1st Edition

Voices from the Italian Renaissance A Sourcebook

By Lisa Kaborycha Copyright 2024
    448 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    448 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Italian Renaissance was a period of intense cultural transformations when the ancient world was being rediscovered and a New World had been literally discovered. Between the thirteenth and the seventeenth centuries, traditional beliefs were being challenged as people across the Italian Peninsula explored new ways of thinking about religion, politics, and society and introduced startling innovations in the arts.

    This book contains more than hundred selections of primary sources—the historian’s raw material in the form of memoirs, letters, treatises, sermons, stories, poems, drawings, paintings, and sculpture. Here are eyewitness accounts of cold-blooded murders, lavish court pageants, the Sack of Rome, and the Black Death; first views of Michelangelo’s Sistine frescoes and glimpses of the surface of the moon through Galileo’s telescope. These sources bring the reader into direct contact with the creators of the great Renaissance works of art, literature, philosophy, and science, as well as lesser-known people, who in their own words express emotions of love, loss, and spiritual yearning.

    Selected to accompany and supplement A Short History of Renaissance Italy, the primary sources in this book make it an ideal course reader for students of history or art history. Yet this volume can be equally read well on its own; each selection is clearly introduced, annotated, and provided with references for further reading. These sources reach out to an audience beyond the classroom—the general reader, or the traveler to Italy—anyone curious to learn more about the Italian Renaissance will find themselves swept into conversation with these vibrant voices from the past.

    Part 1: The Natural World

    Part 2: Under the Influence of the Ancients

    Part 3: The Sacred and the Secular

    Part 4: The Arts in Social Context

    Part 5: Love

    Part 6: Government, Politics and Statecraft

    Part 7: Domestic Life, Family, and Work

    Part 8: Travel, Curiosity, and Wonder


    Lisa Kaborycha holds a Ph.D. in medieval and early modern European history from the University of California, Berkeley and has been the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship with the Medici Archive Project, and Harvard’s Villa I Tatti Fellowship in Italian Renaissance Studies. In addition to A Short History of Renaissance Italy (2023), she is the author of A Corresponding Renaissance: Letters Written by Italian Women, 1375-1650 (2016). For years, Kaborycha taught courses in Renaissance history for the University of California and currently works as adjunct professor at the University of New Haven Tuscany Campus and lecturer at the British Institute of Florence.

    Lisa Kaborycha offers in Voices from the Italian Renaissance an anthology of texts providing a broad view of the many aspects of Renaissance culture and society, ranging from perceptions of nature to the arts, governance and love, domestic life and travels abroad, and the humanist reception of antiquity and religious reform. Packed with well-chosen texts that often dialogue with each other provocatively, this anthology provides in itself a thoughtful and appealing introduction to the Italian Renaissance.

    Margaret L. King, Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, CUNY

    This new sourcebook by Lisa Kaborycha is a tool that will be greatly appreciated by both students and teachers of the Italian Renaissance. The sources selected cover a particularly broad and comprehensive range of topics, and the authors are not limited to those traditionally best known, but also include lesser-known but no less important names worthy of rediscovery. For these aspects and for the good introductions by the author that stimulate discussion, this volume deserves to be highly recommended.

    Fabrizio Conti, John Cabot University, Rome, Italy