The Beauty and the Terror: The Italian Renaissance and the Rise of the West


Product Details

$29.95  $27.85
Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.3 X 1.5 inches | 1.65 pounds

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About the Author

Catherine Fletcher is a historian of Renaissance and early modern Europe. Her previous works include The Divorce of Henry VIII and The Black Prince of Florence. She teaches History and Heritage at Swansea University in the UK and has held research fellowships in London, Florence, and Rome.


In her new book, Catherine Fletcher's aim is to give readers a more nuanced and wide-ranging picture of a singularly tumultuous period in Italian history. The breadth of her reading is remarkable and she uses it to bring alive a huge range of subjects--from ordnance to pornography, and from the remuneration of cardinals to attitudes in Italy towards Jews and Muslims... The reader comes to the end of Ms Fletcher's book more fully aware that the beauty and terror co-existed.--The Economist

Brilliant and gripping, here is the full true Renaissance in a history of compelling originality and freshness, revealing the filth and thuggery, slavery, sex, slaughter and skulduggery behind the exquisite art of Leonardo and Michelangelo.--Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem and The Romanovs

Leading us into the world of the high Italian Renaissance in all its rich, blood-soaked glory, Catherine Fletcher shows us how the violent energies of war gave birth to some of the greatest art ever seen. Devastating in its detail, The Beauty and the Terror is a powerful, intimate and deeply humane portrait of this age of extreme destruction and exceptional creativity.--Thomas Penn, author of Winter King and Brothers York

A wonderfully dark, gritty, hard-edged tour behind the scenes of the Italian Renaissance. Catherine Fletcher is an expert and eloquent guide through the fire, blood and steel that inspired some of the greatest art in the world.--Jessie Childs, author of God's Traitors

This is a novel slant on the Renaissance involving both a wide sweep and many fascinating insights.--Paul Strathern, author of The Medici

A deft portrait... Densely detailed but highly readable--a fine one-volume survey of the Italian Renaissance.--Kirkus

The Renaissance has been reimagined and reawakened in Catherine Fletcher's fantastic new history of the era... In this thoroughly engaging account of the era, Fletcher demonstrates her erudition while deploying the skills of a contemporary scholar. Though an evident admirer of the works described in the book, she is attune to the warts of their makers and the fraught context in which they were created. Fletcher renders the time and place with simultaneous complexity and legibility... A grand scholarly accomplishment, one which can and, I hope, will find a large reading public.--Kirk Center, University Bookman