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The Italian Renaissance Paperback – April 26, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0691006789 ISBN-10: 0691006784 Edition: Second

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Second edition (April 26, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691006784
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691006789
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #782,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[This book's] fundamental concern with exploring in a rigorous fashion how cultural change and--to admit one's bias--achievement is related to the economic, social, and political structure of an age remains a vital interest."--Joachim W. Stieber, The Sixteenth Century Journal

"A superb introduction to Renaissance culture and society."--Renaissance Quarterly

"A fascinating tour de force."--American Historical Review

"Burke handles both breadth and depth of a most creative and complex period with balance, sensibility, and solid supportive arguments.... This is an indispensable study for historians, sociologists, and anyone interested in one of the most remarkable periods of European history."--Choice

Review

From reviews of the first edition:
"A superb introduction to Renaissance culture and society." Renaissance Quarterly

<!--end-->"A fascinating tour de force." American Historical Review

"An indispensable study for historians, sociologists, and anyone interested in one of the most remarkable periods of European history." Choice

"The Italian Renaissance provvides an excellent introduction to its theme - particularly to its artistic ingredients."
Kleio --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Loveitt on January 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
I sometimes get a bit nervous when I buy a book written, supposedly, for the general public by an academic. Is the book going to be written in "normal" English, or am I going to be bombarded by jargon and a clunky style? Happily, Peter Burke appears to believe in "plain-speaking". He also has a sense of humor, which helps. Additionally, he doesn't go off the deep end when coming to conclusions. He is prudent and cautious. If he can't say something definitive, if statistical or other types of evidence just aren't there, he isn't afraid to tell you so. Mr. Burke attempts to explain why the Renaissance happened in Italy and why it started when it did. This leads to the importance of the city-states, such as Florence, Milan, Venice, etc. Artists and sculptors oftimes were the children of craftsmen, and the city-states were populated by many craftsmen. Humanists and scientists were usually the children of "professional" people, and were educated at universities. Again, professionals and universities tended to be found in or near urban centers. Why did Italy have so many city-states? Because, during the period of the Italian Renaissance, Italy was a natural trade center.....right between the Middle East and Northern Europe. This created wealth, which led to the city-states, which also led to new sources of patronage, as the new merchant class looked for ways to spend their money and impress each other. When the Atlantic trade routes opened, and also after the Portuguese led the way around the Cape of Good Hope, Italy lost its place as the "hinge" of trade. Of course, I am greatly simplifying Mr. Burke's arguments, as they are much more complex and nuanced. But, I think I am giving you the general drift. In any case, what makes the book really interesting is that Mr.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Graf on October 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Renaissance was a time of romance, the arts, and resurgence in religion and education. It has been a period of much research and reflection. Most of the attention during the Renaissance period can be found in Italy where culture exploded and took the world by storm. Peter Burke dives into the society and culture of this most fascinating period in his book, The Italian Renaissance: Culture and Society in Italy.

This is not necessarily a history book as much as a study into the culture of Italy during the Renaissance period. Yet, how can history be studied without looking into Renaissance art, politics, economics, worldviews, and religion? Truthfully, it is impossible.

Burke takes the reader deep into the world of the artist like no other book but an art book can. He discusses the recruitment and training of the artists as well as how art was viewed by the public at large. He goes into who the patrons were and how the art was used in religion, politics, and just for the visual pleasure of it. Music, as well as literature, is discussed as to how Italian society embraced the changes and encouraged experimentation in each of them.

The predominant worldviews are discussed as how man begins to look at the universe around him as well as looking within himself. Burke does an excellent job of showing how man took a step backward and began to look at everything in a whole new light.
The only traditional history that you will find discussed in these pages is found in bits and pieces centering around the religious and political aspects of society. This is a book written to expose one to one particular cultural area of Europe that greatly influenced the whole of Christendom. It gives the reader a glimpse into a layer of history that is rarely visited at such depths.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Withun on April 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a good and fairly readable introduction to the Italian Renaissance; for those interested in the topic, it seems like a decent introduction -- it worked for me. That said, it's got more than its share of problems as well. First, a minor complaint: the art in the book should have been printed in full color, not black and white. Black and white reproductions of Renaissance art are about as worthless as three-dollar bills; the viewer completely misses the beauty of the art and so the inclusion of it at all is a waste of time. My major complaint: The constant need to reference Marxist and feminist historiography was obnoxious. Hegel, through Marx, has severely damaged the history of Western culture, and this book is evidence of that. Viewing the Renaissance in the 21st century through the lens of 19th century movements like Marxism and feminism produces anachronism, inaccuracy, and projection -- in other words, it makes for bad history. If you can get past that, it's not a bad book.
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