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Emotions and the Renaissance family : the Strozzi letters

Author: Chantelle Bowden
Publisher: 2017.
Dissertation: MA University of Auckland 2017. History
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material : English
Summary:
Despite vast historical research on social life in Late Medieval Italy, little is known about the emotional complexities of its citizens. This study confronts this gap in the literature, offering an investigation of emotional expression in fifteenth-century Florence. To do this, I have undertaken a study of a woman who lived in this historical setting, Alessandra Strozzi. Alessandra has left behind an extensive  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: History
Records and correspondence
Named Person: Strozzi family.; Alessandra Macinghi Strozzi; Alessandra Macinghi Strozzi; Strozzi family.
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Archival Material, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Chantelle Bowden
OCLC Number: 990285299
Notes: "A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in History, The University of Auckland, 2017."
Description: iii, 103 pages ; 30 cm
Responsibility: Chantelle Bowden.

Abstract:

Despite vast historical research on social life in Late Medieval Italy, little is known about the emotional complexities of its citizens. This study confronts this gap in the literature, offering an investigation of emotional expression in fifteenth-century Florence. To do this, I have undertaken a study of a woman who lived in this historical setting, Alessandra Strozzi. Alessandra has left behind an extensive letter collection, written as a mother to her sons. She has provided a unique viewpoint of the period, offering both a personalised view and a female perspective; a rare combination. Through these letters, we are given a first-hand perspective of how a family navigated challenges of this period: from marriage and children, the survival of family honour, through to plague and death. This has shaped a thematic structure for my study, where emotion will be analysed through various themes: Love and the Patrilineal Family; Guilt and the Honour System; Fear and Plague, Grief and Death. Alessandra's letters will act as the framework holding these ideas together, her experience as a medieval widow and mother providing an invaluable emotional landscape. From this unique perspective, the conclusions of this study centre on family relationships, notably between a mother and her children. It has revealed insights that children were not simply grouped as a single emotional community, but divided by gender from birth. Men and women had very different social demands, and therefore different emotional performances as they strove to meet them. Indeed, how a mother loved, managed, and even grieved for her children, were shaped by the heavily gendered traditions of society. Using the lens of emotions history, with additional perspectives from gender and family studies, this thesis illuminates how the wider culture and events of the time shaped Strozzi's personal understanding and expression of emotions; not merely as an individual, but as a part of a larger emotional community.

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