The Myth of the Renaissance in Nineteenth-Century Writing

Hardcover | November 1, 1987

byJ. B. Bullen

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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 lateeighteenth 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 Englishintellectual 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 ofSwinburne, 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.

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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 lateeighteenth and nineteenth centuries.The seeds of ...

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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...

J. B. Bullen is at University of Reading.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:348 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.98 inPublished:November 1, 1987Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198128886

ISBN - 13:9780198128885

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`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 andprofit 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