This is a rich portrait of Europe and its civilization in the 16th century - the moment when "Europe" first became an entity in the minds of its own inhabitants. It does not simply survey "high" culture, but paints a gigantic portrait of the age, enlivened by a mass of detail about the lives of often obscure figures who Hale brings to life to give point to his multiplicity of arguments. What precisely is meant by "civilization"? How usefully descriptive of the period as a whole is "Renaissance"? What, indeed, did "Italy" (for example) mean to contemporaries? These are some of the questions which Hale addresses in this challenging book.
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‘This magnificent book is the product of a lifetime’s scholarship by someone with a quite irrepressible curiosity and prodigious breadth of reading…together with the enviable gift of writing clearly and beautifully.’ TLS
‘This study deserves to stand alongside Braudel’s classic account of the Mediterranean in the time of Philip II. Hale is as generous as he is knowledgeable; his life’s work has culminated in a meticulous masterpiece.’ Frederic Raphael, Sunday Times
‘John Hale has produced a vast and enthralling mosaic. Only someone who had devoted a lifetime to studying history, literature and the art of the 15th- and 16th-century could draw so effortlessly on what seems a limitless range of texts and illustrations…His curiosity never fails, his learning constantly surprises, and the wit and energy of his style never flags…Extraordinary.’ Anthony Grafton, LRBFrom the Back Cover:
WINNER OF 1993 TIME-LIFE SILVER PEN AWARD AND THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LITERATURE AWARD
'The Civilisation of Europe in the Renaissance' is the most ambitious achievement of Britain's leading Renaissance historian. John Hale has painted on a grand canvas an enthralling portrait of Europe and its civilisation at a moment when it first became an entity in the minds of its inhabitants.
The book does not simply survey 'high' culture but with an astonishing range and subtlety of learning builds up a gigantic picture of the age, enlivened by a multiplicity of themes, people and ideas. It contains memorable descriptions of painting, sculpture, poetry, architecture and music; but Hale is not simply concerned with the arts: he examines the dramatic changes during the period in religion, politics, economics and global discoveries. At a time when we are thinking more and more about what 'Europe' and European culture mean, this is a book which shows us more than any other where we can find the roots of both, and how much the present and future can be illuminated by the past.
"A superb evocation of the Europe of 'the long sixteenth century', wonderfully fresh and rich in its copious illustrative detail, full of innumerable incidental delights. (The book) takes its place as the summation of John Hall's career as a historian, and as the crowning achievement of a master-designer whose richly fabricated works have given so much pleasure."
J. H. ELLIOTT
"John Hale has produced a vast and enthralling mosaic. Only someone who had devoted a lifetime to studying history, literature and art of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries could draw so effortlessly on what seems a limitless range of texts and illustrations. One cannot skim a single chapter without encountering unfamiliar details, elegant juxtapositions of visual and verbal argument, and anecdotes without end, each of which makes a novel and instructive point. His curiosity never fails, his learning constantly surprises, and the wit and energy of his style never flags… What he has done is extraordinary."
ANTHONY CRAFTON, 'London Review of Books'
"Combing and transcending the concerns of both his great predecessors (Burckhardt and Huizinga), John Hale has written the best account available in English of Europe from the fall of Constantinople to the start of the Thirty Years War."
TIMOTHY WILSON-SMITH, 'Catholic Herald'
"This study deserves to stand alongside Braudel's classic account of the Mediterranean in the time of Philip II. Hale is as generous as he is knowledgeable; his life's work has culminated in a meticulous masterpiece."
FREDERIC RAPHAEL, 'Sunday Times'
"This magnificent book is the product of a lifetime's scholarship by someone with a quite irrepressible curiosity and prodigious breadth of reading… together with the enviable gift or writing clearly and beautifully."
A. V. ANTONVICS, 'Times Educational Supplement'
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Book Description HarperCollins. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0002153394 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW4.0000171
Book Description HarperCollins, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0002153394