Format Hardcover
Publication Date 05/02/23
ISBN 9781639363933
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 384

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The Other Renaissance

From Copernicus to Shakespeare: How the Renaissance in Northern Europe Transformed the World

Paul Strathern

An original, illuminating history of the northern European Renaissance in art, science, and philosophy, which often rivaled its Italian counterpart.

It is generally accepted that the European Renaissance began in Italy.

However, a historical transformation of similar magnitude also took place in northern Europe at the same time. This "Other Renaissance" was initially centered on the city of Bruges in Flanders (modern Belgium), but its influence was soon being felt in France, the German states, London, and even in Italy itself. The northern Renaissance, like the southern Renaissance, largely took place during the period between the end of the Medieval age (circa mid-14th century) and the advent of the Age of Enlightenment (circa end of 17th century).

Following a sequence of major figures, including Copernicus, Gutenberg, Luther, Catherine de' Medici, Rabelais, van Eyck, and Shakespeare, Paul Strathern tells the fascinating story of how this "Other Renaissance" played as significant a role as the Italian renaissance in bringing our modern world into being.

Paul Strathern is a Somerset Maugham prize-winning novelist, and his nonfiction works include The Artist, the Philosopher, and the Warrior: The Intersecting Lives of Da Vinci, Machiavelli, and Borgia and the World They Shaped (Bantam), Napoleon in Egypt (Bantam) and Mendeleyev’s Dream: The Quest for the Elements (Thomas Dunne). He lives in England.

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Endorsements & Reviews

"An enlightening and fascinating study. Mr. Strathern’s canvas is immense, yet the picture he paints is never less than pellucid, and packed with lively detail and fascinating facts." The Wall Street Journal
"Strathern's entertaining cast of often garrulous northerners, their origins ranging from Paris to rainy London, discovered things that made us what we are today. He describes their contributions in clear-sighted and effective prose, making complex ideas instantly intelligible. Full of pleasing anecdotes, and myths are duly dispatched along the way." The Times (London)
"From art and astronomy to medicine and exploration, The Other Renaissance covers a lot of ground, and the author's biographical style is invariably engaging. Lively and wide-ranging." Financial Times
"Strathern believes that historians of the Renaissance have focused on Southern Europe to the detriment of the many technical, artistic, and intellectual advances that occurred north of the Alps. To rebalance this history, he describes the contributions of those who lived outside the Mediterranean world. The lives portrayed are deeply fascinating...A docent-style stroll through the pantheon of Renaissance thinkers of Northern Europe." Kirkus Reviews
"Following the great minds of the [Renaissance] period in insightful biographical chapters, Strathern’s book sets the record straight on this second revival." The New Criterion
Praise for Paul Strathern’s The Medici and The Borgias:
“Highlights [the family’s] literary accomplishments in detail, as well as the story of how the Medici became the Renaissance’s most influential family.” The New York Times Book Review
“The prolific author continues to do what he does best—bring history to wondrous life—with this thorough history of the Medici family. A fantastically comprehensive history covering the breadth of the great learning, art, politics, and religion of the period.” Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“An excellent history. An entertaining tale of the rise and fall of an ambitious banking family.” The Sunday Times (London)
"In this accessible look behind the curtain, Strathern lays out the history of the infamous Italian clan. Strathern makes a tangled and thorny history readable." Publishers Weekly