The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance: A Sourcebook, Second Edition

Edited by Kenneth R. Bartlett

© 2011

The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance brings together a selection of primary source documents designed to introduce students to the richness of the period. For this edition, a new chapter on Dante and his time provides a useful transition to the Renaissance from the culture of the Middle Ages. There are also new selections on warfare, education, Florence, humanism, the Church, and the later Renaissance. The introductions to the readings are revised, and an essay on how to read historical documents is included.

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  • Division: Higher Education
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 7.7in x 1.0in x 9.3in
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    ISBN 9781442604858
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Quick Overview

The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance brings together a selection of primary source documents designed to introduce students to the richness of the period.

The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance: A Sourcebook, Second Edition

Edited by Kenneth R. Bartlett

© 2011

The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance brings together a selection of primary source documents designed to introduce students to the richness of the period. For this edition, a new chapter on Dante and his time provides a useful transition to the Renaissance from the culture of the Middle Ages. There are also new selections on warfare, education, Florence, humanism, the Church, and the later Renaissance. The introductions to the readings are revised, and an essay on how to read historical documents is included.

Product Details

  • Division: Higher Education
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 7.7in x 1.0in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    Kenneth R. Bartlett has produced a fine second edition of his already useful sourcebook. Reflecting important recent research, he has added material on the social, economic, religious, political, and intellectual world of Italy from the late thirteenth to the sixteenth century. The texts are well suited for discussion and can be readily linked to lectures. For its accessibility and breadth of primary sources, this stimulating sourcebook is excellent and can be wholeheartedly recommended.
    Edward D. English, University of California, Santa Barbara

    This is by far the best collection of readings for a semester-length course on the Italian Renaissance. What makes it unique is the balance between the usual literary sources and documents relating to political, economic, and family history, including the lives of women, marginalized people, and the poor. The magnificent range of sources is matched by the quality of the selections themselves, which bring to life the period in all of its complexity. I am particularly pleased to see that the second edition includes readings placing the Renaissance within the context of Dante's world.
    J. Laurel Carrington, St. Olaf College

    I have used this book's predecessor since it first came out because it was easily the best such reader available. The new edition is signally improved not only by the addition of Dante as well as a number of other new readings but also by a handy and mercifully short guide to reading historical documents. The organization is also improved which makes it easier to find texts by the same author.
    Thomas F. Mayer, Augustana College

    Kenneth Bartlett's The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance has long been my favorite sourcebook for undergraduate teaching; I could not be happier that it is coming back into print, and updated no less, so that I can assign it as a textbook. I teach a range of courses in the Renaissance, from broad art history surveys, to upper-division lectures and seminars, to interdisciplinary classes—all of which have benefited from this book. Bartlett has assembled not only the best sources, but the best selections from those sources. This is not a collage of short, obscure, or mystifying documents; rather, it is a collection of the most important thinkers and artists of the Renaissance, at their pithiest moments. For example, Alberti's On Painting, Vasari's Life of Michelangelo, and Cellini's Vita are all key texts that are too long and complex for most classes. Bartlett's selections from each are perfectly excised at the ideal length for teaching, and with their key themes intact. The book is endlessly adaptable to subject area (it includes art historical, literary, historical/political and philosophical sources) and to style of class—any material could be safely assigned to a lower-level Renaissance class, but much is in-depth enough for an upper-level lecture or seminar. There is no equivalent compendium of Renaissance sources for undergraduate teaching, which is why I have spent the last several years copying selections from the copy I purchased when it was assigned to me as an undergraduate textbook in 1994. I could not be happier to see this valuable teaching tool re-released, and to have the opportunity to share its contents with my students, as they were once shared with me.
    Lisa Regan, University of California Berkeley
  • Author Information

    Kenneth R. Bartlett is Professor of History and Renaissance Studies at the University of Toronto. He is the author of The English in Italy 1525–1558: A Study in Culture and Politics (1991), The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance: A Sourcebook (2011), and A Short History of the Italian Renaissance (2013).
  • Table of contents

    Preface to the Second Edition
    Preface to the First Edition
    How to Read a Historical Document

    1.Introduction to the Italian Renaissance

    Introduction: The Renaissance
    The Classical Heritage
    Quintilian: On the Early Education of the Citizen-Orator
    Cicero: The Orator; Brutus; On Duties

    2. Dante and Medieval Italy

    Introduction
    Dante's Contemporaries
    Brunetto Latini: Proem to the Tesoretto
    Rustico di Filippo: "On the Illness of a Little Girl"; "Portrait of Messerino de'Caponsacchi"
    Guido Cavalcanti: "To Dante"
    Cino da Pistoia: "To Dante, on the Death of Beatrice"
    Dante Alighieri: Inferno, Canto I, Canto V; Paradiso, Canto XV, Canto XVI

    3. Petrarch

    Introduction
    Letter to Posterity; The Ascent of Mount Ventoux; Letter to the Shade of Cicero; On His Own Ignorance

    4. Florence in the Renaissance

    Introduction
    Giovanni Villani: Selections from The Chronicle of Giovanni Villani: Villani Writes His Chronicle; The Rebuilding of Florence after 1293; The Black Death; Fire; Famine; Flood; Plague; Flagellants; The City
    Giovanni Boccaccio: A Description of the Plague from the Decameron; Selections from The Life of Dante: Proem; Family Cares, Honors, and Exile of Dante; Rebuke of the Florentines
    Short Documents Illustrating Guild, Political, and Commercial Activity
    Guelfs and Ghibellines, 1347
    The Aftermath of the Ciompi Revolt: A Community in Disorder, 1382
    The Decline of the Guelf Party, 1413
    Guild Corporations: Wine Merchants
    Guild Philanthropy
    The Catasto of 1427: The Declaration of Lorenzo Ghiberti, Sculptor
    Benedetto Dei: Letter to a Venetian
    Leonardo Bruni: The Events of 1292-93; Speech of Giano della Bella

    5. Humanism

    Introduction
    Coluccio Salutati: Letter to Peregrino Zambeccari
    Vespasiano da Bisticci: From Vespasiano's Lives; Poggio Bracciolini; Niccolò Niccoli
    Lorenzo Valla: The Glory of the Latin Language
    Leonardo Bruni: History of Florence: The Struggle against the Visconti, From Book Twelve; The Life of Dante
    Isotta Nogarola: Of the Equal or Unequal Sin of Adam and Eve

    6. Florentine Neoplatonism and Mysticism

    Introduction
    Marsilio Ficino: Commentary on Plato's Symposium on Love; On the Two Origins of Love and the Double Venus; On the Painting of Love; How the Soul Is Raised from the Beauty of the Body to the Beauty of God; How God Is to Be Loved
    Selections from His Letters: On Law and Justice; On the Duty of a Citizen; The Astonishing Glories of Lorenzo de'Medici
    Giovanni Pico della Mirandola: Oration on the Dignity of Man
    Angelo Poliziano: Selections from Stanzas on the Occasion of the Jousts of Giuliano de'Medici

    7. Marriage, the Family, and Women

    Introduction
    Francesco Barbaro: Selections from On Wifely Duties: On the Faculty of Obedience; On Love; On Moderation; On the Education of Children
    Leon Battista Alberti: The Family in Renaissance Florence
    Marriage and the Family in Renaissance Florence
    The Marriages of Gregorio Dati
    Two Marriages in the Valori Family, 1452 and 1476
    Marriage Negotiations: The Del Bene, 1381
    Marriage Neotiations: The Strozzi, 1464-65
    Illegitimacy and Marriage, 1355
    A Broken Marriage, 1377
    The Children of Gregorio Dati, 1404
    Niccolo Machiavelli: Selections from Mandragola
    Baldassare Castiglione: The Book of the Courtier
    Laura Cereta: Letter to Augustinius Aemilius: Curse against the Ornamentation of Women
    Documents Illustrating the Lives of Poor and Marginal Women in Renaissance Florence
    The Establishment of Communal Brothels, 1415
    Profits of Prostitution, 1427 and 1433
    Prostitutes and the Courts, 1398-1400
    The Recruitment of Prostitutes, 1379
    A Panderer's Career
    The Story of the Servant Girl Nencia
    The Tribulations of a Slave Girl
    A Witch's Career

    8. Art and Architecture

    Introduction
    Filippo Brunelleschi
    Mariano Taccola: A Speech by Brunelleschi
    The Competition for the Baptistry Doors
    Lorenzo Ghiberti
    Antonio Manetti
    Girogio Vasari
    Il Pinturicchio (Bernardino di Betto): Contract of Pinturicchio with Cardinal Francesco de'Todeschini-Piccolomini for Decorating the Library in Siena Cathedral, 29 June 1502
    Isabella d'Este
    Pietro Vanucci Perugino: Instructions of Isabella d'Este to Perugino, 19 January 1503; Letter of Perugino to Isabella d'Este, 10 December 1503; Letter of Isabella d'Este to Perugino, 12 January 1504; Letter of Perugino to Isabella d'Este, 24 January 1504
    Leon Battista Alberti: On Painting and on Sculpture; On Architecture
    Leonardo da Vinci: Selections from the Notebooks

    9. Learning and Education

    Introduction
    Pietro Paolo Vergerio: Concerning Liberal Studies
    Leonardo Bruni: A Letter to Battista Malatesta on the Study of Literature
    Battista Guarino: On the Means of Teaching and Learning
    Coluccio Salutati: Letter to Caterina di Messer Vieri di Donatino d'Arezzo
    Laura Cereta: Letter to Bibulus Sempronius: A Defense of the Liberal Instruction of Women; Letter to Lucilia Vernacular: Against Women Who Disparage Learned Women

    10. The Church and the Papacy

    Introduction
    Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (Pius II): The Election of Pope Pius II
    Lorenzo Valla: The Principal Arguments from the Falsely-Believed and Forged Donation of Constantine
    Roderigo Borgia (Alexander VI): Selections from Pope Alexander VI and His Court; The Accession of Alexander VI; The Year of the Jubilee; The Death and Funeral of Alexander
    Girolamo Savonarola: "O Soul, By Sin Made Blind"; A Preacher of Reform ; Selections from a Draft Constitution for Florence
    Francesco Guicciardini: Savonarola, a Portrait
    Antonio Alamanni: Carnival Song: "The Triumph of Death"
    Gregorio Dati: Individual Piety: Selections from the Ricordanze
    Michelangelo Buonarroti: "Love's Justification"; "To Vittoria Colonna: The Model and the Statue"

    11. Life in Renaissance Italy

    Introduction
    The Elite
    Pietro Aretino: Letter to Messer Giannantonio Da Foligno; Letter to Messer Domenico Bollani; Letter to Messer Simone Bianco
    Michelangelo Buonarroti: Letter to Tommaso Cavalieri Niccolo Machiavelli: Letter to Francesco Vettori (1513); Letter to Francesco Vettori (1514)
    Lorenzo de'Medici: "Song for Dance"; "Song of Girls and of Cicadas"
    Francesco Guicciardini: A Portrait of Lorenzo de'Medici
    Johannes Burchardus: Life in Papal Rome During the Reign of Alexander VI
    Giovanni Boccaccio: The Tale of Andreuccio
    The Poor
    Pensions for Retired Employees, 1395
    Plague, Famine, and Civil Disorder
    Appeal for Tax Relief, 1369
    Justice for the Poor, 1367
    The Condemnation of a Labor Organizer, 1345
    The Demands of the Ciompi, 1378
    Warfare
    Alessandro Benedetti: Diary of the Caroline War
    Francesco Guicciardini: The Formidable French Artillery and Troops Compared with the Italian Forces; Character of Prospero Colonna; Changes in the Nature of Warfare

    12. The Late Italian Renaissance

    Introduction
    Francesco Guicciardini: Selections from Maxims and Reflections
    Giovanni Della Casa: Selections from Galateo
    Giorgio Vasari: Selections from The Lives of the Artists: The Life of Raphael of Urbino, Painter and Architect, 1483-1520; The Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti, Florentine Painter, Sculptor, and Architect, 1475-1564
    Benvenuto Cellini: Selections from The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini
    Girolamo Cardano: On Himself and His Life

    Source Credits

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