Machiavelli in Love
Sex, Self, and Society in the Italian Renaissance
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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Although this book is the product of a career of research, discussions with students, colleagues, and friends, and reading widely in the literature of the Renaissance, it began to come together in a more serious way in the early 1990s thanks to fellowship support from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Much-appreciated stays at...
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“Given that el Machia [Machiavelli] is a relative of yours and a very good friend of mine, I cannot refrain from taking this occasion that you have given me to write to you and to commiserate with you about the things that I am hearing daily about him...
1. Of Birds, Figs, and Sexual Identity in the Renaissance, or The Marescalco’s Boy Bride
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As this book and this essay mean to play with ideas and concepts that we hold dear, I thought that I might begin with a game that was listed by Tomaso Garzoni as one of the more popular games played in upper-class circles in Renaissance Italy. It is a game that in its own way seems to play with what we might expect of polite society in that time and place. It was called...
2. Playing with the Devil: The Pleasures and Dangers of Sex and Play
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It was a winter’s evening in the 1540s. January. Florence. Four aristocratic young men (“de i primi e più gentili della terra”) were playing instruments and singing after dinner at the home of their hostess, a rich and noble widow. One of these youths was the widow’s brother, which suggests that she was still young, much the same age as her guests, as was not uncommon in a time when...
3. The Abbot’s Concubine: Renaissance Lies, Literature, and Power
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In 1573 the abbot of Sumaga, Alessandro Ruis, was going around the little village where he lived—and to some extent ruled as the leading ecclesiastical figure—regaling his neighbors with a tale about his problems with his former concubine, Cecilia Padovana. Cecilia, he was complaining, had used some very troubling magic to bind to her the love of the men she desired including...
4. Brunelleschi’s First Masterpiece, or Mean Streets, Familiar Streets, Masculine Spaces, and Identity in Renaissance Florence
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“At the heart of the city there is a place full of joy. . . . Seek the grandeur of the high dome of Santa Reparata [the cathedral] or ask for the magnificent church of God that shows the Lamb [the Baptistery]. Once there bear to the right a few paces . . . and ask for the Mercato Vecchio. There half way down the street stands a happy whorehouse which you will know by the very smell...
5. Machiavelli in Love: The Self-Presentation of an Aging Lover
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There was no doubt in the Renaissance that death would be followed by a last judgment. Actually more than one. For while virtually everyone would have agreed that God’s Last Judgment was by far the most important and significant, no one would have underestimated the importance and significance...
6. Death and Resurrection and the Regime of Virt�, or Of Princes, Lovers, and Prickly Pears
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There was no doubt in the Renaissance that death would be followed by a last judgment. Actually more than one. For while virtually everyone would have agreed that God’s Last Judgment was by far the most important and significant, no one would have underestimated the importance and significance of the last judgment...
Afterword: How Machiavelli Put the Devil Back in Hell
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Although Machiavelli in his letters and his comedies often revealed the touch of a novelliere and Bandello remarked that he was well known as a person who loved to spin out clever tales in company, only one freestanding novella of note of his has survived: the tale of the devil who took...
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Page Count: 300
Publication Year: 2006