The primary sources in this volume have been carefully selected and organized to complement the secondary texts in Paula Findlen's The Italian Renaissance: Essential Readings (Blackwell Publishing, 2002). Key canonical texts, such as Petrarch's letter on his ascent of Mount Ventoux, are reproduced, but the book also includes lesser known material that has only recently been translated or never before appeared in the English language. All short works are represented in their entirety, while distinct sections are extracted from longer works. Selections address topical issues, such as the family strategies of women, attitudes towards non-Italians, and women as patrons of art. Genres represented include correspondence, poetry, the story, dialogue, oratory, and autobiography. Taken together, the sources in this volume open a window onto the ways that women and men in Renaissance Italy sought to communicate their beliefs, desires, fears, and hopes, both about their own lives and about the dynamic culture they helped to shape.
Kenneth Gouwens is Associate Professor of History at the University of Connecticut. He has published extensively on the culture of Renaissance Rome and is presently writing a biography of the second Medici pope, Clement VII (1523-34). His first book Remembering the Renaissance (1998), was selected by ALA s Choice as Outstanding Academic Book of 1998.