Lucrezia Marinella and the "Querelle des Femmes" in Seventeenth-Century Italy

Lucrezia Marinella and the "Querelle des Femmes" in Seventeenth-Century Italy

Lucrezia Marinella and the "Querelle des Femmes" in Seventeenth-Century Italy

Lucrezia Marinella and the "Querelle des Femmes" in Seventeenth-Century Italy

Synopsis

This book intends to prove that Lucrezia Marinella should be included in the Italian and European literary canons as a most remarkable contributor, as she excelled in several literary genres: epic, hagiography, poetry, and treatise writing. It also examines the place that Marinella holds within the dominant literary tradition of seventeenth-century Italy as a writer, as well as a woman who lived within a predominantly patriarchal culture. Integrating its values and expectations into her own view of reality, Marinella interprets literary tradition through her perspective by presenting female 'heroines' engaged within the pastoral and epic traditions, the allegorical mode, and the spiritual quest.

The purpose of most of her work is to show the 'nobility and excellence' of women and to defend the reputation of women from the slander directed at them by men. Although several articles have been written on various aspects of Marinellas work, a thorough and critical analysis of her most important works,and especially of her last one, together with an assessment of her place in Venetian, Italian, and European womens literary histories, are still missing. This book fills that void.

Excerpt

In italy, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a large number of female writers took center stage, thanks to a felicitous encounter of favorable elements from the religious, social, and linguistic domains, which allowed women to write and publish their work. in numerous cities women wrote love and religious poetry, imitating Petrarch and other male poets, but with a different, or “feminine” tone and voice. the “Serenissima” Republic of Venice is the Italian city-state that produced the largest number of women writers between 1530 and 1650. Thanks to its location and commercial activity, the largest number of printing presses in Europe, and a culture of religious tolerance and liberal social policy, Venice became a safe haven for all those who found themselves fleeing other cities’ restrictive and often dangerous regulatory governments. Venetian leaders allowed the city’s women writers to flourish and often celebrated them as patriotic personalities, who bestowed glory and fame to their homeland. Women from different social backgrounds, including “honest” courtesans such as Gaspara Stampa and Veronica Franco, or “cittadine” like Moderata Fonte, Veronica Gambara, Arcangela Tarabotti, and Lucrezia Marinella, left us remarkable works in rhyme and prose.

The most prolific writer of this group of women is certainly Lucrezia Marinella, who, born in 1571, published most of her work between 1600 and 1653, the year of her death. She was the daughter of a doctor, who is also the author of two books in support of women, Gli ornamenti delle donne (Women’s ornaments; Venice, 1562) and Le medicine partenenti alle infirmità delle donne (Medication concerning women’s illnesses; Venice, 1563). Encouraged by her father and brother, Marinella spent most of her days in her father’s library, studying and composing epics, pastorals, poems, religious works, and treatises. Marinella’s late marriage also aided her intellectual formation and the production of her literary oeuvre. Paola Malpezzi Price . . .

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