The Republic of Letters

Marc Fumaroli; Translated from the French by Lara Vergnaud

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September 18, 2018
384 pages, 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780300221602

In this fascinating study, preeminent historian Marc Fumaroli reveals how an imagined “republic” of ideas and interchange fostered the Italian Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the French Revolution. He follows exchanges among Petrarch, Erasmus, Descartes, Montaigne, and others from the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries, through revolutions in culture and society. Via revealing portraits and analysis, Fumaroli traces intellectual currents engaged with the core question of how to live a moral life—and argues that these men of letters provide an example of the exchange of knowledge and ideas that is worthy of emulation in our own time. Combining scholarship, wit, and reverence, this thought-provoking volume represents the culmination of a lifetime of scholarship.

Marc Fumaroli is a professor emeritus at the Collège de France and a member of the British Academy, the Académie française, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Société d’histoire littéraire de la France. Lara Vergnaud is a French-English translator based in Washington, DC.

“A tour de force. Fumaroli’s long-awaited book brings us a lifetime of his scholarship, his wisdom, and (refreshingly) of his caution.  Here is a book to savor.”—Jay Winter, Yale University

“Fumaroli is recognized internationally as one of the most eminent and erudite scholars in this area. The Republic of Letters is significant for the questions it raises and fruitful debates it may generate.” --André Benhaim, Princeton University
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