Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Antonia Pulci: Florentine Drama for Convent and Festival: Seven Sacred Plays

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Antonia Pulci: Florentine Drama for Convent and Festival: Seven Sacred Plays

Article excerpt

Antonia Pulci: Florentine Drama for Convent and Festival. Seven Sacred Plays, trans. James Wyatt Cook (Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1996). xxx + z82 pp. ISBN o-226-68567-g. $33.oo; zG.50 (hard covers). $IS.oo; Ill.95 (P/b) Antonia Pulci (1452-1 Nol) was a gifted Florentine poet and playwright, whose sacred plays were mainly written for performance in confraternities and female convents. They reveal Pulci's familiarity with the hagiographic and didactic literature popular at the time, as well as with the great Florentine vernacular poets Dante and Petrarch. The refined composition of her drama also illustrates her mastery of the principal forms of Italian verse, especially ottava na, terra rima, and rima baciata.

In four of the plays, the principal female characters display singular intelligence, rationality, constancy, compassion, and emotional stability. Thematically, the plays often focus on the issues relevant to the author's female contemporaries, such as the choice between marriage and religious life, abusive husbands and admirers, the hazards of childbearing and the frustrations of motherhood. The unique strength of Pulci's female characters as well as her choice of typically female themes have prompted the editor and translator, James Wyatt Cook, to compare the author with Christine de Pizan, as one of the major representatives of the `other voice' in European culture, challen inR the dominant misogy:nist tradition. …

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