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[Full Download ] The Renaissance: A Short History (Modern Library Chronicles)

Paul Johnson: The Renaissance: A Short History (Modern Library Chronicles)

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Editorial Reviews From Publishers Weekly This slim volume is among the first in a new series, the Modern Library Chronicles, described by the publisher as "authoritative, lively, and accessible." Noted historian Johnson's (A History of the American People, etc.) book satisfies on the latter two countsAit provides a serviceable introduction for the general readerAhowever, on the first count it falls short. Johnson offers an unimaginative and superficial history, with insidious signs of haste, like the claim that Charles V created El Escorial. Few will be surprised that the Renaissance was "primarily a human event" or excited by the pedestrian approach: dates of birth and death abound. Although he avoids blind admiration (the Mona Lisa "shows the defects of [Leonardo's] slovenly method of working"), Johnson is resolutely canonical: Chaucer is one of precisely four writers in English whose genius, he claims, cannot be rationally explained (Shakespeare, Dickens and Kipling are the others). Other value judgments will also raise eyebrows: Leonardo, for instance, had "not much warmth to him. He may, indeed, have had homosexual inclinations." Johnson equivocates on Michelangelo: he was quarrelsome, secretive and mean-spirited, but to say he was neurotic is "nonsense." More interesting is the remark that the humanists were outsiders, beyond the stifling university pale; the author evidently senses kindred spirits, and he snipes at academia. But there is much here for the academicians to attack, and it is difficult to see how this volume improves on, say, Peter Burke's even briefer volume The Renaissance. 3-city author tour. Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. From Library Journal Historian Johnson, fellow of All Souls' College, Oxford, and author of A History of the American People, has written a concise and comprehensive survey of the Renaissance, published as part of Modern Library's new "Chronicles" series, which also includes Karen Armstrong's Islam: A Short History. Johnson begins by looking at earlier periods of post-Roman European history that were precursors of the Renaissance and also considers when the term Renaissance became common usage. In the book's early sections, he assesses the historic and economic background of the period and then examines the Renaissance in literature and scholarship, the anatomy of Renaissance sculpture, Renaissance buildings, the evolution of painters and paintings of the period, and, finally, the dissemination and decline of the Renaissance. Johnson has included a chronology of significant events, a list of key period figures, and an incredible amount of other informationDfrom the number of printed books in Europe to the controversy over polyphonic music in the 16th century. This work will be of interest to both students and lay readers, who will find that nothing else on the Renaissance is available in this price range and size. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. -DRobert J. Andrews, Duluth P.L., MN Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Editorial Reviews



Rating:

4,5 / 5

 


  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0812966198
  • Publisher: Modern Library (August 6, 2002)
  • Series: Modern Library Chronicles

  • File size: 3,5MB

     
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