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Warburg Professor is honoured by the British Academy


Professor Jill Kraye, Emeritus Professor of the History of Renaissance Philosophy and Librarian at the Warburg Institute in the School of Advanced Study, University of London, has been awarded the Serena Medal by the British Academy for her scholarship on Renaissance philosophy and humanism and the later European influence of classical philosophy.

The Serena Medal is awarded annually for eminent services to the study of Italian history, philosophy or music, literature, art, or economics. It was endowed by Mr Arthur Serena in recognition of Britain’s alliance with Italy in the First World War. The medal was first awarded in 1920.

Professor Kraye, who is currently an Honorary Fellow of the Warburg Institute, said of the award:

I am enormously grateful and proud to be the recipient of the Serena Medal for 2020.

It is an extraordinary honour to have my name appear in a list which includes such giants in the study of Italian Renaissance philosophy as Benedetto Croce, Giovanni Gentile, and Paul Oskar Kristeller, along with a host of exceptional scholars whose work I have admired throughout my academic career.

I am especially delighted that my approach to the vernacular and Latin philosophy of the Italian Renaissance as an integral part of the classical tradition has been recognized by the British Academy. 

In 2002, following a term as a Visiting Professor at the University of Munich, she became Librarian of the Warburg, a position she held until her retirement in 2013.

She published her first article, a piece on a Platonic work by the Italian humanist Francesco Filelfo, in the 1979 issue of the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, which she has edited since 1997.

She is also one of the editors of The International Journal of the Classical Tradition and of the Renaissance section of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

The British Academy Serena Medal

Her work on Renaissance humanism and on Platonism, Aristotelianism, Stoicism, Epicureanism, and scepticism in Renaissance philosophy has appeared in many contributions to scholarly journals and academic books and has been translated into Italian, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Polish.

A collection of her essays was published in 2002 as Classical Traditions in Renaissance Philosophy.

Professor Kraye was associate editor of The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy (1988) and edited the Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism (1996) and Cambridge Translations of Renaissance Philosophical Texts (2 vols, 1997).

The range of her interests is reflected in the volumes she has jointly edited, which include Caro Vitto: Essays in Memory of Vittore Branca (2007), Conflicting Duties: Science, Medicine and Religion in Rome, 1550–1750 (2009), Vernacular Aristotelianism in Italy from the Fourteenth to the Seventeenth Century (2016), The Afterlife of Aldus (2018) and The Marriage of Philology and Scepticism (2019).

She has been a co-investigator on a number of research projects funded by the AHRC and the Leverhulme Foundation.

In 2018 a group of her students and friends published Et amicorum: Essays on Renaissance Humanism and Philosophy in Honour of Jill Kraye.

Bill Sherman, director of the Warburg Institute, commented:

Jill Kraye is a consummate scholar-librarian in the finest Warburgian tradition. She has served the Institute, its students, its readers, and her fellow scholars of Renaissance humanism with work of the highest standard since the early 1970s. We are delighted to see her honoured by the British Academy.