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1 - Philology, the Italian Renaissance, and Authorship

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 November 2021

Christopher S. Celenza
Affiliation:
The Johns Hopkins University, Maryland
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Summary

This chapter introduces readers to philology, defined as “making sense of texts,” and argues that it is a good way to view how certain thinkers in the Italian Renaissance read, interpreted, and worked their way through texts. It introduces the main themes of the book: that the available technologies of reading and writing – whether these are quills and animal skins or screens and the cloud – have great impact on what thinkers conceive as possible when it comes to their work; that authorship can be conceived as collective; that the use of the Latin language by Renaissance thinkers opened up meaningful possibilities even as it circumscribed their thinking within limits they did not always recognize; and that, especially for Renaissance thinkers, philosophy – defined as the search for wise way of life – and philology were inextricably linked. This chapter also suggests that recent work on history of women in the Renaissance – especially on women’s authorship – opens up new windows onto the intellectual history of the period. Finally, this chapter sets out one of this book’s guiding principles: to relate the episodes under consideration to problems in the humanities that have relevance today.

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Chapter
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The Italian Renaissance and the Origins of the Modern Humanities
An Intellectual History, 1400–1800
, pp. 1 - 19
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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