The Honest Courtesan: Veronica Franco, Citizen and Writer in Sixteenth-Century Venice / Edition 1by Margaret F. Rosenthal
Pub. Date: 02/01/1993
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
The Venetian courtesan has long captured the imagination as a female symbol of sexual license, elegance, beauty, and unruliness. What then to make of the cortigiana onesta—the honest courtesan who recast virtue as intellectual integrity and offered wit and refinement in return for patronage and a place in public life? Veronica Franco (1546-1591) was/i>… See more details below
The Venetian courtesan has long captured the imagination as a female symbol of sexual license, elegance, beauty, and unruliness. What then to make of the cortigiana onesta—the honest courtesan who recast virtue as intellectual integrity and offered wit and refinement in return for patronage and a place in public life? Veronica Franco (1546-1591) was such a woman, a writer and citizen of Venice, whose published poems and familiar letters offer rich testimony to the complexity of the honest courtesan's position.
Margaret F. Rosenthal draws a compelling portrait of Veronica Franco in her cultural social, and economic world. Rosenthal reveals in Franco's writing a passionate support of defenseless women, strong convictions about inequality, and, in the eroticized language of her epistolary verses, the seductive political nature of all poetic contests. It is Veronica Franco's insight into the power conflicts between men and women—and her awareness of the threat she posed to her male contemporaries—that makes her literary works and her dealings with Venetian intellectuals so pertinent today.
Combining the resources of biography, history, literary theory, and cultural criticism, this sophisticated interdisciplinary work presents an eloquent and often moving account of one woman's life as an act of self-creation and as a complex response to social forces and cultural conditions.
"A book . . . pleasurably redolent of Venice in the 16th-century. Rosenthal gives a vivid sense of a world of salons and coteries, of intricate networks of family and patronage, and of literary exchanges both intellectual and erotic."—Helen Hackett, Times Higher Education Supplement
The Honest Courtesan is the basis for the film Dangerous Beauty (1998) directed by Marshall Herskovitz. (The film was re-titled The Honest Courtesan for release in the UK and Europe in 1999.)
Table of Contents
Foreword by Catharine R. Stimpson
1: Satirizing the Courtesan: Franco's Enemies
2: Fashioning the Honest Courtesan: Franco's Patrons
Appendix: Two Testaments and a Tax Report
3: Addressing Venice: Franco's Familiar Letters
4: Denouncing the Courtesan: Franco's Inquisition Trial and Poetic Debate
Appendix: Documents of the Inquisition
5: The Courtesan in Exile: An Elegiac Future
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I searched very hard trying to see if a book had been written about Veronica Frank. I rented the movie Dangerous Beauty which Catherine Mcormack starred in. For anyone who is not farmiliar with who she is, she was the love of (Mel Gibson) in the movie Braveheart. After seeing the movie I became facinated that this women really existed. She was a Brilliant Poet and an extraudinary women. The book is one of my very favorites out of my collection. I would strongly recommend it. She was a women way ahead of her time. To rent the movie, and then to read the book, makes it even better. If your into Venice or the 1600s or poetry or romance, this has it all.
If you're looking for an easy read, this is not your book. It is not the screenplay to Dangerous Beauty. This book does provide some interesting insights into the life of a courtesan. There are also good translations of Victoria Franco's poetry.