The skills, ideas, and behaviours imparted through schooling provide insight into the collective outlook of a society in any age. Deeply rooted in archival sources, Christopher Carlsmith's A Renaissance Education uses a case study approach to examine educational practices in the north-eastern Italian city of Bergamo from 1500 to 1650. Carlsmith illustrates how education in this and other Venetian cities was affected by Renaissance humanism, Tridentine Catholicism, and Venetian domination, and how cooperation among various institutions resulted in a surprising array of options for schooling in these provincial cities. A Renaissance Education's close analysis of civic, ecclesiastical, confraternal, and family records not only paints a vivid portrait of how schooling functioned in one city but also explores this small city's dynamic interconnections with other locales and with larger regional processes.
Christopher Carlsmith is an associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and 2009-2010 Fellow at Villa I Tatti, Harvard University's Center for Italian Renaissance Studies.