The Sword and the Pen
Women, Politics, and Poetry in Sixteenth-Century Siena
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Notre Dame Press
Title Page, Copyright
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My expressions of thanks must start in Siena. First and foremost, I wish to thank the staff at the Archivio di Stato di Siena and at the Bi - blioteca degli Intronati di Siena. Everyone at these two wonderful institutions, from their respective directors, Carla Zarrilli and Daniele Danesi, to the reading room personnel, ...
Notes on Texts and Translation
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In the mid–sixteenth century, as the ancient republic of Siena was coming to an end, torn apart by insoluble internal divisions and by overwhelming external forces, a group of women suddenly appeared on the city’s cultural landscape and began to compose poetry that attracted the attention not only of the local literati but also of prominent writers elsewhere in Italy. ...
Chapter 1: At Petrarch’s Tomb: The First Bloom of a Short Springtime
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The story of women’s poetry in Renaissance Siena begins with a man and a pilgrimage. When Alessandro Piccolomini visited Petrarch’s tomb in August 1540, his journey inspired a number of women to unite virtually with him and enter into a poetic dialogue that stretched across time, space, and the sexes. ...
Chapter 2: Aurelia Petrucci: Admired and Mourned
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Aurelia Petrucci was born in Siena in 1511 and died there in 1542 at just thirty-one years of age.1 Although her life was brief, her renown was not so, at least not among Tuscan writers who praised and remembered her beauty, her charm, and her poetic talent. In her short life, Aurelia enjoyed a number of distinct advantages, ...
Chapter 3: Laudomia Forteguerri: Constructions of a Woman
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One of the most fascinating and possibly controversial women poets of Siena was Laudomia Forteguerri. She was born in 1515 into an old and prestigious Sienese noble family. She married twice, bore three children, composed a number of sonnets, and disappeared from the rec ords around 1555. ...
Chapter 4: Virginia Martini Salvi: An Indomitable Woman
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In previous chapters we met two Sienese women who were both poets and patriots. One was the politically perceptive Aurelia Petrucci, who spoke out against the internecine struggles that were weakening Siena and laying it open to foreign intervention; the other was the determined Laudomia Forteguerri, ...
Chapter 5: Epilogue
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The flowering of women poets in Siena in the mid-sixteenth century is both exceptional and exciting. Certainly other Sienese women, in previous times, had contributed to the intellectual life of the city and, in some cases, Italy—the most famous being Caterina Benincasa, better known as Saint Catherine of Siena (1347– 80), ...
Appendix: Selected Poetry by Sienese Women
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Index of First Lines
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Index of Names
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Page Count: 400
Publication Year: 2012