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Scholarship at its finest26 novembre 2014
- Publié sur Amazon.com
A monumental work of scholarship and highly polished final product. All earlier and later interpretations should be read with Witt's thesis in mind, as the book's central aim is to correct the emphasis on Petrarch as the key beginning point of humanism. Instead of seeing his precursors as "prehumanists," as is usually the case, Witt argues that he should be seen as the leader of a third generation of humanists. Seen in that light, Petrarch's originality lies in formulating and propagating a Christian humanism which differed from the secular-civic humanism of the first two generations of humanists.
In many regards this book is written for specialists, but it is also friendly towards non-specialists as the writing is clear and accessible and all foreign language passages are translated into English. Further, it is very useful for research on any of the particular figures he discusses and also for the overview of his argument presented in the introduction and conclusion. Witt writes with erudition and without pretension, and the book shows that a life's labour dedicated to one topic can result in an exceptional contribution to the history of ideas.