I tuned in online this week for the launch of the ePublic of Letters lecture series, organized by Monique O’Connell and Brian Maxson.
Brian Maxson did a nice job of kicking off this new lecture series with a lecture on Vespasiano da Bisticci, Florentine bookseller and writer. The talk focused on Vespasiano’s Lives and its depiction of Florentine patricians and other contemporaries during the second half of the fifteenth century.
This lecture fit nicely with the current themes in my course on The Renaissance at Northern Illinois University, since my students have been discussing friendship, political patronage, betrayal, and exile in Renaissance Florence using Dale Kent’s Friendship, Love, and Trust in Renaissance Florence (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009). Vespasiano da Bisticci figures in Kent’s discussion of Cosimo il vecchio de’ Medici’s patronage networks.
This lecture is also timely, since Ross King has just published a new popular history of the Renaissance focused on Vespasiano: Ross King, The Bookseller of Florence: The Story of Manuscripts that Illuminated the Renaissance (2021).
The British Library has manuscripts by Vespasiano da Bisticci, including some digitized sources. The University of Bologna hosts a digital humanities project on Vespasiano da Bisticci’s letters.
The ePublic of Letters group expects to launch a website soon.