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This paper will examine ways in which the culture of late medieval and Renaissance Italy was translated, appropriated and adapted in the industrial long nineteenth century in a range of contemporary discourses which emerged as part of, and in response to, the Industrial Revolution. The social and political worlds of the Industrial Revolution were highly conflicted and fiercely contested. In seeking to chart and explain the discerning implication of Italian late medieval and Renaissance culture into reformist discourses, the aim is to evidence the variety of ways in which contemporaries mobilised a reforming Italian Renaissance to challenge the status quo and offer salvific visions of redemption and urban renewal: from the free trade movement to radical socialism, communism, and evangelical millenarianism.

Stephen J. Milner is Serena Professor of Italian at the University of Manchester and works in the field of Italian late-medieval and Renaissance cultural history. His most recent piece is ‘Public proclamations and the «longue durée»: multimedial publication in Florence between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries’, in Con la penna e con il torchio. Produzione e diffusione di testi normative di principi e città nell’Italia centro-settentrionale della prima età moderna, ed. by Marco Francalanci and Davide Martini (Milan: Archivio di stato, 2023), pp. 35-60.

All welcome- this seminar is free to attend, but booking is required.