Margherita Costa, Diva of the Baroque Court
Published: October 2023© 2023
336 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 30 b&w illustrations
Ebook - ePub
The Roman singer, courtesan, and writer Margherita Costa won prominence and fame across the courts of Italy and France during the mid-seventeenth century. She secured a steady stream of elite patrons – including popes, queens, grand dukes, and influential cardinals – while male poets and librettists wrote celebratory poetry on her behalf. In addition to her appearances as a soprano on the opera stage, Costa published a remarkable fourteen full-length texts across an expanse of genres: burlesque comedy, drama, equestrian ballet, pastoral opera, amorous letters, lyric poetry, and history.
Margherita Costa, Diva of the Baroque Court brings together close textual readings of Costa’s numerous publications with archival materials detailing her performance itinerary and social-cultural networks. The book progresses chronologically through her life, geographically along the routes she travelled, and thematically via the genres in which she experimented. Jessica Goethals illuminates how Costa was unafraid to leap over the boundaries of decorum that delimited what women should and did write about. More than merely a literary biography, this book is also a portrait of seventeenth-century courts, their concerns, and their entertainments.
1. Editing History
2. Bizzarria, Burlesque, and Buffoonery
3. From the Golden Oak to the Weeping Cypress: Epic, Lament, and Dynastic Messaging
4. Starry Carousels: Equestrian Ballet and Aristocratic Astronomies
5. The Singing Saint and the Plumed Bee: Courting the Barberini
6. Hunting for Diana, or An Ode to Regents
7. “A Change of Sky Does Me No Good”: Envy, Rivalry, and Other Courtly Criticisms
"Jessica Goethals presents a complex and nuanced interpretation of the theatrical and literary production of the seventeenth-century female courtier, singer, and writer Margherita Costa. Goethals develops her argument through a detailed textual analysis of Costa’s work, making this an innovative contribution to the field of early modern studies. This book will be of interest to scholars of early modern Tuscany and Italy, as well as to teachers and graduate students of women’s and literary studies and of court society."Giovanna Benadusi, Professor of History, University of South Florida
"This volume is the guidebook to the remarkable life and career of Margherita Costa. It would be nearly impossible to outdo the outstanding quality of Goethals’s comprehensive survey and illuminating interpretation of Margherita Costa’s multi-faceted activities and achievements. This book constitutes a serious advance in its field, providing a thoroughly up-to-date, meticulously researched, brilliantly presented, and urgently needed monograph on one of early modern Italy’s most audacious and versatile authors.Eric Nicholson, Professor of Literature and Theatre Studies, Syracuse University Florence
"Impressive in both scope and execution, Margherita Costa, Diva of the Baroque Court amounts to a major, and inspiring, contribution to research in the fields of early modern Italian studies and Italian women’s writing, as well as adding significantly to the fields of early modern music and performance. Jessica Goethals deftly leverages archival materials, and an impressive command of the secondary literature, both central and adjacent to Costa and the Italian Baroque, to demonstrate several novel findings."Paola De Santo, Assistant Professor of Italian, University of Georgia