Essays on the renaissance


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Search form Search. Year 12 Essay Prize Questions. Write an essay of between 2, and 4, words on one of the topics below. Each question should be answered using examples from between and Hsia, noted for his micro and macro studies of religious experience and enthusiasm in the period, stresses in this essay a crucial point: that the boundaries between the spiritual world and the profane world were overwhelmed in the Renaissance by waves of popular piety and by a breakdown in the ideal of the clerical control of the spiritual -- a breakdown that gave religious enthusiasm an explosive potential and a central place in the everyday life.

Looking closely at four broad issues: the difference between spiritual styles in the Mediterranean and in northern Europe ; conflicting visions of reform; the expression and repression of feminine spirituality; and the multiple eruptions of the divine in everyday life, he develops a thought-provoking and innovative vision of religious enthusiasm and conflict in an age that was anything but the secular.

Essays in Renaissance Thought and Letters – In Honor of John Monfasani | brill

Loren Partridge, in the fourth essay in this part, takes on the immense task of dealing with Renaissance art and to meet the challenge provides a more methodological perspective. Given the significant work he has done in the field his essay gains additional interest from the autobiographical approach he takes in discussing the ways in which Renaissance art historians have changed their ways of thinking about and seeing Renaissance art. Focusing on Italy , he lays out the parameters of the field and assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the various methods he sees as most significant.

Partridge argues that the field has moved away from traditional interests in connoisseurship, style, and iconography towards a more contextual analysis, focusing on a range of social, economic, and cultural issues. Among these are: the function of art, the impact of patronage, the reception of artistic works, the social status of artists, the psychoanalytical analysis of art, the technical aspects of artistic production, and the relationship between gender, sex, and art. James Grantham Turner, in a playful essay on literature, stresses the playfulness of Renaissance literature itself-- almost as if his essay in its form and aesthetics is designed to mirror to the reader the nature of Renaissance literature.


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Following on from his important publications on English Renaissance literature and the impact of sex, gender, and aesthetics on the literature of the period, this essay puts the perhaps most difficult question that one might pose: What will we define as Renaissance literature? John Najemy's essay on Renaissance political thought is a compelling rethinking of the way ideas about government, ruling, and the state developed in the period. After his publications on the social and political life of Renaissance Florence based on massive archival work, and his newer publications on the thought of Machiavelli based on an especially sensitive reading of that difficult thinker, it will come as no surprise that this essay stresses the reciprocal relationship between political theory and political practice in the Renaissance.

Building out from Italy and the republican and princely political ideologies that developed there, Najemy provides a powerful synthesis. It is noteworthy also, given the complaints of many including myself about the overemphasis on the centrality of Florence in Renaissance studies, that Najemy gives Florence a central place in his discussion and defends that placement impressively. But more importantly, in describing the development of the modern view of the state and political power, he provides numerous suggestions for rethinking this process and for re-examining the leading Renaissance figures who wrote on the subject.

In the last essay of this part William Eamon tackles the immense topic of Renaissance science and medicine.

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Again, this essay is not an account of the triumph of great thinkers in the march towards modern science, but a much more complex tale of the conflicts and negotiations between different visions of the cosmos, nature, and medicine in the period, and the development of newer methodologies for trying to understand and manipulate them. Here culture, science, society are rethought from the bottom up. As with all the essays in this part the result is to reconfigure old heroes and the Renaissance itself, offering a series of new issues for consideration.

The last part of the book focuses on a theme that many of the earlier essays have already addressed in trying to break away from the overly triumphant traditional view of the period -- the darker sides of the Renaissance. Actually the title is slightly misleading, because the concept "anti-worlds" articulates the attitude of the dominant culture of the Renaissance to places and peoples who were considered "other"; for many at the time, however, that view was highly problematic, especially those who lived in those other worlds.

In theory these were separate worlds, but in fact in many ways these anti-worlds were deeply integrated into Renaissance society and culture, for better and for worse. The essay by Mary Lindemann that begins this part examines perhaps the most famous negatives of the Renaissance: the regular recurrence of the plague, the pervasiveness of disease in general, and the ubiquity of hunger. As a noted social historian of medicine who has written both in-depth archival studies of doctors, health policy, and poverty in Germany and an overview of medicine and health practice in early modern Europe, Lindemann deals both with the traditional issues surrounding the prevalence of disease and hunger and with the way in which these concepts were culturally constructed in the Renaissance.

The Renaissance Essay

So, for example, she thoughtfully reviews the literature about what disease the plague actually was, even as she warns that attempting to identify it may well be a futile task given how rapidly bacilli and viruses for that matter can mutate over time. She then proceeds to ask more cultural questions about how the plague infected the imagination of people across the period. For Lindemann, hunger, disease, and plague had significant, direct material impacts on Renaissance life, in the classic modes of the history of medicine and social history, but they also were crucial cultural constructs. The way those constructs worked and fitted into Renaissance life were equally important, and they open up vast new vistas for study.

Linda Woodbridge in turn, in her essay on Renaissance bogeymen and monsters, applies a similar cultural approach to the way people were defined as others and outside of society in this period. A noted expert on Shakespeare, Woodbridge has written on the way literature represents the poor and marginal figures of the Renaissance world, and has been innovative in her use of literature to study social practice and beliefs; this essay is a good example of her interdisciplinary approach.

Here the underworld of the Renaissance comes to life and one gets another perspective on a process noted earlier in the essays on the social world of the Renaissance: the way in which the hierarchal structures of Renaissance society were as much constructed by exclusion as inclusion. The undeserving poor; the marginal at the bottom of society; the unreliable peasants of the countryside; the sexually perverse; "outsiders" such as Jews, thieves, conmen, charlatans, sodomites; even those who challenged gender norms -- overly aggressive women and feminine men-- all reappear here as various forms of monsters and bogeymen.

And as monsters and bogeyman not only were they repressed formally; informally they were defined away, leaving the Renaissance safe in its dreams of itself. Thomas Arnold, in his essay on war and violence, continues the consideration of areas of Renaissance life that in many ways were debarred from the ideals of the Renaissance, yet were deeply integrated into that life.

Here, as in his important work on the history of Renaissance warfare, Arnold mixes traditional issues of military history with a deep cultural consideration of what warfare and violence meant to Renaissance society at both upper-class levels and more humble ones. Echoing the insights of Robert Muchembled's earlier essay about the predilection of the European nobility for aggression, Arnold stresses the way violent codes of behavior like the hunt not only prepared that nobility for violence but made it a central way of life, one that it is difficult for us to fully comprehend today.

As he concludes, "For many noble participants, warfare was not something to be fought and won to allow a return to civilian life; rather warfare was life itself, formal campaigning providing just another murderous arena for the display of pride, courage, and skill at arms. At the same time it supports Arnold 's call for new forms of Renaissance military history that will return it to its deserved central place in our understanding of the period.

My essay on witchcraft and magic in the Renaissance attempts to stimulate rethinking on the subject by turning traditional approaches to the subject on their head reversals of the established order being a noble Renaissance tradition. I have tried in this essay to take seriously the way witchcraft and magic were practiced in everyday culture --treating them not as simplistic fallacies of the uneducated but as complex ways of understanding the world--and in the process to show how deeply intertwined with and necessary they were to the everyday life of the age.

Only then have I looked at them from the more traditional and truly frightening perspective of witch-hunts and the repressive capabilities of Renaissance society. With the example of the essays by Hsia and Gentilcore, it seems to me that understanding witchcraft and everyday magic as practices reveals just how present and permeable was the boundary between the spiritual and material worlds in Renaissance society. This was so even at the 1 bottom, where many have postulated a populace mired in material conditions of life, incapable of considering spiritual matters.

The ability of ordinary people to manipulate the spiritual gave them a range of powers generally overlooked and often negatively defined and repressed by the authorities. The final essay of the volume, by Ian Moulton, looks at the wide-ranging illicit worlds of the Renaissance, both as they were envisioned by repressive authorities and literature and as they actually functioned.

Moulton's impressive first book on the erotic worlds and literature of early modern England, which often looks well beyond England to discuss the erotic worlds of the Renaissance, is nicely reflected in this essay. It moves out from England and the erotic to examine themes as diverse as sodomy and banking for their illicit dimensions in this period. Again Moulton is dealing with a crucial Renaissance construct, and another highly permeable and contested boundary --the boundary between the licit and the illicit.

At the beginning of the period it was a boundary passed easily for pleasure and profit, but as the period progressed the illicit seems to have become not only more externally proscribed by institutions and customs, but also more internally restricted by conscience and guilt, a theme that echoes earlier essays. We will then contact you to clarify the details so that nothing prevents our writer from completing your order within a short timeframe. I am ready to pay someone to do my homework.

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