This highly original book opens up the almost entirely neglected area of the black African presence in Western Europe during the Renaissance. Covering history, literature, art history and anthropology, it investigates a whole range of black African experience and representation across Renaissance Europe, from various types of slavery to black musicians and dancers, from real and symbolic Africans at court to the views of the Catholic Church, and from writers of African descent to Black African criminality. Their findings demonstrate the variety and complexity of black African life in fifteenth and sixteenth-century Europe, and how it was affected by firmly held preconceptions relating to the African continent and its inhabitants, reinforced by Renaissance ideas and conditions. Of ermous importance both for European and American history, this book mixes empirical material and theoretical approaches, and addresses such issues as stereotypes, changing black African identity, and cultural representation in art and literature.
T. F. Earle is King John II Professor of Portuguese Studies at the University of Oxford. K.J.P. Lowe is Professor of Renaissance History at Goldsmith's College, University of London.