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Artemisia (Five Star Paperback) Paperback – 31 Mar 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail; New Ed edition (31 Mar. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852427663
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852427665
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 640,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


What makes Artemisia a great book is this double destiny, of a book lost and recreated. A book that by being posthumous, rewritten, resurrected, gained incalculably in emotional reach and moral authority' Susan Sontag (in her introduction) Artemisia is a tour de force, but certain passages are of exquisite resonance (Times Literary Supplement)

About the Author

Anna Banti was born in Florence in 1895 and graduated from the University of Rome. She directed the literary section of the magazine Paragone and, after the death of her husband, the famous art critic Roberto Longhi, also the art section. She wrote Artemisia at the age of fifty-two and went on to produce a great deal of work on art and criticism after it was published. Anna Banti died in 1985.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Thanks for the book. I received it in good condition and on time.
The story is interesting. Facts and fiction to the plight of modern day women as juxtaposed to those of the 17th century.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
An Absolute Triumph 12 April 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Atemisia Gentileschi, born in Rome in 1598, is one of the most fascinating figures in the history of art, though very little is known about her life. The daughter of a painter herself, Artemisia painted beautiful scenes of the women of Roman and biblical history even though she could neither read nor write.
Artemisia had, to put it mildly, a turbulent personal life. She was discredited in a rape trial, betrayed by her own father and abandoned by her husband. Her professional life, however, was far different. She was the first woman admitted to the prestigious Florentine Academy; she established a successful art school in Naples; she raised her daughter on her own and supported herself financially during a time when a woman's life was defined only by home, husband, children and the Church.
Although the above is about the sum total of all that's known about Artemisia Gentileschi's life, writer, Anna Banti, managed to flesh out these bare bones facts into one of the triumphs of 20th century Italian literature.
"Artemisia" is definitely not a biography or even a fictionalized one. It is not a historical work; in fact, the setting of this book is definitely ahistorical. It consists of an amazing dialogue between the author and Artemisia. There are, as way I see it, three levels in this book: the experiences of Artemisia, the experiences of the author and a blending of the two, to make a very fascinating third.
The very essence of this book consists of Artemisia's travels, all made for the sake of her art. Included are the young Artemisia's traumatic experiences in Rome, her marriage, her years of success in Naples, her long and undoubtedly arduous journey to England and back again to her native Italy.
One of the things that makes this book so powerful is Banti's constant authorial intrusion, a device that would weaken (or destroy) more conventional novels. Moving back and forth from the thrid to the first person, Banti holds fascinating conversations with Artemisia. This leads to a captivating, but very complex, narrative. As the dialogue between author and subject intensifies, Banti complicates matters even further.
In 1944, when the first version of "Artemisia" was nearly complete, events of the war caused it to be destroyed. The "Artemisia" of the first version constantly intrudes on the "Artemisia" of the second version, however. Confusing? No, not really. Banti is far too good a writer for that. Complex? Yes. And lyrical and skillful and fragile.
Despite the fact that this is not a historical novel, it is highly atmospheric. There are no detailed descriptions to weigh down the weightless quality of Banti's lyricism, but there are many vivid images of 17th century Rome, Naples, Florence, France.
No matter how fast you usually read, "Artemisia" is a novel that should be read slowly. This is a demanding book that requires much concentration on the part of the reader, but this concentration will be richly rewarded.
There is a vague, circular quality about this book and, in a sense, it ends where it began. In reality, however, nothing is known about Artemisia Gentileschi's life after her return to Italy from England.
This book is complex, intricate, self-reflective and extremely lyrical. Although it has an ephemeral, gossamer quality, it succeeds wonderfully in bringing Artemisia Gentileschi to life in a vivid and wonderful manner.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
art meets history 23 Mar. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a haunting tale of a woman painter on the skirts of history. Anna Banti intertwines not only fiction with history, but also past and present and her own life with that of Artemesia. The story encompases a number of years and is written in a stream of conscious manner. It is not fully understood until the end. The reader becomes wraped up in the mystery that the author has created.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The best of the fictional vesions of Artemisia 28 July 2000
By Richard Burt - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is an extremely well-written and moving account of Artemisia. It is a modernist novel and is a dialogue between the the narrator and Artemisia. I highly recomend it.
at the peril of oblivion 28 Feb. 2015
By whj - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was interested in this book after reading an essay by Susan Sontag, which is the introduction of this book. The way it is written, weaving the dialogue between the narrator and the artist with the story of this artist of the 16 Century, is very creative and lovely, as the two characters are faced with the danger of oblivion and destruction in more than 4 centuries apart. The life as a female artist in the 16th Century, the price she had to pay for the independence is beautifully written with great introspection, vulnerability as well as historical sensitivity. I checked out her paintings which are definitely unique even to my unskilled eye, and amazingly expressive. The author describes Artemisia "pride, disdain with a touch of insolence" which is her defense, and her solitude and disappointment, as well put by sagacious Pietra, "No women can be happy unless she is stupid" This is a wonderful book, an opportunity to journey back to the time of the courage and pain of Artemisia.
Did anyone proofread this? 15 Jun. 2015
By S. Kramer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author, for some reason, thinks it's ok to tell a story within a story, which totally screws up the main point, which is to tell the story of Artemisia. Very poorly written and hard to appreciate.
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