Lost Love and a Handkerchief

in Love & Death in Renaissance Italy

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780226112589
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226112602 | DOI:
Lost Love and a Handkerchief

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This chapter presents a monologue, interpolated with yet further monologue, as the character, Alessio the beadle, has his garrulous day in court. It is a slipshod tale of a courtship's gradual unraveling. Alessio's quirks provide special attraction. Seldom do we see such devotion to a girl, at great expense, in so grown a man, who knows her by needlework alone. So Alessio is a mystery, wrapped in a handkerchief, as, under her nun's “headkerchief,” is the girl, who says yes and no at once, who takes the veil and giggles behind it at the monastery window. For social historians the tale is useful. It shows courtship and attitudes toward both marriage and religion among the urban working class. It also illustrates the machinery of a house of discipline and confinement, the conservatorio, one of the many totalizing institutions that spread far and wide in early modern Europe.

Keywords: monologue; Alessio; courtship; working class; modern Europe; marriage

Chapter.  10243 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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