From She-Wolf to Martyr: The Reign and Disputed Reputation of Johanna I of Naples by Elizabeth CasteenFrom She-Wolf to Martyr: The Reign and Disputed Reputation of Johanna I of Naples by Elizabeth Casteen

From She-Wolf to Martyr: The Reign and Disputed Reputation of Johanna I of Naples

byElizabeth Casteen

Hardcover | October 27, 2015

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In 1343 a seventeen-year-old girl named Johanna (1326–1382) ascended the Neapolitan throne, becoming the ruling monarch of one of medieval Europe's most important polities. For nearly forty years, she held her throne and the avid attention of her contemporaries. Their varied responses to her reign created a reputation that made Johanna the most notorious woman in Europe during her lifetime. In From She-Wolf to Martyr, Elizabeth Casteen examines Johanna's evolving, problematic reputation and uses it as a lens through which to analyze often-contradictory late-medieval conceptions of rulership, authority, and femininity.

When Johanna inherited the Neapolitan throne from her grandfather, many questioned both her right to and her suitability for her throne. After the murder of her first husband, Johanna quickly became infamous as a she-wolf—a violent, predatory, sexually licentious woman. Yet, she also eventually gained fame as a wise, pious, and able queen. Contemporaries—including Francesco Petrarch, Giovanni Boccaccio, Birgitta of Sweden, and Catherine of Siena—were fascinated by Johanna. Drawing on a wide range of textual and visual sources, Casteen reconstructs the fourteenth-century conversation about Johanna and tracks the role she played in her time’s cultural imaginary. She argues that despite Johanna’s modern reputation for indolence and incompetence, she crafted a new model of female sovereignty that many of her contemporaries accepted and even lauded.

Elizabeth Casteen is Assistant Professor of History at Binghamton University–The State University of New York.
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Title:From She-Wolf to Martyr: The Reign and Disputed Reputation of Johanna I of NaplesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:312 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:October 27, 2015Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801453860

ISBN - 13:9780801453861

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Table of Contents

Introduction

1. The Murder of Andrew of Hungary and the Making of a Neapolitan She-Wolf

2. From She-Wolf to Radiant Queen: The Reign of Louis of Taranto and the Rehabilitation of Johanna of Naples

3. A Most Loving Daughter: Filial Piety and the Apogee of Johanna's Reign

4. An "Especially Good Friend" to Saints: Friendship, Politics, and the Performance of Sovereignty

5. The Schism of the Western Church and the Division of Johanna of Naples

Epilogue

Conclusion
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

"Virtuous ruler, loving mother, and martyr: these terms are seldom heard in relation to Johanna I, queen of Naples. On the contrary, when the memory of the notorious fourteenth-century queen is invoked, murderer, harlot, and schismatic are just a few of the choice epithets far more likely to spring to mind. It is one of the great virtues of Elizabeth Casteen's fine new book that it reveals a more nuanced portrait of the Angevin queen. From the moment that Johanna—a woman!—inherited the Kingdom of Naples from her grandfather, she became the talk of Europe, on the lips of everyone from Boccaccio to Birgitta of Sweden. Such talk or fama is the subject of Casteen’s admirable book, which seeks first to deconstruct it through a careful study of the political and religious contexts in which it emerged, and then by shining the bright light of gender analysis on it, which reveals a far more complicated—if still controversial—queen."—Katherine L. Jansen, Catholic University of America, author of The Making of the Magdalen: Preaching and Popular Devotion in the Later Middle Ages