Chapter 1. The Renaissance Question

  1. William Caferro

Published Online: 4 JUN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444324501.ch1

Contesting the Renaissance

Contesting the Renaissance

How to Cite

Caferro, W. (2010) The Renaissance Question, in Contesting the Renaissance, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444324501.ch1

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 JUN 2010
  2. Published Print: 2 JUL 2010

Book Series:

  1. Contesting the Past

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405123693

Online ISBN: 9781444324501



  • the Renaissance Question;
  • Renaissance, defying easy categorization, confounding definition, becoming topic of vigorous debate;
  • Renaissance era, its identification as a distinct one - dating back to the period itself;
  • Francis Petrarch, consciously isolating himself - from the “barbarism” that preceded him;
  • protestant writers of the Reformation - associating the earlier period with evils of the papacy and the church;
  • formulation of modern concept of Renaissance - Rationalist and Romantic intellectual movements of eighteenth and nineteenth centuries;
  • civilization of the Renaissance in Italy - becoming famous, and its contents being assumed;
  • Burckhardt, in fleshing out the ways - that individualism affected the age of the Renaissance;
  • “Golden Age” and “Problem Child” - the émigrés, and interest in politics and political forms;
  • postmodernism, accepting its elements - as enthusiastic proponent of the Renaissance


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The Revolt of the Medievalists

  • “Golden Age” and “Problem Child”

  • Cultural and Literary Turns

  • Pessimism, Accommodation, and the Public Domain

  • A New Beginning and “Enviable Position”