Jardine is interested in what happened after the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in and how important that becomes in the High Renaissance. One might perhaps add the globalisation that we see very much at work to that list. She speaks of worldly goods and this unashamed pursuit of valuable possessions of great religious and secular art as a defining characteristic of the age.
I guess you could argue that there is one worldly good in particular that made a very meaningful difference to the historical trajectory of Europe at the time and which was made broadly available to a new audience and that is: the book.
The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The 16th Century: Review: Summary
It was very important to me to reflect the role played by feminist scholars in how we understand the Renaissance because until very recently this has been seen as a predominantly male story written by men. Jardine and Eisenstein are both fantastic scholars who did extraordinary archival work to start to revise that story.
The other books are very complicated and Eisenstein, quite possibly, gives fewer concessions to the readership than anybody else. The emergence of the printing press is not classically seen as part of the story of the High Renaissance.
The Journal of Libertarian Studies
But the fact that it becomes possible to produce a book that is exactly reproducible so you can have, say, an index is completely transformative. For her, it changes everything. It transforms how we understand trade and how we understand science. It is particularly important in science because you can print a book in London and that book can go to Antwerp, to Vienna, to Venice, and people can read the same book and correspond with each other about, say, footnote twenty-five on page sixty, or a reference in an index.
And this is what starts to happen. You start to get networks of scholars sharing ideas in a way that is so much greater than you can get with manuscript culture where you can only circulate it among four or five people. Suddenly, you can print a thousand copies of a book and they can go all over Europe. People start to work on very specific areas of science, culture and ethnography and start to build up a sense of objectivity in understanding how we operate. Some scholars were quite critical of her argument because she pushes such a strong idea about standardisation.
They argued that her approach misunderstands that the printing press was still in its infancy. There were a lot of mistakes in the books, people then published different books, they pirated them. I think it remains a hugely important issue, perhaps more so than ever. I remember a time before people used the internet and email. We are going through a similar technological evolution now, one that changes our idea of self and our ideas of culture and society in a profound way. But if you take a step back, typography — the printed word — is still indispensable for the transmission of instructions and even sophisticated technological skills.
So, it allowed for a cognitive revolution to take place. Absolutely, and it affects how we understand those books. Most readers believe there is one book written by Shakespeare called Hamlet. I ask my students to look at all three versions and see how radically different they are.
Nationalism in the Renaissance
The implication is that we have to understand the history of print culture. It changes how we read and if it changes how we read, it changes how we think and how we interpret. And so, if we pay attention to the creation of these art objects and what surrounds them, we get a richer understanding of them. They want to know why there are two versions. We have to understand the long history of that text and how people may change it for their own agenda.
That changes habits of reading and, therefore, habits of thought as well. At the moment, the field is obsessed with book history. It is the leading area of interest in Renaissance Studies. Yes, so my next choice is Reformation by Diarmaid MacCulloch. This book is not one you necessarily see on lists of the top books about the Renaissance. MacCulloch is fascinated by the key moment where many scholars would say that the Renaissance ends.
Someone like Burckhardt would say that it concludes in the early sixteenth century. MacCulloch is fascinated by the fact that this coincides with the moment at which the Reformation happens. It partly comes down to the printing press. All the challenges to Catholic orthodoxy, before the Lutheran Reformation, had been crushed.
But Luther was able to exploit the power of the printing press. It was now possible to circulate the word of God in hundreds—if not thousands—of copies of a printed book and that was one of the things that, of course, drove the Reformation. MacCulloch says it has affected culture, society and of course religion ever since. Get the weekly Five Books newsletter. He is also openly gay, and left the Anglican church because of its position on homosexuality. He can say we have to understand the powerfully held belief on both sides of this religious divide, Catholic and Protestant.
For me, this has become a classic book that completely defines how we think about the Reformation. By book-reading, in a sense, to experience it directly in a reordered form. The thoughts of readers had been reordered to engage with ideas in an entirely different way. We had been looking at a more elite, Latinate tradition and now you have Luther using the power of the printing press to circulate a copy of the Bible in German. They can reach a much wider readership and people can therefore have a much more intimate relationship to the book.
Obviously, the book is a sacred object but the printed book, in its own right, is a magical sacred object. You can circulate books amongst your friends. Believers can start to standardise their beliefs, in a certain sense. MacCulloch is not only a great church historian but also a great historian of the book. So you can imagine someone like Augustine writing in quite an orthodox Catholic tradition. That can actually then be re-appropriated and gives rise to different forms of belief which might actually be antithetical to whatever Augustine may have wanted the text to say.
You start to get this moment when readers can appropriate a text and say they want it to do something else. This is a period where religious and political authorities, in particular, have tried to limit the ways in which a text can be read. MacCulloch says there are unintended consequences about how those new forms of technology, those readerships, those networks, can create new forms of belief.
Education and Society in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
There are these unintended consequences of how people read. We often pay lip service to the idea of faith and religion in the Renaissance but the fact religion is absolutely central to everything is one of the great insights of this book. Publication Date: 01 Dec Volume 7. By: Verger. Publication Date: 01 Sep Volume 8.
By: Jonathan Davies. Publication Date: 02 Jul Medical Teaching at the University of Paris, By: O'Boyle.
Publication Date: 30 Oct Volume By: Bert Roest. Publication Date: 06 Sep By: Siraisi. Publication Date: 26 Apr The Universities and the Problem of Moral Education. By: David Lines. Publication Date: 20 Jun Editor s : Courtenay. Publication Date: 12 Jul By: Robert Gramsch. Publication Date: 28 Aug The Religious Orders. By: Thomas Sullivan. Publication Date: 31 Oct Editor s : William J. Courtenay and Eric D. Publication Date: 28 Nov Achievement and Reputation. By: Donald Bullough. Publication Date: 07 Nov Chancen und Risiken.
Publication Date: 14 May Publication Date: 27 Oct By: Ad Tervoort. Publication Date: 29 Nov Publication Date: 16 Mar By: Klaus Wriedt. Publication Date: 28 Oct By: Lyse Roy. Publication Date: 28 Feb Editor s : James K. Publication Date: 29 May By: Agostino Sottili.
Publication Date: 29 Aug By placing that education in the context of Lutheran, Calvinist and Jesuit education abroad, it offers an overview of the uses to which Latin and Greek were put in English schools, and identifies the strategies devised by clergy and laity in England for coping with the tensions between classical studies and Protestant doctrine.