Distributed for Iter Press
Isabella d’Este (1474–1539), daughter of the Este dukes of Ferrara and wife of Marchese Francesco II Gonzaga of Mantua, co-regent of the Gonzaga state, art collector, musician, diplomat, dynastic mother, traveler, reader, gardener, fashion innovator, and consummate politician, was also, as this volume attests, a prolific letter writer with a highly developed epistolary network. Presented here for the first time in any language is a representative selection from over 16,000 letters sent by Isabella to addressees across a wide social spectrum. Together, they paint a nuanced and colorful portrait of a brilliant and influential female protagonist of early modern European society.
692 pages | 6 x 9
"Deanna Shemek’s translation of 830 letters of Isabella d’Este does not disappoint. She has selected letters that demonstrate the variety of Isabella’s interests and document a life that was both long and extraordinarily dramatic. We see the marchioness evolve intellectually, politically and culturally, against the backdrop of a volatile political climate and a rapidly changing diplomatic scene, to become a shrewd political actor and an ever more discerning patron of the arts. Shemek has produced an epistolary voice for her subject that is a welljudged amalgam of dignified formality and colloquial ease. The translation captures just how well the marchioness communicated with a very large cast of correspondents and for a huge range of purposes. This collection provides rare insight into the social, cultural, and political world of the Italian Renaissance — as seen through one powerful woman’s eyes."
Carolyn James, Monash University
Table of Contents
Letters of Isabella d’Este
1. 1479–1499: Letters 1–200 21
2. 1500–1509: Letters 201–420 141
3. 1510–1519: Letters 421–608 307
4. 1520–1529: Letters 609–748 441
5. 1530–1539: Letters 749–830 535
Weights, Measures, and Time 583
Genealogical Tables 585
Glossary of Names 593