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From Jacob Burckhardt's 2nd edition of the Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy; edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
Part Four: Discovery of the World and of Man
Description of Human Life
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Part Four: The Discovery of the World and of Man » Journeys of the Italians » The Natural Sciences in Italy » Discovery of the Beauty of the Landscape » Discovery of Man » Biography in the Middle Ages » Description of the Outward Man » Description of Human Life
Among the new discoveries made with regard to man, we must reckon, in conclusion, the interest taken in descriptions of the daily course of human life.
The comical and satirical literature of the Middle Ages could not dispense with pictures of everyday events. But it is another thing, when the Italians of the Renaissance dwelt on this picture for its own sake - for its inherent interest - and because it forms part of that great, universal life of the world whose magic breath they felt everywhere around them. Instead of and together with the satirical comedy, which wanders through houses, villages, and streets, seeking food for its derision in parson, peasant, and burgher, we now see in literature the beginnings of a true genre, long before it found any expression in painting. That genre and satire are often met with in union, does not prevent them from being wholly different things.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
The Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * The Making of Europe