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A Mattress Maker's Daughter: The Renaissance Romance of Don Giovanni de' Medici and Livia Vernazza - I Tatti Studies in Italian Renaissance History (Hardback)
  • A Mattress Maker's Daughter: The Renaissance Romance of Don Giovanni de' Medici and Livia Vernazza - I Tatti Studies in Italian Renaissance History (Hardback)
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A Mattress Maker's Daughter: The Renaissance Romance of Don Giovanni de' Medici and Livia Vernazza - I Tatti Studies in Italian Renaissance History (Hardback)

(author)
£39.95
Hardback 480 Pages / Published: 14/03/2014
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A Mattress Maker's Daughter richly illuminates the narrative of two people whose mutual affection shaped their own lives and in some ways their times. According to the Renaissance legend told and retold across the centuries, a woman of questionable reputation bamboozles a middle-aged warrior-prince into marrying her, and the family takes revenge. He is Don Giovanni de' Medici, son of the Florentine grand duke; she is Livia Vernazza, daughter of a Genoese artisan. They live in luxury for a while, far from Florence, and have a child. Then, Giovanni dies, the family pounces upon the inheritance, and Livia is forced to return from riches to rags. Documents, including long-lost love letters, reveal another story behind the legend, suppressed by the family and forgotten. Brendan Dooley investigates this largely untold story among the various settings where episodes occurred, including Florence, Genoa, and Venice. In the course of explaining their improbable liaison and its consequences, A Mattress Maker's Daughter explores early modern emotions, material culture, heredity, absolutism, and religious tensions at the crux of one of the great transformations in European culture, society, and statecraft. Giovanni and Livia exemplify changing concepts of love and romance, new standards of public and private conduct, and emerging attitudes toward property and legitimacy just as the age of Renaissance humanism gave way to the culture of Counter-Reformation and early modern Europe.

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674724662
Number of pages: 480
Weight: 803 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 37 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Once again, Brendan Dooley demonstrates his gift for showing how a minor, forgotten episode can illuminate processes of social and cultural change.--Peter Burke, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University
This exciting story of love flouting social convention becomes, in Dooley's meticulously researched and vividly rendered reconstruction, a window onto a wide swath of social history in early modern Genoa, Venice, and Florence--from the difficult life of a family of mattress makers, to the luxury, wars, suspicious deaths, and legal skullduggery which emanated from the Medici court in the age of Galileo.--Ann Blair, Harvard University

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