Virgins of Venice: Broken Vows and Cloistered Lives in the Renaissance Convent Hardcover – 1 Mar 2003
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Fine cloth copy in an equally fine dw. Particularly and surprisingly well-preserved; tight, bright, clean and especially sharp-cornered. Literally as new. ; 282 pages; Photo illustrated and complete with a number of supplementary appendices.
Top customer reviews
Based on the author's PhD thesis, this straddles perfectly the divide between rigorous scholarship and popular social history: the notes and bibliography give scholars the evidence and references they need, but the narrative is never broken up by footnotes and academic paraphenalia.
One of the most interesting things for me was the extent of similarity between convent women and the famous Venetian courtesans. Both were nominally marginalised and excluded from contemporary social structures and yet carved out their own autonomy in a kind of shadow-society that mirrored the overt one.
This isn't at all a salacious or scandalous read, though some women do manage to conduct a sexual life - and we should remember that Casanova had various convent lovers. Scholars working on early modern women have been doing some excellent work on uncovering convents as sites of female agency: social, scientific, artistic.
Fascinating, enlightening, human and gently amusing, this is a great read.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the fascinating history of Venice and her people.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Just very interesting material that kept my attention, cannot say for certain where this fits (positively or negatively) in the scholarship of renaissance religious life.
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