Mary Shelley: Valperga: or, the Life and Adventures of Castrucchio, Prince of Lucca

(3446 words)
  • Graham Allen (University College Cork)

Valperga is a historical novel, influenced greatly by Godwin’s ideas about the relationship between history and imaginative fiction. It is set in fourteenth-century Italy, a period of Italian history dramatized by foreign-rule and internal city-state conflicts. In particular, the novel focuses on the conflicts between the Republican Guelph party and the Ghibeline party associated with the Holy Roman Empire and the various foreign rulers who took or claimed the name of Emperor. As the novel begins the Guelph party, with its base in Florence, is in the ascendancy, and the novel details the early life of the future Ghibeline leader, Castrucchio, Prince of Lucca. Mary’s research into Castrucchio included reading, as she put it, �…

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Allen, Graham. "Valperga: or, the Life and Adventures of Castrucchio, Prince of Lucca". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 February 2004
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]