The First Century of Italian Humanism

The First Century of Italian Humanism

The First Century of Italian Humanism

The First Century of Italian Humanism

Excerpt

This is a study in intellectual history and, more particularly, in the intellectual history of Italy during the one hundred to one hundred and twenty-five years between, let us say, 1325 and 1450 A. D. During this period there began to define itself quite clearly a new attitude toward life which the documents incorporated in this little volume offer an opportunity to explore.

It will be well if the student understands at the outset that intellectual change, such as is investigated here, is always an element in general cultural change, and that cultural change goes on in every civilized society uninterruptedly and at all times though at a variable pace. The Middle Age, which lies behind the first century of humanism and leads up to it, is still sometimes spoken of as if it had been, exceptionally, a period of cultural stagnation. This is of course absurd, for if its very leisurely unfolding may look like stagnation when compared with, say, the uniquely accelerated movement of the twentieth century, the age was nonetheless marked, within established limits, by numerous far-reaching changes. If, in view of this ceaseless flow, we are in the present instance singling out for study the change that came over men's thoughts in the course of the fourteenth century, it is because the novel ideas of that age very patently transcended the boundaries which had hitherto commanded universal respect, and by breaking them down, on the one hand, prepared the end of the Middle . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.