An innovative volume of fifteen interdisciplinary essays at the nexus of material culture, performance studies, and game theory, Playthings in Early Modernity: Party Games, Word Games, Mind Games emphasizes the rules of the game(s), as well as the breaking of those rules. Thus, the titular "plaything" is understood as both an object and a person, and play, in the early modern world, is treated not merely as a pastime, a leisurely pursuit, but also as a pivotal part of daily life, a strategic psychosocial endeavor.

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This volume of sixteen essays interprets "sex acts" broadly, from the acting out, or performing, of one’s (or another’s) sex to sexual activity, including what might be considered, now or then, peculiar practices and preferences and a variety of possibly scandalous scenarios. While the contributors come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, this collection foregrounds the visual culture of early modern sexuality, from representations of sex and sexualized bodies to material objects associated with sexual activities. The picture presented here strips away layers of misconceptions and manipulations, revealing an often-misunderstood world and, thus, nuancing our understanding of Renaissance sexuality.  

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Questo volume propone un discorso critico sulla sessualità e sulla cultura visiva dell’Italia rinascimentale. I saggi raccolti tentano di fare luce su una serie di zone d’ombra, dando spazio a tutte quelle pratiche o preferenze considerate in genere come alternative o anomalie, e a un’ampia varietà di scenari “scandalosi”. Particolare attenzione è stata riservata all’aspetto materiale della cultura sessuale, dalle modalità di rappresentazione erotica del corpo agli oggetti e agli strumenti associati all’attività sessuale. Ne emerge un quadro completamente nuovo della sessualità rinascimentale, che spazza via secoli di manipolazioni ed equivoci socio-culturali, svelando scenari finora trascurati o volutamente nascosti. 

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This book recognizes a socio-cultural anxiety--the fear not merely of death but also of being forgotten--and identifies a set of pictorial, literary, and theoretical strategies formulated to ensure memory. An interdisciplinary yet fundamentally art historical project, Re-membering Masculinity merges early modern visual culture and critical theories of the body. It examines an extensive selection of male and female portraits, primarily of the Medici family, in and against both historical writings and contemporary discourses, including literary and cultural theory, psychoanalysis, feminism and gender studies, and critical theories of race and disability.

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Whereas previous studies of early modern widowhood by social, economic, and cultural historians have called attention to the often ambiguous yet also often empowering experience and position of widows within society, this groundbreaking collection of fifteen interdisciplinary essays considers the distinct and important relationship between ritual and representation, reading widowhood as a catalyst for the production of a significant body of visual material.

Winner of the Society for Early Modern Women Book Award, 2003.  

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