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The English Urban RenaissanceCulture and Society in the Provincial Town 1660-1770$
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Peter Borsay

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198202554

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198202554.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 15 April 2021

Town and Nation

Town and Nation

(p.311) 12 Town and Nation
The English Urban Renaissance

Peter Borsay

Oxford University Press

This chapter states that this book has attempted to treat the Urban Renaissance as an integrated and evolving process, not as an autonomous or static cultural movement. The emphasis has been on change, on the interaction between economic, social, political, and aesthetic factors, and on synthesis. Such an approach has necessitated that urban culture should be investigated not only in its own right, but also as a window to view the workings of society. Initially, attention was focused on the impact on the town itself but later the perspective broadened to take in the nation as a whole. For provincial towns the most striking effect of the Urban Renaissance was the rehabilitation of their cultural prestige. What the Reformation, warfare, and economic crises had so badly damaged, the flowering of fashionable culture restored. Cultural prestige was no mere ornament. It possessed a real financial value which contributed significantly to the economic resurgence enjoyed by many towns. The demand for new building and rebuilding in the classical style stimulated the urban construction industry.

Keywords:   cultural movement, provincial towns, cultural prestige, synthesis, construction industry, change

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