Saturday, February 21, 2015

VERONICA FRANCO'S CONFESSION TO THE COURT from the film DANEROUS BEAUTY



Michael Asinow 1998 UCLA Law School   discusses the film which he says was "loosely based on the book by Margaret Rosenthal.

EXCERPT:

The film correctly reflects the difference in lifestyles between successful courtesans and wives of rich men. Wives were cloistered creatures without education or financial independence, their life devoted entirely to home and family. Courtesans, on the other hand, could mingle freely with the rich and famous, acquire education and wealth of their own, participate in literary, political and intellectual circles, and even publish their work.

Franco was incredibly successful in this milieu; between 1570 and 1580, she edited works of various authors and published books of her poetry as well as epistolary works. She was greatly concerned with the plight of younger women who lacked dowries; her published letters often refer to their plight and her wills left money to help poor women.

Franco’s success inspired extreme jealousy from male courtiers and poets whose position and patronage she greatly threatened. As in the film, a particularly venomous rival was Maffio Venier, a nephew of Franco’s patron Domenico Venier. Maffio repeatedly attacked Franco by name in satirical and often obscene verse. Franco’s poems and letters effectively strike back at Maffio and defend the role of courtesans in Venetian society...

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