THE DIVINE ARETINO by James Cleugh

THE DIVINE ARETINO

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The unrivaled Italian pornographer Pietro Aretino seems in for a revival. Last season he was treated at length in Wayland Young's Eros Denied, wherein his basement vocabulary in celebration of the generative organs was lauded. The present British biography lends tremendous support to Aretino's reputation and stirs an appetite for a major translation of his work; he is clearly superior to Fanny, Candy, Henry and Lo-li-ta. Poet, blackmailer, press agent, scourger of 16th century princes, playwright, debaucher of girls, boys, wives and wenches, Aretino wrenched a livelihood out of unflinching accounts of late Renaissance life. His prime tool was invective coupled with scurrility; Popes quivered fearing his exposures. A shoemaker's son, he was bought off by everyone and lived like a nobleman. Aretino was more than a lecher and had a remarkable command of language; he corresponded intimately with kings and he became Titian's supreme confidant and agent. Cleugh's biography limns him four-dimensionally without a single four-letter word.

Pub Date: April 13th, 1966
Publisher: Stein & Day