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Perry Anderson writes:
The books of the first twenty years of Carlo Ginzburg’s career have been succeeded by essays; by now well over fifty of them, covering a staggering range of figures and topics, each an extraordinary display of learning. No other living historian approaches the range of this erudition. Every page of Threads and Traces, his latest work to appear in English, offers an illustration of it. Ginzburg, who has a nominalist resistance to epochal labels of any kind, would like to override Fredric Jameson’s dictum that ‘we cannot not periodise,’ but it is impossible to grasp his achievement without recalling that the centre of his work lies in what, protestations notwithstanding, we still call the Renaissance. It is that pivot, on which his writing swings back and forth with complete ease and naturalness from classical antiquity and the church fathers across to the Enlightenment and the long 19th century.