Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance
Nan A. Talese
, 1996 - History
- 470 pages
The flowering of civilization, the rebirth of classical scholarship, and the emergence of some of the greatest artists and thinkers the world has known: this is the traditional view of the Renaissance. In this lively, provocative, and wholly absorbing new book, Lisa Jardine offers a radical new interpretation, arguing that the creation of culture during the Renaissance was inextricably tied to the creation of wealth - that the expansion of commerce spurred the expansion of thought. While Europe's crowned heads and merchant entrepreneurs competed with each other to acquire works of art from the leading artists of the day, vicious commercial battles were being fought over silks and spices, and over who should control the centers for international trade around the globe. The rapidly growing market for printed books - a new commodity seized upon with equal enthusiasm by investors and consumers - disseminated the "new learning" via publishing houses and printing presses across Europe, stimulating the evolution of the European intellectual tradition as much by accident as by design. Bringing this opulent epoch to life in all its material splendor and competitive acquisitiveness, Lisa Jardine examines Renaissance culture from its western borders in Christendom to its eastern reaches in the Islamic Ottoman Empire.