Skip to main content
St Catharine's College, Cambridge Search

Dr Abigail Brundin's latest book wins international prize


Fellow of Modern and Medieval Languages, Dr Abigail Brundin (2000), has recently co-authored a book entitled The Sacred Home in Renaissance Italy with Professor Deborah Howard (History of Art) and Professor Mary Laven (History). 

The book, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2018, has been awarded one of four 2019 Bainton Prizes. The Roland H Bainton Book Prize is named in honour of a twentieth-century church historian, academic at Yale University and strong supporter of early modern history studies. Four prizes are awarded yearly based on quality and originality of research, methodological innovation, development of interpretations, and literary quality.

The Sacred Home in Renaissance Italy tackles the importance of religion within the Italian Renaissance home, and demonstrates how families created sacred spaces within their lives. Acts of devotion, from routine prayers to extraordinary religious experiences such as miracles and visions, frequently took place at home amid the joys and trials of domestic life — from childbirth and marriage to sickness and death.

Breaking free from the usual focus on Venice, Florence, and Rome, The Sacred Home investigates practices of piety across the Italian peninsula, with particular attention paid to the city of Naples, the Marche, and the Venetian mainland. It also looks beyond the elite to consider artisanal and lower-status households, and reveals gender and age as factors that powerfully conditioned religious experience. Recovering a host of lost voices and compelling narratives at the intersection between the divine and the everyday, The Sacred Home offers unprecedented glimpses through the keyhole into the spiritual lives of Renaissance Italians.

Dr Brundin specialises in the literature and culture of Renaissance and Early Modern Italy. She has written on many aspects of the period, from female convents to the Grand Tour, and is above all known for her work on the poet Vittoria Colonna, as the translator of the Sonnets for Michelangelo (2005) and author of Vittoria Colonna and the Spiritual Poetics of the Italian Reformation (2008).

For further details on this book, please click here, and for further details on the Roland H Bainton Book prize, please click here.