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“Veronica and the Turks: Franco’s Rime di Diversi Eccellentissimi Avttori and the Battle of Lepanto” Bianca Calabresi
November 21, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Critics have justly acknowledged the courtesan-poet Veronica Franco’s adroit epistolary and verse self-publication as integral to early modern Venice’s junctures of salon and sex work. Yet her literary interventions in the global conflicts of the sixteenth century have been largely overlooked: her martial imagery primarily read in the context of her poetic battles or tenzone as erotic rather than also imperial. This talk argues for a more overtly transcontinental, military dimension to her work, by looking at a much less well-known book of her poems, which she herself edited. In light of this third, additional volume, Franco’s more recognized Terze Rime and Lettere reveal their own partisan stakes and political investments in Venetian Ottoman hostilities and in an illusory Christian European coalition for which the Battle of Lepanto became the symbol.
Bianca Finzi-Contini Calabresi teaches part-time at Columbia University in Comparative Literature and the Core Curriculum. A literary and visual historian of the early modern codex, she has published on red ink as simulated blood in Tudor/Stuart England; samplers, sewn letters and female literacy in sixteenth-century Europe; and Shakespeare and transnational textual culture; among other topics. This talk is part of a larger project marking the 450th anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto and its role as cultural myth in the production of Europe.
Co-sponsored with the Society for the Study of Women in the Renaissance (SSWR) and the CUNY Academy for Humanities and Sciences.