Venice Triumphant: The Horizons of a Myth

Overview

Elisabeth Crouzet-Pavan provides a rich, multilayered history of Venice from Roman times to the sixteenth century, focusing on the relationship between the city and its unique physical milieu in a way that emphasizes complexity and continuity. Central to Crouzet-Pavan's discussion is her concept of l'imaginaire, literally translated as "the imaginary" and here meaning the many symbolic terms Venetians created to describe and understand the peculiar space they inhabited and, by extension, themselves. Elegantly ...
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Overview

Elisabeth Crouzet-Pavan provides a rich, multilayered history of Venice from Roman times to the sixteenth century, focusing on the relationship between the city and its unique physical milieu in a way that emphasizes complexity and continuity. Central to Crouzet-Pavan's discussion is her concept of l'imaginaire, literally translated as "the imaginary" and here meaning the many symbolic terms Venetians created to describe and understand the peculiar space they inhabited and, by extension, themselves. Elegantly translated by Lydia G. Cochrane, Venice Triumphant offers a new perspective on the world's most beautiful city.
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Editorial Reviews

Le Monde
For more than twenty years, Elisabeth Crouzet-Pavan has dedicated herself to the study of urban affairs on the Italian peninsula. Not without daring, she presents a formidable work of synthesis on the rise of the city of the Doges, the evolution of a unique place and identity.
Le Figaro
Elisabeth Crouzet-Pavan reconstructs the history of the city and at a stroke disposes of the customary clich‚s . . . A must-read work for those wishing to return to Venice and discover the thousand and one secrets of this ephemeral yet enduring city.
Edward Muir
Elisabeth Crouzet-Pavan is the premiere historian of Venice writing today. The depth of her research in the Venetian archives is unmatched and she writes with a poetic sensibility that equals Fernand Braudel's. Venice Triumphant is an innovative, thematic history of the city that emphasizes continuity and explores issues of space, power, and representation. Her discussion is clear, never obscure, and she writes in a lively, evocative prose that will appeal to general readers and historians alike. This book should become the standard work on the history of Venice for the next generation.
Library Journal
Crouzet-Pavan (medieval history, Sorbonne) has adopted a novel approach to retelling a story that has been told many times: she sets out to relate the history of Venice by examining the spaces that produced it. She begins by looking at the site where Venice was created, detailing the engineering skills it took to construct a city in the defining space of a lagoon. From there she moves to other aquatic spaces-the Adriatic Sea and the Mediterranean. She recounts the Venetians' gradual mastery of these spaces and the impact on the fortunes of the city and its inhabitants that such mastery brought. The next space the author considers is the land beside Venice-northeastern Italy, an area that the Venetians came to dominate as their maritime power contracted. The author then pulls back to examine the spaces within Venice. For example, the Piazza San Marco is the center for a discussion of Venetian government and the many communal ceremonies that centered on the piazza. This work will be of value to historians and students of Venetian history. Highly recommended for academic and large public libraries.-Robert J. Andrews, Duluth P.L., MN Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A formidable reading of Venetian history-how Venetians imagined their artistic, architectural, commercial, and political uniqueness-from Crouzet-Pavan (the Sorbonne). Although the author divides her study of Venice into distinct spheres-the lagoon and then the greater sea world; the relations with terra firma Italy; the evolution of the state; everyday life-in each chapter these elements operate on planes of convergence, in a synchronicity of economic factors, social realities, cultural phenomena, political contingencies, symbols, and specific cartographies. To say that Crouzet-Pavan has a grasp of the literature, from the oldest parchments to contemporary writings, is an understatement, and she is always happy to poke a hole in a thesis-that Venice turned its back on the mainland, for example. She explores the city's relationship to its site both as trope and as vehicle to commercial and political relationships, its location influencing how it grew through an arduous process of construction and helping shape the networks and customary relations of Venetian life. The historian traces the early crystallization of political forms and institutions, the interventionist character and harmonious activities of powerful families, paradigmatic shifts in government, and the surprising diversity of players within the city's exclusiveness. Elegantly, she animates her story with the acts, words, and movements of actual Venetians, all within "a space in which men and women, acting in accordance with set rhythms, well-established codes, and accepted signs, fabricated history day by day, lived, produced, came together, and expressed their identities in specific practices and customs." Crouzet-Pavanconstantly shuffles the big picture with the human scale: international relations are crucially important, but so are the role of money-lending and salt production, not to mention confraternities, the parish bell tower, the candlestick maker, the fencing teacher, and the rag seller. Crouzet-Pavan is an impressive conductor, making sprightly and complex music out of the myriad strains that shape Venice.
Choice

Masterful... This elegantly written, even lyrical, work should be the standard for all future books on Venice.

Renaissance Quarterly
Crouzet-Pavan has not only produced an original and intriguing overview of Venetian history; she has provided a thoughtful personal review of the mass of scholarly work that has radically changed our understanding of Venice and medieval and Renaissance Italy over the last half century.

— Guido Ruggiero

International Journal of Maritime History
This book offers an innovative perspective for reconsidering the history of the identity of Venice... In the rich and endless, though also traditional, literature on Venice, this book is very different. It provides an original methodology and a fascinating approach to the Venetian past.

— Michela D'Angelo

Le Monde

For more than twenty years, Elisabeth Crouzet-Pavan has dedicated herself to the study of urban affairs on the Italian peninsula. Not without daring, she presents a formidable work of synthesis on the rise of the city of the Doges, the evolution of a unique place and identity.

Le Figaro

Elisabeth Crouzet-Pavan reconstructs the history of the city and at a stroke disposes of the customary clichés... A must-read work for those wishing to return to Venice and discover the thousand and one secrets of this ephemeral yet enduring city.

Mediterranean Historical Review
Pick up Venice Triumphant and you can get lost in its pages as you might in a glossy picture book of the city—enjoying the verbal images, reading a bit in one place or another, skipping around as mood and moment suggest.

— Robert Davis

Sixteenth-Century Journal
A fine synthesis of Venetian history.

— Eric Dursteler

Renaissance Quarterly - Guido Ruggiero

Crouzet-Pavan has not only produced an original and intriguing overview of Venetian history; she has provided a thoughtful personal review of the mass of scholarly work that has radically changed our understanding of Venice and medieval and Renaissance Italy over the last half century.

International Journal of Maritime History - Michela D'Angelo

This book offers an innovative perspective for reconsidering the history of the identity of Venice... In the rich and endless, though also traditional, literature on Venice, this book is very different. It provides an original methodology and a fascinating approach to the Venetian past.

Courier-Gazette (Rockland, Maine) - Marilis Hornidge

This is true background for a city which seems balanced carefully between Roman times; the enchantment of the 16th century—and today. This book will fill you in on the ancient part and connect you with its footpaths into today as nothing else I have read does.

Mediterranean Historical Review - Robert Davis

Pick up Venice Triumphant and you can get lost in its pages as you might in a glossy picture book of the city—enjoying the verbal images, reading a bit in one place or another, skipping around as mood and moment suggest.

Sixteenth Century Journal - Eric Dursteler

A fine synthesis of Venetian history.

Choice

Masterful... This elegantly written, even lyrical, work should be the standard for all future books on Venice.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801869587
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2002
  • Pages: 424

Meet the Author

Elisabeth Crouzet-Pavan is a professor of medieval history at the Sorbonne. Her other books are Sopra le acque salse: Espaces, pouvoir et société à Venise a la fin du Moyen Âge (1992); La Mort lente de Torcello: Histoire d'une cité disparue (1994); Venise: Une invention de la ville, XIIIe–XVe siècle (1997); and Enfers et paradis: L'Italie de Dante et de Giotto (2001). Venice Triumphant, originally published in French in 1999, is her first book to be translated into English. Lydia G. Cochrane has translated three previous books for Johns Hopkins: On the Edge of the Cliff by Roger Chartier (1996), The Color of Melancholy by Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet (1997), and History of Suicide by Georges Minois (1999). Her other translations include Alain Boureau's The Lord's First Night (1998) and The Myth of Pope Joan (2001), and Renzo Dubbini's Geography of the Gaze (2002).

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

1 A city born in the water 1
2 A city wed to the sea 46
3 The lion and the land 97
4 Scenes of daily life 138
5 The state in motion 183
6 The people of the city 229
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2004

    'Venice Triumphant' not triumphant

    'Venice Triumphant' is a difficult book. It is strictly for readers who already have an excellent mastery of Venetian history and culture. It draws many conclusions but fails to convincingly justify many of them. The heart of the information is in the notes, but most of them refer to works in French, Italian or German. The literary style is very 'French,' therefore sometimes awkward for American readers; the punctuation is minimal to poor, and the translation does nothing to improve comprehensibility. This is a book by an expert written for other experts, and may leave non-experts baffled and disappointed.

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