The Scarlet City: A Novel of 16th-century Italy

Voorkant
Academy Chicago Publishers, 1990 - 367 pagina's
The novel centres around Giovanni Borgia, a mysterious figure known in history as the infans Romanus, or child of Rome. Although he bears one of the most notorious names in all of Italy, Giovanni doesn't know his parentage. Is Cesare Borgia his father or his brother? Or is he no relation at all? Is Lucrezia Borgia his mother or his sister -- or possibly both? Hella Haasse uses the ferment and intrigue of the Italian Wars -- during which French, Swiss, Spanish and German armies surged into Italy -- as a backdrop for Giovanni's agonising quest for his identity. Giovanni's search introduces us to some of the most intriguing people of the times: the Italian patriot Michelangelo; elegant Vittoria Colonna and her estranged husband the Marquis of Pescara. We meet also lucrezia Borgia and her cruel, unpredictable husband, the Duke of Ferrara; the scurrilous writer Pietro Aretino and the seductive courtesan Tullia d'Aragona. Hella Haasse draws each with great depth and brilliant colour.

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The scarlet city: a novel of 16th-century Italy

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Against the turbulent backdrop of the Italian Wars (1494-1559) Haasse traces the lives and struggles of some of Italy's most famous citizens--Michelangelo Buonarroti, Niccolo Machiavelli, Vittoria ... Volledige review lezen

Inhoudsopgave

Vittoria Colonna
viii
NiccolÚ Machiavelli and Francesco
269
Tullia dAragona
279
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Over de auteur (1990)

Hella Haasse was born in Batavia, the capital of what was then Dutch East India, now independent Indonesia. It is thus understandable why her first novel, Oeroeg (1948), describes the relationship between a Dutch and an Indonesian youth. As the two young men grow up, they gradually become conscious of their ethnic and cultural differences and, in spite of their efforts, nature appears to have destined them to become estranged from each other. Haasse's greatest impact on the Dutch literary scene occurred when her historical novel Het woud der verwachting (In a Dark Wood Wandering) (1948) was published. It was translated into English in 1989. This novel became a classic in its own time. In it the author describes the ever-increasing loneliness of the fifteenth-century Romantic poet--prince Charles d'Orleans, pretender to the crown of France, who wrote most of his poems in British and French prisons. In addition to giving a moving report of the life of a person destined to end his life in utter isolation, Hella Haasse succeeds in presenting her main character in a way which allows the reader to identify with him. Charles's life is interwoven with the lives of all the other people he meets. Haasse's talent for description and narration and her skill with flashbacks allow her to manage the novel's many characters, constructing a microcosm in which each reader feels "at home' and meets people with whom he or she can identify.

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