey of the Italian Renaissance available now. Lively, informed and thought-provoking, it presents the newest research and the best of current approaches to literature and culture in a very readable style by a master historian at the top of his game."
    Nicholas Terpstra, University of Toronto

    "In this long book, Ruggiero rejects recent scholarship that has minimized the significance of the Italian Renaissance. Instead, he argues that the cities of Florence, Venice, and Milan enjoyed a distinct period of precocity over the rest of Europe between roughly 1300 and 1500 … A thorough and accessible introduction to northern Italian history during this important period. Summing up: recommended."
    B. J. Maxson, Choice

    'In The Renaissance in Italy I have discovered the sophisticated analytical survey that I have for some years wanted to prescribe for the 250 or so undergraduates who elect every year to study Renaissance Italy in my department at Sydney. Again and again Ruggiero presents complex problems as questions of the type that one can hear oneself posing to bright young students, such as whether non-elite women and men would have had any awareness of - let alone a stake in - the Rinascimento culture that is the subject of this excellent book. I am happy to confess that many of Ruggiero’s artfully framed questions have got me thinking as well.' Nicholas A. Eckstein, Journal of Social History

    'Providing a comprehensive and concise history of approximately three centuries is no small task. Guido Ruggiero’s The Renaissance in Italy rises to the challenge, presenting readers with an intellectually ambitious, erudite and engaging narrative of Italy’s social and cultural contours between 1250 and 1575. In the process, Ruggiero touches on the ways that we as scholars and students have excavated, told and re-told our stories of a period both contested and persistently figured as pivotal to the development of European modernity.' Sean Roberts, European History Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521719384
    • length: 648 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 37 mm
    • weight: 1.06kg
    • contains: 33 b/w illus. 3 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Legitimacy: a crisis and a promise (c.1250–c.1340)
    2. Civiltà: living and thinking the city (c.1300–c.1375)
    3. Plague: death, disaster, and the rinascita of civiltà (c.1325–c.1425)
    4. Violence: social conflict and the Italian Hundred Years War (c.1350–c.1454)
    5. Imagination: the shared primary culture of the early Rinascimento (c.1350–c.1475)
    6. Courts: princes, aristocrats, and quiet glory (c.1425–c.1500)
    7. Self: the individual as a work of art (c.1425–c.1525)
    8. Discovery: finding the old in the new (c.1450–c.1560)
    9. Re-dreams: virtù, saving the Rinascimento, and the satyr in the garden (c.1500–c.1560)
    10. Reform: spiritual enthusiasms, discipline, and a church militant (c.1500–c.1575)
    11. Retreat: the great social divide and the end of the Rinascimento (c.1525–c.1575).

  • Author

    Guido Ruggiero, University of Miami
    Guido Ruggiero is College of Arts and Sciences Cooper Fellow and Professor of History at the University of Miami. As an author, editor and translator, he has published more than two dozen books on the Renaissance and related topics including, most recently, Machiavelli in Love: Sex, Self, and Society in Renaissance Italy (2007) and The Blackwell Companion to the Worlds of the Renaissance (2002). His articles have appeared in many journals, including The American Historical Review, The Journal of Social History, Viator, The Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Science, Xin shehui shi (New Social History), Studi storici and Quaderni storici. He has also published numerous essays and articles in edited volumes. Ruggiero has won a number of fellowships including a Guggenheim Fellowship; two National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships; several Delmas Foundation, Orowitz and Taft Fellowships; as well as an ACLS Fellowship. He is an elected member of the Ateneo Veneto and has been a Fellow or Visiting Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Harvard's Villa I Tatti in Florence and the American Academy in Rome.


    • Winner, First Prize, 2015 American Association for Italian Studies Book Award (Early Modern Category)

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