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Play in Renaissance Italy

Paperback By Peter Burke
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Product Description

From comic verse to practical jokes, pornography to satire, acting to acrobatics, the Renaissance witnessed the flowering of play in all its forms. In the first wide-ranging and accessible introduction to play in Renaissance Italy, Peter Burke, celebrated historian of the Italian Renaissance, synthesizes over forty years’ research, explores the various forms of play in this period, and offers an overview that reveals the many connections between its different domains. While play could be rough, the Church played an increasing role in determining acceptable and unacceptable forms of play, and, after campaigns against violence and obscenity, much of the licentiousness characteristic of the early Renaissance was tamed.

This entertaining study of play reveals much about the culture of Renaissance Italy, and illuminates an essential element in human life.

Product Details

Format: Paperback, 120 pages Language: English
Dimension: 21.59cm x 13.72cm x 1.52cm ISBN10: 1509543430
Weight: 249g ISBN13: 9781509543434
Publication Date: 21 Jul 2021 Publisher: Polity Press

About Author

Peter Burke is Professor Emeritus of Cultural History and a Fellow of Emmanuel College at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Product Reviews


‘Peter Burke notes of this magisterial essay that it has been “long in the making”, and that’s not difficult to believe. With a sprezzatura worthy of Castiglione, he distils decades of research and reflection into a concise, eminently readable synthesis, dazzling in the range of examples it draws on, from sophisticated humanist wit to bull-baiting and fist-fights, from prestigious art practices such as comedy and dance to the “theatre of healing” offered by Venetian charlatans. This book offers a distinctive, field-shaping understanding of play.

’Virginia Cox, New York University‘In yet another brilliant work on the Italian Renaissance, Peter Burke explores the period’s playful side. Readers will now have the opportunity to appreciate the period in a new light: as a time when play and laughter occupied a significant place in culture, while also being the object of deep interest and intensive debate.

’Alessandro Arcangeli, author of Recreation in the Renaissance


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