Gender, Honor, and Charity in Late Renaissance Florence

Gender, Honor, and Charity in Late Renaissance Florence

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This book examines the important social role of charitable institutions for women and children in late Renaissance Florence. Wars, social unrest, disease and growing economic inequality on the Italian peninsula displaced hundreds of thousands of families during this period. In order to handle the social crises generated by war, competition for social position and the abandonment of children, a series of private and public initiatives expanded existing charitable institutions and founded new ones. Philip Gavitt's research reveals the important role played by lineage ideology among Florence's elites in the use and manipulation of these charitable institutions in the often futile pursuit of economic and social stability. Considering families of all social levels, he argues that the pursuit of family wealth and prestige often worked at cross-purposes with the survival of the very families it was supposed to more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 9 tables
  • 1139073990
  • 9781139073998

Review quote

'Gavitt has ably demonstrated that charitable and other conventual institutions were an important part of state-building strategies in Florence and an intrinsic part of Florentine life and culture. His book provides an important window into key aspects of Florentine gender and family history.' Parergon 'This book is and will long be an important contribution to a lively and growing area of research interest - the inheritance practices of early modern Italian societies.' Continuity and Change 'Gavitt provides stimulating insight into crucial issues that although long debated in the historiography of Renaissance Florence have been only sporadically addressed for the history of the city in the sixteenth century.' The American Historical Reviewshow more

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Charity and state-building; 2. Gender, lineage ideology, and the development of a status culture; 3. Law and the majesty of practice; 4. Innocence and danger: pedagogy, discipline, and the culture of masculinity; 5. From putte to puttane: female foundlings and charitable institutions; 6. Unruly nuns: convents and cloistering; more