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The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (1860)

by Jacob Burckhardt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,287175,691 (3.84)28
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.… (more)
  1. 20
    Basel in the Age of Burckhardt: A Study in Unseasonable Ideas by Lionel Gossman (Muscogulus)
    Muscogulus: Why did a German-speaking historian give a French name to an Italian historical epoch? Gossman's study illuminates the time and place that shaped Jacob Burckhardt and his scholarship. Basel emerges as a cultural symbol, the antipode of Berlin.
  2. 10
    The Civilization of Europe in the Renaissance by John Rigby Hale (cshalizi)
    cshalizi: The similarity of titles is no accident; Hale's book is a modern attempt at a synthetic history, but on a wider scope.
  3. 00
    Reflections on History by Jacob Burckhardt (chwiggy)
  4. 01
    Art and Literature: Studies in Relationship by William S. Heckscher (KayCliff)
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» See also 28 mentions

English (12)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
read 100 pages and quit.
  GRLopez | Nov 10, 2020 |
I don't remember a lot about this one, beyond the fact that I definitely read it for my undergrad degree.
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
I found this hard sledding most of the time. A layered look of the different elements that contributed to the Renaissance in Florence and elsewhere in Italy. Like describing a beautiful painting in prose, while factually true, it is probably better to just look at it. On the other Mr. Burckhardt gives a comprehensive look at Italy is this era. A period of tremendous discord and violence and also beauty. ( )
  charlie68 | Nov 16, 2019 |
Burckhardt, in this massive tome, gives an overview of the major political, societal, and religious themes that occurred during the Renaissance. He starts off with the State as a work of out, then moves into a more individualistic perspective, and closes with the influence of (pagan) antiquity and morality. He clearly wants to cover all important aspects of Italian society during this time period, but his writing style prevents him from completing this task successfully. He shifts and flits around from subject to subject, never spending too much time on any one, which makes it intensely hard to follow while reading, even while within the same chapter. The book almost seems to have been written in a "stream-of-consciousness" format.

The other big issue, although one it's not really fair to criticize Burckhardt for, is that the book is FULL of biases, and they show through very easily. He never really touches upon the fall of Constantinople which was the impetus for the true flowering of the Renaissance, and he's very skeptical of the contributions of the Arabs to the renaissance. However, he was writing in the mid-19th century, so his point of view is understandable in historical context

Overall, not a great book about the Renaissance, but certainly an impressive one. I'd like to read more in depth about each of the things he touches on, with more background, but for an overview, it isn't awful. ( )
  L_Will | May 14, 2018 |
For nineteenth-century Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt, the Italian Renaissance was nothing less than the beginning of the modern world - a world in which flourishing individualism and the competition for fame radically transformed science, the arts, and politics. In this landmark work he depicts the Italian city-states of Florence, Venice and Rome as providing the seeds of a new form of society, and traces the rise of the creative individual, from Dante to Michelangelo. A fascinating description of an era of cultural transition, this nineteenth-century masterpiece was to become the most influential interpretation of the Italian Renaissance, and anticipated ideas such as Nietzsche's concept of the 'Ubermensch' in its portrayal of an age of genius. ( )
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  MarkBeronte | Mar 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (124 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jacob Burckhardtprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gatto, LudovicoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goldscheider, L.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gordon, IreneEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaegi, WernerEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Middlemore, S. G. C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tynell, LizzieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valbusa, DomenicoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waetzoldt, Wilhelmsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Der Geist ist die Kraft, jedes Zeitalter ideal aufzufassen. (Jacob Burckhardt)
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Burckhardt hat von dem ersten großen, in neuem Geist geschriebenen Geschichtswerk, von Machiavellis Florentinischen Geschichten, gesagt, es könne gegen jede Zeile irgend etwas einzuwenden sein, und ihr hoher, ja einziger Wert im Ganzen bleibe dennoch bestehen.
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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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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014044534X, 0714833630

Hachette Book Group

An edition of this book was published by Hachette Book Group.

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