The historiography of the Renaissance was turbulent and contentious; it was affected by factors which had more to do with current intellectual interests than the facts of history, and it engaged many writers who were not historians in any conventional sense of the word. At this stage, however, one thing is clear. The Renaissance is the product of language, of historical discourse, and it is this which permits the use of the term ‘myth’ in the context of Renaissance historiography. This book attempts to answer a number of questions about the myth. Where and in what circumstances did it originate? What was its function in the more general economy of the historiographies of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries? How was it developed, what shape did it take, and how did it stand in relation to contemporary religious and political issues? The book focuses on the works of, among others, Augustus Welby Pugin, John Ruskin, Robert Browning, George Eliot, and Walter Pater. This is the story of the germination, growth, and development of that myth.
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