Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love, and Death in Renaissance Italy by Sarah Bradford, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love, and Death in Renaissance Italy

Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love, and Death in Renaissance Italy

3.9 20
by Sarah Bradford
     
 

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The very name Lucrezia Borgia conjures up everything that was sinister and corrupt about the Renaissance—incest, political assassination, papal sexual abuse, poisonous intrigue, unscrupulous power grabs. Yet, as bestselling biographer Sarah Bradford reveals in this breathtaking new portrait, the truth is far more fascinating than the myth. Neither a vicious

Overview

The very name Lucrezia Borgia conjures up everything that was sinister and corrupt about the Renaissance—incest, political assassination, papal sexual abuse, poisonous intrigue, unscrupulous power grabs. Yet, as bestselling biographer Sarah Bradford reveals in this breathtaking new portrait, the truth is far more fascinating than the myth. Neither a vicious monster nor a seductive pawn, Lucrezia Borgia was a shrewd, determined woman who used her beauty and intelligence to secure a key role in the political struggles of her day.

Drawing from a trove of contemporary documents and fascinating firsthand accounts, Bradford brings to life the art, the pageantry, and the dangerous politics of the Renaissance world Lucrezia Borgia helped to create.

Editorial Reviews

Sarah Bradford's lively biography of Lucrezia Borgia (1480-1519) manages to somewhat rehabilitate this notorious "monster of cruelty and deceit" without depriving us of the lurid gossip that makes her so appealing. Thus, this biography is rife with reports of incest, assassination, sexual debauchery and abuse, poisonings, court intrigue, and palace cabal, yet Lucrezia emerges as a shrewd, determined, tragic woman -- not as an ogre.
The New Yorker
Historians who have attempted to rescue Lucrezia Borgia from her legend as a poisoner who slept with both her father, Pope Alexander VI, and her brother, Cesare Borgia, have mostly described her as a pawn. Indeed, before she was twenty-one she was twice married off to men who were disposed of once their political usefulness expired. (The first had to declare himself impotent and grant her a divorce; the second was strangled in his bed.) Bradford sees Lucrezia neither as a helpless victim nor a femme fatale but as a resourceful individual—an able administrator, a genuinely religious woman, and the equal in political skill, if not in brutality, of her notorious male relatives. When the family of her third husband balked at alliance with a woman described as the “greatest whore there ever was in Rome,” she used all her craft and charm to win them over—by, among other things, making her pious prospective father-in-law a gift of several nuns.
Deirdre Donahue
Bradford's enthusiasm for the Borgia dynasty positively vibrates … Bradford's zest for this era is contagious, and the book would make a great gift for any young woman.
— USA Today
Publishers Weekly
Lucrezia Borgia is legendary as the archetypal villainess who carried out the poisoning plotted by her scheming father-Pope Alexander VI, aka Rodrigo Borgia-and by her ruthlessly ambitious brother Cesare. The facts of Lucrezia's case are sorted out from fiction by Bradford's humanizing biography, which presents Lucrezia as an intelligent noblewoman, powerless to defy her family's patriarchal order, yet an enlightened ruler in her own right as Duchess of Ferrara. Drawing on extensive archival evidence, Bradford (Disraeli; Princess Grace) explains how Lucrezia's first husband, after their marriage was annulled, vengefully tarnished her name with accusations of incest. Bradford discredits the popular belief that Lucrezia helped Cesare assassinate her second husband. Lucrezia emerges as a political realist who participated with her father and brother in a campaign to marry into the powerful Este family, winning the affections of her new husband, Alfonso d'Este, later Duke of Ferrara. Bradford portrays Lucrezia's extramarital affairs as daring and passionate romances of the heart and describes her cultivated court life and her kindness to artists and poets. Although Bradford's portrait is not immune to a fictionalizing style, especially when ascribing emotional states to its subject, as a project designed to distinguish the historical Lucrezia Borgia from the legend, Bradford's readable biography resoundingly succeeds. Maps and illus. not seen by PW. Agent, Gillon Aitken Associates. (On sale Oct. 25) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The best-selling biographer of Elizabeth, Disraeli, and Cesare Borgia himself takes on Lucrezia. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A sympathetic view of the Renaissance beauty's progress through a maze of political marriages to become the Duchess of Ferrara. Lucrezia Borgia (1480-1519) has been unduly maligned by history, says veteran biographer Bradford (Elizabeth, 1996, etc.), attributing much of the bile to contemporary enemies of her family. The British author makes a good case, based on material from the relevant archives and careful reading of others' treatments. She depicts Lucrezia as a woman of great administrative skill who ruled Ferrara while her husband was continually absent, thanks to battles both political and martial. Her father Rodrigo was a cardinal and then pope, her brother Cesare an ambitious schemer, warrior, and murderer; Lucrezia outlived them both. Educated by her infamous family, as well as by circumstance to survive and thrive in a precarious world, she even managed to maintain an intimate correspondence with a lover who was fighting with forces opposed to her husband. (She also survived him.) All three of her marriages were arranged. Her father had already promised her to two other men by the time she was first wed at 13, but Rodrigo dissolved that marriage and arranged for another to the son of Alfonso II of Naples, with whom she had a son. When that marriage also became an inconvenience for the scheming Borgias, they made the young Alfonso an offer he couldn't refuse, certified that Lucrezia remained a virgin, and married her to another Alfonso, son of the Duke of Ferrara. After some initial problems with conception, she remained continually pregnant until the end of her life; the last birth killed her at age 39. Bradford lavishly describes the opulent particulars of Lucrezia'slife-clothing, food, dwellings, parties, bling-bling-but always keeps her focus on this most astonishing woman. A thoroughly researched, gracefully written revision of the most beguiling Borgia. Agency: Gillon Aitken
From the Publisher
"Bradford’s zest for this era is contagious." —USA Today

"A lively view of Lucrezia, capturing the glamour and tragedy of her story." —The Wall Street Journal

"This is also a tender and intimate account of a misunderstood and passionate woman." —Elle

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101525340
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/01/2005
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
307,996
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Bradford’s zest for this era is contagious." —USA Today

"A lively view of Lucrezia, capturing the glamour and tragedy of her story." —The Wall Street Journal

"This is also a tender and intimate account of a misunderstood and passionate woman." —Elle

Meet the Author

Sarah Bradford is a historian and biographer. Her previous books include Cesare Borgia, Disraeli, Princess Grace, George VI, Splendours and Miseries: A Life of SacheverellSitwell, Elizabeth: A Biography of Her Majesty the Queen, America’s Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Lucrezia Borgia.

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