Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226186139 Published December 2014
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The Other Renaissance

Italian Humanism between Hegel and Heidegger

Rocco Rubini

The Other Renaissance

Rocco Rubini

408 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2014
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226186139 Published December 2014
E-book $10.00 to $45.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226186276 Published December 2014
A natural heir of the Renaissance and once tightly conjoined to its study, continental philosophy broke from Renaissance studies around the time of World War II. In The Other Renaissance, Rocco Rubini achieves what many have attempted to do since: bring them back together. Telling the story of modern Italian philosophy through the lens of Renaissance scholarship, he recovers a strand of philosophic history that sought to reactivate the humanist ideals of the Renaissance, even as philosophy elsewhere progressed toward decidedly antihumanist sentiments.
Bookended by Giambattista Vico and Antonio Gramsci, this strand of Renaissance-influenced philosophy rose in reaction to the major revolutions of the time in Italy, such as national unity, fascism, and democracy. Exploring the ways its thinkers critically assimilated the thought of their northern counterparts, Rubini uncovers new possibilities in our intellectual history: that antihumanism could have been forestalled, and that our postmodern condition could have been entirely different. In doing so, he offers an important new way of thinking about the origins of modernity, one that renews a trust in human dignity and the Western legacy as a whole.
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: How We Came to Be Such As We Are and Not Otherwise
            Humanism as Cartesianism
            Humanism as Vichianism
            A Peninsular Philosophy
            Supplementing a Well-Known Story
            Renaissance Scholarship and the History of Philosophy
            A Note on Method
1. Philosophy and Revolution: Italian Vichianism and the “Renaissance Shame”
           Vincenzo Cuoco and Italy’s “Passive Revolution”
           Italians as Disciples of God: Vincenzo Gioberti and Neo-Guelphism
           Overcoming the “Renaissance Shame”: Italian Hegelianism
           Humanism Reborn and Fulfilled: From Positivism to Giovanni Gentile’s Actualism
           Conclusion: A Problem Unsolved
2. The (Re)Generation of Italian Thought: The Interwar Period
            Introduction: Philosophizing in the Time of Fascism and Beyond
            Twentieth-Century Humanists and Scholastics
            Problematicism and Dialogism: Ugo Spirito and Guido Calogero
            Philosophers in the Middle: The “Outsiders”
            Rehearsing Deprovincialization: Enrico Castelli and Nicola Abbagnano
            Positive Existentialism
3. Averting the End of Tradition: Ernesto Grassi
            Between Italy and France: A Christian Thinker’s Discontents
            Heideggerianism Is a Platonism
            Heideggerian Platonism May or May Not Be a (Nietzschean) True Humanism
            Italian Renaissance Humanism Is Also a Humanism
            Conclusion: Starting from Scratch (More or Less)
4. Holding It Together: Eugenio Garin
            Pichian Existentialism
            Cassirer, Gentile, and the History of Italian Philosophy
            The Making of the Italian Paradigm: Garin, Grassi, and Castelli
            The Italian Paradigm Continued: Baron’s “Civic Humanism” Is Also an Existentialism
            Conclusion: Historicizing the Present through Gramsci’s “Humanism”
5. A Philosopher’s Humanism: Paul Oskar Kristeller
            Introduction: The Italian(s’) Renaissance beyond Italy
            Italy in the Interim: Between Gentile and Saitta
            Ficino, a Diamond in the Rough: Kristeller’s Neo-Kantianism
            Conclusion: Renaissance Scholarship as Philosophical Discourse
Conclusion: Humanism before Cartesianism (despite Heidegger)
Review Quotes
James Sommerville | Renaissance and Reformation
The Other Renaissance will be of immense interest to historians of the Italian Renaissance, especially to those who wonder how humanism, despite the term’s ubiquity in scholarship, became a bad word. Philosophers too, whether interested in German or Italian thought in the modern era, will benefit from Rubini’s account, especially if they tend to view philosophy in a transnational context and with an eye toward historical influences. If there is a strand of philosophical thought backstitched into Italian historiography but lost to historical memory, shaped by Vico, Hegel, Gentile, and Heidegger, then The Other Renaissance is the first, necessary step toward its fruitful recovery.”
Gary Ianziti | Review of Metaphysics
The Other Renaissance is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature on the Italian philosophical tradition. Well-constructed, bolstered by meticulous documentation, and presenting a highly original take on its subject, Rubini’s book is an outstanding example of intellectual history at its very best.”
committee statement, Morris D. Forkosch Prize
“This erudite and vastly illuminating book, which seeks to extend the boundaries of ‘modern philosophy’ back past Descartes, offers at its core an account of interpretations of the Italian Renaissance put forward in the years 1860­–1947. . . . In the course of telling this story, Rubini meditates on the origins and limits of modernity; on the nature of humanism and the anti-humanism; on the need to cultivate an affective and futural, as well as scientific, relation to the past; on the undesirability of the prevailing schism between philosophy and history; on the honorable character of rhetoric truly understood; and on the cunning scholars.”
Paul Richard Blum, Loyola University Maryland
“Rubini’s book is not just for Renaissance aficionados and historians—it is a study that sets standards of how intellectual history should be done: through entering the minds of the partners in the debate, understanding the philosophical issues from the inside, locating them in the human/personal as well as social and political contexts, and paying attention to the shifts and changes over time.”
Christopher S. Celenza, Johns Hopkins University
“Rubini has done something unique in this exhaustively researched, passionately argued book: he has shown definitively that interpretations of Italian Renaissance intellectual life are linked to modern Italian philosophy. His work has important ramifications for the history of literature and the history of philosophy as a whole. As he demonstrates, the Italian Renaissance and twentieth-century Italian intellectual life aré linked, both by subject matter (a strong focus on the ethical) and method (the prizing of dialogical, intellectually stimulating ambiguity, rather than syllogistic system-building, with the latter being the basis for Enlightenment-era historiography of philosophy). And the twentieth-century thinkers on whom Rubini is focused, Eugenio Garin and Ernesto Grassi especially, were themselves interested in the Italian fifteenth century, both as a neglected scholarly subject, consequently worthy of serious investigation, and as a source of modern philosophical reflection. No one has gone nearly as far as Rubini in developing a deep, precise, and exhaustively researched understanding of these thinkers and of these phenomena. His book will represent a touchstone, not only on the historiography of the Italian Renaissance, but also on the history of philosophy in Italy in the twentieth century.”

American Association of Italian Studies: AAIS Book Prize

Journal of the History of Ideas: JHI-Morris D. Forkosch Prize

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