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Ebook The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy by Jacob Burckhardt read! Book Title: The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
The author of the book: Jacob Burckhardt
Edition: Start Publishing LLC
Date of issue: March 8th 2013
ISBN: 1625587015
ISBN 13: 9781625587015
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 810 KB
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How could I express the sheer pleasure I have had in reading this book? It is not easy to find historians or writers of Burckhardt’s calibre. Published in 1860, this icon of a book deserves its place as a model of historiography of the highest quality. Not many have served as a double linchpin. Burckhardt took up Michelet’s term of “Renaissance” and provided an exhaustive and brilliant analysis of what the term embodied in the Italy of the 13th- 16th Centuries. That was the more specific contribution. But in this study Burckhardt also created a new field of inquiry. With him cultural history was born.

I have read it in translation, but the text is pure delectation nonetheless. Burckhardt is in no hurry to express what he has to say because there is such assuredness in his ideas. Neither is there unwonted prolixity because his language is not more elaborate than his knowledge. His smooth prose keeps the same elegant pace as befits the dignity of his thought. For his erudition flows as clearly as limpid water.

For example, he knows Dante as well as if he were his brother, but his reading has not stopped at the notorious founding fathers of the Renaissance and feels as familiar with a Matteo Villani, Aeneas Sylvius, Niccolò de Niccoli, Giacomo Piccinino, to name just very few. His mastery results from his deep familiarity with a very wide collection of primary sources. He has read them all.. And a similar acquaintanceship is demonstrated in other fields, whether these are painting, music, politics, ecclesiastical matters, sociological, military, etc.

His overall thesis is clear: during this time and place the Individual was invented and shaped in all its dimensions so that it could stand well on its feet and in all fields. And his thesis is then amply, soundly, thoroughly, and methodically elaborated and demonstrated.

In his articulation of the historical understanding of culture he starts with the standard: politics. Italy certainly offers him a wide array of possible systems, from large to smaller despotisms and its critics, and to its alternatives: the acclaimed Republics. But in all of these systems he has detected the disappearance of Feudalism, which was however sustained for a while longer in the other European countries. For him then the political systems of Italy are works of art.

In tracing the development of the Individual he does not stop short at the creation of new Personalities (we now have the names for the craftsmen), but also looks at its other less glorious consequence: the ridicule and humour of that which has been particularized. His elaboration of the Renewal of Antiquity is brilliant. It involved more than exploring the ruins and resuscitating forgotten writers and translating new ones, but also its new forms of teaching, and the eventual stagnation of creativity. Stale imitation could easily become formulaic until it would bring about its own demise and loss of prestige.

This was the period in which frontiers were broken. Burckhardt embarks on following those discoveries as the Italians set out in their travels, in their examination of their natural surroundings, whether this was for aesthetic discoveries, seeing for the first time that landscapes could be beautiful—as Petrarch demonstrated--, or for the revelation of scientific principles. With the individual as the basic unit, the writing of biographies took a new impetus and emphasis in this land and this time. Benvenuto Cellini’s Autobiography is as exquisite as his jewels.

Burckhardt’s emphasis on the individual does not mean that he forgets that this new kind of creature is a social one. He then proceeds with an exhaustive review of how this society structured itself; how its members communicated with each other—whether through language or other means—; how it projected itself—in dressing or in theatrics—; how and in what it sought entertainment, solace or merriment; in sum, how it lived.

As the son of a Calvinist priest, Burckhardt would have to leave for the end, and conclusion, how this new Individual, emerging after a long theocratical period, reconciled his existence with the realm of eternity, with immortality. The last section is devoted to organized Religion and other beliefs, as well as to the slippery question of morals.

For us this book remains a rich lesson. For what Burckhardt can still teach us about the Renaissance, and for the ingenious approach. As a historian, he would not have denied that he was also part of his times, place and society. If at the beginning of the reading some of his prejudices may cause a reader of today’s society shift somewhat uncomfortably in his/her seat when some nations or cultures were perceived by him as part of that awkward "Other”, eventually his beautiful speech lulls our minds and we can follow his tune and eliminate, without much ado, some sporadic discordances.



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Read information about the author

Ebook The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy read Online! Carl Jacob Christoph Burckhardt was a historian of art and culture, and an influential figure in the historiography of each field. He is known as one of the major progenitors of cultural history, albeit in a form very different from how cultural history is conceived and studied in academia today. Siegfried Giedion described Burckhardt's achievement in the following terms: "The great discoverer of the age of the Renaissance, he first showed how a period should be treated in its entirety, with regard not only for its painting, sculpture and architecture, but for the social institutions of its daily life as well." Burckhardt's best known work is The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (1860).


Reviews of the The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy


FRANKIE

The only book I read in 1 day

MICHAEL

A wonderful piece

ANNABELLE

You need to be clear about what this book is for and what it can give you.

BENJAMIN

The only book I read in 1 day

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