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The Pope's daughter
Fo, Dario., author.
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Figlia del Papa. English
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Europa Editions, 2015.
Physical Description:
241 pages : color illustrations ; 21 cm
"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.
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Lucrezia Borgia is one of the most vilified figures in modern history. Daughter of the notorious pope, she was twice betrothed before the age of 11 and thrice married, and according to rumours had several lovers, including perhaps her own brother and father. Painted by turns as murderous, incestuous femme fatale, or as victim and plaything in the hand of her ruthless relatives, the real Lucrezia was probably none of these. In The Pope's Daughter, Fo reveals her humanity and passion for life as well as her dark side, showing her as a modern woman for her time.

Author Notes

Dario Fo was born in Sangiano, Lombardy, Italy on March 24, 1926. He was educated at the Brera Fine Arts Academy in Milan. During World War II, he was conscripted into the army but fled and went into hiding with the help of his parents, who were active in the resistance. After the war, he became a stage designer but eventually became a playwright, director, and performer.

He wrote more than 80 plays including Mistero Buffo (Comic Mystery), Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Fedayin, The Open Couple and an Ordinary Day, The Pope and the Witch, and Plays, Two written with his wife Franca Rame. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997. He died on October 13, 2016 at the age of 90.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Nobel laureate Fo explores Renaissance Italy through the eyes of one of its most notorious women in this slow-moving novel. Legend has it that Lucrezia Borgia, the illegitimate daughter of Pope Alexander VI, was an unparalleled beauty who seduced and threatened her way into positions of power in league with her brother, Cesare, a high-ranking cardinal. But Fo's portrayal of Lucrezia paints her in a much more sympathetic light: she's an independent thinker, "tossed into the gaping maw of financial and political interests both by her father and her brother, without a qualm," though she's not content to merely serve as a pawn in her family's power plays. Instead of a temptress who was complicit in the murder of one of her three husbands, she's portrayed as a woman who loved deeply and paid dearly for her father and brother's political machinations. Over the course of a short life, Lucrezia acts as administrator of several major cities, a financial reformer, and even, temporarily, the head of the Catholic Church. Her legendary love affair with the poet Pietro Bembo is rendered as a star-crossed love. Unfortunately, this awkward translation renders Fo's prose stilted and didactic. Traces of his biting wit remain in the dialogue, where sarcastic banter between Lucrezia and her diabolical relatives is as snappy as it doubtless was in the original Italian, but it's not enough to elevate the story above its tedious narrative passages. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Given her notoriety and the racheted-up psychodrama of Showtime's recent The Borgias, it's at first almost off-putting but finally refreshing to read Nobel Prize winner Fo's low-key account of Lucrezia Borgia, the Pope's daughter. This debut novel initially reads like history and, as it closes in on Lucrezia herself, offers crisp dialog and stage-setting narrative-not surprising, as Fo is primarily a playwright. Fo strips away the smoky layers of myth to present the Borgias in their essence, with Lucrezia shown to be more sinned against than sinning. VERDICT Pleasurable, to-the-point reading for those who eschew fanfare. © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.