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The concept of a 'Renaissance' in the arts, in thought, and in more general culture North of the Alps often evokes the idea of a cultural transplant which was not indigenous to, or rooted in, the society from which it emerged. Classic definitions of the European 'Renaissance' during the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries have seen it as what was in effect an Italian import into the Gothic North.
Yet there were certainly differences, divergences and dichotomies between North and South which have to be addressed. Here, Malcolm Vale argues for a Northern Renaissance which, while cognisant of Italian developments, displayed strong continuities with the indigenous cultures of northern Europe. But it also contributed novelties and innovations which often tended to stem from, and build upon, those continuities. A Short History of the Renaissance in Northern Europe - while in no way ignoring or diminishing the importance of the Hellenic and Roman legacy - seeks other sources, and different uses of classical antiquity, for a rather different kind of 'Renaissance', if such it was, in the North.
About the Author
Malcolm Vale was, until his retirement in 2010, Lecturer in Modern History in the University of Oxford and Tutorial Fellow in Modern History at St John's College, Oxford. His books include The Ancient Enemy: England, France and Europe from the Angevins to the Tudors (2007, 2009) and The Princely Court: Medieval Courts and Culture in North-West Europe, 1270-1380 (2001, 2004).