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THE HONEST COURTESAN BOOK

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The Honest Courtesan is a biographical book by Margaret Rosenthal about a 16th-century Venetian courtesan named Veronica Franco. The Honest Courtesan: Veronica Franco, Citizen and Writer and millions of other books are available for site Kindle. The Venetian courtesan has long captured the imagination as a female symbol of sexual license, elegance, beauty, and unruliness. Veronica Franco () was. Editorial Reviews. From Library Journal. This first full-length study in English of Venetian Enabled; Similar books to The Honest Courtesan: Veronica Franco, Citizen and Writer in Sixteenth-Century Venice (Women in Culture and Society).


The Honest Courtesan Book

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The Honest Courtesan book. Read 38 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. The Venetian courtesan has long captured the imagination as a. The Honest Courtesan by Margaret F. Rosenthal, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. The book The Honest Courtesan: Veronica Franco, Citizen and Writer in Sixteenth-Century Venice, Margaret F. Rosenthal is published by University of Chicago.

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A Literary History of the Fourteenth Century. Vincenzo Traversa. How to write a great review. The review must be at least 50 characters long. The title should be at least 4 characters long. The effect of such a reading has been to flatten the complex layers of rhetorical self-presentation evident in her literary works and to render her infamous as a sexual performer rather than famous as an accomplished writer.

King, Dennis Romano, Patricia H. Labalme, and others, I, as a literary historian, focus on the textuality of archival documents.

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I attempt to pay careful attention to the inarticulated tensions between literary document and archival record. Veronica Franco uses certain literary genres and poetic forms to register social conflict while she transforms them often with a subversive twist. Although I discuss her familiar letters Lettere familiari a diversi, before her edition of poems Terze rime, , both the letters and the poems, I believe, were written in the same period.

Her familiar letters often gloss the content of her poems. In the opening two chapters I set out in general terms the collective need in sixteenth-century Venetian patriarchal society for such a refined yet sexualized version of the aristocratic woman. Indeed to achieve the position of honest courtesan in Renaissance society meant to enter a public world denied to most upper-class Renaissance women; the honest courtesan offered social and intellectual refinement in return for patronage.

Her poetic texts often equate sexual performance with poetic bravura. Because the Venetian honest courtesan often lived outside the strictly defined marital relations that severely limited the economic and social freedoms of aristocratic women in Italy, she had, in theory at least, the opportunity to manage her own capital. This fact is precisely what left the upwardly mobile courtesan especially vulnerable to the political and legal authority of men who vied at times with her for public recognition.

As I have already indicated, Veronica Franco promoted her literary career in much the same manner as the sixteenth-century courtier projected a rhetorical persona for political and social advancement. Her search for male patronage resembles, in the most general sense, the ambitious upward mobility of the male courtier; verbal expertise and a sophisticated social demeanor were essential to courtesan and courtier alike.

This similarity, however, bred contempt. That stereotype, the venal prostitute, is set in the satirical dialogues and plays of Pietro Aretino, in the moralizing treatises and orations of Tomaso Garzoni and Sperone Speroni, and in the misogynist Venetian dialect poems of Lorenzo and Maffio Venier. They use the honorific civic image of Venice as sublime female ruler to denigrate the courtesan as a vulgar whore. Thus, these male writers see themselves as both victims of the deceiving courtesan whom they attack and victims of the patronage system on whose support they all depend.

In this chapter Veronica Franco takes center stage. The two wills of Veronica Franco were first unearthed and transcribed by Giuseppe Tassini in the s. He also alluded in his monograph, Veronica Franco: Celebre poetessa e cortigiana del secolo XVI, to the Inquisition trial proceedings brought against Franco in but never transcribed them. The trials were recently first transcribed by the Venetian archivist Alessandra Schiavon.

Since then, other historians have produced alternative readings and transcriptions, to which I add, in this study, my own versions. Veronica Franco challenges and rewrites the textual stereotype of the venal, greedy, and deceitful courtesan made popular by her male contemporaries. Thus, I return repeatedly to the terms of the satirical presentation first proposed in chapter 1.

With Venier as her male patron and literary counselor, Franco composed verses in praise of the republic and its heroes. But she transforms the honorific female figure of the republic to suit her own self-elevating designs: she identifies herself, as loyal Venetian citizen, with the female ruler at the same time that she calls attention to the social inequalities at the heart of the Venetian patrician and patriarchal founding myth.

Chapters 1 and 2 therefore ask general questions that I qualify and attempt to answer in chapters 3, 4, and 5. All five chapters are meant to interact with one another and to add further layers to what is already an extraordinarily complex tangle of received attitudes regarding the courtesan. Franco, as a courtesan writer, exposes the practice of Venetian male authors who use women as literary commodities to advance their careers but then discard them when they are no longer useful to their self-promotion.

In so doing she counters the textual representation of the venal whore by insisting that a courtesan can provide useful moral, social, and ethical counsel to male correspondents who fail to adhere to the same advice they have given others. Her Lettere familiari a diversi shed further light on her recognition of social inequalities between the sexes in Venetian society.

These letters act as correctives to Venetian patriarchal rule. At times Veronica Franco openly competed with men for public commissions. This provoked the kind of vindictive attacks that we witness in her poetic debate with an anonymous male accuser.

The two wills of Veronica Franco were first unearthed and transcribed by Giuseppe Tassini in the s. He also alluded in his monograph, Veronica Franco: Celebre poetessa e cortigiana del secolo XVI, to the Inquisition trial proceedings brought against Franco in but never transcribed them. The trials were recently first transcribed by the Venetian archivist Alessandra Schiavon. Since then, other historians have produced alternative readings and transcriptions, to which I add, in this study, my own versions.

Veronica Franco challenges and rewrites the textual stereotype of the venal, greedy, and deceitful courtesan made popular by her male contemporaries. Thus, I return repeatedly to the terms of the satirical presentation first proposed in chapter 1. With Venier as her male patron and literary counselor, Franco composed verses in praise of the republic and its heroes. But she transforms the honorific female figure of the republic to suit her own self-elevating designs: Chapters 1 and 2 therefore ask general questions that I qualify and attempt to answer in chapters 3, 4, and 5.

All five chapters are meant to interact with one another and to add further layers to what is already an extraordinarily complex tangle of received attitudes regarding the courtesan.

Franco, as a courtesan writer, exposes the practice of Venetian male authors who use women as literary commodities to advance their careers but then discard them when they are no longer useful to their self-promotion. In so doing she counters the textual representation of the venal whore by insisting that a courtesan can provide useful moral, social, and ethical counsel to male correspondents who fail to adhere to the same advice they have given others.

Her Lettere familiari a diversi shed further light on her recognition of social inequalities between the sexes in Venetian society.

These letters act as correctives to Venetian patriarchal rule. At times Veronica Franco openly competed with men for public commissions. This provoked the kind of vindictive attacks that we witness in her poetic debate with an anonymous male accuser.

In both literary and political arenas, Franco faced down male detractors who sought to denigrate her profession as courtesan and to humiliate her publicly. The records of the trial proceedings, combined with the poetic debate, illuminate the varieties of self-defense Franco employed to protect herself from acrimonious accusations.

This experimentation marks an important departure from the Petrarchan love lyric tradition. The Ovidian double letters between male and female lovers in the Heroides present Franco with interesting dialogic, epistolary, and polemical strategies for her poems. A collective sense of shame overwhelmed the Venetian people and made its way into the lyrics of Venetian poets, who elegiacally yearned for a delivery into a golden age.

They tried to purge their souls as a group by constant prayer, good deeds, and acts of penitence. She records her exile from her cruel lover as a flight from plague-infested Venice. She laments her involuntary banishment in the concluding capitolo by contrasting the idyllic beauty of this pastoral retreat with allusions to the epidemic that defiles her virginal city.

She writes passionately in support of women unable to defend themselves. She writes with conviction about social and literary inequalities. Deploying an eroticized language in her epistolary verses, Franco calls attention to the performative, seductive nature of all poetic contests—courtesanry, like courtiership, relies on debate, contest, and competition.

Franco is dramatic in her indignation—comic, coy, and vehement in her repudiation of social injustices. She adopts the epistolary form in all of its literary manifestations in the Renaissance—as poetic debate, familiar letter, verse epistle, elegy—to engage in a conversation with her male contemporaries. The goal of this book, then, is to present the many paradoxical layers in sixteenth-century portrayals of the honest courtesan by reconstructing, with the aid of a variety of historical, textual, visual, and archival materials, the specific relations between one honest courtesan and the cultural, social and economic contexts in which she lived.

Thus I have asked throughout this study what was at stake, and for whom, in viewing the courtesan as merely a sexual commodity rather than as a writer who participated in important intellectual coteries in Venice and who published her works. Veronica Franco understood that to enter the public arena as a woman and a courtesan was to take part in a theater of public competition, normally denied to Renaissance women. She performs a critical reading of his vituperative poem; most importantly, she insists on defending other women and on setting an example for them to follow.

Vadino dunque tutte le cortigiane in chiasso, e gli huomini saggi e prudenti attendono ad altri studi. When foreign travelers visited Venice throughout the early modern period, few failed to marvel at the large numbers of courtesans in the city. The eccentric Englishman, Thomas Coryat, exclaimed with astonishment that there were as many as twenty thousand courtesans in Venice in As for the number of these Venetian Cortezans it is very great. Coryat remarked that so infinite are the allurements of these amorous Calypsoes, that the fame of them hath drawen many to Venice from some of the remotest parts of Christendome, to contemplate their beauties, and enjoy their pleasing dalliances.

The Collegio was the most authoritative body, including twenty-six members by the sixteenth century. It acted as the steering committee of the Senate and was made up of the doge, six councillors from each district in Venice, three heads of the Quarantia the forty-man appeals court for criminal and civil cases , sixteen savi, the Council of Ten the most prestigious of Venetian magistracies , which by the sixteenth century dealt not only with state security but also foreign policy and finance, and the Pregadi, or the Senate.

The Venetian Senate from to members , with its College of Sages, included five savi grandi great sages , five savi agli ordini for maritime affairs, and five responsible for military affairs on the mainland or terraferma. In theory all political decisions were made in the name of a government agency or a council, with the authority of the entire government supporting them.

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Individual opinion was subordinated to a collective will, thereby giving the impression of unity and common will. While the unruly presence of courtesans in Venice might appear to be at odds with the view that the republic epitomized a well-governed state, many English Commonwealth visitors over the centuries regarded the city as a model of wise leadership, constitutional excellence, and careful law enforcement. Located at the heart of Venetian public, ceremonial, and political life—a domain restricted to men—representing the Christological and secular components of the civic myth, this polyvalent icon appears on the facades and in the interiors of the Basilica of San Marco, the adjacent Ducal Palace, the Loggetta, and the Libreria Sansoviniana.

Exalted to the status of virginal ruler, and crowned with a laurel wreath by a figure representing victory, Venetia triumphantly wields power, with staff in hand, over the cities and provinces represented directly below her that she oversees and protects. As a conflation of sacred and secular icons, this secularized Venus occupies the sacred role of Virgin intercessor.Retrieved from " https: We use cookies to give you the best possible experience.

Margaret F. Her familiar letters often gloss the content of her poems. First edition [ edit ] The Honest Courtesan: Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere. Women Strike for Peace Amy Swerdlow.