Wolff 2012 Innocence

Title Information

Author: Larry Wolff

Title: Paolina's Innocence

Subtitle: Child Abuse in Casanova's Venice

Place: Stanford, CA

Publisher: Stanford University Press

Year: 2012

Pages: 328pp.

ISBN-13: 9780804762618 (cloth) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9780804762625 (pbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9780804782104 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 18th Century | Italian History | Cases: Offenders / Gaetano Franceschini; Cases: Victims / Paolina Lozaro; Types: Child Sexual Abuse; Victims: Girls

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Additional Information

Author: Larry Wolff, Department of History, New York University


  Acknowledgments (p. ix)
  Introduction (p. 1)
  Part One | The Secret Denunciation
  1. The Parish Priest (p. 9)
  2. The Blasphemy Tribunal (p. 21)
  3. A Stroke of Providence (p. 33)
  4. Sexual Criminals and Young Girls (p. 45)
  5. The Housekeeper's Dilemma (p. 56)
  Part Two | Upstairs from the Coffeehouse
  6. The Caffettiere in His Coffeehouse (p. 69)
  7. Coffee and Gossip (p. 84)
  8. Friulians in Venice (p. 101)
  9. Inside Franceschini's Apartment (p. 119)
  10. The Dalmatian Widow (p. 130)
  Part Three | The Libertine
  11. The Interrogation of Franceschini (p. 141)
  12. Casanova's Girls (p. 153)
  13. The Scandal of Franceschini (p. 173)
  14. Child Pornography and the Marquis de Sade (p. 184)
  15. The Freedom of the Libertine (p. 197)
  Part Four | The Innocence of Childhood
  16. Rousseau's Simple Project (p. 213)
  17. Paolina Lozaro in Her Own Words (p. 222)
  18. Paolina Lozaro in the History of Childhood (p. 232)
  19. The Chimera of Innocence (p. 241)
  20. The Secret History of Sexual Abuse (p. 2529
  Conclusion (p. 269)
  Notes (p. 281)
  Index (p. 303)


»In the summer of 1785, in the city of Venice, a wealthy 60-year-old man was arrested and accused of a scandalous offense: having sexual relations with the 8-year-old daughter of an impoverished laundress. Although the sexual abuse of children was probably not uncommon in early modern Europe, it is largely undocumented, and the concept of "child abuse" did not yet exist. The case of Paolina Lozaro and Gaetano Franceschini came before Venice's unusual blasphemy tribunal, the Bestemmia, which heard testimony from an entire neighborhood—from the parish priest to the madam of the local brothel.
Paolina's Innocence considers Franceschini's conduct in the context of the libertinism of Casanova and also employs other prominent contemporaries—Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Carlo Goldoni, Lorenzo Da Ponte, Cesare Beccaria, and the Marquis de Sade—as points of reference for understanding the case and broader issues of libertinism, sexual crime, childhood, and child abuse in the 18th century.« (Source: Stanford University Press)


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Added: December 7, 2013 – Last updated: March 7, 2015