Read The Foundations of Modern Political Thought: Volume One: The Renaissance by Quentin Skinner Free Online
Book Title: The Foundations of Modern Political Thought: Volume One: The Renaissance|
The size of the: 15.15 MB
Edition: Cambridge University Press
Date of issue: November 30th 1978
ISBN 13: 9780521293372
The author of the book: Quentin Skinner
Format files: PDF
Read full description of the books:This is NOT the sort of book that deserves to be skimmed. Due to external circumstances, though, I did not have a very long time to spend with it, and I had to read it much more quickly than I would have liked. I'd like to come back to it someday, but for now it's very possible that I missed important nuances here and there.
Quentin Skinner's book is a classic, and it doesn't take long to see why - it has a genuinely impressive breadth of vision (and must have required a crazy amount of close reading by Skinner) and an insightful interpretation. As with everyone who writes about civic humanism, it's helpful to read him in light of Hans Baron. Where Baron sees civic humanism being generated by a specific combination of forces in a specific, ten-or-twelve year period, Skinner sees civic humanism (or later, the concept of 'liberty') as something that had been gestating for hundreds of years, dating at least back to the twelfth century.
Skinner sees the concept of liberty emerging from Italian city republics: first the de facto authority claimed by Lombard communes against the claims of Frederick Barbarossa and his successors, and then the somewhat delayed de jure justification provided by Bartolus of Saxoferrato and Marsilius of Padua in the 14th century. This early trumpeting of republican ideologies, Skinner argues, must be seen as an integral part of later civic humanism.
The idea evolved, of course - Bruni's civic ideas weren't those of Marsilius of Padua, whose own ideas were not those of a 12th century commune. Renaissance humanism in Skinner's view is perhaps best summed up in the phrase "virtu vince fortuna, 'virtu' conquers fortuna." [virtu is a difficult concept to translate into English, but it means something along the lines of active, purposeful strength]. It drew on both scholastic thought and early humanist thought and could be flexibly applied to both republics and cities under the control of a prince (in the former the republic itself possessed virtu, in the latter it belonged to the prince himself).
It's a really fascinating, detailed work. I'd definitely recommend it.
Read information about the authorEducated at Caius College, Cambridge, where he was elected to a Fellowship upon obtaining a double-starred first in History, Quentin Skinner accepted, however, a teaching Fellowship at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he taught until 2008, except for four years in the 1970s spent at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. In 1978 he was appointed to the chair of Political Science at Cambridge University, and subsequently regarded as one of the two principal members (along with J.G.A. Pocock) of the influential 'Cambridge School' of the history of political thought, best known for its attention to the 'languages' of political thought.
Skinner's primary interest in the 1970s and 1980s was the modern idea of the state, which resulted in two of his most highly regarded works, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought: Volume I: The Renaissance and The Foundations of Modern Political Thought: Volume II: The Age of Reformation.
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