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book reviews345 With Celestial Sirens Kendrick provides the English-speaking reader with an erudite exploration into the subject of nuns' music, supported by truly impressive documentation of hitherto unstudied archival sources. These are generously quoted in the often lengthy footnotes, as weU as in the nearly one hundred pages of appendices. The book, however, does presuppose a good working knowledge of Italian and Latin. Although most of the Latin texts of motets are translated in the notes, there are long, and very significant passages of both Italian and Latin (especiaUy in the appendices) that are untranslated. Moreover, the reader needs at least a famUiarity with the vocabulary of classical rhetoric. While Kendrick does provide a very useful glossary of ecclesiastical terminology, a comparable lexicon of rhetorical terms would make the book a bit more "reader-friendly." Finally, despite the vast amount of material through which Kendrick guides the reader,he does not lose sight ofhis subject, and explores the question ofthe dichotomy Ln the lives of these musical nuns—the idea of the convent as a sort of seraglio with the nuns as ill-concealed opera singers, prized and paraded for their musical excellence, while also being suspect, or even at times censured, for pursuing the very talents that brought them—and the city—renown. Theirs was a difficult task, balancing fame with humiUty—the ideal of religious life. The fact that they not only persevered in both, but actuaUy prevaUed,predicates not only a high degree of talent, but also a sincerity of dedication. Let us hope that Kendrick's praiseworthy achievement will prompt further exploration of this complex history and bring to light more of the compositions of these musical women inside the cloister. Cyrilla Barr The Catholic University ofAmerica La città e ipoveri:Milano e le terre lombarde dal Rinascimento all'età spagnola . Edited by Danilo Zardin. [Edizioni Universitarie Jaca, Vol. 100.] (Milan:Jaca Book. 1995. Pp. 431) This volume contains, besides the introduction by the editor, fifteen papers first presented at a conference in Milan in 1992. It is a particularly feUcitous achievement for at least three reasons. First, it has the advantage of focusing on a specific locality, a locality extraordinarily rich in historical sources, and of approaching it from a variety of perspectives. This assures depth in coverage and also helps forestall facUe generalizations from just one kind of evidence. Second , it is a good example of integration of the study of religion, literature, economics , and poUtics. Third, although the contributors are with the exception of Brian PuUan not well known outside Italy, they are all skUled practitioners of our métier, beginning with the editor, Danilo Zardin, who provides a fine overview of the volume in his introduction. 346book reviews The importance of the subject can hardly be overestimated, for it is stiU with us in our cities today. Sad to say, there is Uttle indication that we handle it better than did early modern Italians. Even given the greater complexity of the urban situation today, there is some indication that we handle it worse. In any case, the subject has also been of keen interest historiographicaUy ever since Pullan's groundbreaking Rich and Poor in Venice (1971), in which he chaUenged the sharp contrast historians drew between Protestant and Catholic poor relief. As the dean of such studies, Pullan's contribution on "poverty," "charity," and "new forms of social assistance" from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century is, therefore, of special interest and weight. He cautions against drawing too firm a line of demarcation between late medieval and early modern attitudes and practices in these regards and also against doing the same between Protestants and Catholics. Nonetheless, differences there were, and in the latter case he points specificaUy to the continuation of confraternities within Catholic territories , once again vindicating recent scholarship on the utterly crucial but long-forgotten role these institutions played in almost every aspect of Catholic culture. Confraternities appear passim in any number of articles, for, besides being an institution in their own right, they funded or otherwise supported other institutions or themselves developed into different ones. For that reason Angelo Bianchi's article on the Somascans is especiaUy iUuminating...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 345-347
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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