Beyond Florence: The Contours of Medieval and Early Modern by Paula Findlen, Michelle M. Fontaine, Duane J. Osheim

By Paula Findlen, Michelle M. Fontaine, Duane J. Osheim

For a long time English-language scholarship on past due medieval and early smooth Italy was once principally ruled by way of paintings on Florence—as a urban, tradition, and fiscal and political entity. up to now few many years, besides the fact that, scholarship has moved well past the “Florentine version” to discover the variety of Italian city and provincial life—the “many Italies” that stretched from the Apennines to the Mediterranean. This quantity brings jointly a bunch of 16 city, social, spiritual, and monetary historians of past due medieval and early glossy Italy whose paintings displays this shift, and illustrates many of the major new examine instructions of the sphere. on the volume’s middle are questions vital to all historians of overdue medieval and early smooth Europe: What does the recent paintings on Italy past Florence need to say concerning the conventional definition of the Renaissance, a definition that made Florence its paradigmatic expression? What new questions on the interval often have emerged because of decentering the Renaissance? How has the hassle to view Florence in a much broader set of Italian and Mediterranean political and fiscal networks shed new mild at the background of urban states? and the way has this paintings ended in a reexamination of the continuities connecting the overdue medieval global to the early smooth interval? In exploring the contours of Italy from the 11th in the course of the 17th centuries, the quantity creates a panorama opposed to which to judge the present kingdom of Florentine experiences, the resurgence of Venetian stories, the renewed curiosity in Italy less than Spanish rule, and the advance of many different local and native histories which are more and more utilized by students to facilitate a broader realizing of Italy as a complete.

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Italian historians, perhaps more than historians of other parts of Europe, argued de facto for continuity in their research, even as they participated in debates about the status of the Renaissance. We might say that they voted with their documents. There are new reasons to explore the problem of periodization. They emerge from the relationship between the Middle Ages and the Reformation rather than the relationship between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. An important trend in the past decade lies in the emergence of the Italian Reformation as a subject of great interest for Anglo-American as well as Italian historians.

Immigration is another phenomenon that reminds us of the limits of the In and Out of Florence 23 city as a summation of a society. The status of the immigrant, like that of the notary, captures some of the fundamental attributes of life in the Italian cities. 48 They often maintained family and business ties with their natal villages, creating complicated regional networks of kinship, profit, and politics that we are only just beginning to understand. The presence of such ordinary men and women on the move offers an interesting juxtaposition to the quintessentially Italian phenomenon of the podestà, a foreigner invited to rule temporarily over a citystate.

30 These controversies among Florentine historians over method and interpretation can be seen as evidence of the sustained vitality and dynamism of the field. Michael Rocke’s book, Forbidden Friendships, is an original, pathbreaking analysis of Florence’s homoerotic culture in the fifteenth century. 34 Equally impressive for its range and its interdisciplinary character is Dale Kent’s Cosimo de’ Medici and the Florentine Renaissance. 35 The occasion of the five-hundredth anniversary of the death of Lorenzo de’ Medici (1992) unleashed a torrent of publications dedicated to Il Magnifico, whose career has been more fully documented and analyzed than that of any other Florentine with the possible exception of Dante.

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