Radical Renaissance Writers

What does it mean to be a radical thinker or writer? What do they have in common? Be prepared to shift your perspective on the past and present in this pioneering course from our Challenge the Canon series. This course is held online and consists of approx. 1 hour of independent study per week, with pre-reading worksheets and primary sources provided, plus 6 x online seminars. 

Course starts: 12 October 2022


This short, 6-week course will delve into the fascinating work of six writers from the 'Renaissance' period (1400 - 1700) who challenged mainstream authorities during their lifetimes, with a focus on the relevance of their classical education(s). Some of these individuals are well-known, others have been traditionally understudied.

"Restoring radical writers to intellectual history"

This course is unique because it brings together six inspiring thinkers - 3 women, 2 men - not commonly taught together, if taught at all. We will explore a fundamental question: how has a classical education been used to challenge injustice in society, the church and the state? 

Over the course of six, 1-hour sessions you will have the opportunity to: appreciate and learn from the argumentation strategies used by each individual; explore how they engage with classical authors, texts and ideas in their work; consider the reception of their work during their lifetime and their relevance today; situate the texts within their historical and political context; use the selected extracts as prompts to think about what it means to be a 'radical' thinker - then and now. All primary material will be provided in English translation.

Each week will focus on a different author and selected extracts from their work(s), including:

  • Christine de Pizan, who wrote The Book of the City of Ladies

  • Isotta Nogarola, who wrote a dialogue defending Eve from 'original sin

  • Girolamo Savonarola, who denounced clerical corruption and called for a Christian renewal

  • Bartolomé de las Casas, who challenged the notion of natural slavery 

  • Tullia D'Aragona, who wrote a dialogue on the nature of love

  • Arcangela Tarabotti, who wrote against the practice of enforced monastic enclosure


Application Status: Closed​

Course Fee: £120

Join the Waitlist for 2022

How to Apply 

1. Enrol on your chosen course by purchase made via the store

2. Wait for your place confirmation email

3. Complete the pre-course questionnaire sent to you

In the meantime, keep up with our #RadicalRenaissanceWriters posts on Instagram

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Feedback from our Challenge the Canon students....


"I was introduced to the world of classics and brilliant writers who I knew nothing about. As someone who gave up on studying history at school, this made me want to learn even more. Thank you to Florence for sharing your passion for this subject and the authors. It's been thrilling to learn about some radical amazing women writers."
- Amy, Radical Renaissance Writers, 2021.

"I absolutely loved this course! I learnt so much and it wasn’t as restrictive or closed-off as traditional classical learning can be. A real chance to genuinely expand what classics means to a student of it"
- Kasia, CA 2021 Challenge the Canon, 2021.

"I am absolutely blown away by how much information I received during this course. It feels like so many more doors have been opened for me to explore, and thanks to Florence and the team my appetite for the Classics has increased tremendously!"
- Erin, CA 2021 Challenge the Canon, 2021.

"Thoroughly enjoyed the course, felt that it was at an accessible level for someone with history knowledge but limited latin background. Would recommend to others and would love to do another course with the Forte Academy"
- Sophie, CA 2021 Challenge the Canon, 2021.