It is easy to forget that people experienced the events we read about now, but Kidwell includes insights into Bembo's character which revive him as an individual. I've been dipping in and out of this book for some time now. I needed it for an essay I wrote on Bembo and Castiglione's involvement in the Questione della lingua earlier this year. But this time I needed it for my dissertation on Vittoria Colonna.
Kidwell has written a very readable account of Bembo, which paints a vivid picture of him, his friends and acquaintances and the times during which he lived. He was born in Venice, was educated in Florence, and would publish a work that would lay the foundations for the standardised Italian language: Prose della volgar lingua (1525). He was also a poet and known to far and wide for his knowledge of the Petrarchism.
With it's footnotes, it is suitable for both an academic and a popular audience, unlike biographies which do not give reference aside from the bibliography. This book finds that balance to be appealing both to students and the enthusiast. It is not a historical novel or a biographical novel, but at times it reads like one and is just as entertaining.
|Original title:||Pietro Bembo: Lover, Linguist, Cardinal|
|Edition:||Hardcover (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2004)|
|Read:||3 February - 3 August 2013|
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