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Lettere familiari a diversi All’Illustriss. Et reverendiss. Monsig. Luigi d’Este cardinale.
- 4to. (8), 87, (1 blank) pp. With several large historiated initials. Old paperboards, some light dampstains and traces of mold, otherwise a good copy. EXTREMELY RARE FIRST EDITION of Veronica Franco's letter collection. The date of publication can be presumed from the dedication to Luigi d'Este, which is dated Venice, August 2, 1580. Furthermore, Michel de Montaigne, in his Journal de voyage en Italie en 1580 et 1581, stated that he got a copy of the book during his stay in Venice, on November 6, that same year (Oeuvres compl├Ętes, M. Rat, ed., Paris 1962, p. 1183). The collection includes 51 letters (one is repeated with some corrections), of which only two bear the name of the recipient: that addressed to Henry III of Valois , which opens the collection and is followed by two sonnets, and the twenty-first to the painter Tintoretto, important not only for theoretical discussion about painting, but also because it contains a precise reference to the portrait that the painter made of Veronica (cf. N.E. Land, Veronica Franco, Tintoretto and Narcissus, in: "Source: Notes in the History of Art", 22/2, 2003, pp. 25-28). Remarkable is also the letter [22] to a mother in which he tries to dissuade her to turn her daughter into a courtesan (cf. S. Bianchi, Lettere di Veronica Franco, Roma, 1998, passim; and M.L. Doglio, Lettera e donna. Scrittura epistolare al femminile tra Quattro e Cinquecento, Roma, 1993, pp. 33-48). "Nowhere is the integration - or, perhaps, collision - of the linked arenas of epistolary writing and women's experience more evident than in the epistolario of the famous Venetian courtesan Veronica Franco, who published her Lettere familiari in 1580. Franco's text, which combines literary self-promotion with a glimpse of the life of a high-status courtesan, introduces a new arena of female experience to the realm of epistolary representation. In integrating her own voice into the structure and themes of humanist letter writers, Franco rethinks conventional characterizations of both the courtesan and the female letter writer. Franco's volume further reflects the influence of Aretino, who understood and exploited the power of letters to establish literary position, reward patrons and admirers, and dismiss detractors. The letter collection constituted an opportunity for Franco to increase her own fame, as well as a way to respond to the negative characterizations of the courtesan that circulated in early modern literary culture, despite her "celebrity' status. The cortigiana onesta, or "honest courtesan', negotiated a difficult position as the object of both desire and anxiety. The courtesan trafficked not only in sexual services but also in literary and cultural capital. In addition to her beauty, it was her ability to carry on learned conversation, and indeed to produce her own literary works, that secured her status as a sought after, socially mobile, economically independent figure. If Franco's Lettere familiari are a performance of literary virtue and sexual authority, a dual exercise in self-promotion and self-defense, their first concern is to present the public with an alternative to the negative imagery of the courtesan" (M.K. Ray, Writing Gender in Women's Letter Collections of the Italian Renaissance, Toronto, Buffalo e London, 2009, pp. 123-124 and 134). "For instance, Franco's writing shares many first-wave feminist concepts in that she writes in traditionally "feminine' forms for a dominantly male audience and patronage system; her writing frequently focuses on the education of women as vital to maintaining any form of civilized society; her writing, especially letters, address family matters from both a maternal role as well as marital role; she advocates female choices and autonomy, she challenges binary thinking, and she reflects revolutionary thinking about sexuality and employs erotic images and tactics in her writing to make her points" (G.M. Cohenour, Veronica Franco and First Wave Feminism. Reaching [Attributes: Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Libreria Alberto Govi di F. Govi Sas]
Last Found On: 2015-06-17           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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