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The School of Whoredom

The School of Whoredom

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by Pietro Aretino

Bawdy and thoroughly risqué, this 16th-century masterpiece is the work of Pietro Aretino, widely regarded as the originator of European pornographic writing. Determined that her daughter should not be ignorant of the ways of men and love, Nanna seeks to “educate” the naïve Pippa. She tells of women—whores, housewives, and nuns all being essentially the same; and of how to win men—discreetly and with good manners. But mostly, she reveals to Pippa the secrets of her art as a courtesan. The ensuing dialogue, laden with satiric twists and naughty puns, offers a fresh and lively example of the harlot’s world, displaying a frankness that confides in today’s reader as shrewdly as it was intended in 16th-century Rome. Italian satirist and poet Pietro Aretino was one of the most versatile writers of the 16th century; the author of plays, poetry, and letters, he is now principally remembered as the originator of European pornography.

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Publication date: 01/03/2003

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