College of Arts & Sciences Professor’s New Book Wins Prestigious Award, Expected to Become New Text of Record on the Italian Renaissance

Department of History Honors Guido Ruggiero’s Long and Distinguished Scholarly Career

Guido Ruggiero, professor of history and Cooper Fellow in the UM College of Arts & Sciences, is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on the Italian Renaissance.

Last week, more than 50 faculty, students, and members of the wider UM community gathered to honor Ruggiero’s long and distinguished scholarly career that has had a profound impact on the writing of early modern European history.

In particular, they celebrated the 30th anniversary of the publication of his path-breaking work, The Boundaries of Eros (Oxford University Press, 1985) and of his magisterial new volume, The Renaissance in Italy: A Social and Cultural History of the Rinascimento (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

Professor Mary Lindemann, chair of the Department of History, called Ruggiero an “original, out-of-the-box thinker on the Italian Renaissance,” adding that his books put forward “brilliantly tantalizing ideas” while “illuminating the real life of the Renaissance.”

Edward Muir, the Clarence L. Ver Steeg Professor in the Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University and a long-time Ruggiero friend and collaborator, praised him for creating “an entirely new conception of the Renaissance, which will become the new authority on the time."

Muir argues that Ruggiero’s Renaissance will replace Jacob Burckhardt’s The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, which has been the text of record since it was written in 1860.

Early reactions to the book seem to confirm Muir’s estimation. The American Association for Italian Studies awarded it the 2015 Book Prize in Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque.

And early reviews have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Joanne Ferraro, professor of history at San Diego State University, wrote: “A master historian of the Renaissance offers us a fascinating new means of understanding and appreciating Italy's cultural development in the period between the Ancient and the Modern world. This is essential reading for undergraduate and graduate students across the disciplines as well as travelers off to explore the wonders of Italian civilization.”

Ruggiero’s other key publications include Binding Passions: Tales of Magic, Marriage and Power from the End of the Renaissance (Oxford University Press,1993) and Machiavelli in Love: Sex, Self and Society in Renaissance Italy (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007).

Ruggiero earned his B.A. from the University of Colorado, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in history at UCLA. He first travelled to Venice to do research in the Venetian Archives in 1970, and has returned frequently ever since. Ruggiero has served as a fellow at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study and Harvard’s Villa I Tatti in Florence. He was a visiting professor at the American Academy in Rome, and has won a number of fellowships including a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.

The event was co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Center for the Humanities.

April 14, 2015