Jerry Brotton

Fundamentalist Friar

Scourge and Fire: Savonarola and Renaissance Italy

By

Jonathan Cape 334pp £20 order from our bookshop

Following hard on the heels of April Blood: Florence and the Plot against the Medici (2004), Lauro Martines’s Scourge and Fire sees the author taking his story of the Florentine Renaissance on to its next bloody historical episode. Moving from history into biography, Martines takes as his subject the Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola (1452–98) and his unprecedented rise to religious and political influence in Florence over four heady years following the expulsion of the Medici in 1494. Martines’s main aim is to rescue the poor friar from five centuries of predominantly bad press, often written from the perspective of the Medici. These accounts portrayed Savonarola as everything from a religious fanatic fanning the flames of the bonfires of the vanities, to an atheistic hermaphrodite who reduced the glorious centre of the Italian Renaissance to a Year Zero policy of religious fundamentalism. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,