The Renaissance of Letters Knowledge and Community in Italy, 1300-1650

Suzanne Sutherland

The Renaissance of Letters traces the multiplication of letter-writing practices between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries in the Italian peninsula and beyond to explore the importance of letters as a crucial document for understanding the Italian Renaissance.

This edited collection contains case studies, ranging from the late medieval re-emergence of letter-writing to the mid-seventeenth century, that offer a comprehensive analysis of the different dimensions of late medieval and Renaissance letters—literary, commercial, political, religious, cultural, social, and military—which transformed them into powerful early modern tools. The Renaissance was an era that put letters into the hands of many kinds of people, inspiring them to see reading, writing, receiving, and sending letters as an essential feature of their identity. The authors take a fresh look at the correspondence of some of the most important humanists of the Italian Renaissance, including Niccolò Machiavelli and Isabella d'Este, and consider the use of letters for others such as merchants and physicians.

This book is essential reading for scholars and students of Early Modern History and Literature, Renaissance Studies, and Italian Studies. The engagement with essential primary sources renders this book an indispensable tool for those teaching seminars on Renaissance history and literature.