Parution : Elizabeth Bernhardt, “Genevra Sforza and the Bentivoglio”, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press, 2023
Genevra Sforza (ca. 1441-1507) lived her long life near the apex of Italian Renaissance society as wife of two successive de facto rulers of Bologna: Sante Bentivoglio then Giovanni II Bentivoglio. Placed there twice without a dowry by Duke Francesco Sforza as part of a larger Milanese plan, Genevra served the Bentivoglio by fulfilling the gendered role demanded of her by society, most notably by contributing eighteen children, accepting many illegitimates born to Giovanni II, and helping arrange their futures for the success of the family at large. Based on contemporary archival research conducted across Italy, this biography presents Genevra as the object of academic study for the first time. The book also explores how Genevra’s life-story, filled with a multitude of successes appropriate for an elite fifteenth-century female, has been transformed into a farraginous body of misogynistic legends claiming she destroyed the Bentivoglio and the city of Bologna.