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Nuns and Nunneries in Renaissance Florence

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Overview

Winner, Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize, American Catholic Historical Association

The 15th century was a time of dramatic and decisive change for nuns and nunneries in Florence. During the course of that century, the city’s convents evolved from small, semiautonomous communities to large civic institutions. By 1552, roughly one in eight Florentine women lived in a religious community. Historian Sharon T. Strocchia analyzes this stunning growth of female monasticism, revealing the important roles these women and institutions played in the social, economic, and political history of Renaissance Florence.

"Strocchia performs a service both to convent studies and to historians of Renaissance Florence by bringing these two fields together... Convents, long a hazy presence on the rich scholarly map of Renaissance Florence, now have their political and economic contours there clearly charted."— Renaissance Quarterly

"Strocchia makes a significant contribution to the developing body of work on women's religious life in the Renaissance... providing a plethora of research avenues for the interested scholar and an interesting glimpse of Renaissance life for the general reader."— American Historical Review

"In this brilliant study, Strocchia brings us a deftly crafted analysis of Florentine convents and life within them... The combination of Strocchia’s scholarship and engaging narrative sets a new standard for future studies of nunneries in other Italian cities. This is a superb book!"— Church History

"Strocchia has written a judicious, balanced, and meticulously researched book, one that is drawn from a splendid breadth of archival sources and that makes a major contribution to our understanding of the complex and changing relationships between ecclesiastical institutions, family strategy, and civic consciousness."— Speculum

"Strocchia convincingly moves the history of nuns and nunneries to the center of our understanding of Renaissance urban geography."— Enterprise and Society

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Renaissance Quarterly
With this book Sharon Strocchia performs a service both to convent studies and to historians of Renaissance Florence by bringing these two fields together... Convents, long a hazy presence on the rich scholarly map of Renaissance Florence, now have their political and economic contours there clearly charted.

— P. Renée Baernstein

American Historical Review
Strocchia makes a significant contribution to the developing body of work on women's religious life in the Renaissance... providing a plethora of research avenues for the interested scholar and an interesting glimpse of Renaissance life for the general reader.

— Sally Mayall Brasher

Magistra
An enjoyable, well-written account by a gifted historian clearly knowledgeable about her subject.

— Laura Swan

Canadian Journal of History
A convincing and wide-ranging analysis of a crucial facet of Renaissance Florence.

— Brian Maxson

Catholic Historical Review
An original and high-quality contribution to the knowledge of the monastic institute.

— Gabriella Zarri

European Review of History
[A] wonderful study.

— Karin Tilmans

Historian
This is a splendid intervention in the expanding study of religious women's communities. It is a 'must read.'

— Constance H. Berman

European History Quarterly
An important volume which deserves to be read and re-read not only by historians of the Renaissance church, but also by those interested in the histories of women, work and early modern urban culture.

— Roisin Cossar

Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Lucidly written and meticulously organized...The book is remarkable for both its richness and its clarity: the chapters are logically framed, the sections of broad argumentation are supported by vivid case studies, and the conclusions are both sound and thought-provoking... Strocchia's study makes a significant contribution to the study of Renaissance Florence. By weaving the convent into myriad aspects of Florentine social and political life, she offers both thought-provoking findings and a trove of new evidence that will make the book required reading for a wide range of scholars.

— Diana Bullen Presciutti

Chronique

Well worth your close attention whether you are interested in Renaissance religion or ruling dynasties or the textile industry of Florence.

Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal - Diana Bullen Presciutti
Lucidly written and meticulously organized... The book is remarkable for both its richness and its clarity: the chapters are logically framed, the sections of broad argumentation are supported by vivid case studies, and the conclusions are both sound and thought-provoking... Strocchia's study makes a significant contribution to the study of Renaissance Florence. By weaving the convent into myriad aspects of Florentine social and political life, she offers both thought-provoking findings and a trove of new evidence that will make the book required reading for a wide range of scholars.
Choice

Strocchia examines the complex interrelationships between Florentine nuns and the laity, the secular government, and the religious hierarchy. The author skillfully analyzes extensive archival and printed sources.

Choice
Strocchia examines the complex interrelationships between Florentine nuns and the laity, the secular government, and the religious hierarchy. The author skillfully analyzes extensive archival and printed sources.
Renaissance Quarterly - P. Renée Baernstein
Strocchia performs a service both to convent studies and to historians of Renaissance Florence by bringing these two fields together... Convents, long a hazy presence on the rich scholarly map of Renaissance Florence, now have their political and economic contours there clearly charted.
Magistra - Laura Swan
An enjoyable, well-written account by a gifted historian clearly knowledgeable about her subject.
American Historical Review - Sally Mayall Brasher
Strocchia makes a significant contribution to the developing body of work on women's religious life in the Renaissance... providing a plethora of research avenues for the interested scholar and an interesting glimpse of Renaissance life for the general reader.
Canadian Journal of History - Brian Maxson
A convincing and wide-ranging analysis of a crucial facet of Renaissance Florence.
Catholic Historical Review - Gabriella Zarri
An original and high-quality contribution to the knowledge of the monastic institute.
European Review of History - Karin Tilmans
One of the central arguments advanced in this book is that the fifteenth century was a decisive moment both for convents and for their relations with urban society.
Historian - Constance H. Berman
This is a splendid intervention in the expanding study of religious women's communities. It is a 'must read.'
European History Quarterly - Roisin Cossar
An important volume which deserves to be read and re-read not only by historians of the Renaissance church, but also by those interested in the histories of women, work and early modern urban culture.
Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance
Well worth your close attention whether you are interested in Renaissance religion or ruling dynasties or the textile industry of Florence.
Journal of Social History
A most impressive investigation of the intricate connections that developed between convents and the Florentine state in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.
Enterprise and Society - Holly S. Hurlburt
Through scrupulous archival research, Strocchia situates her nuns in the context of late medieval spiritual, political, social, and urban developments... Strocchia convincingly moves the history of nuns and nunneries to the center of our understanding of Renaissance urban geography.
Church History - Charmarie J. Blaisdell
In this brilliant study, Strocchia brings us a deftly crafted analysis of Florentine convents and life within them... The combination of Strocchia’s scholarship and engaging narrative sets a new standard for future studies of nunneries in other Italian cities. This is a superb book!
Journal of Interdisciplinary History - Carol M. Bresnahan
This well-conceived work breaks new ground for the role of convents in society and politics in early modern Europe.
Speculum - Philip Gavitt
Strocchia has written a judicious, balanced, and meticulously researched book, one that is drawn from a splendid breadth of archival sources and that makes a major contribution to our understanding of the complex and changing relationships between ecclesiastical institutions, family strategy, and civic consciousness.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801892929
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 9/16/2009
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Sharon T. Strocchia is a professor of history at Emory University and author of Death and Ritual in Renaissance Florence, also published by Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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