New Worlds and the Italian Renaissance

Contributions to the History of European Intellectual Culture


This volume aims to assess the longstanding debate over the role played by the Italian Renaissance in the history of European intellectual culture. The authors engage in an interpretative conversation with thinkers such as Jacob Burckardt, Ernst Cassirer, Eugenio Garin, Paul Oskar Kristeller, whose works have influenced critical discourse on modernity and Renaissance Humanism over the last one hundred and fifty years. The studies presented in this collection contribute to this discussion from a variety of perspectives: scientific, theological, political, and literary. The result is a multifaceted illumination of the intellectual history of the Italian Renaissance.

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Andrea Moudarres, Ph.D. (2011), Yale University, is Visiting Assistant Professor in Italian at the University of California, Los Angeles, under the auspices of the ACLS New Faculty Fellows Program (2012-2014). He has published articles on Dante, Islam in Quattrocento Humanism, Tasso, and Vico.

Christiana Purdy Moudarres, Ph.D. (2010), Yale University, M.A.R. (2012), Yale Divinity School, is a Research Associate at the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She specializes in Dante and the intersection of science and religion in late medieval culture.

Note on the Editors
Note on the Contributors

Introduction, Andrea Moudarres and Christiana Purdy Moudarres


The Emergence of Modernity and the New World, Giuseppe Mazzotta

The Voyage of Columbus as a “non pensato male:” A Need for Boundaries and a Rejection of the Ancients in the Wake of the New World Discoveries, Erin McCarthy-King


The Diplomatic Genre before the Italian League: Civic Panegyrics of Bruni, Poggio, and Decembrio, Michael Komorowski

The Gift of Liberty and the Ambitious Tyrant: Leonardo da Vinci as a Political Thinker between Republicanism and Absolutism, Marco Versiero

Il mestiere delle armi: Renaissance Technology and the Cinema, Daniel Leisawitz

Machiavelli’s Use of Livy in Discourses 1.11-15, Jason Taylor


Ficinian Theories as Rhetorical Devices: The Case of Girolamo Savonarola, Lorenza Tromboni

Renaissance Anthropologies and the Conception of Man, Caroline Stark

Sebastiano Castellio’s Doctrine of Tolerance between Theological Debate and Modernity, Stefania Salvadori

Harmony and Letter, Syncretism and Literalism, Toby Levers


Furor and Philology in the Poetics of Angelo Poliziano, James Coleman

The Geography of the Enemy: Old and New Empires between Humanist Debates and Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberate, Andrea Moudarres

Index of Names
All those interested in Renaissance Studies, the history of the geographic discoveries at the turn of the sixteenth century, as well as philosophers, theologians and historians of Italian literature.