November 7th, 2004


Loving The Birth of Venus

I am reading The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant. It tells the story of a young woman in Florence in the late 1400s. She is well-educated and an artist which is unusual for women in that time. Her desire is to be alone to study and draw but societal conventions and her family's position determine that her fate be either marriage or the convent. She has not married yet but Florence is threatened by the French army which may force her to make a quick decision on her future.

With an invasion looming, the city's clergy is preaching that the sinfulness and profligacy of the people have brought them to this terrible moment in their history. The citizens are in fear of the conflict and their possible damnation in the afterlife. The sermons are full of ranting against the bad influence of art, secular learning and pleasure. This topic is rather timely so it is adding extra zing to the book. So far, I definitely recommend it.