HIST 103: Paper 1
Giovanni and Lusanna: Love and Marriage in Renaissance Florence – Gene Brucker
Set against the grindstone of social class, Gene Brucker’s Giovanni and Lusanna throws light on fifteenth century Renaissance Florence. The novel revolves around Lusanna, a beautiful widow of an artisan, and Giovanni, her aristocrat lover, who she brought suit against when she learned that he contracted to marry a woman representing his own class. Through narration of the clash between artisans and aristocrats in archiepiscopal court, Gene Brucker expands further to expose his readers to the law and order and the social stratum prevalent during that period. To construct his novel, Brucker gained knowledge about the litigation and social order that governed during the fifteenth century. This he gained through notarial sources that were documented during the proceedings. While the notarial sources provided an in depth description of the events that took place, it also added credibility to Brucker’s narration of events. Alternatively, they also proved to be unreliable on circumstances, since the testimony of witnesses could be influenced by extraneous factors such enmity and bribery.
The primary material of the story survives in Florence’s Archivio di Stato, notarial protocols of Ser Filippo Mazzei, a notary for the archiepiscopal curia. Brucker referred to the Notarile antecosimiano, which documented the entire case in chronological manner. Starting from the Archbishop Antoninus’s interrogation of Fra Felice, who agreed to officiate the marriage between Giovanni and Lusanna, on 15 May 1455 (Brucker, 19), to the reference of the papal letter to Antoninus reversing his decision against Giovanni. Hence, by referring notarial protocol, Brucker was able to accurately depict the events that were carried out in the curia. Additionally, by understanding the entire legal proceeding he was successful in adding relevance to his narration. Brucker also drew help form...
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