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Savonarola [electronic resource] : the rise and fall of a Renaissance prophet /
Donald Weinstein.
imprint
New Haven : Yale University Press, c2011.
description
xii, 379 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0300111932 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780300111934 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
New Haven : Yale University Press, c2011.
isbn
0300111932 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780300111934 (cloth : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Making of a moralist -- Making of a preacher -- Making of a prophet -- Florence and the Medici -- The magnificent Lorenzo -- Bologna to Florence -- Lo, the sword of God! -- The new Cyrus -- Liberty! -- The Ark and the flood -- Toward the New Jerusalem -- The virgin and the republic of virtue -- The pope summons -- Obstacles to the Spirit -- Mobilizing the children -- I can't live without preaching -- The tail acquires a head -- Burning the vanities -- Excommunicated! -- Defiance -- Exodus -- Trial by fire -- Despair and hope -- Silence -- Echoes -- Afterwords.
catalogue key
8846407
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [363]-368) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2012-06-01:
This is a biography of Fra Girolamo Savonarola (1452-98), the Dominican friar who dominated Florence from 1494 to 1498. Weinstein (emer., Univ. of Arizona), the leading authority on Savonarola, presents an absorbing narrative. Savonarola preached fiery sermons in which he called for righteous living, republican government, and reform of the papacy, and promised that Florence would become "richer, more glorious, and more powerful." After the Medici fled, Savonarola became the spiritual and political leader of Florence, although he never held political office. Under his leadership, Florentines became more republican, prosecuted sodomites (vigorously), and burned their vanities. But as political difficulties grew, enemies in Florence and outside, especially the papacy, arrested Savonarola, tortured him, and finally hanged him. His followers continued to be influential in Florence and Italy for decades to come. This is an excellent narrative study, very well written and judicious. Weinstein blends the personal and political; he describes well the close relationships of Savonarola with famous Renaissance figures and the political maneuvering. Weinstein often summarizes or quotes (in English) from Savonarola's works. The only criticism is that the book is inadequately documented, a common feature of Yale Univ. Press books. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. P. Grendler emeritus, University of Toronto
Appeared in Library Journal on 2011-12-01:
On May 23, 1498, in the Florence of Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and the Medici, a paroxysmal apocalyptic drama that had unfolded over the previous eight years came to a fiery conclusion. From the fall of the Medici family to his own eventual martyrdom, Girolamo Savonarola combined a millenarian message of "last days" and a stringent campaign against moral laxity with a populist-styled republicanism. As Weinstein (professor emeritus, Univ. of Arizona; The Captain's Concubine: Love, Honor, and Violence in Renaissance Tuscany) ably shows in his superb account of the meteoric rise of the "Renaissance prophet" and his striking fall, Savonarola was a moral crusader dedicated to transforming Florence into the "New Jerusalem." His criticisms of the medieval church foreshadowed the reformation of Luther and Calvin. VERDICT The sum total of a career's work, Weinstein's account provides readers interested in Renaissance Italy with an elegant synthesis of the great Dominican's life that neither deviates from its subject nor descends into hagiography. Recommended; readers who enjoy this work may also appreciate Miles Unger's recent Machiavelli: A Biography.-Brian Odom, Pelham P.L., AL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"[A] luminous and learned biography . . . subtle, cogent . . . immensely compelling."--Anthony Grafton, Lapham's Quarterly
"[A] luminous and learned biography . . . subtle, cogent . . . immensely compelling."-Anthony Grafton, Lapham's Quarterly
"A masterpiece of the genre. Donald Weinstein has succeeded in presenting a wholly coherent, finely balanced and deeply moving analysis of Savonarola, the man, the preacher, the reformer and the political leader. Weinstein's understanding and presentation of the complex political, social and religious contexts in which Savonarola operated are outstanding and unmatched by any other biographer."--Lorenzo Polizzotto, The University of Western Australia
"A masterpiece of the genre. Donald Weinstein has succeeded in presenting a wholly coherent, finely balanced and deeply moving analysis of Savonarola, the man, the preacher, the reformer and the political leader. Weinstein's understanding and presentation of the complex political, social and religious contexts in which Savonarola operated are outstanding and unmatched by any other biographer."-Lorenzo Polizzotto, The University of Western Australia
"A moving and magisterial biography . . . a powerful narrative . . . [a] splendid book . . . at once empathetic and discerning."John M. Najemy, Catholic Historical Review
"An excellent narrative study, very well written and judicious. . . . Highly recommended."--P. Grendler, Choice
"An excellent narrative study, very well written and judicious. . . . Highly recommended."-P. Grendler, Choice
"Commendable . . . eloquently written and universally approachable . . . appealing to both general and specialist readers alike."--Hasan Niyazi, Three Pipe Problem
"Commendable . . . eloquently written and universally approachable . . . appealing to both general and specialist readers alike."-Hasan Niyazi, Three Pipe Problem
"Elegantly written . . . remarkable . . . Weinstein understands both the man and prophet like no other . . . an impeccable account." Alessio Assonitis, Sixteenth Century Journal
"Eminently readable, neither hagiographical nor overcritical, the biography, which will surely become the definitive account of this Renaissance prophet, leads us through the drama of Savonarola's life, allowing the man himself to emerge from generously-quoted sermons, letters and chronicles, as well as from the author's own deeply-researched and judicious narrative."--Alison Brown, author of The Return of Lucretius to Renaissance Florence
"Eminently readable, neither hagiographical nor overcritical, the biography, which will surely become the definitive account of this Renaissance prophet, leads us through the drama of Savonarola's life, allowing the man himself to emerge from generously-quoted sermons, letters and chronicles, as well as from the author's own deeply-researched and judicious narrative."-Alison Brown, author of The Return of Lucretius to Renaissance Florence
"Excellent . . . a nuanced and engaging study of a man too often caricatured . . . [a] fine piece of scholarship."Ryan Sayre Patrico, First Things
"Insightful . . . a balanced and often intriguing portrait of a gifted but troubled soul." Robert E. Scully, S.J., America
"Since his early research some forty years ago in the history of Renaissance Florence, Donald Weinstein has concentrated on that city's religious life. His new biography of Girolamo Savonarola is a testimonial to his vast erudition, and to his penetrating insights into that complex world. Weinstein focuses on the Dominican friar's role as a prophet, and his vision of Florence as the new Jerusalem. This dramatic account of the rise and fall of a major historical figure is an important contribution to the history of Florence during one of its most traumatic phases."--Gene Brucker, Professor Emeritus, University of California Berkeley
"Since his early research some forty years ago in the history of Renaissance Florence, Donald Weinstein has concentrated on that city's religious life. His new biography of Girolamo Savonarola is a testimonial to his vast erudition, and to his penetrating insights into that complex world. Weinstein focuses on the Dominican friar's role as a prophet, and his vision of Florence as the new Jerusalem. This dramatic account of the rise and fall of a major historical figure is an important contribution to the history of Florence during one of its most traumatic phases."-Gene Brucker, Professor Emeritus, University of California Berkeley
"The genius of Renaissance history lies in its capacity to remain forever contemporary. Donald Weinstein's smooth biography brilliantly reveals Savonarola as a man for our unstable and risk-riven times, dangerously mixing charismatic leadership, governance and fundamentalist religion."--Kate Lowe, Queen Mary University of London
"The genius of Renaissance history lies in its capacity to remain forever contemporary. Donald Weinstein's smooth biography brilliantly reveals Savonarola as a man for our unstable and risk-riven times, dangerously mixing charismatic leadership, governance and fundamentalist religion."-Kate Lowe, Queen Mary University of London
"This impeccable book is the culmination of Donald Weinstein's lifelong study of the Italian Renaissance and is a must-read for anyone interested in Savonarola. With customary learning, insight and lucid prose, Weinstein provides an exceptionally vivid portrait of one of the most controversial and fascinating figures of early modern Italy."Stefano Dall'Aglio, University of Leeds
"...this new biography represents the definitive English-language account of its subject. It offers the kind of exhaustive yet balanced assessment of the controversial friar's life that can only be produced by an expert writing at the culmination of his academic career."--Jerry Brotton, Literary Review
"…this new biography represents the definitive English-language account of its subject. It offers the kind of exhaustive yet balanced assessment of the controversial friar's life that can only be produced by an expert writing at the culmination of his academic career."-Jerry Brotton, Literary Review
"Weinstein presents a reasoned and fair view of his subject as friar, preacher, prophet and politician."--Grahame Lock, The Tablet
"Weinstein presents a reasoned and fair view of his subject as friar, preacher, prophet and politician."-Grahame Lock, The Tablet
"Weinstein's scrupulously researched finely balanced life is both a complex portrait of a fascinating figure and of a uniquely and creative time." -Michael Kerrigan, The Scotsman
"Weinstein's scrupulously researched finely balanced life is both a complex portrait of a fascinating figure and of a uniquely and creative time." Michael Kerrigan, The Scotsman
Won Honorable Mention for the 2011-2012 Los Angeles Book Festival in the Biography/Autobiography category
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, December 2011
Choice, June 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Girolamo Savonarola, the 15th-century millenarian friar, proposed that the Florentine republic would become the centre of a New Age of Christian renewal and world domination. This biography presents an original interpretation of Savonarola's prophetic career and a highly nuanced assessment of his vision and motivations.
Main Description
Girolamo Savonarola, the fifteenth-century doom-saying friar, embraced the revolution of the Florentine republic and prophesied that it would become the center of a New Age of Christian renewal and world domination. This new biography, the culmination of many decades of study, presents an original interpretation of Savonarola's prophetic career and a highly nuanced assessment of his vision and motivations. Weinstein sorts out the multiple strands that connect Savonarola to his time and place, following him from his youthful rejection of a world he regarded as corrupt, to his engagement with that world to save it from itself, to his shattering confessionan admission that he had invented his prophesies and faked his visions. Was his confession sincere? A forgery circulated by his inquisitors? Or an attempt to escape bone-breaking torture? Weinstein offers a highly innovative analysis of the testimony to provide the first truly satisfying account of Savonarola and his fate as a failed prophet.
Main Description
"This impeccable book is the culmination of Donald Weinstein's lifelong study of the Italian Renaissance and is a must-read for anyone interested in Savonarola. With customary learning, insight and lucid prose, Weinstein provides an exceptionally vivid portrait of one of the most controversial and fascinating figures of early modern Italy."
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
A Note on Usagesp. xi
Prologuep. 1
The Making of a Moralistp. 7
The Making of a Preacherp. 16
The Making of a Prophetp. 28
Florence and the Medicip. 42
The Magnificent Lorenzop. 54
Bologna to Florencep. 64
Lo, the Sword of God!p. 75
The New Cyrusp. 94
Liberty!p. 105
The Ark and the Floodp. 115
Toward the New Jerusalemp. 132
The Virgin and the Republic of Virtuep. 148
The Pope Summonsp. 164
Obstacles to the Spiritp. 174
Mobilizing the Childrenp. 183
I Can't Live without Preachingp. 196
The Tail Acquires a Headp. 209
Burning the Vanitiesp. 217
Excommunicated!p. 226
Defiancep. 241
Exodusp. 250
Trial by Firep. 267
Despair and Hopep. 277
Silencep. 293
Echoesp. 298
Afterwordsp. 311
Notesp. 319
Selected Bibliographyp. 363
Indexp. 369
Illustrations follow pagep. 104
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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