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The Renaissance is famously described as an era of rebirth, the creation of a new world at the end of the Middle Ages. But what exactly does this mean and how did it occur? This seminar explores the many inventions and reinventions of the Renaissance from the first figures who advanced the idea of a middle age between antiquity and their own, to the modern art museums which transform pre-modern political claims about a Renaissance golden age into modern claims that affect how audiences around the world understand our past and present. This program is co-sponsored by Stanford Continuing Studies and the University of Chicago Graham School.

Stanford & UChicago in Conversation: Inventing the Renaissance View Video >>

Resources/Books mentioned during the presentation:
  • “The Swerve” by Stephen Greenblatt
  • “The Renaissance” by Jules Michelet
  • “The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy” by Jacob Burckhardt
  • “Book of the Courtier” by Baldassare Castiglione
  • “The Renaissance in Italy” by Guido Ruggiero
  • "The Bright Ages" by Matthew Gabriel & David Perry
  • "The Tigress of Forli" by Elizabeth Lev
  • “Romola” by George Eliot
  • “The Return of Martin Guerre“ by Natalie Zemon Davis
  • “The Light of Italy” by Jane Stevenson
  • “The Bookseller of Florence” by Ross King
  • The University of Chicago: Censorship and Information Control During Information Revolutions
Additional recommendations:
  • “The Birth of Venus” by Sarah Dunant
  • “In the Company of the Courtesan” by Sarah Dunant
  • “The Sixteenth Pleasures” by Robert Hellenga
  • “The Renaissance” by Walter Pater
  • “Lent” Jo Walton


Paula Findlen

Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of History and Professor, by courtesy, of French and Italian, Stanford


Ada Palmer
Associate Professor of Early Modern European History and the College, University of Chicago

For questions regarding registration for the virtual live event, please email: continuingstudies@stanford.edu. Thank you!