The Honest Courtesan
Veronica Franco, Citizen and Writer in Sixteenth-Century Venice
Margaret F. Rosenthal draws a compelling portrait of Veronica Franco in her cultural social, and economic world. Rosenthal reveals in Franco's writing a passionate support of defenseless women, strong convictions about inequality, and, in the eroticized language of her epistolary verses, the seductive political nature of all poetic contests. It is Veronica Franco's insight into the power conflicts between men and women—and her awareness of the threat she posed to her male contemporaries—that makes her literary works and her dealings with Venetian intellectuals so pertinent today.
Combining the resources of biography, history, literary theory, and cultural criticism, this sophisticated interdisciplinary work presents an eloquent and often moving account of one woman's life as an act of self-creation and as a complex response to social forces and cultural conditions.
"A book . . . pleasurably redolent of Venice in the 16th-century. Rosenthal gives a vivid sense of a world of salons and coteries, of intricate networks of family and patronage, and of literary exchanges both intellectual and erotic."—Helen Hackett, Times Higher Education Supplement
The Honest Courtesan is the basis for the film Dangerous Beauty (1998) directed by Marshall Herskovitz. (The film was re-titled The Honest Courtesan for release in the UK and Europe in 1999.)
Modern Language Association of America: MLA-Howard R. Marraro Prize
1: Satirizing the Courtesan: Franco's Enemies
2: Fashioning the Honest Courtesan: Franco's Patrons
Appendix: Two Testaments and a Tax Report
3: Addressing Venice: Franco's Familiar Letters
4: Denouncing the Courtesan: Franco's Inquisition Trial and Poetic Debate
Appendix: Documents of the Inquisition
5: The Courtesan in Exile: An Elegiac Future