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The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (Modern Library Classics) [Paperback]

By Jacob Burckhardt, Peter Gay (Introduction by) & Hajo Holborn (Afterword)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   402
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.94" Width: 5.26" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 9, 2002
Publisher   Modern Library
ISBN  0375759263  
EAN  9780375759260  

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Item Description...
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.

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More About Jacob Burckhardt, Peter Gay & Hajo Holborn

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! With this 1860 classic, Swiss historian Carl Jacob Christoph Burckhardt (1818-97) revolutionized both the understanding of the Italian Renaissance and the field of cultural history. Departing from the traditional focus on political and military history, Burckhardt examined people's lives, including their religion, art, and literature.

Jacob Burckhardt was born in 1818 and died in 1897.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History > Schools, Periods & Styles > Renaissance   [490  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Brilliant book, awful edition  Mar 15, 2008
Burckhardt's brilliance is undeniable. His erudition is obvious and his synthesis of numerous themes and what would now be deemed separate academic disciplines is magnificent. The edition, however, was awful. Individual pages had literally dozens of typos and an entire half a chapter was printed twice. While I would gladly recommend the work, I strongly suggest finding another edition.
Great Essay Slopppy Edition  Dec 24, 2007
This is an excellent essay, even for those who did not know they cared about the Renaissance.

My primary motive for purchasing this book was the fact that it had influenced Nietzsche; however, this book has much independent merit, whether you love hate or don't care about Nietzsche, there will be something here for you.

Burckhardt does a great job of capturing the amoral ethos of the time on its own terms; not judging it from the position of some imagined superiority. He is obviously well-versed in the relevant literature, and the translation does not seem to obscure him.

This particular edition does have numerous typographical errors, which can be somewhat distracting as one reads.
synthesis of an era  Oct 30, 2007
The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (Modern Library Classics)The Civilization offers a handy checklist for anyone wishing to delve deeper into the Medieval and Renaissance studies. The somewhat tortuous introduction which outlines the political turmoil in 15th century Italy adds weight to the two conclusions which Burckhardt makes towards the end: the Reformation had galvanized the Vatican into action and helped, inadvertently, the Catholic church to regain ground, and, secondly, a combination of a fragmented national identity, secularization and reliance on cunning and talent prompted the rise of the individual.

Burckhardt then proceeds to chart out the different trends, fashions, and cultural shifts which made the Renaissance: revival of the interest in antiquity, search for classical manuscripts, studies in classical Latin, rediscovery of ancient literary forms, creation of libraries, patronage of the arts, exaltation of man in painting, dress and literature, interest in the human body, the opening up to the world - in short humanism.

In his account of life in the Renaissance Burckhardt notes how laughter insinuated itself into artistic expression as a form of protest against dogma and despotism. Where its impact was felt most was in the celebration of religious festivals. Ridicule and paganism were never deep under the surface in miracle plays and pageants.

After examining the Italian Renaissance man's values and finding that honour had supplanted guilt, Burckhardt takes a closer look at religion. Inevitably there is reference to the medieval worship of relics, simony, sale of indulgences, moral corruption in the Church from top to bottom, but also an equally bitter treatment of the things which replaced, or rather reinforced, them: preachers of repentance, adoration of the Madonna, persecution of heretics and in particular the Epicureans. Added to the mix was superstition, which does not strike a student of the Renaissance as particularly modern but with which the ancients would certainly have been at home.

This paradigm shift which touched the lives of many men in the 14th and 15th century left many men adrift, spiritually and intellectually. Along with the unquestionable achievements in all areas of life which were ushered in by the Renaissance, Burckhardt observes, the age was marked by a steady slide towards fatalism and skepticism. Welcome to modern times!
Note to the editor  May 15, 2007
This is a reference book for those that need a concise edition on Renaissance. However for the reader less learned, this issue is lacking an editor's information, for example, a brief comment on the author; wich language his work was first published; others english translations after 1878 Middlemore, and so on.
A Classic, "Antiquated" or Not  Mar 11, 2007
Burckhardt's 'Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy' is fundamental to our understanding of the Renaissance, even though it has long since ceased to be definitive. For Burckhardt (who wrote `Civilization' in the 1850s), the Italian Renaissance represented the punctuated end of the middle ages and the beginning of the modern world. He placed particular emphasis on the idea that for the first time in history, the Renaissance gave us "individuality": the idea that a person could separate themselves from the crowd by their creative genius (in art, politics, science, etc.).

Contemporary scholarship, however, takes a more nuanced approach: while Burckhardt did indeed identify in the Renaissance new cultural, political, and artistic trends, it is now argued that the Renaissance nevertheless retained many aspects of medieval civilization while the Italians, and later other Europeans, revived classical art, architecture, and science and created a new economic and political order.

Two different publishers of this book each offer introductions by two excellent contemporary historians: the Penguin Classics version is introduced by Peter Burke, and the Random House Modern Library version is introduced by Peter Gay. In the Penguin version (reviewed here) Burke (as elsewhere) argues that the Renaissance was not the clean break with the medieval past that Burckhardt suggests, although he readily acknowledges Burckhardt's foundational contribution to early Renaissance scholarship: "Burckhardt's view of the Renaissance may be easy to criticize, but it is also difficult to replace."

And of course, Burckhardt's influence on Friedrich Nietzsche should not be ignored: the concept of the `rise of the individual' (found in Part II of `Civilization': The Development of the Individual) was to have significant impact on Nietzsche's concept of the `Übermench.'

Because for so long Burckhardt's 'Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy' defined what the Renaissance was, one must spend at least a little time with Burckhardt to understand current concepts of the Renaissance in any depth. Burckhardt is effectively now a primary source.

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