Mary Pix: The Inhumane Cardinal, or, Innocence Betrayed

(1555 words)

This almost Gothic novel is set in Rome during the rule of Pope Innocent X, who is presented as a week, lazy, and even effeminate figure, dominated by the stratagems and political maneuvers of Donna Olimpia, his mistress. Both characters are based on their actual historical namesakes. As the protagonist of The Inhumane Cardinal, Olimpia is driven by her ambition to gain control over Antonio Barbarino, the cardinal from the novel’s title. She seizes the opportunity when Barbarino informs her of being infatuated with a young woman he had seen at church. He admits to be “raging mad with Love” (4), clearly lusting after Melora. Olimpia soon wins the trust of Melora’s single-parenting father and befriends young Melora, …

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Bayer, Gerd. "The Inhumane Cardinal, or, Innocence Betrayed". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 January 2012
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]