Concentrating largely on the 'middle ranks' of society in Renaissance Italy - artisans, merchants, and professionals such as bankers and lawyers - this book focuses on new social subjects, new documents and unusual objects. Using innovative methods of inquiry and interdisciplinary analytical tools, contributors explore a little-known but pervasive erotic culture in which sexually explicit artefacts, games and gestures were considered essential to a number of rituals and social occasions. At the same time, they demonstrate how a burgeoning market for erotica, along with a cultural tradition of allusion and innuendo, played an increasingly important role in the Italian peninsula between the fifteenth and early seventeenth centuries. This volume fills some pervasive lacunae in both Renaissance studies and the history of sexuality through a series of critical engagements with material culture and social custom. It reflects recent scholarly interest in interdisciplinary areas such as the material Renaissance, visual communications, urban sociability in the domestic context, and court records regarding marital disputes.
Sara F. Matthews-Grieco is Professor of History and Co-ordinator of Women's & Gender Studies at Syracuse University in Florence, Italy.
Contents: Introduction: hunting for birds in the Italian Renaissance, Guido Ruggiero; Part I Visual Testimony and Verbal Games; Satyrs and sausages: erotic strategies and the print market in cinquecento Italy, Sara F. Matthews-Grieco; The erotic fantasies of a model clerk: amateur pornography at the beginning of the cinquecento, Guido A. Guerzoni; From roosters to cocks: Italian Renaissance fowl and sexuality, Allen J. Grieco; The spirit is ready but the flesh is tired: erotic objects and marriage in early modern Italy, Marta Ajmar-Wollheim. Part II Ritual Eroticism and Sociability: Public display of affection: the making of marriage in the Venetian courts before the Council of Trent (1420-1545), Cecilia Cristellon; Mail humour and male sociability: sexual innuendo in the epistolary domain of Francesco II Gonzaga, Molly Bourne; Unlocking the gates of chastity: music and the erotic in the domestic sphere in 15th- and 16th-century Italy, Flora Dennis; Coutesan culture: manhood, honour and sociability, Tessa Storey; Index.