ITAL2104 - Renaissance Authors: Machiavelli and Castiglione

Value: 0.5 course units
Andrew Campbell
Teaching structure: ten two-hour lectures, tutorial time, term 2 only.
one unseen two-hour written examination (100%); four compulsory but not
assessed translation and commentary exercises to be assigned during the
supplementary seminars.

Module description:

During the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Italy developed a remarkably distinct cultural identity. It did so mainly by reclaiming ancient Roman civilization as its own cultural property and by adapting it for the flourishing – sometimes volatile – circumstances of the Italian city state. This adaptation is well illustrated in Machiavelli’s Il Principe, and Castiglione’s Il libro del cortegiano. These works defined the structures of despotism characteristic of Italy and Europe From the fifteenth century to the present.

Preparatory reading:

  • Black, Robert. ‘Florence’, in Porter, Roy, and Teich, Mikuláš (eds). The Renaissance in National Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. 21-41.
  • Burke, Peter. The Renaissance, 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997 [first published 1987].
  • Findlen, Paula. ‘Understanding the Italian Renaissance’, in ibid. (ed.). The Italian Renaissance. The Essential Readings. Oxford: Blackwell, 2002. 4-40.
  • Mackenney, Richard. Renaissances. The Cultures of Italy, c. 1300-1600. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
  • Skinner, Quentin. Machiavelli. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Woodhouse, John R. Baldesar Castiglione. A Reassessment of the Courtier. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1978.

Set texts:

  • Machiavelli, Niccolò. Il principe, ed. Inglese, Giorgio. Turin: Einaudi, 1995.
  • Castiglione, Baldassarre. Il libro del cortegiano, ed. Barberis, Walter. Turin: Einaudi, 1998.

All remaining module material will be available on Moodle.