Catalogue


Venice incognito : masks in the serene republic /
James H. Johnson.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2011.
description
xiv, 317 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520267710 (cloth), 9780520267718 (cloth)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2011.
isbn
0520267710 (cloth)
9780520267718 (cloth)
catalogue key
7636686
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 287-303) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
" Venice Incognito is a brilliant reassessment of Venetian carnival and the peculiar phenomenon of masking in early modern Venice. Johnson's wide-ranging, insightful, and imaginative scholarship is matched by his fluid and accessible writing style. This book is that all-too-rare commodity: a scholarly page-turner." --Patricia Fortini Brown, author of Private Lives in Renaissance Venice "This is a beautiful book about a strange subject: the custom among Venetian aristocrats of wearing masks in public. One of the most original works in early modern scholarship I have read in a long time, Venice Incognito will have a permanent place on most early modern historians' shelves and will be essential reading for performance studies and theater history." --Edward Muir, author of The Culture Wars of the Late Renaissance "In this fascinating book, the author cleverly balances the traditional concept of masking as an anti-authoritarian culture of dissembling with the idea of the 'honest mask,' which defends rank and the established order, and produces an excellent, nuanced, and well-written account of the carnivalesque in eighteenth-century Venice." --Aileen Ribeiro, author of Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe "In this intriguing and thoroughly researched book, James Johnson takes the reader through the crowded calli, campi, and canals of Venice in search of the varied meanings of the mask in the history and culture of that city on the water. From masking's first recorded appearance in the thirteenth century to its ubiquity in the carnival decline of eighteenth-century Venice, from the dissimulations of Giacomo Casanova to Arlecchino and the commedia dell'arte stage, from the social anonymity of the gambling halls to the socially charged debate over Goldoni's radical unmasking of the actor, Venice Incognito traces the shifting functions of the mask and its implications. Just as importantly, the book challenges much conventional wisdom about masking and carnival itself." --David Rosand, author of Painting in Sixteenth-Century Venice
Flap Copy
" Venice Incognito is a brilliant reassessment of Venetian carnival and the peculiar phenomenon of masking in early modern Venice. Johnson's wide-ranging, insightful, and imaginative scholarship is matched by his fluid and accessible writing style. This book is that all-too-rare commodity: a scholarly page-turner." --Patricia Fortini Brown, author of Private Lives in Renaissance Venice "This is a beautiful book about a strange subject: the custom among Venetian aristocrats of wearing masks in public. One of the most original works in early modern scholarship I have read in a long time, Venice Incognito will have a permanent place on most early modern historians' shelves and will be essential reading for performance studies and theater history." --Edward Muir, author of The Culture Wars of the Late Renaissance "In this fascinating book, the author cleverly balances the traditional concept of masking as an anti-authoritarian culture of dissembling with the idea of the 'honest mask,' which defends rank and the established order, and produces an excellent, nuanced, and well-written account of the carnivalesque in eighteenth-century Venice." --Aileen Ribeiro, author of Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe "In this intriguing and thoroughly researched book, James Johnson takes the reader through the crowded calli, campi, and canals of Venice in search of the varied meanings of the mask in the history and culture of that city on the water. From masking's first recorded appearance in the thirteenth century to its ubiquity in the carnival decline of eighteenth-century Venice, from the dissimulations of Giacomo Casanova to Arelecchino and the commedia dell'arte stage, from the social anonymity of the gambling halls to the socially charged debate over Goldoni's radical unmasking of the actor, Venice Incognito traces the shifting functions of the mask and its implications. Just as importantly, the book challenges much conventional wisdom about masking and carnival itself." --David Rosand, author of Painting in Sixteenth-Century Venice
Flap Copy
"This is a beautiful book about a strange subject: the custom among Venetian aristocrats of wearing masks in public. One of the most original works in early modern scholarship I have read in a long time, Venice Incognito will have a permanent place on most early modern historians' shelves and will be essential reading for performance studies and theater history." --Edward Muir, author of The Culture Wars of the Late Renaissance
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2011-10-01:
In this comprehensively researched, insightful reconsideration of the function of masks and masking in pre-19th century Venice, Johnson (history, Boston Univ.) questions the prevailing perception of the mask as a means to deceive and flout authority and a license for bacchanalian revelry. Instead, he argues for and validates the role of the mask in constructing a unique Venetian social identity. Masking in Venice generated a "plausible deniability" within a society that was highly segregated, allowing social classes to associate and circulate in public venues, including during and outside of carnival periods, without the need for ceremonial rank and ritual. Thus, masks served to preserve the rigid social hierarchy of an increasingly populous Venice through a willing suspension of class difference. Writing in an accessible and entertaining style, Johnson depicts the masked disguising of Giacomo Casanova, Carlo Goldoni's unmasking of the actor in the commedia dell'arte, sacrificial blood sports, gambling, and, of course, carnival. This innovative depiction of the construction of social and private identity will provide excellent reading for those interested not only in history but also in political science, public administration, theater, performance studies, fashion, and sociology. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals. R. A. Naversen Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Comprehensively researched, insightful reconsideration of the function of masks and masking. . . . Highly recommended."
"Comprehensively researched, insightful reconsideration of the function of masks and masking. . . . Highly recommended."-- Choice
"Refreshingly well-written and thought-provoking."-- Art Newspaper
"Perceptive, gracefully written, and well-illustrated. . . . A vivid introduction to Venetian culture."-- Journal of Modern History
"Perceptive, gracefully written, and well-illustrated. . . . A vivid introduction to Venetian culture."-- Jrnl of Modern History
"Refreshingly well-written and thought-provoking."
"Perceptive, gracefully written, and well-illustrated. . . . A vivid introduction to Venetian culture."
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 2011
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
"The entire town is disguised," declared a French tourist of eighteenth-century Venice. And, indeed, maskers of all ranks--nobles, clergy, imposters, seducers, con men--could be found mixing at every level of Venetian society. Even a pious nun donned a mask and male attire for her liaison with the libertine Casanova. InVenice Incognito, James H. Johnson offers a spirited analysis of masking in this carnival-loving city. He draws on a wealth of material to explore the world view of maskers, both during and outside of carnival, and reconstructs their logic: covering the face in public was a uniquely Venetian response to one of the most rigid class hierarchies in European history. This vivid account goes beyond common views that masking was about forgetting the past and minding the muse of pleasure to offer fresh insight into the historical construction of identity.
Bowker Data Service Summary
In this volume, James Johnson offers a spirited analysis of masking in this carnival-loving city. He draws on a wealth of material to explore the worldview of maskers, both during and outside of carnival, and reconstructs their logic.
Main Description
"The entire town is disguised," declared a French tourist of eighteenth-century Venice. And, indeed, maskers of all ranks--nobles, clergy, imposters, seducers, con men--could be found mixing at every level of Venetian society. Even a pious nun donned a mask and male attire for her liaison with the libertine Casanova. In Venice Incognito , James H. Johnson offers a spirited analysis of masking in this carnival-loving city. He draws on a wealth of material to explore the world view of maskers, both during and outside of carnival, and reconstructs their logic: covering the face in public was a uniquely Venetian response to one of the most rigid class hierarchies in European history. This vivid account goes beyond common views that masking was about forgetting the past and minding the muse of pleasure to offer fresh insight into the historical construction of identity.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
The Carnival of Venice
Casanova's Carnivalp. 3
New Worldp. 13
Even Oddsp. 25
Blood Sportp. 30
Fat Thursdayp. 35
Anything Goes?p. 41
The Culture of Masking
City of Masksp. 47
Infernal Associationsp. 54
Devil's Dancep. 66
Unmasking the Heartp. 79
Age of Dissimulationp. 86
The Honest Mask
Legislating Moralityp. 105
Saving Facep. 112
Venetian Incognitop. 129
Democratizing Dressp. 141
Taming the Devilp. 153
Carnival and Community
Redeemed by the Bloodp. 169
Carnival Talesp. 181
The Mask of Sincerityp. 192
Carnival Containedp. 203
Bitter Ashp. 215
Epilogue: After the Fallp. 237
Notesp. 245
Bibliographyp. 287
Acknowledgmentsp. 305
Photo Creditsp. 309
Indexp. 313
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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