We will be holding an in person seminar on Friday 11th February with Hannah Marcus, Harvard University.
Hannah will be presenting her paper ''The Spectacle of Cassandra Fedele: Gender, Disability, and Long Life in Early Modern Venice''.
On May 1, 1556, the 91-year-old humanist and former child prodigy, Cassandra Fedele, performed a Latin oration celebrating a visit to Venice by the Polish Queen Bona Sforza. In this chapter draft from my new book project, I reread Fedele’s life and works, focusing not on her famous childhood, but on her experiences as a very old woman living in Venice during a period that was increasingly fixated on the possibilities of long life. I argue that her precarious situation and public performances were part of a broader culture in sixteenth century Italy that at once valorized and made a spectacle of the elderly in the space of the city.
Title Image: Palma il Giovane, Pasquale Cicogna Hearing Mass Celebrated in the Oratory of the Crociferi. Oratory of the Crociferi, Venice.