Catalogue


The burning of the vanities : Savonarola and the Borgia pope /
Desmond Seward.
imprint
Stroud [England] : Sutton, 2006.
description
vi, 309 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., facsims., ports. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0750929812 (cased)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Stroud [England] : Sutton, 2006.
isbn
0750929812 (cased)
catalogue key
5892603
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2007-09-01:
Author of popularizing narratives of medieval wars, independent scholar Seward writes with unwarranted assurance about a major episode of Renaissance history: the power struggle between the Dominican Friar Girolamo Savonarola and the notoriously dissolute Alexander VI (pope, 1492-1503). Invited to Florence in 1490 by Lorenzo "The Magnificent" de'Medici, Savonarola gave sermons that captivated the attention of philosophers (e.g., Pico) and leading artists, including Botticelli and Michelangelo. In 1494, when a French army menaced the Florentines, Savonarola successfully negotiated its departure. Thereafter, he proclaimed that Florence would be the "New Jerusalem," but his emphasis on the need for reform led him also to denounce Pope Alexander's immoralities, attacks that helped lead to Savonarola's execution in 1498. The book abounds in factual errors and implausible interpretations (e.g., a serious misunderstanding of religious aspects of Florentine Neoplatonism). Worse, Seward clutters the narrative with his own unhelpful criticisms of the works of trained scholars. This misleading book does not belong in any library. Libraries at all levels should instead consider Lauro Martines's Fire in the City: Savonarola and the Struggle for Renaissance Florence (2006), a far superior book by any measure. Summing Up: Not recommended. K. Gouwens University of Connecticut
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 2007
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This volume tells the story of Girolamo Savonarola, the visionary friar who terrified Renaissance Florence by his uncannily accurate prophesies of doom - especially of a new barbarian invasion from Charles VIII - and denounced Lorenzo the Magnificent as a tyrant and the Borgia Alexander VI as an unworthy pope.
Long Description
Desmond Seward tells the dramatic story of Savonarola, the visionary friar who terrified Renaissance Florence by his uncannily accurate prophesies of doom - especially of a new barbarian invasion from Charles VIII - and denounced Lorenzo the Magnificent as a tyrant and Borgia Alexander VI as an unworthy pope. Many years after death, this extraordinary man continues to be a cult figure.
Main Description
This is the dramatic story of Girolamo Savonarola, the visionary friar who terrified Renaissance Florence by his uncannily accurate prophesies of doom - especially of a new barbarian invasion from Charles VIII - and denounced Lorenzo the Magnificent as a tyrant and the Borgia Alexander VI as an unworthy pope. He became virtual ruler of Florence, restoring republican government, and burning 'profane art' in pubic bonfires, most notably in the famous 'Bonfire of the Vanities' in 1497. The years when he dominated the city are among the most dramatic and tragic in Florentine history, and his supporters included: Michelangelo, Botticelli and Machiavelli. But, in the end, Alexander VI turned the Florentines against Savonarola and destroyed him. They stormed his friary, and after a mockery of a trial during which he was tortured and condemned as a heretic, he went to the stake. Desmond Seward tells the extraordinary story of the man who, even after his death, became a cult figure.

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