"Strong words" is the author's "shorthand for words of love, anger, and fear, of high compliment and low abuse; words of prayer, complaint, and supplication spontaneous, ritualized, or metrical; rhetorical and posturing words, neighborhood words, and rhymed words for fixing things in memory." Martines (a historian formerly with UCLA) presents a social history of the Italian Renaissance by exploring how its stories, poetry, prayers, and letters expressed religious sensibilities, romance, alienation, political thought, misogyny, and the moral strains of patronage. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)Johns Hopkins University Press
Strong Words is a social history of the Italian Renaissance (1300–1560) in a cultural key. Using tales, poems, prayers, and letters as primary sources, Lauro Martines probes religious sensibilities, love, alienation, explosive feeling against political authority, the moral strains of patronage, and the close ways of urban neighborhoods. Case studies of suicide and the seduction of propertied women sharpen the analysis.
By moving behind literary posture and metaphor, Martines exposes the power of local angers, fears, and loyalties, of misogyny, cruelty, and women's space. The vitality of urban experience in Renaissance Italy passes before us, as we see the language of literature giving form and immediacy to the emotions of everyday life.