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Trace and Aura by Patrick Boucheron
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Trace and Aura

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Trace and Aura by Patrick Boucheron
Jan 18, 2022 | ISBN 9781635420074

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  • Jan 18, 2022 | ISBN 9781635420074

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“France’s leading medievalist sets out on a quest, not to discover the ‘real’ Ambrose, but to track the saint’s successive apparitions across a thousand years and more of urban history. A masterful account of the role played by collective memory in summoning up the ghosts of the past to fight the battles of the present.” —Gary Ianziti, author of Writing History in Renaissance Italy

“Patrick Boucheron weaves an enchantment almost comparable to the songs of Ambrose himself, offering new and unexpected perspectives upon the fourth-century bishop’s serial afterlives. Fresh meaning is suggested for each transition, as the saint acquires his whip and loses his beard, as the stern exclusionist policing a fragile Milanese commune melts into the determined guarantor of an equally fragile signorial coalition.” —Neil B. McLynn, author of Ambrose of Milan: Church and Court in a Christian Capital

“Excellent…[Trace and Aura offers] an uncompromising erudition coupled with the pleasure of reading and discovery.” —Le Monde des livres
“Patrick Boucheron has succeeded in writing a history book on history itself…Milan becomes a machine against forgetting, and Sant’Ambrogio a machine to stop time. From the fourth to the sixteenth century, the aura of Milan’s holy bishop oscillated like a light in the fog.” —Livres Hebdo

“[Trace and Aura] tracks the harmonics of Ambrose, those spectral notes the Milanese saint emits over the fundamentals of each era, for more than ten centuries. Because before being a historical figure, the saint is a story.” —AOC

Praise for Machiavelli:

“[Boucheron] makes a case for Machiavelli as a misunderstood and villainized figure with political insights that can be applied to modern times.” —New York Times Book Review
“To reframe our understanding of Machiavelli, Mr. Boucheron asks, Who was he writing for?…If The Prince was meant to help ordinary people understand what their leaders were up to, then it is not a handbook for the power-crazed but a means of stopping them.” —Wall Street Journal
“This wise, witty, razor-sharp anatomy of Machiavelli demonstrates why the most notorious thinker of the Renaissance is the perfect companion for our own time.” —Stephen Greenblatt, author of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

“An elegant introduction to this disturbing, incisive, many-sided thinker—and a reminder of why we must read him right now.” —Sarah Bakewell, author of How to Live: A Life of Montaigne

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