Parlour Games and the Public Life of Women in Renaissance Italy (Hardcover) by McClure George W.
Confined by behavioural norms and professional restrictions women in Renaissance Italy found a welcome escape in an alternative world of play. This book examines the role of games of wit in the social and cultural experience of patrician women from the early sixteenth to the early eighteenth century. Beneath the frivolous exterior of such games as occasions for idle banter flirtation and seduction there often lay a lively contest for power and agency and the opportunity for conventional women to demonstrate their intellect to achieve a public identity and even to model new behaviour and institutions in the non-ludic world. By tapping into the records and cultural artifacts of these games George McClure recovers a realm of female fame that has largely escaped the notice of modern historians and in so doing reveals a cohort of spirited intellectual women outside of the courts.