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Venice (2010)

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Venice (2010) - Plot & Excerpts

That European revival in humane letters, and in classical scholarship, made a slow and fitful entry into the city. It was not necessarily on congenial soil. The Venetians have never been known for their commitment to scholarship, or to learning for its own sake; they are not inclined to abstract inquiry, or to the adumbration of theory. A humanist on the mainland, Giovanni Conversino, reported to the Venetians in 1404 that “even if you desired to be learned you would not be able to do so; everything you have you possess through drudgery, talent and danger.” The sheer necessity of survival transcended questions of abstract principle. It may be true, too, that Venice did not share in the Italian Renaissance because it had never been part of the mainland where classical art and literature once flourished. Literature was not, in a literal sense, part of its territory.
The young patricians were characteristically trained in the arts of practical statesmanship. If they learned Greek, the essential language of the new humanism, it was primarily so that they might administer the Greek colonies of Venice.

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