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This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1903. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... SYMONDS'S "RENAISSANCE IN ITALY" Renaissance in Italy; the Age of the Despots. By John Addington Symonds. ( London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1875.) [HIS remarkable volume is the first of three parts of a projected work which in its complete form will present a more comprehensive treatment of its subject than has yet been offered to English readers. The aim of the writer is to weave together the various threads of a very complex period of European life, and to set the art and literature of Italy on that background of general social and historical conditions to which they belong, and apart from which they cannot really be understood, according to the received and well-known belief of most modern writers. Mr. Symonds brings to this task the results of wide, varied, and often curious reading, which he has by no means allowed to overburden his work, and also a familiar knowledge, attested by his former eloquent volume of Studies on the Greek Poets, of that classical world to which the Renaissance was confessedly in some degree a return. It is that background of general history, a background upon which the artists and men of letters are moving figures not to be wholly detached from it, that this volume presents. By the " Age of the Despots " in Italian history the writer understands the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, as the twelfth and the thirteenth are the "Age of the Free Burghs," and the sixteenth and seventeenth the "Age of Foreign Enslavement." The chief phenomenon with which the " Age of the Despots" is occupied is that " free emergence of personal passions, personal aims," which all its peculiar conditions tended to encourage, of personalities all alike so energetic and free, though otherwise so unlike as Francesco Sforza, Savonarola, Machiavelli, and Alexande...
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Harold Bloom is a distinguised literary critic and University Professor of the Humanities at Yale University.
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