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The Pope's Daughter Hardcover – 20 Jan 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; First Edition edition (20 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571221076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571221073
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,603,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"'A subtle and engaging picture of just how a woman of real intelligence could finesse a difficult initial position into something like being First Lady of Rome.' Jane Stevenson, Observer 'Superb... A masterpiece.' Sunday Telegraph 'Remarkable.' Hilary Spurling, Daily Telegraph 'Scholarship and style... Not only gives us a sense of della Rovere's demanding and meticulous personality, but also a memorable portrait of the time and the city in which she lived.' Stella Tillyard, Sunday Times" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Caroline P. Murphy was born in 1969 and grew up in Reading, Berkshire. She is now Associate Professor of Renaissance Art History at the University of California, Riverside. She is the author of Lavinia Fontana: A Painter and Her Patrons in Sixteenth-century Bologna.

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First Sentence
In the year 1480, Pope Sixtus IV commissioned the artist Melozzo da Forli to create a fresco image of himself, his librarian and his nephews in the library he had instituted at the Vatican Palace. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 Jun 2005
Format: Hardcover
It was Rome, 1483. If ever a baby was doomed by birth, it was Felice Della Rovere. The odds were stacked against her. She was female and illegitimate. Nonetheless she rose above the liabilities of birth to become the most powerful woman in Rome. The story of her life, as related by Harvard art historian Caroline P. Murphy is fascinating, as her achievements rival those of any contemporary woman.
It was one thing to be born illegitimate during the Renaissance, quite another to be the illegitimate daughter of Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere who would become Pope Julius II. Not a gentle leader, Julius was known as "The Warrior Pope," one who despised and reviled the rather hedonistic lifestyles of the Borgias. Nonetheless, he was in some ways a helpful father, seeing to the advantageous marriage of his daughter to a member of the wealthy Orsini family, which gave Felice access to the means necessary to amass a personal estate. Felice had been married once before but left a young widow. (The name of her first husband could not be traced).
She was raised in her mother's home and learned much of intrigue and manipulation during her formative years. When her father was elected to the papacy she became quite useful to him as a runner of errands. She was witness to the painting of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo, and the laying of a foundation for a new St. Peter's. Felice may well have inherited her ambition from her father who sought greater Roman power.
Upon the death of Julius II, Felice used the Orsini family influence to become a friend of cardinals. She understood politics well, and used this knowledge to great advantage. Even the sack of Rome in 1527 did not see her downfall, as she successfully arranged safe passage for herself and her offspring to Urbino.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "aharveyr" on 2 Mar 2006
Format: Paperback
I found this story about Felice della Rovere completely compelling. It really succeeds at providing a portrait of a feisty and determined woman, amazingly so for her time and it’s quite remarkable how long it has taken for her to be rediscovered. The world in which she lives also comes through really well. You get a tremendous sense of Rome's magnificence, but also its human scale. The short chapters allow you to read a bit at a time, especially helpful if you haven’t time to read a lot at one sitting, and I liked that each chapter heading is accompanied by a drawing or print from the period, which adds to the picture of life in Renaissance Rome. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Had to concentrate when reading this book as there are so many people mentioned. Not an easy read but very informative. Shone a light on a period of history I was not very familiar with. Before this I had just finished Leonie Frieda's The Deadly Sisterhood and some characters were in both books. This probably helped and made The Popes Daughter fall more into context. Perhaps I should have looked up some general history of Italy for this period before I started on these books.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Nov 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although an abundance of letters and other material on and from Felice della Rovere has survived, I found this book oddly unengaging. It does not help to get you involved in the story that the mjority of the chapters is not longer than 3-4 pages.

The majority of the content deals at lenght with the fact that Felice ran her household and investments independently of her husband or family in an era in which that was highly unusual. Thrilling at that may have been at the time, it did not make the book really "unputdownable" to me. I found this book in a way very informative, but hardly enthralling.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By V for victory on 4 July 2006
Format: Paperback
Wow! What a story! I bought this because i was intrigued by the title but it appear to have beena good judgment. Felice was such a wonderful character and Caroline P Murphy put this info into an outstanding book. Precise and plenty of backgroung information, relavant and all you need to know! Strange how many Pope's that had a least one child, Im sure the catholics were not best pleased!
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