The Myth of the Renaissance in Nineteenth-Century Writing (Hardback)
  • The Myth of the Renaissance in Nineteenth-Century Writing (Hardback)
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The Myth of the Renaissance in Nineteenth-Century Writing (Hardback)

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£132.50
Hardback 348 Pages / Published: 17/02/1994
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Few people who use the word `Renaissance' today realize that it is a comparatively recent historical idea, or that it is a `myth' or story constructed by writers to explain the past. In this innovative and wide-ranging study, J.B. Bullen traces the genesis of that myth back to the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The seeds of the idea are to be found in Voltaire, but Dr Bullen shows how it was taken up by French art historians and Gothic revivalists as an important element in the acrimonious political and religious debates with French historiography,. The book's main focus, however, is on English intellectual life and the ways in which writers like Pugin, Ruskin, Browning, and George Eliot took up the terms established by Hugo, Rio, and Michelet in France and adapted a reading of fifteenth-century Italy to suit the special conditions of Victorian England. Ultimately, in the work of Swinburne, Arnold, Pater, and Symonds the Renaissance became a key factor in relating ethics and aesthetics, and in its late nineteenth-century phase, the myth figures prominently in an important discussion about the relationship between power, authority, and individualism. The Myth of the Renaissance in Nineteenth-Century Writing is a major conribution to the analysis of a neglected aspect of Victorian intellectual life and will be essential reading for all scholars and students of the nineteenth century.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198128885
Number of pages: 348
Weight: 588 g
Dimensions: 224 x 145 x 25 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
J.B. Bullen's book contains a great deal of interesting information about responses to the Italian Renaissance and many perceptive insights into the nature of those responses...It is for the English chapters that this book will mainly be read; and they can be studied with pleasure and profit by anyone fascinated by a particularly appealing period of English Literature and also by everyone interested in the mysterious (but frequently recurring) processes by which some new and foreign historical concept gradually becomes absorbed into the fiction, poetry, aesthetics, philosophy, and historical writing of a quite different civilization.
The great achievement of this study is the recovery of... lost conversations... Bullen is exceptionally qualified to author a comprehensive, comparative, and synthetic work such as The Myth of the Renaissance in Nineteenth-Century Writing... Bullen provides an excellent survey for graduate students, an essential study for historians of ideas, and an attractive and lucid narrative of a contentious period in European history for readers of any background. * Christine Bolus-Reichert, The European Legacy Vol.5 No.1 *
'a substantial achievement, lucidly written and often persuasively argued ... The dust-jacket proudly suggests that it "will be essential reading for all scholars and students of the nineteenth century". I suspect that this is too modest.' Times Literary Supplement
This self-effacing and just book is that rare thing, an academic study which rings as true as a bell. * The Modern Language Review *
This is a well-argued and erudite analysis of the nineteenth -century development of the 'myth' of the 'Renaissance'. He makes a compelling argument for veiwing the changing historical and literary definition of the Renaissance as a product of literary strategies. As his ananlysis clearly demonstrates, the modern day myth of the Renaissance is a product of language and of historicl discourse, with its roots in fictive rhetorical strategies and literary devices. * Notes and Queries *
J.B. Bullen's book contains a great deal of interesting information about responses to the Italian Renaissance, and many perceptive insights into the nature of those responses ... it is for the English chapters that this book will mainly be read; and they can be studied with pleasure and profit by anyone fascinated by a particularly appealing period of English literature and also by everyone interested in the mysterious (but frequently recurring) processes by which some new and foreign historical concept gradually becomes absorbed into the fiction, poetry, aesthetics, philosophy, and historical writing of a quite different civilization. * Francis Haskelol, Trinity College, Oxford, Review of Engliish Studies, Vol. XLVII, No. 188, Nov '96 *

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