Work of the Fellows: Monographs

Ronald G. Witt, “In the Footsteps of the Ancients”: The Origins of Humanism from Lovato to Bruni

Witt, Ronald G. (Fellow, 1983-84)

Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2022

From the publisher's description:

This monograph demonstrates why humanism began in Italy in the mid-thirteenth century. It considers Petrarch a third generation humanist, who christianized a secular movement. The analysis traces the beginning of humanism in poetry and its gradual penetration of other Latin literary genres, and, through stylistic analyses of texts, the extent to which imitation of the ancients produced changes in cognition and visual perception. The volume traces the link between vernacular translations and the emergence of Florence as the leader of Latin humanism by 1400 and why, limited to an elite in the fourteenth century, humanism became a major educational movement in the first decades of the fifteenth. It revises our conception of the relationship of Italian humanism to French twelfth-century humanism and of the character of early Italian humanism itself.


Subjects: History;; Humanism; Latin Literature; Middle Ages; Italian Renaissance; Intellectual History;