A Book to Look Forward To. :-) VERY LONG!
- Hi all, I have cross-posted this to the realmofvenus and courtesan
groups, but I thought there would be interest here too. Feel freee to
skip to the end as I waffle on quite a bit. :-)
Ok. I think I've calmed down enough now to where I can write a decent
There's a new book in the works which I've known about for a few
months now, but have just today found out more - from the horse's
mouth so to speak. I have been wanting to share info but there was
nothing concrete to tell you all, and if it hadn't been for being so
stubborn I wouldn't have 'met' one of the authors, even if it was
just by e-mail. It was this concrete news regarding the new book, and
the accompanying description, that got me so excited, along
with...well...I'll tell you that at the end. I should really give you
some background first....
Umm...backtrack to 2000. I had just met the love of my life, and we
had decided that as soon as he was able to be with me here in
Australia, that we were going to join the SCA together. I had wanted
to for ages, but had an unwilling ex and other issues that prevented
it. So. We meet, we fall in love, we start planning, I start
researching for a persona. Bam! It hits me. Venice, I've always loved
the city, its history. It MUST be a Venetian persona for me. A little
more research later and the sixteenth century was decided on and a
little later still a courtesan was chosen, mainly because I wanted an
excuse to research them. :-) I discovered Veronica Franco, Venice's
most famous courtesan, and through that discovery find out that a
book about her - The Honest Courtesan - had been made into a movie.
At the time I couldn't get hold of the book, and I couldn't find the
movie, but my Dover copy of Vecellio kept me going. A year or so
later, when we were finally together, we would discover that the
movie, 'Dangerous Beauty', was released in Australia as 'A Destiny of
Her Own', which explains why I couldn't find it at the video store!
We finally found it, I finally got a copy of The Honest Courtesan by
Margaret Rosenthal. I read it cover to cover. I love it. I find out
about yet another book about Veronica - a translation of her poems
and selected letters, edited and translated by, you guessed it,
Margaret Rosenthal and Ann Rosalind Jones.
Margaret Rosenthal is Associate Professor of Italian (she has a PhD
in Comparative Literature from Yale) at the University of Southern
California. From her page at USC: "Professor Rosenthal researches
methods of social history, archival research in 16th-century
literature and Venetian culture, Renaissance popular culture,
vernacular and dialect literature and women writers in the western
tradition. She also has particular expertise in the life of Italian
writer Veronica Franco." You see why she's one of my idols, right? :-)
Ann Rosalind Jones has a PhD from Cornell University and is the
Esther Cloudman Dunn Professor of Comparative Literature at Smith
College. Jones should also be familiar to some of you, because as
well as co-editing and co-translating the Veronica Franco poems and
letters book, she has written 'The Currency of Eros: Women's Love
Lyric in Europe 1540 - 1620' and 'Renaissance Clothing and the
Materials of Memory', co-written with her husband Peter Stallybrass.
She writes on her page at Smith college: "Because I like
collaborating when I write, I wrote my third book, on how people
made, bought, wore and thought about clothes in the Renaissance
(mainly in England), with my husband, Peter Stallybrass. Though we
nearly killed each other several times during the six years it took
us to finish Clothing and the Materials of Memory (Cambridge
University Press, 2000), it was fun to be participating in the turn
to material culture that's been influencing literary and cultural
studiesand I got to read a lot about spinners and witches and a
weird accessory called a busk, which women used to stiffen the front
of their corsetsand hide the little love messages men had carved on
the ivory or metal doing the stiffening". You see? Another idol. :-)
Ok, back to the present. A few months ago I was idly googling, as you
do, and decided to go looking for any current info on the sixteenth
century Venetian gentleman who was, in a way, the very first breath
of inspiration for my persona and the subject of my first ever book
purchase when I began to research Venetian fashion - Cesare Vecellio.
Most of you are probably aware of the reprint of his 16th work put
out by Dover Publications, but what some of you may not know is that
the original book written in 1590 and then again in 1598 contained
Vecellio's observations regarding Venetian, Italian, and other
fashion from around the world. Dover stripped the text,
understandably so because it was in Italian. Apart from snippets in
books here and there, there is not much out there written about the
accompanying text to Vecellio's costume book. That is, until now. :-)
Margaret Rosenthal and Ann Rosalind Jones are good friends (Ann calls
her Tita) and have collaborated once again to translate Cesare
Vecellio's costume book. YES!! I first found a brief reference to it
by googling his name (or was it Ann Rosalind Jones I was googling? I
can't remember!), and after googling some more found an absolutely
mouth watering article on the upcoming book that whipped me into a
frenzy of excitement. (Don't worry, I'll give a link at the end!) The
first page stated that the book was going to be published by Penn
State University Press, so another google later and I'm checking out
the website. Nothing. So, not content to leave it at that, I put my
name down to be notified when something with Ms Jones' name on it is
published. But I'm really not happy with that, and a month or so
later I can take the waiting no longer and I write them to find out
if, in fact, it is going to be published by PSUP and when. They tell
me it is in fact going to be published by Thames and Hudson. To cut
an already very long story short, I discover that neither the Uk not
US office of T&H knows anything about it. I stew. A lot.
I finally decide that it can't hurt to ask Ms Jones herself, so I e-
mailed her yesterday (about 11am Wednesday morning - 7pm or so New
York time), signing the e-mail with 'Anabella', with no mention of my
website. I had once upon a time e-mailed Ms Rosenthal, with no reply,
so whilst I was hopeful I would get a reply, I was also ready to not
hear back from her. As you know by now not only did she reply, but
she did so almost immediately (received reply same Wednesday 6pm),
and with curiosity as to why I was asking. (And she did confirm that
yes, T&H were going to publish but not for a while yet). So this
morning (Thursday) I wrote, gave her my background and tried to
explain just why it is that I'm so rabidly anticipating the book. I
included a link to my website, since I'd mentioned it in the e-mail.
I sent it off at about 2pm. The reply arrived at 4pm. One of the
reasons I was so tickled pink to hear back from her was - she and
Margaret Rosenthal both recognised my name and know my website! Of
course, that was enough to send ME to cloud nine, but here's the
really exciting bit....
(The e-mail I received just a few hours ago...)
Of course, Tita and I have seen your website. Nice to meet you, if
only by email.
Thames and Hudson will be the distributor of our book everywhere
except in the US, where it'll be distributed by WW Norton. You'll
love the version T and H are doing--it includes 100 color images,
many from portraits of people wearing the specific garments named and
described by Vecellio--whose commentary is fascinating on many
levels. He mentions textiles, colors, accessories, ideal body
types . . . lots of things that'll interest you. I just wish it were
coming out sooner--but fall 2009 sounds like the earliest likely
date. Tita and I are now collecting tranparencies and permissions for
the images. What a task!
Do, by all means, tell your costume allies about the book. I could
send you some snippets from our translation now, if you'd like. Just
let me know if there are particular figures in the Dover that you'd
like to read V's descriptions of.
Ok. THAT should explain why I was hyperventilating, even if it's not
that exciting to anyone else........LOL.....Of course I'm going to
say 'yes, please' to her offer, and I will keep you all posted. :-)
Here's the nitty-gritty, and remember you heard it here first!
Margaret Rosenthal; The Clothing of the Renaissance World: Cesare
Vecellio's Costume Book (1590/1598), edited and translated with Ann
R. Jones (Thames and Hudson, forthcoming 2007), including
introduction, technical glossary and notes.
The mouth-watering article: "Translating Fashion: Customs and Clothes
in the Age of Exploration, By Laura Wolff Scanlan"
Ok, now I have to compose another e-mail to ask for the snippets, but
first I'll take out Vecellio and see if I can't narrow it down to
only three or four plates! WOO-HOO!
- That is so exciting. That sounds like a book worth waiting for. Of course you were
hyperventilating. There's nothing like being acknowledged by some one you respect!