Cover: Love and Sex in the Time of Plague: A Decameron Renaissance, from Harvard University PressCover: Love and Sex in the Time of Plague in HARDCOVER

Love and Sex in the Time of Plague

A Decameron Renaissance

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Product Details


$49.95 • £39.95 • €45.00

ISBN 9780674257825

Publication Date: 06/01/2021


Paints a sweeping portrait of Florentine cultural life during the origins of the Renaissance… Shows how The Decameron illuminates the key social development through which Boccaccio (1313–1375) lived… Ruggiero expertly elaborates the theme of virtù in The Decameron, with results that are insightful and engaging.—Andrew Stark, The Wall Street Journal

Quite fascinating for its reading of the Decameron, but beyond that also offers considerable insight into the place and times—and tells a good story of both the beginnings of the Renaissance and attitudes towards love and sex. An enjoyable and interesting read.Complete Review

An insightful and provocative analysis of how love and sex were actually ‘lived’ in the Rinascimento. Ruggiero is not only a leading historian, but also a literary critic at the top of his game. His book is well-timed, eerily current in fact. Almost seven centuries after Boccaccio wrote of the horrors a pandemic inflicted on Florence, individual responses remain, in fact, fairly identical: fear of the neighbor, anxiety about the future, escape to the countryside, dread from physical touch, and searches for pleasant, escapist ways to fill the day.—Valeria Finucci, author of The Prince’s Body: Vincenzo Gonzaga and Renaissance Medicine

A dazzling new contribution to the history of emotions. Desire, passion, love, sex and all their perils come to life in Ruggiero’s analysis of Boccaccio’s celebrated Decameron, giving us an imaginative reconstruction of the complex cultural world of courtship, honor, and marriage in fourteenth-century Tuscany.—Joanne M. Ferraro, author of Venice: History of the Floating City

Guido Ruggiero, leading cultural historian of the Italian ‘Rinascimento’ and pioneer in the study of sexuality in the early modern period, now offers us an extraordinarily valuable reading of Boccaccio’s Decameron. From his rich and innovative perspective, the ‘hundred novelle’ unfold in the shadow of the devastating Black Plague of 1348 and in a longer-term transition in Florence from medieval feudalism to economically-driven republicanism. Students and scholars of Boccaccio’s masterwork may or may not finally agree with all of Ruggiero’s bold conclusions, but anyone who comes to grips with them will be the wiser for it.—Albert Russell Ascoli, author of A Local Habitation and a Name: Imagining Histories in the Italian Renaissance

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Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

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In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene