A Ladys Man: The Cicisbei, Private Morals and National Identity in Italy Roberto Bizzocchi

ISBN: 9781137450920

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Hardcover

320 pages


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A Ladys Man: The Cicisbei, Private Morals and National Identity in Italy  by  Roberto Bizzocchi

A Ladys Man: The Cicisbei, Private Morals and National Identity in Italy by Roberto Bizzocchi
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Three people in a marriage: a woman and two men. This was the eighteenth-century Italian aristocratic model of marriage, characterised by the presence of the cicisbeo, the official escort of another mans wife. Did this delineate a clear and brazenMoreThree people in a marriage: a woman and two men. This was the eighteenth-century Italian aristocratic model of marriage, characterised by the presence of the cicisbeo, the official escort of another mans wife. Did this delineate a clear and brazen sexual depravity or rather a complex and refined social institution, revealing many aspects of Italian civilization in the Age of the Enlightenment?Not only was the presence of a cicisbeo part of a matrimonial, family model- it was also an important factor socially and politically.

In a period in which the presence of women at parties was sought - at the theatre and in salons - the ladys escort played an essential part in promoting a couples social life. Indeed, the company and friendship (and perhaps love) which bound a lady and her escort occurred with the knowledge and under the control of the families of the interested parties.Of course, this triangular arrangement was not unproblematic.

The existence of a third party posed a threat to conjugal fidelity and the legitimacy of offspring and, towards the early nineteenth century, when the ideals of Romanticism and the French Revolution were popular there was a rapid decline in the practice. For as Italy reconstructed its national identity alongside other modern European countries the image of private immorality associated with cicisbeism constituted an intolerable blemish.



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