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The Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize

The Renaissance Society of America awards an annual book prize in memory of the late Phyllis Goodhart Gordan, a strong supporter of the RSA from its earliest days. The 2021 Gordan Prize will be awarded to the author of the best book in Renaissance studies published between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020. To be eligible the book must be written in English by a current member of the RSA. The prize will be awarded for a book with a topic within the chronological period 1300–1700. Books dealing with Renaissance history, any of the vernacular literatures or Latin, art, music, philosophy, and other disciplines recognized by the RSA are eligible. Bibliographical works and scholarly aids are eligible for the Gordan Prize, but editions of texts, translations into English, and edited collections will not be considered. Books will be judged on the following criteria:

  1. contribution to Renaissance Studies;
  2. originality in insight and research;
  3. clarity and eloquence;
  4. thoroughness and accuracy in documentation.

2 June 2020 Update: Because the RSA staff is working remotely, books nominated for the 2021 Gordan Prize must be shipped directly to the members of the Book Prize Committee.

Publishers should send a list of all books they wish to nominate for the 2021 Gordan Prize to rsa@rsa.org. The RSA will provide mailing addresses for the committee members after checking the list of nominations for eligibility.

The committee will accept nominations in ebook format if the shipment of hard copies is currently suspended or otherwise rendered impossible before the submission deadline. Contact the RSA with any questions regarding prize nominations.



2020 Recipient of the Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize

Su Fang Ng, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Alexander the Great from Britain to Southeast Asia: Peripheral Empires in the Global Renaissance
(Oxford University Press, 2019).


Previous winners

  • 2019 – Carmen C. Bambach, Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman & Designer (The Metropolitan Museum of Art).
  • 2018 – Peter Fane-Saunders, Pliny the Elder and the Emergence of Renaissance Architecture (Cambridge University Press).
  • 2017 – Todd W. Reeser, Setting Plato Straight: Translating Ancient Sexuality in the Renaissance (University of Chicago Press).
  • 2016 – Jotham Parsons, Making Money in Sixteenth–Century France: Currency, Culture, and the State (Cornell University Press).
  • 2015 – Lawrence Manley and Sally-Beth MacLean, Lord Strange's Men and Their Plays (Yale University Press).
  • 2014 – Nicholas Terpstra, Cultures of Charity: Women, Politics, and the Reform of Poor Relief in Renaissance Italy (Harvard University Press).
  • 2013 – Anthony J. Cascardi, Cervantes, Literature, and the Discourse of Politics (University of Toronto Press).
  • 2012 – Elizabeth Eva Leach, Guillaume de Machaut: Secretary, Poet, Musician (Cornell University Press).
  • 2011 – Andrew Pettegree, The Book in the Renaissance (Yale University Press).
  • 2010 – Richard A. Goldthwaite, The Economy of Renaissance Florence (Johns Hopkins University Press).
  • 2009 – Margaret Meserve, Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought (Harvard University Press).
  • 2008 – Margreta de Grazia, Hamlet without Hamlet (Cambridge University Press).
  • 2007 – Tracy E. Cooper, Palladio's Venice: Architecture and Society in a Renaissance Republic (Yale University Press).
  • 2006 – Alison Knowles Frazier, Possible Lives: Authors and Saints in Renaissance Italy (Columbia University Press).
  • 2005 – Christopher Celenza, The Lost Italian Renaissance: Humanists, Historians, and Latin's Legacy (Johns Hopkins University Press).
  • 2004 – Philip Benedict, Christ's Churches Purely Reformed: A Social History of Calvinism (Yale University Press).
  • 2003 – Benjamin Schmidt, Innocence Abroad: The Dutch Imagination and the New World (Cambridge University Press).
  • 2002 – Alexander Nagel, Michelangelo and the Reform of Art (Cambridge University Press).
  • 2001 – Ronald G. Witt, In the Footsteps of the Ancients: The Origins of Humanism from Lovato to Bruni (Brill).
  • 2000 – Patrick Macey, Bonfire Songs: Savonarola's Musical Legacy (Oxford University Press).
  • 1999 – John Headley, Tommaso Campanella and the Transformation of the World (Princeton University Press).
  • 1998 – Patricia Fortini Brown, Venice and Antiquity (Yale University Press).
  • 1997 – James M. Saslow, The Medici Wedding of 1589: Florentine Festival as "theatrum mundi" (Yale University Press).
  • 1996 – Jeffrey Chipps Smith, German Sculpture of the Later Renaissance, c. 1520–1580: Art in an Age of Uncertainty (Princeton University Press).

Previous honorable mention

  • 2019 – Nicholas Hardy, Criticism and Confession: The Bible in the Seventeenth Century Republic of Letters (Oxford University Press).
  • 2017 – Blair Hoxby, What Was Tragedy? Theory and the Early Modern Canon (Oxford University Press).
  • 2016 – Peter Arnade and Walter Prevenier, Honor, Vengeance, and Social Trouble: Pardon Letters in the Burgundian Low Countries (Cornell University Press).
  • 2015 – Gregory Murry, The Medicean Succession: Monarchy and Sacral Politics in Duke Cosimo dei Medici's Florence (Harvard University Press).
  • 2006 – Louis A. Montrose, The Subject of Elizabeth: Authority, Gender, and Representation (University of Chicago Press).
  • 2006 – Debora Shuger, Censorship and Cultural Sensibility: The Regulation of Language in Tudor-Stuart England (University of Pennsylvania Press).
  • 2005 – Georgia Clarke, Roman House – Renaissance Palaces. Inventing Antiquity in Fifteenth-Century Italy (Cambridge University Press).
  • 2005 – Margaret W. Ferguson, Dido's Daughters: Literacy, Gender, and Empire in Early Modern England and France (University of Chicago Press)
  • 2004 – P. Renee Baernstein, A Convent Tale: A Century of Sisterhood in Spanish Milan (Routledge).
  • 2004 – Rona Goffen, Renaissance Rivals: Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Titian (Yale University Press).
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