The Waning of the Renaissance, 1550-1640
Historians have conventionally viewed intellectual and artistic achievement as a seamless progression in a single direction, with the Renaissance, as identified by Jacob Burckhardt, as the root and foundation of modern culture. But in this brilliant new analysis William Bouwsma rethinks the accepted view, arguing that while the Renaissance had a beginning and, unquestionably, a climax, it also had an ending.
Examining the careers of some of the greatest figures of the age--Montaigne, Galileo, Jonson, Descartes, Hooker, Shakespeare, and Cervantes among many others--Bouwsma perceives in their work a growing sense of doubt and anxiety about the modern world. He considers first those features of modern European culture generally associated with the traditional Renaissance, features which reached their climax in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. But even as the movements of the Renaissance gathered strength, simultaneous impulses operated in a contrary direction. Bouwsma identifies a growing concern with personal identity, shifts in the interests of major thinkers, a decline in confidence about the future, and a heightening of anxiety.
Exploring the fluctuating and sometimes contradictory atmosphere in which Renaissance artists and thinkers operated, Bouwsma shows how the very liberation from old boundaries and modes of expression that characterized the Renaissance became itself increasingly stifling and destructive. By drawing attention to the waning of the Renaissance culture of freedom and creativity, Bouwsma offers a wholly new and intriguing interpretation of the place of the European Renaissance in modern culture.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
The Cultural Community of Europe
The Liberation of the Self
The Liberation of Knowing
The Liberation of Time
The Liberation of Space
The Liberation of Politics
The Liberation of Religion
The Worst of Times
The Reordered Self
From Skepticism to Science
The Decline of Historical Consciousness
Order in Society and Government
Order in Religion
Order in the Arts
Other editions - View all
actions Anatomy of Melancholy ancient antiquity argued Aristotle arts attacked authority Bacon believed Bodin body Burton Catholic century Christian church claimed common conception concern culture death described developed divine doubts earlier earth England English especially Europe European experience explain expression faith followed France French Galileo growing hand Hooker human important included increasingly interest Italian Italy Jesuit kind knowledge language later learning least less live major matters means mind Montaigne moral nature observed origins papacy past period persons philosophy plays political popular possible practical Protestants reason recognized reflected reform religion religious Renaissance respect result rhetoric Rome rule rulers Sarpi seemed sense society sometimes soul suggested theater things thought tion traditional true truth understanding universe various Venice virtue writings wrote