Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy

By Judith C. Brown | Go to book overview

Epilogue

THE STORY OF BENEDETTA CARLINI is shrouded in mystery for the next forty years. No records exist of the nuncio's pronouncements, and it is only the chance survival of a fragment of one nun's diary that allows us to know the outcome. On August 7, 1661, that nun, whose name has not come down to us, wrote in her diary: "Benedetta Carlini died at age 71 of fever and colic pains after eighteen days of illness. She died in penitence, having spent thirty-five years in prison." 1

What led to Benedetta's imprisonment within the convent is a matter for conjecture. The words in the diary suggest that Benedetta was not imprisoned until 1626, three years after the "last report" was written. This gap is probably not the result of a casual mistake made by a nun writing about events that took place long before. The writer was very precise about her dates and figures -- she recorded Benedetta's date of death and her exact age, without rounding it off, as was the customary practice. She also noted the precise number of days of Benedetta's last illness and remarked that she was the fourteenth nun to have died in the convent. Given such a concern for

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Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents *
  • Introduction 3
  • Chapter One - The Family 21
  • Chapter Two - The Convent 29
  • Chapter Three - The Nun 42
  • Chapter Four - The First Investigation 75
  • Chapter Five - The Second Investigation 100
  • Epilogue 132
  • Appendix - A Note About the Documents, with Selected Translations 139
  • Notes 165
  • Index 207
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