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The Humanist World of Renaissance Florence


  • Date Published: June 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107619647

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About the Authors
  • This book offers a major contribution for understanding the spread of the humanist movement in Renaissance Florence. Investigating the connections between individuals who were part of the humanist movement, Maxson reconstructs the networks that bound them together. Overturning the problematic categorization of humanists as either professional or amateurs, a distinction based on economics and the production of original works in Latin, he offers a new way of understanding how the humanist movement could incorporate so many who were illiterate in Latin, but who nonetheless were responsible for an intellectual and cultural paradigm shift. The book demonstrates the massive appeal of the humanist movement across socio-economic and political groups, and argues that the movement became so successful and widespread because by the 1420s–30s the demands of common rituals began requiring humanist speeches. Over time, humanist learning became more valuable as social capital, which raised the status of the most learned humanists and helped disseminate humanist ideas beyond Florence.

    • Has a wide-ranging approach and arguments with implications for all scholars and students of the period
    • Takes a unique interdisciplinary approach that combines the study of the humanist movement with the broader social world
    • The accessible text is designed to introduce advanced undergraduate and graduate students to the most important cultural movement (humanism) of the Renaissance in its most important center (Florence)
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A compelling and challenging synthesis of intellectual, social and quantitative history.' History Today

    'In recent years, a number of scholars have belittled or denied the importance of Italian Renaissance humanism. This excellent book sets the record straight. Using an array of archival, manuscript, printed, and secondary sources, Maxson demonstrates that the humanist movement in Florence had an early impact (1420s), included many more individuals than previously thought, and played a major role in Florentine government and society in the fifteenth century. Summing up: highly recommended.' P. Grendler, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107619647
    • length: 312 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 154 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction. A social conception of the humanist movement
    1. Learned connections and the humanist movement
    2. Literary and social humanists
    3. The social origins of the Florentine humanists
    4. The humanist demands of ritual
    5. Civic failure of the literary humanists or literary failure of the civic humanists?
    6. The rise of the social humanists, 1400–55
    7. Humanism as a means to social status, 1456–85.

  • Author

    Brian Jeffrey Maxson, East Tennessee State University
    Brian Jeffrey Maxson is an Assistant Professor of History at East Tennessee State University. His research focuses on the cultural and political history of late medieval and Renaissance Europe. His articles have appeared in Renaissance Studies and I Tatti Studies, among other journals. He has held fellowships from the Fulbright and Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Foundations, and has given invited lectures at the University of Oxford and the Ludwig Maximilians Universität, Munich.

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