In this talk, Fabio Battista focuses on the perception and analysis of Mary I and Elizabeth I in 16th- and early 17th-century Venetian diplomatic writings. Through the reading of relazioni, or final reports, and dispatches by ambassadors or secretaries of the Venetian Republic in London, Battista highlights the radical ambivalence of attitudes displayed towards the two half-sisters and queens: from their religious practices and intellectual skills to their political abilities, temperaments and, most notably, bodies, the two daughters of Henry VIII were unquestionable objects of interest, fascination, and polemic for both diplomats and their readers. Considering Venice’s position as a prime center for the diffusion of political information in early modern Italy, it is especially important to look at these documents – and their authors – as either direct or indirect sources for the popularization of ideas surrounding the Tudor queens specifically, and the debated phenomenon of female rule in general.
Fabio Battista received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from The Graduate Center, CUNY, in August 2019 and currently teaches Italian in the Department of Modern Languages and Classics at the University of Alabama. His research interests include early modern European culture, translation studies, and the interplay between historical narrative and fictional literature, particularly tragedy. His doctoral dissertation, Staging English Affairs in Early Modern Italy: History, Politics, Drama, investigates the transmission of knowledge and the fictionalization of facts across the European continent, with a particular attention to the Anglo-Italian case. He has been the recipient of an Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship awarded by the American Council of Learned Societies (2018-2019) and is also active as a translator, most recently of the book Sergio Leone: Cinema as Political Fable (Oxford University Press, 2020).
Co-sponsored with the Society for the Study of Women in the Renaissance (SSWR) and the CUNY Academy for Humanities and Sciences.
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