LIONS AND FOXES: Men and Ideas of the Italian Renaissance by Sidney Alexander

LIONS AND FOXES: Men and Ideas of the Italian Renaissance

Email this review


Alexander enthusiastically immerses the general reader in a farrago of literary, anecdotal and biographical sketches of life in Italy in the quattro- and cinquecento. He proposes that the Renaissance dialectic unites the two somewhat contradictory strands of naturalism and classical humanism and that the ideal of the Uomo Universale personality is exemplified in the careers of Copernicus, Cellini, Machiavelli, Galileo, Guicciardino, Leonardo, and Michelangelo (who is seen as the ""hub figure of the age""). The politics of a divided Italy threatened by Ottoman Turks, Barbary pirates, the Hapsburgs and the Valois' turns first on the Florentine house of Medici and then on the decline of the papacy -- from the Borgias through Clement -- into a financial and spiritual bankruptcy culminating in the Council of Trent, ""the terminus to the Italian Renaissance."" After assessing the introduction of scientific realism into politics, Alexander appends gratuitous chapters on the position of Jews and women -- to add current human interest to this warmed-over macaroni?

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Macmillan