Though these books taken together and in the order planned by the author form one connected study of Italian culture at a certain period of history, still each aims at a completeness of its own, and each can be read independently of its companions. That the author does not regard acquaintance with any one of them as essential to a profitable reading of any other has been shown by the publication of each with a separate title-page and without numeration of the volumes, while all three bear the same general heading of "Renaissance in Italy."
ntions--The Place of Italy in the Renaissance.
The word Renaissance has of late years received a more extended significance than that which is implied in our English equivalent--the Revival of Learning. We use it to denote the whole transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern World; and though it is possible to assign certain limits to the period during which this transition took place, we cannot fix on any dates so positively as to say--between this year and that the movement was accomplished. To do so would be like trying to name the days on which spring in any particular season began and ended Yet we speak of spring as different from winter and from summer. The truth is, that in many senses we are still in mid-Renaissance. The evolution has not been completed. The new life is our own and is progressive. As in the transformation scene of some great Masque, so here the waning and the waxing shapes are mingled; the new forms, at first shadowy and filmy, gain upon the old; and now both blend; and now
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