Catherine Murphy In The Pope's Daughter

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Catherine Murphy in The Pope’s Daughter: The Revolutionary Life of Felice della Rovere offers, that despite relative historical reticence, Felice’s story “waiting to be uncovered in an archive in Rome” (315) holds equal merit to Catherine de’ Medici and Elizabeth I for historians. Overlooked as the dark-haired bastard of Pope Julius II, she finds little historical scholarship despite leaving an effect on de’ Medici and her contemporaries. Murphy argues that effect comes in a lesson on “self-belief, standing one’s ground, knowing when and when not to compromise, and about the value of decorum, bella figura, sprezzatura”. (315) While perhaps not quite so strong as Murphy claims, Felice’s life does hold merit in diversifying the concepts of women…show more content…
However, Murphy argues he did not find his fame through excess, but through diplomacy and architecture. (6-7) Papal bastards inspire countless monographs, yet few of the fathers finds themselves as well regarded as Giuliano. His history lays the foundation for his papal character who, Murphy argues, kept his daughter out of the limelight despite her actual power in fears of Borgias comparisons. Due to Murphy’s combing of the Orsini archives, Felice finally enters scholarly discussions. Felice’s name comes from a masculine root, which means “lucky”. (12-13) Murphy uses this “lucky” angle to contrast her to Lucrezia Borgias. For example, in her escape from Rome, after Giuliano’s attempts to oust Alexander VI fail. Felice flees a potential hostage taking, however, Murphy admits this conclusion contains largely speculation in a shortage of actual material. (30-31) Over a third of the way in, the monograph finally finds its pace in the 1490s as Felice faces a language barrier, lack of deference, and an unhappy marriage in Savona. This begins her experience with negotiation and clerical alliances, especially at her husband’s death in 1504. As a widow, she uses her new status, dowry, and negotiation skills at the Palazzo della Rovere to gain local

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