The Pope's Daughter

The Pope's Daughter

Book - 2015
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"Lucrezia Borgia is one of the most vilified figures in modern history. The daughter of a notorious pope, she was twice betrothed before the age of eleven and thrice married--one husband was forced to declare himself impotent and thereby unfit and another was murdered by Lucrezia's own brother, Cesar Borgia. She is cast in the role of murderess, temptress, incestuous lover, loose woman, femme fatale par excellence. But there is always more than one version of a story. Lucrezia Borgia is the only woman in history to serve as the head of the Catholic Church. She successfully administered several of the Renaissance Italy's most thriving cities, founded one of the world's first credit unions, and was a generous patron of the arts. She was mother to a prince and to a cardinal. She was a devoted wife to the Prince of Ferrara, and the lover of the poet Pietro Bembo. She was a child of the renaissance and in many ways the world's first modern woman."--jacket flap.
Publisher: New York, NY : Europa Editions, c2015
ISBN: 9781609452742
Branch Call Number: FIC Fo
Characteristics: 241 pages : color illustrations ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Shugaar, Antony


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Jun 01, 2016

This was a weird one for me. Why Dario Fo has decided to venture into prose narrative ficiton this late in his career is an odd decision to me, but at least he's having fun with it. It's kind of a cute first attempt at a novel. You can tell that Fo has a great admiration for the Borgias, for both good and bad. The Borgias are great champions for him for their exuberance in their capacities to power-grab, and to love--real exemplars of the Italian national character that he exemplifies in his plays (even though the Borgias are Spanish). Also, as I believe Fo mentions in the book, he is tired of the many one-dimensional and over-sexualized portrayals of the Borgias in media (that show with Jeremy Irons in it), so this is his setting the record straight. My main issue with this book is that I found it to be in this grey area between fiction and non fiction. Maybe this is an example of that weird experimental genre of "creative nonfiction". I may have enjoyed this book more if it were strictly non-fiction, but I liked this book most when we got into Lucrezia's later romantic involvements. There is a particularly tender scene as Lucrezia and her husband are at her dying father-in-law's bedside. Those scenes were written with a lot of warmth, and showed a previously hidden and unexplored side to notorious female figure in history. I respect Fo for following his heart here, and some parts of the book were rendered well, but for me I think I should have read a non-fiction text if I wanted to know more about the actual history of Lucrezia Borgia and her family.


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