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“The metaphysical rebellion that flourished first in this part of Florence – the challenging of narrow Christian certainties with the reintroduction of classical pagan thinking – was mirrored in physical rebellion. Indeed the church of Santo Spirito itself is said to have been a rebel stronghold during the Tumulto dei Ciompi (Ciompi Revolt) of 1378 – one of the earliest attempted working-class insurrections in European history”.

“In her 1994 book La storia degli Orsini, Lucia Lezzerini cites a letter from Girolamo to his cousin Napoleone, dated February 1, 1460, in which he complains of ‘the birth of a new spirit of discontent among the bestial classes of Florence’ which was threatening the stability and prosperity of the Republic. He highlights the role of ‘an immigrant, a foreign agitator come to spread turmoil under the guise of religious teachings’. Orsini goes on to describe this unnamed man as ‘un anarchico’, an anarchist, in one of the earliest recorded usages of this term, even it was intended as an insult”.

“The mercantilism of the Renaissance needed a philosophy that supported its activities and not one which challenged its material shallowness. Capitalist society and the associated growth of state control needed ways of thinking that encouraged obedience and conformity. The only way that the philosophy expounded by the fakir could have triumphed was if it had succeeded in destroying the nascent bourgeois civilization that could never allow it to flourish in all its free and egalitarian glory”.

 

The Fakir of Florence: A novel in three layers

by Paul Cudenec

Winter Oak Press, Sussex, England, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9576566-6-6

296 pages

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