The Italian Renaissance : The Great Courses: Renaissance & Early Modern History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Kenneth R. Bartlett
  • Series: The Great Courses: Renaissance & Early Modern History
  • 18 hrs and 19 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

The effects of the Italian Renaissance are still with us today, from the incomparable paintings of Leonardo da Vinci to the immortal writings of Petrarch and Machiavelli. But why was there such an artistic, cultural, and intellectual explosion in Italy at the start of the 14th century? Why did it occur in Italy? And why in certain Italian city-states such as Florence?
Professor Bartlett probes these questions and more in 36 dynamic lectures. This is your opportunity to appreciate the results of the Italian Renaissance and gain an understanding of the underlying social, political, and economic forces that made such exceptional art and culture possible. At the heart of Renaissance Italy were the city-states, home to the money, intellect, and talent needed for the growth of Renaissance culture. You'll look at the Republic of Florence, as well as other city-states that, thanks to geographical and historical circumstances, had much different political and social structures. This course contains a wealth of details that will give you a feel and appreciation for the Italian Renaissance - its contributions to history, the ways it was similar and dissimilar to our times, and how the people of the time, both famous and ordinary, experienced it. You'll come away surprised by how much of our modern life was made possible by the Renaissance. Our concept of participatory government, our belief in the value of competition, our philosophy of the content and purpose of education, even our notions of love all have roots in the Renaissance period. Its loftiest ideals - the importance of the individual, the value of human dignity and potential, and the promotion of freedom - are ones we embrace as our own.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great Course but need written text

Any additional comments?

I am a big fan of Professor Bartlett. History could be full of wars, names and dates which tend to be pretty boring, but Bartlett has managed to keep audience interested by personalizing the historical figures, their background, character, journey in the way that you and I can related. He also provided various aspects of the Italian culture that we still can see today when we visit the country. In so doing, ancient history becomes highly relevant to today’s Italy and Italians, and how we appreciate them.

The major annoyance is the fact that the written material (course outlines) is not included in the Great Course lectures. Yes, Audible made a disclaimer, but still, with so much information contained in these lectures, how can Audible expect listeners to properly gain enough knowledge without some written material? Simple things like how the names are spelled and which dates related to what events/figures are all part of the reason why written text is necessary for learning. I will have to buy his written text separately to compensate.

That said, I still highly recommend it because the lectures are just too good to miss.

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- Listen

A little too academic for me....

Would you consider the audio edition of The Italian Renaissance to be better than the print version?

Don't know


What did you like best about this story?

Its overall approach is very interesting


Which character – as performed by Professor Kenneth R. Bartlett – was your favorite?

Not relevant


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The very beginning


Any additional comments?

It just reads to much like a very dry academic text book. I have not felt this way about a number of other great course that I have listened to.

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- Sarah

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses