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September 28, 2021 – Hannah Marcus

August 11th, 2021

MEMHS: 28 Sept., 4:30 PM – Hannah Marcus (Harvard University). “Cassandra Fedele and the Spectacle of Old Age in Early Modern Venice.”

On May 1, 1556, the 91-year-old humanist and former child prodigy, Cassandra Fedele, performed a Latin oration celebrating a visit to Venice by the Polish Queen. In this chapter draft from my new book project, I reread Fedele’s life and works, focusing not on her famous childhood, but on her experiences as a very old woman living in Venice during a period that was increasingly fixated on the possibilities of long life. I argue that her precarious situation and public performances were part of a broader culture in sixteenth-century Italy that at once valorized and made a spectacle of the elderly in the space of the city.

Pavilion Room, History deparment.

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