Innovation in the Italian Counter-Reformation

Cover: Innovation in the Italian Counter-Reformation
Shannon McHugh and Anna Wainwright

September 2020 • ISBN 9781644531877 • $150.00

September 2020 • ISBN 9781644531884 • $72.00

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The Early Modern Exchange

The enduring “black legend” of the Italian Counter-Reformation, which has held sway in both scholarly and popular culture, maintains that the Council of Trent ushered in a cultural dark age in Italy, snuffing out the spectacular creative production of the Renaissance. As a result, the decades following Trent have been mostly overlooked in Italian literary studies, in particular. The thirteen essays of Innovation in the Italian Counter-Reformation present a radical reconsideration of literary production in post-Tridentine Italy. With particular attention to the much-maligned tradition of spiritual literature, the volume’s contributors weave literary analysis together with religion, theater, art, music, science, and gender to demonstrate that the literature of this period not only merits study but is positively innovative. Contributors include such renowned critics as Virginia Cox and Amedeo Quondam, two of the leading scholars on the Italian Counter-Reformation.

About the Editors

Shannon McHugh is Assistant Professor of Italian and French at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Anna Wainwright is Assistant Professor of Classics, Humanities, and Italian Studies at the University of New Hampshire.

Reviews of 'Innovation in the Italian Counter-Reformation'

The essays in this collection aim at revisiting and problematizing in an interdisciplinary context the output of the Counter-Reformation period. As the brilliant contribution by Virginia Cox argues, the time has come to reevaluate the output of both men and women of the period, and to make room for the highly forgotten religious production. The other essays in the book maintain that it is time to stop judging the period as one of cultural involution. Instead we should start seeing it as one of creative innovation, a period in which the response to the Church’s desire for purging sensuality and licentiousness fostered the rewriting of various genres into more spiritual venues.
- Valeria Finucci, Duke University, author of The Prince’s Body: Vincenzo Gonzaga and Renaissance Medicine