- Power and dependency in Renaissance Florence. Vol. 1: The children of Renaissance Florence; Vol. 2: The women of Renaissance Florence; Vol. 3: The workers of Renaissance Florence, and: Dependence in context in Renaissance Florence (review)
- Australian and New Zealand Association of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (Inc.)
- Volume 13, Number 1, July 1995
- pp. 180-183
- View Citation
- Additional Information
180 Reviews medallion. He also collected information on many other arts and processes: the art of bell-making, astronomical clocks, glassmaking, the production of silk and pearls, wool weaving, the making of majolica ware, and wine making. By exploring Becher's career in detail, Smith has importantly situated the work of alchemy in a larger commercial context. Alchemy was not some aberrant growth which later chemists cured, and it was not something that lay outside the busy world of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century social and intellectual life. Smith in fact establishes a new context in which to see that John Dee's earlier involvement in voyages of discovery, the reform of the calendar (for commercial advantage), and alchemical work were all part of a whole. Charles Nicholl has recently suggested in The creature in the map: a journey to El Dorado (1995) that Sir Walter Raleigh's Guiana voyage was 'a kind of alchemicalfieldtrip', part of his chemical pursuit, the pursuit of not only physical gold but also of the 'golden king' of the alchemists. Smith has written an incisive and intelligent study which, together with affording a wealth of fascinating archival material, provides an original and well researched overview of the rise of early capitalism and modern science. Most importantly, she has given us an insight into one of the roles of alchemy in the workings of the Holy Roman Empire in the seventeenth century. Lyndy Abraham School of English University of N e w South Wales Trexler, Richard, C, Power and dependency in Renaissance Florence. Vol. 1: The children of Renaissance Florence; Vol. 2: The women of Renaissance Florence; Vol. 3: The workers of Renaissance Florence, Binghamton, Medieval & Renaissance texts & studies, 1993; paper; pp. 133, 98, 130; tables, plates; R.R.P. US$8.00 each; Idem, Dependence in context in Renaissance Florence (Medieval & Renaissance texts & studies, Vol. Ill), Binghamton, Medieval & Renaissance texts & studies, 1994; cloth; pp. viii, 472; R.R.P. US$30.00. Richard Trexler has long played a pioneering and extraordinarily prolific role in creating new and fruitful, if unorthodox, ways of writing the history of Reviews 181 Renaissance Florence. The Centre for medieval and early Renaissance studies at Binghamton has here put together two collections of his articles: the one-volume Dependence in context in Renaissance Florence and a paperback edition in three volumes, Power and dependency in Renaissance Florence. This poses considerable problems for the would-be purchaser. The appearance of cloth and paperback editions suggests the same volume but differenttidessignal diverse collections. In fact, seven essays appear in both. Each collection includes Trexler's articles on w o m e n and on children and youth, with the single difference that only Dependence and context includes his 1975 translation of the section on childhood in Giovanni Morelli's ricordanze. Where the two collections differ is that the first section of Dependence and context brings together a wide ranging group of five articles that emphasize the cultural paradigms which framed Florentine discourses about their society: credit, sacrifice, honour, and shame. And, the last volume of Power and dependence: the workers ofRenaissance Florence, is devoted to Trexler's three articles on the revolt of the Ciompi. hi the Introduction to Dependence and context, Trexler traces his own development as an historian who by the 1970s was moving towards social anthropology and by the 1990s towards human and animal ethnology. Eschewing the ivory tower from hisfirstdays as an historian, Trexler also reminds us of the passion and commitment that has always informed his work and of the interaction between writing and living. H e links his primary interest, the ways that 'meanings are transformed, and new ones produced, through group behaviour',tohis own anti-governmental activism of the 1960s and 1970s, his o w n participation in processional movements in urban streets and squares. In his focus on group behaviour, the particular social institutions that have aroused Trexler's interest have been particularly those which emerged to solve social problems. Thus the marginal, the marginalized, and the dependent, the objects of power, are conspicuous denizens of Richard Trexler's Renaissance Florence. In the essays on children, Trexler uncovers the fate of the thousands of neglected...