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Synopsis

Textual Masculinity and the Exchange of Women in Renaissance Venice is a provocative analysis of the pornographic poetry written in patrician poet Domenico Venier’s social circle. While Venier and his salon were renowned for elegant love sonnets featuring unattainable female beloveds, among themselves they wrote and circulated poems in Venetian dialect in which women were prostitutes whose defiled bodies were available to all.

Courtney Quaintance analyses poetry, letters, plays, and verse dialogues to show how male writers established, sustained, and publicized their relationships to one another through the exchange of fictional women. She also shows how Gaspara Stampa and Veronica Franco, two women writers with ties to the salon, appropriated and transformed tropes of female sexuality and male literary collaboration to position themselves within this homosocial literary economy. Based on archival work and Quaintance’s exceptional knowledge of Venetian dialect poetry, Textual Masculinity and the Exchange of Women in Renaissance Venice is an unprecedented window into the understudied world of Venetian literature.

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