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About this product
- DescriptionIn this first comprehensive study of the effect of Lucretius's De rerum natura on Florentine thought in the Renaissance, Alison Brown demonstrates how Lucretius was used by Florentine thinkers--earlier and more widely than has been supposed--to provide a radical critique of prevailing orthodoxies. To answer the question of why ordinary Florentines were drawn to this recently discovered text, despite its threat to orthodox Christian belief, Brown tracks interest in it through three humanists--the most famous of whom was Machiavelli--all working t as philologists but as practical administrators and teachers in the Florentine chancery and university. Interpreting their direct use of Lucretius within the context of mercantile Florence, Brown highlights three dangerous themes that had particular appeal: Lucretius's attack on superstitious religion and an afterlife; his pre-Darwinian theory of evolution; and his atomism, with its theory of free will and the chance creation of the world. The humanists' challenge to established beliefs encouraged the growth of a Lucretian network of younger, politically disaffected Florentines. Brown thus adds a missing dimension to our understanding of the revolution in sixteenth-century political thinking, as she enriches our definition of the Renaissance in a context of newly discovered worlds and new social networks.
- Author BiographyAlison Brown is Emerita Professor of Italian Renaissance History at the University of London, Royal Holloway.
- Author(s)Alison Brown
- PublisherHarvard University Press
- Date of Publication01/04/2010
- SubjectCultural Studies
- Series TitleI Tatti Studies in Italian Renaissance History
- Place of PublicationCambridge, Mass
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintHarvard University Press
- Weight381 g
- Width155 mm
- Height235 mm
- Spine17 mm
- Format DetailsSewn,Cloth over boards,Unsewn / adhesive bound,With printed dust jacket
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