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Luxury and the Ethics of Greed in Early Modern Italy

C. Kovesi (ed.)
approx. 325 p., 5 b/w ill. + 40 colour ill., 2 b/w tables, 156 x 234 mm, 2018
ISBN: 978-2-503-58011-1
Languages: English
HardbackHardback
The publication is in production.The publication is in production. (11/2018)
Retail price: EUR 90,00 excl. tax
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A new, scholarly, and lively appraisal of the twin paradigms of Luxury and Greed as they were debated, disseminated, enacted, and feigned in early modern Italy.

This book unravels the complex interaction of the paradigms of luxury and greed which lie at the origins of modern consumption practices. In the Western world, the phenomenon of luxury and the ethical dilemmas it raised appeared, for the first time since antiquity, in early modern Italy. Here, luxury emerged as a core idea in the conceptualization of consumption. Simultaneously, greed — which manifested in new and unrestrained consumption practices — came under close ethical scrutiny. As the buying power of new classes gained pace, these paradigms evolved as they continued both to influence, and be influenced by, other emerging global cultures through the early modern period.

After defining luxury and greed in their historical contexts, the volume’s chapters elucidate new consumptive goods, from chocolate to official robes of state; they examine how ideas about, and objects of, luxury and greed were disseminated through print, diplomacy, and gift-giving; and they reveal how even the most elite of consumers could fake their luxury objects. A group of international scholars from a range of disciplines thereby provide a new appraisal and vision of luxury and the ethics of greed in early modern Italy.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Luxury and the Ethics of Greed in Early Modern Italy: An Introduction — CATHERINE KOVESI

Section One. Luxury and Greed: Defining the Terms

Luxus: How Luxury Acquired Its Lustre — CATHERINE KOVESI

Dante’s She-Wolf: Luxury and Greed in the Divine Comedy — LINO PERTILE

The Language of Luxury in Renaissance Florence — PETER HOWARD

Section Two. Consuming Luxury

‘Taste of Luxury’ in Renaissance Italy: In Practice and in the Literary Imagination — LAURA GIANNETTI

Chocolate in the Historical Imagination — Rebecca Earle

Vesti bollate: The Italian Fashion Gazette of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries (shapes, colours, decorations) — MARIA GIUSEPPINA MUZZARELLI

The Pressures of Magnificence: Senatorial Dress in Sixteenth-Century Venice — JOLA PELLUMBI

Section Three. Disseminating Luxury

Disseminating Luxury on the Streets of Italian Renaissance Cities — ROSA SALZBERG

Italian Maiolica and Gift-giving Between Women c.1480–1600 — TIMOTHY WILSON

Luxury, Technology, and the Diplomatic Gift — SEAN ROBERTS

Section Four. Faking it: The Pretense of Luxury

Material Fictions of Luxury in Sforza Milan — TIMOTHY MCCALL

Cheap Magnificence?: Imitation and Low-Cost Luxuries in Renaissance Italy — PAULA HOHTI

Index

Interest Classification:
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
The Renaissance world (c.1450-1550) : specific topics
Renaissance studies
Modern History (1501 to the present)
Early modern history (1501-1800) : main subdisciplines
Social & economic history
Cultural & intellectual history
Early modern history (1501-1800) : genres & specific topics
Urban history
Early modern European history (1501-1800) : local & regional history
Italian Peninsula

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