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Traditional histories of the Renaissance usually focus on the era's development of high art and culture. In this intriguing volume, Rudolph M. Bell offers an alternative — and broader — portrait, highlighting daily life in Renaissance Rome, the center of western Christendom. Bell's introduction provides a look at this era from the bottom up, focusing on the streets of Rome to view the era's impact on ordinary citizens, the plight of social outcasts, and the dangers of urban life. A rich collection of primary sources and illustrations bring to life the experience of everyday Romans, including women, the homeless, the ostracized (especially Jews), and other marginalized people. Protestant and Catholic reformers are also present, allowing for discussion about critical themes in sixteenth-century religious history. Documents include poetry, short fiction, songs, letters, trial records, household inventories, a diary entry, a papal bull, and travelers' accounts. Additional pedagogy includes a chronology, questions for consideration, and selected bibliography.
Rudolph M. Bell (Ph.D. City University of New York) is a professor of European, Italian and Renaissance History at Rutgers University. His research focuses on Italian civilization and culture from the Middle Ages to the present. His books include The Voices of Gemma Galgani: The Life and Afterlife of a Modern Saint; How to Do It: Guides to Good Living for Renaissance Italians; and Holy Anorexia. He has also co-edited with Virginia Yans, Women on Their Own: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Being Single.