Invitation to Renaissance Italy

Invitation to Renaissance Italy

Invitation to Renaissance Italy

Invitation to Renaissance Italy

Excerpt

More years ago than I care to count, in the dim and different world before the War, it was my privilege one afternoon to walk by aquiet Oxford canal with the distinguished translator of the Bacchae. If I so describe the brilliant and versatile Professor Gilbert Murray, it is simply because the more lyric and rebellious side of his genius explains what interest he took in my work. The Italian Renaissance was then to me one of several historic regions where a spirit deeply committed to poetry could escape from bitter constraints of circumstance to ride at will; and that I, a shy person, contrived to tell the story of Sigismondo Malatesta to the apologist of Prohibition and the apostle of the League of Nations now seems to myself slightly incredible. I did not go into details, like Pope Pius II; and, as I said, it was to the translator of the Bacchae that I spoke.

The consequence was that Professor Gilbert Murray became not so indirectly responsible for a book called Aspects of the Italian Renaissance, which he regarded with great amiability and a little disquiet, and so for its adventurous sequel, Leonardo the Florentine, which he has regarded still amiably, though with more disquiet. It is true that we agree only in fundamentals; but now that he has confessed in the pages of Harper's that his criterion of behaviour is an aesthetic value, it is hard to discover where we begin to differ.

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