Beatrice Cenci was executed in Rome in September 1599- she was sixteen, and hauntingly beautiful. Her crime was the murder of her father, a member of one of the greatest Roman families, but his cruel treatment of her, including incestuous rape, moved the people of the city to take her side. Weeping crowds lined the streets, and a special mass is still said in Rome on the anniversary of her death. She was at once innocent and guilty, at once the victim and the perpetrator of appalling crimes. From that time since, the ambivalent image of Beatrice has attracted writers and artists, and often their obsession with her fed their own self-destruction. In this compelling study, Belinda Jack takes on the dangerous challenge of bringing Beatrice to life, and of tracing her power over those who tried to resurrect her, from the tragedy of Shelley to the novels of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, from the sculpture of Harriet Hosmer and the photographs of Julia Margaret Cameron to the desperate drama of Antonin Artaud. As we follow the stories of their lives and ambitions, we see how they suffered critical condemnation for their works about Beatrice, and were sometimes pushed to the b
Belinda Jack teaches at Christ Church, Oxford.