Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Literary Sources II



Key Reading

Petrarch, Francesco, 'Letter to Posterity', in Francesco Petrarca, Selections from the Canzoniere and Other Works, trans. Mark Musa (Oxford, 1985), pp.1-10. For an online translation, click here.

Cellini, Benvenuto, My Life, ed. and trans. Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella (Oxford, 2002), Part I, Chapter 1-2 and 34-9 (account of the sack of Rome) - for an online translation, click here.

Burke, Peter, 'Individuality and biography in the Renaissance', The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms 2/8, Special Issue: The Individual in European Culture (1997): 1372-1382

Seminar Questions
  • Why did people write histories and chronicles in the Renaissance?
  • What concerns do Renaissance diaries reflect?
  • How did biographical and autobiographical writing develop in the period?
  • What were the aims of writing about the self in this period and were they changing?
Secondary Reading

Amelang, J. S., The Flight of Icarus: Artisan Autobiography in Early Modern Europe (Stanford, CA, 1998)

Baldwin, Geoff, 'Individual and Self in the Later Renaissance', The Historical Journal, 44 (2001), 341-364.

Balestracci, D., The Renaissance in the Fields: Family Memoirs of a Fifteenth-Century Tuscan Peasant (University Park, PA, 1999)

Barriault, A. B., et al., eds, Reading Vasari (London, 2005)

Biow, Douglas, On the Importance of Being an Individual in Renaissance Italy: Men, Their Professions, and Their Beards (Philadelphia, 2015)

Burke, Peter, 'Representations of the Self from Petrarch to Descartes', in Roy Porter, ed., Rewriting the Self: Histories from the Renaissance to the Present (London, 1997), pp. 17-28.

Ciappelli, Giovanni, Memory, family, and self : Tuscan family books and other European egodocuments (14th-18th century), trans. Susan Amanda George (Leiden, 2014)

Cochrane, E. W., Historians and Historiography in the Italian Renaissance (Chicago, 1981)

Dale, Sharon, et al., eds, Chronicling History: Chroniclers and Historians in Medieval and Renaissance Italy (University Park, Pa., 2007)

Davis, Natalie Zemon, Women on the margins: three seventeenth-century lives (Cambridge, MA, 1995)

Enenkel, Karl, 'Modelling the Humanist: Petrarch's "Letter to Posterity" and Boccaccio's Biography of the Poet Laureate', in K.A.E. Enenkel et al., Modelling the Individual: Biography and Portrait in the Renaissance (Amsterdam, 1998), pp. 11-50.

Epurescu-Pascovici, Ionuţ, 'Gregorio Dati (1362–1435) and the Limits of Individual Agency', The Medieval History Journal 9/2 (2006): 297-325.

Gardner, Victoria C., ‘Homines Non Nascuntur, Sed Figuntur: Benvenuto Cellini’s Vita and Self-Presentation of the Renaissance Artist’, Sixteenth Century Journal, 28 (1997), 447-465.

Grafton, Anthony, Cardano's Cosmos: The Worlds and Works of a Renaissance Astrologer (Cambridge, Mass., 2000)

Green, Louis. 'Historical Interpretation in Fourteenth-Century Florentine Chronicles', Journal of the History of Ideas 28/2 (1967): 161–178.

Greenblatt, Stephen, Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare (Chicago, 1980)

Grendler, P. F. "Francesco Sansovino and Italian Popular History 1560 - 1600." Studies in the Renaissance 16 (1969): 139 - 180.

Grubb, J. S., “Memory and Identity: Why Venetians Didn't Keep Ricordanze,” Renaissance Studies 8:4 (1994): 375-387

Grubb, J. S., Provincial Families of the Renaissance: Private and Public Life in the Veneto (Baltimore, 1996)

Hyde, J. K., “Some Uses of Literacy in Venice and Florence in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries”, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 29 (1979): 109-128

Ianziti, G., 'Bruni on Writing History', Renaissance Quarterly 51/2 (1998), 367-391

Jones, P.J., 'Florentine Families and Florentine Diaries in the Fourteenth Century', Papers of the British School at Rome 24 (1956), 183-205

Labalme, Patricia H., Laura Sanguineti White and Linda Carroll, 'How to (and How Not to) Get Married in Sixteenth-Century Venice (Selections from the Diaries of Marin Sanudo)', Renaissance Quarterly 52/1 (1999), 43-72.

Libby, Jr., Lester J., 'The Reconquest of Padua in 1509 according to the Diary of Girolamo Priuli', Renaissance Quarterly 28/3 (1975) :323-331.

Martin, John Jeffries, Myths of Renaissance Individualism (Basingstoke, 2004).

Martin, John Jeffries, 'The Myth of Renaissance Individualism', in Guido Ruggiero, ed., A Companion to the Worlds of the Renaissance (Oxford, 2002), pp. 208-224.

Martin, John Jeffries, 'Inventing Sincerity, Refashioning Prudence: The Discovery of the Individual in Renaissance Europe', American Historical Review, 102 (1997), pp.1309-1317.

Najemy, J. M., 'Machiavelli and the Medici: The Lessons of Florentine History', Renaissance Quarterly 35 (1982), 551-76

Phillips, M., Francesco Guicciardini: The Historian's Craft (Toronto, 1977)

Price Zimmerman, T.C., 'Confession and Autobiography in the Early Renaissance', in Anthony Molho and John A. Tedeschi, eds, Renaissance Studies in Honor of Hans Baron (DeKalb, IL, 1971), pp. 119-140.

Wilcox, D.R., The Development of Florentine Humanist Historiography in the Fifteenth Century (Cambridge, Mass., 1969)

Wilkins, Ernest H. 'On the Evolution of Petrarch's Letter to Posterity', Speculum, 39/2 (1964): 304-308.

For further bibliography on autobiographies see here

Further Primary Sources

Phillips, M., The “Memoir” of Marco Parenti: A Life in Medici Florence (Princeton NJ, 1987)

Sanudo, M., Venice, cità excelentissima: selections from the Renaissance diaries of Marin Sanudo, ed. P. H. Labalme and L. Sanguineti White, trans. L. L. Carroll (Baltimore, 2008)

Vasari, Giorgio, Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects, trans. Gaston de Vere, new ed., 2 vols (London, 1996)

Barker, E., N. Webb and K. Woods (eds), The Changing Status of the Artist (New Haven, 1999)

Petrarch, Francesco, The Secret, ed. and trans. Carol E. Quillen (New York: Bedford St Martin's, 2003)

Machiavelli, N., Florentine Histories, trans. L.E. Banfield and H.C. Mansfield (Princeton, 1992)

Guicciardini, F., History of Italy, trans. S. Alexander, new edn (Princeton, NJ, 1984)

Edwards, Steve, Art and its Histories: A Reader (New Haven, 1999)

Cardano, Girolamo, The Book of My Life, trans. Jean Stoner with an introduction by Anthony Grafton (New York, 2002).

Brucker, Gene, ed., Two Memoirs of Renaissance Florence: the Diaries of Buonaccorso Pitti and Gregorio Dati, trans. Julia Martines (New York, 1967)

Bruni, Leonardo, History of the Florentine People, ed. and trans. James Hankins (Cambridge, Mass., 2001-07).

Bembo, Pietro, History of Venice, ed. and trans. Robert W. Ulery Jr., 4 vols. (Cambridge, Mass., 2007-09)

Bisticci, Vespasiano da, The Vespasiano Memoirs: Lives of Illustrious Men of the XVth Century, trans. William George and Emily Waters, new ed. (Toronto, 1997)

Bornstein, D. E., ed. and trans., Dino Compagni's Chronicle of Florence (University Park, Pa., 1986)

Boccaccio, G., Famous women, ed. and trans. Virginia Brown (Cambridge, MA, 2001)

Ferrazzi, Cecilia, Autobiography of an Aspiring Saint, trans. and ed. Anne Jacobson Schutte (Chicago, 1996)

Giovio, Paolo, Notable Men and Women of Our Time, ed. and trans. Kenneth Gouwens (Cambridge, Mass., 2013)

Nicholas of Cusa, Writings on Church and Reform, trans. Thomas M. Izbicki (Cambridge, Mass., 2008)

Pius II, Commentaries, ed. Margaret Meserve and Marcello Simonetta, 2 vols (Cambridge, Mass., 2003-2007)