Chapter 2. Individualism: Who Was the Renaissance Man?

  1. William Caferro

Published Online: 4 JUN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444324501.ch2

Contesting the Renaissance

Contesting the Renaissance

How to Cite

Caferro, W. (2010) Individualism: Who Was the Renaissance Man?, in Contesting the Renaissance, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444324501.ch2

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



  • individualism and Who was the Renaissance Man;
  • Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, Burckhardt placing “individualism” at the heart of his analysis;
  • Burckhardt's construct, the most influential and enduring aspect of his thesis;
  • Renaissance social, intellectual - studies across class and gender lines, and “corporate” associations;
  • Jules Michelet, the era as one of “the discovery of the world and man”;
  • development of the individual and discovery of the world and man;
  • study of the Renaissance, characterized by biographies of great men;
  • Amerigo Vespucci's exploits - in two famous letters, Mundus Novus (1504) and Quatuor Navigationes;
  • the Renaissance sense of “discovery” - with roots in the Middle Ages;
  • corporate nature of Renaissance individualism - being affirmed in studies


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The Development of the Individual and the Discovery of the World and Man

  • Overseas Explorations

  • The Medieval Individual

  • Collectivity and Family

  • The Black Death and the Cult of Remembrance

  • The Performative, Postmodern, and Relational Self

  • Civility and the Divided Self