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Introduction: A Wider Renaissance?

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Chapter Summary

For almost 150 years, the troublesome problem of distinguishing between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance has been connected not merely with issues of cultural rebirth in the arts, but also with notions of cultural centres and peripheries. In Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien, the impulse towards the revival of Antiquity tout court was presented as the direct consequence of a need felt by Italians from the fourteenth century onwards for a new and stable idea which could give form to a sense of self-consciousness which had a risen as a result of the peculiar political fortunes of Italian states. Huizingas adaptation of Burckhardts work cast a long shadow on historiographical constructions of the position of Central and Northern Europe in relation to the concept of the Renaissance, and his distinction between the form and content of classical culture in particular had a deep and lasting impact.

Keywords: Burckhardt; Italian renaissance; Middle ages



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