Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 16274
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Del Pozzo , Joan P.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: The Apotheosis of Niccolò Toldo: An Execution "Love Story": Appendix A Translation of Saint Catherine of Siena's Most Celebrated Letter
  • Source URL: MLN: Modern Language Notes (Full Text via Project Muse) 110, 1 (January 1995): 164-177. Link Info target = '_blank'>MLN: Modern Language Notes (Full Text via Project Muse) 110, 1 (January 1995): 164-177. Link Info
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article;Translation
  • Subject (See Also): Catherine of Siena, Saint- Letters Crime and Criminals Executions Hagiography Letters Salvation, Theological Concept Spiritual Care Theology Women in Religion
  • Award Note:
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 14
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations:
  • Table:
  • Abstract: The salient, integrating feature of Saint Catherine of Siena's Letter 273 is an epistolary "romance" that is central to the text, framed by exhortations to spiritual heroism, and based upon Catherine's brief relationship with the condemned political prisoner, Niccolò Toldo of Perugia. Catherine and Niccolò participate in a gripping, emotionally charged sequence of events. They meet in the jail of Siena, are joined in a crescendo of increasing intimacy, are separated by the executioner's axe, and are finally "wed" through munificent Divine Charity. Their bittersweet execution/"love story" reveals Catherine's extraordinary, seldom-displayed, narrative powers; it celebrates Toldo's gallentry and Catherine's faith, and underscored the spiritual "first Truth" that God is Love, "the Blood," the apostrophized "tapped cask" of Christ that transforms death into resurrection, and that endangers a flood of inspirational prose: "O botte spillata, la quale dài bere e inebbri ogni innamorato desiderio, e dài letizia e illumini ogni intendimento, e riempi ogni memoria che ivi s'affatica, in tanto che altro non può ritenere, né altro intendere, né altro amare, se non questo dolce e buono Gesù, sangue e fuoco, inestimabile amore!" (Let. 273, par. 2)
  • Author's Affiliation:
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1995.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00267910
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