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The Honest Courtesan: Veronica Franco, Citizen and Writer in Sixteenth-Century Venice (Women in Culture and Society) 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226728124
ISBN-10: 0226728129
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This first full-length study in English of Venetian courtesan and writer Veronica Franco's life and work is an adaptation of Rosenthal's (Italian, Univ. of Southern California) dissertation. Writing from a feminist, social-historical perspective, Rosenthal demonstrates that Franco worked within the literary traditions of 16th-century Venice, using her social position and her writings to argue against a restrictive, misogynistic definition of women. Despite scurrilous attacks, Franco defended the courtesan's role as having intellectual and artistic--rather than erotic--significance. Rosenthal is strongest when presenting historical background and analyzing specific poems and letters; her theoretical summations are occasionally marred by a strained use of the jargon of feminist criticism. Recommended for scholarly collections in women's studies and in Italian literature and history.
- Ellen Finnie Duranceau, MIT Lib.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Margaret F. Rosenthal is Associate Professor of Italian at the University of Southern California, and has written extensively on the sixteenth-century Italian writer Veronica Franco. Ann Rosalind Jones is Professor of Comparative Literature at Smith College, and co-author of "Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory."

Catharine R. Stimpson is University Professor and dean emerita of the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University. She is the founding editor of "Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society" and the author or editor of many books.
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Product Details

  • Series: Women in Culture and Society
  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (February 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226728129
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226728124
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #340,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is a must read if you're interested in 16th century Venice, Veronica Franco, or the world of the famous Venetian courtesans. It's also an EXTREMELY dry read. The book is quite obviously a doctoral dissertation, and could have used an edit to made it more accessible (something more along the lines of Stephen Ozment's books). I'm glad I read it. I tracked it down because I wanted to see just how accurate the movie Dangerous Beauty--which is LOOSELY based on this book--was. The answer is: Not very. Oh well. For those of a scholarly bent, this is a great resource book, for those looking for a light, romantic read (a la the movie) look elsewhere.
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Format: Paperback
Veronica Franco was a scholar, a skillful poet, a prostitute--and one of the most fascinating characters to emerge from Renaissance Venice. Given the current climate--in which a dim-faced bimbo can bring down a president--this book is refreshing in that it tells how Franco used sex to further the political and economic causes of her beloved home, Venice. Though the author wrote this as an academic biography, the character, personality, and wit of Franco comes through. The whole story is set in the lushly atmospheric and decadent days when Venice was on the verge of losing its dominance as an empire. Highly recommended, as is the volume of Franco's poetry just released by the University of Chicago Press.
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Format: Paperback
Veronica Franco was a magnificent woman, and I was ecstatic to find this book after seeing the film based on her life, 'Dangerous Beauty'. Sometimes this biography is slow and verbose, but exciting nonetheless to learn all about this fascinating woman. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about 16th century Venice, women, courtesans, or someone who just wants to broaden their views.
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By A Customer on January 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
I greatly enjoyed this book, but I found that wading through 16th century Venetian dialect was difficult. If you are looking for an entertaining story biography, look elsewhere, but if you want a dissertation-style biography, you will enjoy this, as I did.
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Format: Paperback
Rosenthal's "The Honest Courtesan" tells the story of Veronica Franco, a 1500's courtesan (a high society prostitute) and poet. Franco's life is somewhat represented in the current movie "Dangerous Beauty". Franco was one of the first independant women of this time and wrote of women's equility. Unfortunatly, Franco's amazing story is told in a text book fashion. Rosenthal's writing is cold and uninteresting and reads like a doctoral dissertation. The subject matter is wonderful, but I would recommend Rosenthal's "Veronica Franco, Poems and Selected Letters". In this, Rosenthals writing the same, there is just less of it. The introduction briefly tells of Franco's life, and Franco's poetry brings her story to the reader.
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Format: Hardcover
In a society where courtesans were considered to be prime specimens of beauty and immorality, Veronica Franco dared to be virtuous. Her highly cultivated intellect made her a woman who was simultaneously desired and feared. Rosenthal brings Franco to life in this incredible consideration of the "honest courtesan's" impact on the world around her.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After seeing "Dangerous Beauty" I became curious about the distinctive life style of Renaissance Venice, and hoped to learn a lot more. This book was just a bit too dry and scholarly for casual reading. A great deal of space is used for both the Italian and English translations, which must be interesting to some readers. Although Veronica comes across as intelligent, determined and brave, I would have wished to know more about her and her society in terms of food, clothing, houses, daily activities, etc. Perhaps not enough is known about Veronica herself, but I would hope that a gifted author somewhere could make her story into a novel and breathe some warmth and life into her legend.
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Format: Paperback
The Honest Courtesan is a good read and provides a good foundation for the literary aspect of Veronica Franco. I would have liked more biographical information. The references are excellent and the research done is thorough. Do be prepared for a LOT of textual analysis regarding Franco's works. The analysis is used to defend particular hypothesis; however, I do think that the text centers so much on Franco's literary career that some of the chapters may be misleading. The chapter on the Inquisition began well; but then deviated into metrical devises used in Franco's work and I was unable to find how or why these were connected other then that the works depicted the style and language of Venice during the 1500's. I recommend the book for scholars who are interested in Franco's literary career and for purely academic reading or research. I do not recommend the book for any neophyte who desires to learn more about the Venetian Courtesan or Veronica Franco. Whilst any level can read such text, the decimation of the poetic styles may be a bit much for those unfamiliar with the Renaissance or with poetic rhetorical devices.
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