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Francesca Felizzi, former mistress of the Duke of Ferrara, is now an aspiring courtesan. Astonishingly beautiful and ambitious, she revels in the power she wields over men. But when she is visited by an inexperienced young man, it becomes horribly clear to Francesca that despite her many admiring patrons, she has never truly been loved. Suddenly, her glittering and sumptuous life becomes a gaudy façade. And then another unexpected encounter brings with it devastating implications that plunge Francesca and her two young daughters into the sort of danger she has dreaded ever since she began to work the streets all those years ago.
Courtesans, hetaeras, tawaif-s, ji-s--these women have exchanged artistic graces, elevated conversation, and sexual favors with male patrons throughout history and around the world. In Ming dynasty China and early modern Italy, exchange was made through poetry, speech, and music; in pre-colonial India through magic, music, chemistry, and other arts. Yet like the art of courtesanry itself, those arts have often thrived outside present-day canons and modes of transmission, and have mostly vanished without trace.The Courtesan's Arts delves into this hidden legacy, while touching on its equivocal relationship to geisha. At once interdisciplinary, empirical, and theoretical, the book is the first to ask how arts have figured in the survival or demise of courtesan cultures by juxtaposing research from different fields. Among cases studied by writers on classics, ethnomusicology, anthropology, and various histories of art, music, literature, and political culture are Ming dynasty China, twentieth-century Korea, Edo and modern Japan, ancient Greece, early modern Italy, and India, past and present. Refusing a universal model, the authors nevertheless share a perception that courtesans hover in the crevices of space, time, and practice--between gifts and money, courts and cities, subtlety and flamboyance, feminine allure and masculine power, as wifely surrogates but keepers of culture. What most binds them to their arts in our post-industrialized world of global services and commodities, they find, is courtesans' fragility, as their cultures, once vital to civilizations founded in leisure and pleasure, are now largely forgotten, transforming courtesans into national icons or historical curiosities, or reducing them to prostitution.
Describes the lifestyles of 16th century courtesans and analyzes the treatment of courtesans in art and literature
Uncovered: a list of noblemen's names—each one guilty of treason To save his family legacy, Rafe Densmore must seize a courtesan's infamous register. No one can ever know how his father betrayed his country! One person stands in Rafe's way—the beautiful Cornelia, Comtesse de Vane. In the card rooms of Paris, Rafe and Cornelia made an unbeatable…intimate team. Until, convinced of Rafe's desertion, desperate Cornelia married an elderly comte. Now, returning to London an impoverished widow, she'll do anything to possess the register. Even if that means becoming Rafe's partner once again…. "Lee's novel hits the sweet spot." —RT Book Reviews on Engagement of Convenience
The visual image is the common denominator of cinema and painting, and indeed many filmmakers have used the imagery of paintings to shape or enrich the meaning of their films. In this discerning new approach to cinema studies, Angela Dalle Vacche discusses how the use of pictorial sources in film enables eight filmmakers to comment on the interplay between the arts, on the dialectic of word and image, on the relationship between artistic creativity and sexual difference, and on the tension between tradition and modernity. Specifically, Dalle Vacche explores Jean-Luc Godard's iconophobia (Pierrot Le Fou) and Andrei Tarkovsky's iconophilia (Andrei Rubleov), Kenji Mizoguchi's split allegiances between East and West (Five Women around Utamaro), Michelangelo Antonioni's melodramatic sensibility (Red Desert), Eric Rohmer's project to convey interiority through images (The Marquise of O), F. W. Murnau's debt to Romantic landscape painting (Nosferatu), Vincente Minnelli's affinities with American Abstract Expressionism (An American in Paris), and Alain Cavalier's use of still life and the close-up to explore the realms of mysticism and femininity (Thérèse). While addressing issues of influence and intentionality, Dalle Vacche concludes that intertextuality is central to an appreciation of the dialogical nature of the filmic medium, which, in appropriating or rejecting art history, defines itself in relation to national traditions and broadly shared visual cultures.
The Venetian courtesan has long captured the imagination as a female symbol of sexual license, elegance, beauty, and unruliness. What then to make of the cortigiana onesta—the honest courtesan who recast virtue as intellectual integrity and offered wit and refinement in return for patronage and a place in public life? Veronica Franco (1546-1591) was such a woman, a writer and citizen of Venice, whose published poems and familiar letters offer rich testimony to the complexity of the honest courtesan's position. 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.)

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