Skip to main content

Unit information: Reading Renaissance Culture in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Reading Renaissance Culture
Unit code ITAL10026
Credit points 10
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Kay
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Italian
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit aims to acquaint students with the political, institutional, and social framework of Renaissance Italy and the manner in which recent historiography has discussed the Renaissance as both period and cultural movement. The unit will focus attention upon specific genres of writing which came particularly to the fore in the wake of the classical revival (demonstrative rhetoric, epic, dialogue, etc., etc.) and the manner in which different scholars have chosen to characterise aspects of this period of cultural change as either continuity, revival, or decadence. Particular focus will be given to discussions concerning the Italian Renaissance's relation to European modernity.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to:

  • analyse the paintings studied using appropriate terminology and demonstrate an understanding of their context in Renaissance Italy
  • demonstrate an understanding of the social and cultural context of artists and writers in Renaissance Florence
  • compare and contrast secondary readings of the period

Teaching Information

One seminar hours per week across one teaching block (10 contact hours).

Assessment Information

One 2000 word essay (100%)

Reading and References

  • Michael Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972)
  • Peter Burke, The Italian Renaissance: Culture and Society in Italy (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1986)
  • Alison Brown, The Renaissance, 2nd edn (London: Longman, 1999)
  • Charles Dempsey, The Portrayal of Love: Botticelli’s ‘Primavera’ and Humanist Culture at the Time of Lorenzo the Magnificent (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992)
  • Ronald Lightbown, Sandro Botticelli: Life and Work (London: Thames and Hudson, 1976)
  • Literary Theory/Renaissance Texts, ed. by Patricia Parker and David Quint (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986)
  • S. Greenblatt, Renaissance Self -Fashioning: from More to Shakespeare. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1980.
  • M. Mc Luhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy; the making of typographic man. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962