A JEW AT THE MEDICI COURT:
THE LETTERS OF
BENEDETTO BLANIS HEBREO
University of Toronto Press
448 pages; Clothbound
$85 (Cover Price)
A Jew at the
Now you can hear Benedetto Blanis tell his own story. Then, you can draw your own conclusions — which I hope you will share with me at the address below!
Some historical figures — like Don Giovanni dei Medici — viewed eternal fame as their birthright. Others — like Benedetto Blanis —were probably grateful to leave this world at a more or less advanced age and then vanish without a trace.
, however, it is not so easy to disappear, thanks to the millions of documents in the Medici Granducal Archive! My connection with Benedetto began — I am tempted to say "erupted" — many years ago when I discovered his letters to Don Giovanni. Since then, I have been living day by day with a man who died (almost exactly) three centuries before I was born. Florence
In a separate post, I describe my work in the Archive and my long — and often fraught — relationship with this lost Jew from the Florentine Ghetto.
As archivists know, the living have a strange and often disquieting advantage over the dead. The grave may be “a fine and private place” (to quote Andrew Marvell) — but this privacy ends where the documents begin!