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The book follows an interdisciplinary approach and covers the origins of the Italian Renaissance through the Baroque period. It is comprised of fifteen chapters, organized chronologically, along with an introduction and conclusion.
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Lisa Kaborycha has a Ph.D. in Medieval and Early Modern History and an M.A. in Italian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, where for years she taught undergraduate courses in Renaissance Italian History and Culture. A former recipient of the Fulbright Award and National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the Medici Archive Project, Dr. Kaborycha currently resides in Florence, Italy, where she is a Research Fellow at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies.
Dr. Kaborycha’s A Short History of Renaissance Italy is based on a thorough knowledge
of current literature. She is aware of the controversies among scholars over the interpretation
of this epoch. She analyzes the tension between continuity and change in
these centuries, from the ravages of the Black Death in the 1340s, to the revival in the
fifteenth century, and the dramatic consequences of the foreign invasions after 1494.
A notable quality of this work is the author’s integration of every significant feature of
this era, from climate and geography to politics, the economy, and religion and culture.
Her choice of literary and artistic sources, from Homer and Cicero to Dante and
Michelangelo, is always pertinent and instructive. She begins each chapter by setting
the scene with apt quotations or illustrations to establish the context of her analysis.
Her writing style is lucid and often eloquent, and she takes care to explain unfamiliar
concepts and themes. Her suggestions for further reading are well chosen. This book
is an exemplary narrative and analysis of a major chapter in the history of Western
Gene A. Brucker
Shepard Professor of History, Emeritus
University of California, Berkeley
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