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On Renaissance Individuals… and Their Beards

A reconsideration of the nescio quid of certain men in the Italian Renaissance

by Matthew Collins

The title of Douglas Biow’s latest book encapsulates it perfectly well: On the Importance of Being an Individual in Renaissance Italy: Men, Their Professions, and Their Beards (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015). While reviving a studied consideration of the individual in the Renaissance, which has fallen out of fashion in various circles, Biow, in conversation with Matthew Collins (PhD Candidate in Italian Studies at Harvard University), discusses aspects of how men defined themselves as individuals in Renaissance Italy.

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