Reconsidering the Renaissance: Papers from the Twenty-First Annual Conference (Medieval and Renaissance Texts & Studies)

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9780866981071: Reconsidering the Renaissance: Papers from the Twenty-First Annual Conference (Medieval and Renaissance Texts & Studies)
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Excerpt from the Introduction: Here are thirty-one essays in various modes and on various subjects important to any discourse of early modern Europe. I use the more familiar term Renaissance in my title, at the risk, of course, that the title will raise the question of the very existence of the phenomenon here considered and reconsidered. Was there a Renaissance? In the sense of a period of rebirth, of easy rejection of the past, of a coherent "period" dominated by certain kinds of world-view and ideological consistency, no there certainly wasn't. Perhaps, in fact, the concept Renaissance makes sense only as a concept to be reconsidered. None of our papers quarrels with the basic notion that the term describes a phenomenon with certain recognizable features, a definable outline, a generally congruous, even acceptable shape. But an important part of that shape is, in fact, the suppleness of the boundaries, even the assortment of ways in which boundaries recede or dissolve. Thus, Milton - and Milton in modern theoretical terms - has a well-defined place here as does Shakespeare (who surely escapes all boundaries even as his work defines them) or as does the persistence of classical harmonies and disharmonies. But what of George Herbert? What of Parmigianino? Like Donne, are these species of chronological disruption?

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