Inaugural Vari Symposium: Venice and the Renaissance - Friday, April 19 | Benson Center Williman Room
Suzanne Magnanini, Ph.D.,Associate Professor and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies,
Department of French and Italian, University of Colorado, Boulder
What They Talked About When They Talked about Love in Sixteenth-Century Venice
Brigate were groups of men and women that in Renaissance society enjoyed a reputation for merry-making, carousing, but also intellectual pursuits. In the texts I discuss, these same-sex groups debate many topics without the intrusion of the opposite sex, although this presentation specifically focuses on their exchanges about love. What did Venetian men and women talk about when they did not have to worry about the opinion or opposition of the other gender? How did these conversations differ from those in countless other Italian Renaissance dialogues on love in which male and female characters participated?
Guido Ruggiero, Ph.D.,College of Arts and Sciences Cooper Fellow and Professor of History, University of Miami
Wayfarers in Wonderland: Love and Sex in Renaissance Venice Revisited
Looking at the passions and emotions associated with the way sex and love were lived and felt in Renaissance Venice, the city on the lagoons becomes an at once familiar and strangely alien place with apparently familiar institutions such as marriage, youth, nobility, and prostitution taking on disturbingly different valences. Much the same can be said for crimes such as fornication, adultery, and sodomy. And finally, the very emotions that one might tend to think are universal such as love, jealousy, desire, and pleasure seem to be not quite the same. Looking more closely at love and sex in Renaissance Venice offers an often startlingly different perspective on both the city and what we think we know about those crucial aspects of life.