An assessment of how four humanists in the court of Pope Clement VII - Pietro Alcionio, Pietro Corsi, Jacopo Sadoleto, and Pierio Valeriano - interpreted the cataclysmic Sack of Rome (1527), which called into question their earlier images of the Renaissance papacy. Building upon recent discussions in literary criticism and cognitive psychology, the author elucidates how these humanists' narratives gave meaningful shape to their memories and, in so doing, helped to redefine the image of Renaissance Rome as it would be "remembered" by subsequent generations.
Kenneth Gouwens, Ph.D. (1991) in History and Humanities, Stanford University, teaches European intellectual and cultural history at the University of South Carolina. He has published extensively on the culture of Renaissance Rome under Pope Clement VII (1523-1534).
"This probing study, drawing masterfully upon new manuscript sources and deftly exploiting recent research on narrative, trauma, and memory, provides the first comprehensive account of how Renaissance Rome's humanist community coped with their experiences of the calamitous 1527 Sack of the city. Gouwens' important findings have significant implications for assessing the character of Roman humanist culture and for understanding how it came to be "remembered" in later historical accounts."
Charles L. Stinger, University at Buffalo, State University of New York.
"This erudite book chronicles an important intellectual turning point, as Roman intellectuals questioned the values of the High Renaissance and began the shift to the Catholic Reformation. With skill, care, and a wealth of manuscript sources, the author examines the responses of four Roman humanists to the Sack. The author provides perceptive assessments of humanist treatises often overlooked. It is an important contribution to the history of Italian humanism."
Paul F. Grendler, University of Toronto.
"[Gouwens] numerous translations from the Latin are accurate, his close reading of the texts ... informative, and his depiction of the personalities of the humanists and context of composition clear and telling."
Benjamin G. Kohl, Sixteenth Century Journal, 1999.
"This elegant book, beautifully written and eminently persuasive...I am grateful to Kenneth Gouwens for his prose, for his meticulous scholarship, and for his acute insights."
Barbara McClung Hallman, The Catholic Historical Review, 1999.
"Gouwen's book adds subtlety and remarkable scholarly acumen to recent works on the sack of Rome…a well-written and learned work that makes an important contribution to Italian Renaissance studies."
Elisabeth G. Gleason, American Historical Review, 1999.
"...a work of high achievement...essential to the understanding of Italian humanism at its height."
Leonard R.N. Ashley, Chronique, 1999.
All those interested in the culture of the Italian Renaissance, the Catholic Reformation, periodization in history, or the relationship between memory and historical narratives.