After Civic Humanism: Learning and Politics in Renaissance Italy


After Civic Humanism: Learning and Politics in Renaissance Italy


Link to Buy

Download or Purchase

Document Type


Publication Date



The thirteen essays in this volume demonstrate the multiplicity of connections between learning and politics in Renaissance Italy. Some engage explicitly with Hans Baron's "civic humanism" thesis illustrating its continuing viability, but also stretching its application to prove the limitations of its original expression. Others move beyond Baron's thesis to examine the actual practice of various individuals and groups engaged in both political and learned activities in a variety of diverse settings. The collective impression of all the contributions is that of a complex, ever-shifting mosaic of learned enterprises in which the well-examined civic paradigm emerges as just one of several modes that explain the interaction between learning and politics in Italy between 1300 and 1650. The model that emerges rejects any single category of explanation in favour of one that emphasizes variety and multiplicity. It suggests that learning was indispensible to all politics in Renaissance Italy and that, in fact, at its heart the Renaissance was a political event as much as a cultural movement.

"In moving past the constraints imposed by the so-called Baron thesis, the essays in this volume allow for an innovative focus on Renaissance humanism as a set of 'practices' determined more by social structures and networks than by specific historical events. In so doing, a number of these studies open up new areas of scholarly exploration."
- Scott Blanchard, Misericordia University