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Okay, well, that about does it for my patience with Paul Johnson's The Renaissance: A Short History.

It's also the last straw when it comes to reading Paul Johnson in general. I've got a copy of his History of Christianity that I had started, put down, and was planning on coming back to eventually, but this cements for me that the parts I found dubious in my initial reading are characteristic of him as an author and historian.

So, anyway, I'm in the market for a new, short history of the Renaissance, if anyone's got any favorites to recommend.

@lrhodes it's not quite what you might expect, but I enjoyed The Swerve.

@lrhodes wow that really is... extremely yaigh. Shouldn't a book like this be based on, idk, research and not just spouting bigoted speculation?

@lrhodes wow, so he starts by explaining that ancient Egyptian art was not meant to imitate what the eye saw, then swerves back to "but of course all artists want to imitate what the eye sees and it must have been ORIENTAL TIMELESSNESS which prevented the Egyptians from doing this." Did he fall asleep in a cave in 1820 and wake up with a contract in his hand?

@lrhodes it looks like his only history education is a bachelor's degree which is a bad sign (all Tolkien had was a bachelor's degree but the work was easier back then)

@bookandswordblog Yeah, he was editor of the New Statesman at some point, which opens a lot of doors, I guess. His work reminds me a lot of William Manchester's A World Lit Only By Fire, which is prone to the same sort of neo-Victorian historical myopia.

@lrhodes even by the 1890s, I would think someone with his profile would know that on the continent some artists were experimenting with non-representational art

@bookandswordblog I mean… The van Eycks were mixing perspective and aspective techniques in the 15th century, and Bosch in the 16th, but when you're convinced that art follows a linear progression, that all just seems like having one foot in the past.

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