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The Scarlet City

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  449 ratings  ·  45 reviews
In The Scarlet City, Hella Haasse takes us to 16th-century Italy, which is torn by savage violence of war and sinister intrigues for power.

The novel centers around Giovanni Borgia, a mysterious figure known in history as the infans Romanus, or child of Rome. Although he bears one of the most notorious names in all of Italy, Giovanni doesn't know his parentage. Is Cesare

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Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Academy Chicago Publishers (first published 1952)
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Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  449 ratings  ·  45 reviews


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TBV
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, historical, italy
This novel is set against the backdrop of the sixteenth century Italian wars. The story starts in 1525 (although there are flashbacks to earlier years), and ends just after the Sack of Rome in 1527. It is told from the point of view of several people, but the main protagonist is Giovanni Borgia who does not know who his parents are, and whose life is shaped by his insecurities.

Michelangelo Buonarotti
The famous artist Michelangelo is portrayed as a tortured genius, totally absorbed in his work.
...more
Argos
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gerçek kişilerle gerçekleştirilen ama gerçek olup olmadığı anlaşılamayan tarihi bir roman. Rönesans İtalyası'na ait. Yazarı Hollanda'lı. Sürükleyici, dili ve anlatımı çok güzel bir kitap.
Jeanette
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Complex, multi-narrator telling of the 16th Century's Italian wars. The main protagonist is Giovanni Borgia, seeking not only his purpose and career, but also his exact blood identity. He knows he is a Borgia but he does not know the sure identity of either parent, other than his own treatments while a child fall fairly toward the path that places Pope Alexander as his Grandfather. Lucrezia's son by her second marriage, Roderigo, being raised with Giovanni. They are continually hidden within ...more
Ludmilla
Aşırı bayılmadım ama sevdim. Bölümler içindeki birinci şahıs/üçüncü şahıs anlatıcı değişiklikleri olmasaydı daha çok severdim. 3.5/5
Jane
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I picked this up because I was interested in the time period--16th century Renaissance Italy, during the so-called "Italian Wars". I liked it very much, although much of it was dark and depressing. The protagonist was Giovanni Borgia, the so-called "infans Romanus". He could have been the illegitimate son of one or more of the more famous Borgias, Cesare, Lucrezia or Pope Alexander VI.

The novel follows Giovanni through his life first as a youngster shuffled from court to court. At age 30, in the
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Sera
Dec 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I'm not very fond of historical novels, intrigues and relationships among the nobleman. I even barely stared enjoying the popular Game of Thrones series and i literally don't have a special interest in the history of Italy either. However, I loved the writing of this book as well as the storytelling from the perspective of several characters.
Sanne
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like literary historical fiction
"Borgia, it's like the warning sign on the door of a pestilence house."
orginal Dutch: "Borgia, dat is als het waarschuwend teken op de deur van een huis waar de pest woedt." (p. 14)

- - - - -

Finished! What a wonderful read. It's been a long while since I read anything by Haasse, but this reacquaintance reaffirms why she is my favorite author: interesting historical topics, meticulous research, and beautiful writing. What more could a hf fan want?

Summary
The Scarlet City: a novel of 16th century
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Wouter
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
In De scharlaken stad, de klassieker van Hella S. Haasse uit 1952, probeert hoofdpersoon Giovanni Borgia het geheim van zijn onbestemde afstamming te ontrafelen tegen een achtergrond van toenemende onrust in zestiende-eeuws Rome.

De Italiaanse Oorlogen - een gewapende strijd tussen de koning van Frankrijk en de keizer van het Heilige Roomse Rijk om de hegemonie over Italië - zijn in volle gang en de legers van Karel V rukken in verontrustend tempo op naar Rome. Maar voordat de stad valt op die
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Margje de Hoog
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Een meeslepend boek, maar wel een boek waarbij ik mijn aandacht niet kon laten verslappen. De vele intriges, de schets van het politieke toneel binnen een historische context en de rijke taal maken het een prachtig boek, maar toch miste ik - in vergelijking tot Het woud der verwachting - iets.
Ferda Nihat Koksoy
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel
GÜNAH ŞEHRİ(Roman)
HELLA S. HAASSE, Yazar (Hollanda Edebiyatının "Büyük Hanımefendisi"), FL:1951, TR:2011, Helikopter Yayın, Çeviren: Ayşen Anadol, 334 sf.
**Romanın arka planında, Rönesans döneminde yaşananlar (1495-1527) ve Roma'nın yağmalanması ile biten İtalyan Savaşları yer alır ve adı geçenlerin tümü (Michelangelo, Machiavelli, G.Borgia, vd.) gerçek kişilerdir.**
-Yo, ne ölmekte olan söndürebilir ateşini yaşayanın,
Ne de sonsuz zaman düzeltebilir karışıklıkları- (Michelangelo'dan)

-Vatikan
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Hans Wigman
Aug 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Were I asked to name some of the best Dutch authors, one of the first would be Hella Haasse. I've read quite a few of her books and usually I find them riveting, contemporary and historical novel alike. Recently I finished her great historical novel 'Het woud der verwachting' dealing with the life and times of Charles of Orleans, turning with high expectations to 'The scarlet city'. It deals with Rome just after the downfall of the Borgia family and the main protagonist is a young man trying to ...more
Marc
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dutch-literature
The life of Giovanni Borgia, very popular these days. As usual with the Dutch writer Hella Haasse she presents a very erudit picture of the time: the vatican court, the italian imbroglio. And the main characters are beautifully brought to life. The main theme is the wrestling of these characters with their upbringing, their place in life and ofcourse the sense of life. Giovanni Borgia is victim of his obsessions, his counterpart Vittoria is a much wiser character.
This all seems very interesting,
...more
Elizabeth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Perugino
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A great literary exploration, chapters written from Vittoria Colonna's point of view especially.
Cynthia
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastisch boek, alsof je zelf in Rome bent in de zestiende eeuw. Al kan ik mij voorstellen dat als je weinig weet over wie, wie is, dit boek lastig te begrijpen kan zijn
Ingrid
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Als je een boek zoekt om te lezen voor Nederlands dan raad ik je aan niet deze te lezen. Het is een boek met veel politiek waar je je doorheen moet worstelen :(
Vicki Kondelik
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Scarlet City by Hella S. Haasse takes place in early 16th century Rome, at a time when Italy was divided into many city-states, whose alliances were constantly shifting between the invading French and Spanish armies. Against this background, Haasse tells the story of Giovanni Borgia, an illegitimate son of one of the notorious Borgias (who should be familiar to fans of Showtime’s TV series The Borgias). But which one? Giovanni grows up believing he is the son of Cesare Borgia, but when the ...more
Ekmef
May 21, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Het was dat ik de personages al half kende van Assassin's Creed, anders had ik dit boek uit pure wanhoop weggelegd. Je valt namelijk midden in het verhaal binnen en er wordt veelvuldig verwezen naar gebeurtenissen waarvan je het gevoel krijgt dat je ze moet kennen. Maar voor de gemiddelde lezer had het net zo goed een Game of Thrones-achtig verhaal kunnen zijn want wie weet nou precies hoe het met Frankrijk en Spanje zat in de 15de eeuw? Ik denk oprecht dat dit boek als fantasy veel beter te ...more
Michele
Aug 29, 2015 rated it liked it
This novel centers around Giovanni Borgia, known as the Infans Romanus, or child of Rome. Although he was always acknowledged as a member of the Borgia family, it was never clear who his parents were - according to this book, even to him. He is intently focused on finding out. The characters in this book are all real historical figures, and the author tries to get inside their heads, with long passages of internal monologue. This, frankly, is where the book loses steam. All authors of historical ...more
Nara
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yo, que no tengo ni pasado ni futuro en el sentido habitual de estas palabras, no me sentí en ninguna parte tan completo, tan libre, como cuando combatí en Navarra y el Delfinado y luego en Lombardía y ante Pavía. Si no llevar conmigo esta maldita inquietud, esa sensación de que sólo puedo justificar mi existencia mediante logros espectaculares, viviría incluso contento como mercenario, sin más posesiones que mis armas y mi soldada, sientiéndome uno del montón, siempre subordinado a las órdenes ...more
Clara
Oct 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un 10 como libro por su estructura y tempo, su rigor, su poética (la tiene según qué personaje toma la palabra en la narración), por la construcción/ recreación de sus personajes principales (esa Lucrecia Borgia duele por todos los costados), por el misterio que subyace como premisa de la historia, la lectura psicológica del personaje del bastardo de los Borgia (el hilo conductor) en su boca y mediante él he leído algunas de las mejores aproximaciones al patetismo del origen, de la carga de la ...more
Red
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: la-femme
authors and painters are both part of public domain.

once i saw hella in the street.
she was old and no glamour was to be seen.

the story in this book is about the time of michelangelo in rome.
he is portraid like a moviestar.

once i met a dutch poet and painter.
what struck me deep was the humbleness of the man.

being part of public domain is being part of projection.
question is made hella a true story?
don't think so.
Janneke
Op zich is het onderwerp van dit boek wel interessant. Ik vind wel dat het erg langdradig gebracht wordt. Je kunt het hoe en waarom van alle bijfiguren niet echt volgen. Waarschijnlijk zijn ze allemaal een puzzelstukje in het ontwarren van het raadsel van Giovanni Borgia's afkomst. Maar het wordt er niet duidelijker op.
Wel een mooi historisch beeld van het begin van de 16e eeuw en de strijd tussen paus en keizer Karel V.
Rob
All in all I found this book a hard nut to crack. I very much enjoyed Haasse's style but at the same time I wonder if the way she presents the story isn't making it a lot more complicated than it has to be...

Full Random Comments review
Nelleke
Ondanks dat het mij niet lukte om alle namen uit elkaar te houden, toch een boek wat mij erg wist te boeien. De zoektocht naar de afkomst van Giovanni Borgia, een van de hoofdpersoon blijft tot het eind een mysterie. Ook leuk was het om de verhaallijn door de ogen van diverse personen te zien die in meer of mindere mate te maken hebben met deze Borgia.
Yuè
DNF. 60% and almost 200 pages later, I decided to give up. It's a shame, because I did like Haasse's other book Oeroeg (although... "like" is a big word for a book I needed to read for school). My friend Nini recommended both of them, but the story of Oeroeg was way better. This one, on the other hand, is just annoying and confusing as fuck. Putting it on my worst-shelf.
Janet
Aug 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mooi historisch gegeven: hoe verloopt het leven van een bastaardkind (uit de Borgia familie?) in het Italie van het begin van de 16e eeuw.
De eerste hoofdstukken Wikipedia nodig gehad om de hoofdpersonen;( het boek wordt geschreven vanuit het perspectief van meerdere hoofdpersonen, een mooie stijl.) en alle historische gegevens te kunnen plaatsen Daarna een mooi meeslepend verhaal.
Eileen Iciek
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed, but not as good as In a Dark Wood Wandering A Novel of the Middle Ages by Hella S. Haasse .
Bonnie
Aug 31, 2012 rated it liked it
I agree with someone else who reviewed this book, not knowing anything about 16th century Italy. Half the time I had no clue who they were talking about, but I completely loved the way this author writes and would read more of her books if they were available.
Jorg Van Velzen
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Misschien dat Hella Haasse onbewust mijn liefde voor geschiedenis heeft aangewakkerd, maar op de een of andere manier moet ik vaak aan dit boek denken; wat toegankelijker dan Woud der verwachting, naar net zo mooi geschreven.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please adde page number to ISBN 9788498152296 3 13 Apr 17, 2019 09:34AM  

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Hella S. Haasse (1918 - 2011) was born in Batavia, modern-day Jakarta. She moved to the Netherlands after secondary school. In 1945 she debuted with a collection of poems, entitled Stroomversnelling (Momentum). She made her name three years later with the novella given out to mark the Dutch Book Week, Oeroeg (The Black Lake, 1948). As with much of her work, this tale of the friendship between a ...more
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“Despite masks and fancy dress I couldn't lose myself for one instant in all this exuberance. You have to be an Italian, lighthearted and easily enflamed, to be absorbed into the frenzy of Carnival.” 1 likes
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