Course code: BBN-ERA-186/17

Course title: Microhistory of Renaissance Italy

Time: Wednesday 14.00–15.30

Location: 6–8 Múzeum krt., room number 268.

Course homepage:

Maximum number of students admitted: 15


Educational objectives:

The course is intended as an English-language introduction to the microhistory - first of all for Erasmus studenst, but also for everyone interested. The classes address the assets and weaknesses of microhistory through a close reading of some of its classical texts and latest examples from Italian microhistory to Anglo-Saxon microhistory with a focus on Renaissance Italy.


Course content:

1. 11 September 2019: Introduction

2–3. 18–25 September 2019: Menocchio and the exorcist: The classical works of microhistory

4–6.  2–9–16 October 2019: Romeo, Juliet, Machiavelli and some courtesans. The American microhistory of Edward Muir and Guido Ruggiero.

7–9. 6–13–20 November 2019: Sources and Cases: Microhistory according to Tom Cohen

10–11. 27 November – 4 December 2019: Stones flying in Rome, snowballs in Murano: The latest microhistories

12. 11 December 2019: Microhistory: A summary


Course requirements:

As a minimum, two thirds of the courses are to be attended. Students should read the books and chapters required. For missed classes, readings should be made up to by 20 December the latest. No essays are to be submitted, but the reading list is quite long.


Prescribed reading:

2. Carlo Ginzburg: The Cheese and the Worms. The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller. London and Henley: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980.

3. Giovanni Levi: Inheriting Power: The Story of an Exorcist. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

4-5. Edward Muir: Mad Blood Stirring. Vendetta in Renaissance Italy. Reader’s Edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore and London, 1998.

6. Edward Muir: The Culture Wars of the Late Renaissance: Sceptics, Libertines, and the Opera. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts – London, 2007. 1–59. (Introduction + Chapter 1) and Guido Ruggiero: Machiavelli in Love. Sex, Self, and Society in the Italian Renaissance. The Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, 2007. 108–162. (Chapter 5)

7. Guido Ruggiero: Binding Passions: Tales of Magic, Marriage, and Power at the End of the Renaissance. Oxford University Press: New York – Oxford, 1993. 3–56., 130–174. (Introduction + Chapter 1 + Chapter 4)

7. Thomas V. Cohen – Elisabeth S. Cohen: Words and Deeds in Renaissance Rome. Trials before the Papal Magistrates. University of Toronto Press, Toronto – Buffalo – London, 1993. 3–34., 103–158. (Introduction + Chapter 3 + Chapter 4)

8. Gene Brucker: Giovanni and Lusanna: Love and Marriage in Renaissance Florence. University of California Press: Berkeley - Los Angeles, 1986.

9. Thomas V. Cohen: Love and Death in Renaissance Italy. University of Chicago Press, Chicago–London, 2004. 1–123. (Introduction + Chapter 1 + Chapter 2 + Chapter 3)

10. Thomas V. Cohen: Love and Death in Renaissance Italy. University of Chicago Press, Chicago–London, 2004. 127–227. (Chapter 4 + Chapter 5 + Chapter 6)

10. Thomas V. Cohen: Roman Tales: A Reader’s Guide to the Art of Microhistory. Routledge: London – New York, 2019.

11. Claire Judde de Larivière: The Revolt of Snowballs. Murano Confronts Venice, 1511. Routledge: London – New York, 2018.

12. Sigurður Gylfi Magnússon – István M. Szijártó: What is microhistory? Theory and practice. Routledge: London – New York, 2013. 1–76.