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Children's LiteratureThe Renaissance is understood as a crucial turning point in Western history; a transitional time between the pre-modern and the modern ages. This collection of primary and secondary texts presents a look at the customs, beliefs, and ideas, as well as daily life during the Italian Renaissance. The selections examine the economic and political changes of the time and also the institutions of religion, family, culture, and society. Chronologically the text begins with the Black Plague of the 14th century, even though the text itself defines the Renaissance as beginning in the 15th century. The vocabulary and conceptual ideas are advanced but clear writing lends to understanding though context. Each chapter consists of a few essays by various scholars or Renaissance figures introduced with a short and useful preface. Young readers will find Jacob Burckhardt's discussion of society and custom, including fashion, interesting and relevant and Giorgio Vasari's look at Leonardo da Vinci surprising and amusing. Other essays may be a bit drier but all are well selected. Recommended for classroom use or library research. A few black-and-white illustrations are included. 2005, Thomson Gale, Ages 12 to 18.
—Sarah Rachel Egelman