Inventing the Renaissance

In Inventing the Renaissance, acclaimed historian Ada Palmer provides a fresh perspective on what makes this epoch so captivating. Her witty and irreverent journey through the fantasies historians have constructed about the period show how its legend derives more from later centuries’ mythmaking than from the often-grim reality of the period itself. She examines its defining figures and movements: the enduring legacy of Niccolò Machiavelli, the rediscovery of the classics, the rise of the Medici and fall of the Borgias, the astonishing artistic achievements of Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Cellini, the impact of the Inquisition, and the expansion of secular Humanism. Drawing on her popular blogs and writing with her characteristic energy and wit, Palmer presents the Renaissance as we have never seen it before. Colloquial, funny and brilliant, this is a work of deep scholarship that will make you alternately laugh and cry.

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The Recovery of Classical Philosophy in the Renaissance, a Brief Guide

Co-authored with James Hankins. Leo S. Olschki, 2008.

The Recovery of Ancient Philosophy in the Renaissance: A Brief Guide, by James Hankins and Ada Palmer, shows at what point the major texts and sources of ancient pagan pholosophy became available in Renaissance Europe, with entries organized by philosophical school.  A vital reference for scholars of the recovery of ancient thought.

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Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance

Harvard University Press, 2014.

In Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance, Ada Palmer explores how Renaissance readers, such as Machiavelli, Pomponio Leto, and Montaigne, actually ingested and disseminated the rediscovered Lucretius, and the ways in which the process of reading this brilliant but heretical ancient author  transformed modern thought.

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