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Seconde Nozze: Regeneration

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Chapter Summary

In the Greek Septuagint the heroine Judith plaited her hair and donned a mitra as part of her ritualistic preparation for the encounter with Holofernes. Although art historians have not yet appreciated its importance, the Septuagint's bacchic typecasting of Judith was well known to classicizing quattrocento Italian artists. In the conventional social hierarchy of Tuscan lyric poetry the down-trodden poet pleaded his case before an all-powerful Domina who held his fate in her hands. If the mystifications of the Tarquinia Madonna fail to persuade the spectator, the panel does make the point that sexual aggression - even implicitly extreme forms of it - could have been obfuscated as childish mischief. The vehemence of the Doni infant was also fired by this strain of violent mysticism. Perhaps the sole exception to her rule could be found in Dante's rime petrose, which collectively told the story of a poet frustrated beyond endurance by romantic rejection.

Keywords: Doni infant; Greek Septuagint; Septuagint's bacchic; Tuscan lyric poetry



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