Title: Mistresses and Queens. The Power of Women (original title Amanti e regine)

Author: Benedetta Craveri
Published by Via Lettera
Translation from Italian: Raina Castoldi
Editor: Diana Nikolova
Book cover: Kamena Dimitrova
ISBN first edition: 978-619-7204-07-0

ISBN second edition: 978-619-7204-08-7
Year of publication: 2016, 2017
408 pages
Format: 130 х 200 mm


‘Mistresses and Queens. The Power of Women’ is a historical walk through the heart of the French court, following the rise and fall of the most famous ladies, who have made a deep impact on the development of the monarchy. Benedetta Craveri’s honest look at the role of women in the public life during the Middle Ages re-creates in a delicate manner the overall cultural and historical background at which the tumultuous events in the lives of the royalties unfold.

Nothing personal related to the king can remain personal. In the epoch when Christian morality comes first and the rights of women are very limited, a lady can only shine with the reflected light of her patron. Nevertheless, poets and writers, artists and philosophers will always look for inspiration to these almost mythical female figures, forever enchanted by their beauty and ambition.

Even from a modern day perspective, the fate of none of these legendary queens and mistresses, from Catherine Medici to Marie Antoinette, from Diane de Poitiers to Madame Pompadour can leave us indifferent. Some of them enter through the grand gate of history due to their origin, others succeed in conquering the heart of the king through intrigues and manipulations, third profiteer on their unsurpassed beauty, fourth rely only on their innate intellect and female intuition. Each of them goes through her triumph, melodrama and failure, led by the desire to become first lady of one of the greatest monarchies in Europe.

The Italian writer Benedetta Craveri is a professor in French literature and author of a number of monographies and studies, translated in many languages around the world. Granddaughter to the great Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce, Craveri writes with depth, her style is gripping and interactive. In ‘Mistresses and Queens’ with particular examples she gradually observes the evolution of the feminist issue in the complex world of French history from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment.