Women's Writing in Italy, 1400–1650
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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This book pulls together the ﬁndings and musings of almost twenty years of teaching and researching the literary history of women’s writing in Italy. My intellectual debts are correspondingly vast, and I cannot hope to summarize them adequately here. The ﬁeld has expanded and developed beyond measure since I ﬁrst started to interest myself in it in the late 1980s. ...
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Did women have a renaissance? In the three decades since Joan Kelly posed this question in her now classic essay of that title, an immense volume of work has been devoted to examining the position of women in the cultural era to which the slippery but convenient chronological label of “Renaissance” still clings.1 This recent work has added vastly to our knowledge of...
Chapter One. Origins: (1400‒1500)
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The bulk of the present volume is occupied with a “long sixteenth century,” comprising the years from around 1490 to1610: the effective life cycle of the tradition of vernacular women’s writing that forms the main subject of the book. This tradition cannot, however, be studied adequately without a consideration of the century or so prior to its inception. It was ...
Chapter Two. Translation: (1490‒1550)
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As chapter 1 documents, the ﬁfteenth century was crucial for the emergence of the ﬁgure of the secular female intellectual in Italy: barely visible at the beginning of the century, by its end she was an established, if still exotic, cultural type. The diffusion of exemplary discourses on “famous women” in Latin and the vernacular had familiarized at least the literate ...
Chapter Three. Diffusion: (1540‒1560)
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Out with the old, in with the new. Only months after the Florentine Academy had assembled to take leave of Colonna, the ﬁrst secular poetic collection by a woman other than Colonna to be published was brought out by Gabriele Giolito in Venice, under the title of Rime della Signora Tullia diAragona et di diversi a lei (1547). The author, the famed courtesan Tullia ...
Chapter Four. Intermezzo: (1560‒1580)
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One ofthe most interesting and original of mid-sixteenth-century Italian women writers, mentioned brieﬂy toward the end of the last chapter, was the Paduan Giulia Bigolina, author of a romance, Urania, and a novella collection seemingly of quite considerable ambition and scale. Bigolina’s work anticipates women’s writing in the later Cinquecento in its experi-...
Chapter Five. Affirmation: (1580‒1620)
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The phase in the history of early modern Italian women’s writing that we are moving on to consider in the present chapter is in many ways the most remarkable of all those examined in this study. In the twenty-three years between 1538 and 1560, twenty new works authored by women were published in Italy, thirteen of which were collections of lyric and occasional ...
Chapter Six. Backlash: (1590‒1650)
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In 1593, in Bergamo, Muzio Manfredi, whom we encountered in the last chapter as a poet, academician, and professional ﬂatterer of “the ladies,” published what must probably be considered his most ambitious and serious work, the tragedy Semiramis.1 The play had been written some years earlier and had attained a degree of fame as one of the plays short-listed ...
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Looking back over this volume’s examination of women’s literary contribution during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Italy, it is hard not to be struck by the uncanny likeness between the social proﬁle of the most representative and successful women writers in a given period and the type of the poetic donnato whom male writers of the time most characteristi-...
Appendix A. Published Writings By Italian Women, Fifteenth to Seventeenth Centuries
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Appendix B. Dedications of Published Works By Women
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Page Count: 496
Publication Year: 2008