Loredana: A Venetian Tale

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9780312347512: Loredana: A Venetian Tale

A riveting novel of politics and passion, love and lust in sixteenth-century Venice -- the story of two lovers caught up in a dangerous revolutionary movement -- written by a distinguished historian of the Italian Renaissance.

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About the Author:

One of the world's foremost authorities on the Italian Renaissance, Lauro Martines was born in Chicago, has a Ph. D from Harvard University, but has lived in London since 1970. Until recently, he commuted to Los Angeles, where he was Professor of European History at the University of California. He and his wife, the novelist Julia O'Faolain, lived for some years in Florence. His books include Lawyers and Statecraft in Renaissance Florence, Power and Imagination: City States in Renaissance Italy, Society and History in English Renaissance Verse, An Italian Renaissance Sextet: Six Tales in Historical Context, Strong Words: Writing and Social Strain in the Italian Renaissance, and April Blood: Florence and the Plot Against the Medici. This is his first novel.

From Publishers Weekly:

The vivid written confessions of a lustful young widow, the eponymous Loredana, and Orso, a Dominican friar with a liberal interpretation of his ecclesiastic vows, are the backbone of this engrossing tale set during the intrigues of Renaissance Venice's Council of Ten. Although the epistolary form can be a cumbersome means of novelistic expression, it is one Martines skillfully manipulates, bringing to life the opulence and grandeur—and the rigid social strata and dark political schemes—of la Serenissima. High-born Loredana begins her lengthy written confession with a chronicle of her disastrous marriage to the abusive Marco, who'd rather have his male lovers seduce her than touch her himself. Orso's confessions (also to Father Clemente) are interspersed; their revelations include his desire for a new Venice, in which the poor would not be kept in filth and darkness while the rich dine sumptuously in sun-filled palazzos. When Loredana returns to her father's home, she begins a life of study and introspection—and then meets Orso. Diary entries by others involved reveal the scandal that the union between Orso and Loredana causes in Venice, which brings the full force of a holy inquisition upon them. Martines's background as a scholar of the Italian Renaissance serves him well in this delicious page-turner of politics and lust. (Dec.)
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