Strong Words: Writing and Social Strain in the Italian Renaissance

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Strong Words is a social history of the Italian Renaissance (1300-1560) in a cultural key. Using tales, poetry, prayer, and letters as prime sources, Lauro Martines probes religious sensibilities, love, alienation, explosive feeling against political authority, the moral strains of patronage, and the close ways of urban neighborhoods. Case studies of suicide and the seduction of propertied women sharpen the analysis.
By moving behind literary posture and metaphor, Martines ...
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Overview

Strong Words is a social history of the Italian Renaissance (1300-1560) in a cultural key. Using tales, poetry, prayer, and letters as prime sources, Lauro Martines probes religious sensibilities, love, alienation, explosive feeling against political authority, the moral strains of patronage, and the close ways of urban neighborhoods. Case studies of suicide and the seduction of propertied women sharpen the analysis.
By moving behind literary posture and metaphor, Martines exposes the power of local angers, fears, and loyalties, of misogyny, cruelty, and female space. The vitality of urban experience in Renaissance Italy passes before us, as we see the language of literature giving form and immediacy to the emotions of everyday life.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Acknowledgments
A Word to the Reader
Chapter 1 NEIGHBORHOOD VOICES IN POETRY
The Parochial Matrix, Parish and Patrons
Chapter 2 THE VERBAL WEB OF PATRONAGE
Love, Hate
Chapter 3 PRAYER IN THE URBAN SETTING
Mise-en-Scene, Remembering Death The Language of Prayer, Holy Craziness
Language for the Virgin and the Saints, Basic Themes in Sacred Drama, Love: Sacred and Profane, Open Questions
Chapter 4 LOVE AND HISTORY: MEN AGAINST WOMEN
Poetry as Chronicle, Love and Religious Feeling, Misogyny, Love and Social Standing, The Mysteries Social Identity, Love and Arranged Marriage, Popular Love, Conclusion
Chapter 5 THE SUICIDE OF A POET
Background, Thispen for Hire, Suicide
Chapter 6 ALIENATION: THE OUTSIDER AS POET
A Material Life, Poetry as Self-Inquiry
Chapter 7 THE TALE AS HISTORICAL TESTIMONY
Chapter 8 CRUELTY IN THE COMMUNITY: A BLOODY TALE
Cruelty or Context?, The Tale
Chapter 9 SEDUCTION AND FAMILY SPACE
Entree, Seduction: Theme and Characters, Space, Time and Seduction, Fear, Fantasy, and Symbolic Action, Appendix: A Chronological List of the Authors
Chapter 10 POETRY AS POLITICAL MEMORY
Chapter 11 CRISIS IN THE GENERATION OF 1494
Notes
Bibliography
Index
AUTHOR BIO:
Lauro Martines is a former professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles. His many books include Society and History in English Renaissance Verse and Power and Imagination: City-States in Renaissance Italy, the latter available from Johns Hopkins.
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Editorial Reviews

James S. Grubb
Martines opens up a new set of sources for historians with this ambitious book. The writing is very forceful and full of insight. Martines's command of the primary and secondary literature is magisterial.
Choice

Providing a rich fund of examples, Martines' brilliant study reaches a more complex reality than the historical record reveals.

Journal of Modern History

Martines's contribution should become required reading in the social history of Renaissance Italy.

— Thomas Kuehn

Journal of Interdisciplinary History

Martines makes brilliant use of the 'archive' of literature—poetry, novellas, tales, letters, and dramas—to recreate aspects of the social and cultural world of the Renaissance... Strong Words is a rarity—a strongly-felt creation, filled with humanity.

— John Jeffries Martin

Speculum

Strong Words succeeds as a vigorous portrait of Renaissance society viewed through its literature, a compelling introduction not only to a body of literature but to the world that produced it.

— F. Thomas Luongo

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801865749
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 4/9/2001
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.27 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Lauro Martines is a former professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles. His many books include Society and History in English Renaissance Verse and Power and Imagination: City-States in Renaissance Italy, the latter available from Johns Hopkins.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
A Word to the Reader
1 Neighborhood Voices in Poetry 1
2 The Verbal Web of Patronage 13
3 Prayer in the Urban Setting 37
4 Love and History: Men Against Women 82
5 The Suicide of a Poet 113
6 Alienation: The Outsider as Poet 137
7 The Tale as Historical Testimony 167
8 Cruelty in the Community: A Bloody Tale 182
9 Seduction and Family Space 199
10 Poetry as Political Memory 232
11 Crisis in the Generation of 1494 249
Afterword: Themes and Strategies 264
Notes 275
Bibliography 319
Index 343
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