This book would not have been possible without the help and assistance of many people. In particular, I would like to thank Giovanna Rabitti for her introduction to this book and for her immense contribution to the study of Matraini’s work. I also thank Natalia Costa- Zalessow for the translation of the introduction and for her invaluable help in my own translations. The staffs of the Widener Library of Harvard University, the Biblioteca Nazionale di San Marco in Venice, and the Biblioteca Capitolare Feliniana in Lucca were most helpful. Additional valuable assistance in translation was provided by Janet Smarr, Susan Tarcov, Cinzia Rucellai, Laura Licata, Paula Phipps, Antonio Morena, Cinzia Scafetta, and Paolo de Ventura. A generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) enabled me to complete the translations.
Thanks to Liz Wilson, Katie Angelou, and Dan Duryea for their typing skills. My sincere gratitude goes to Al Rabil for the encouragement that got the book started and his great patience in seeing it through to the end. For her unflagging encouragement and support, I thank my friend Ellen Miller.
The publication of any book is a significant accomplishment, but so much more so for a recovering stroke victim. My 1996 stroke ended my teaching career and took away my spoken Italian and much of my freedom of movement. However, my ability to read and write in both English and Italian, and my passion for Chiara Matraini, remained intact. I began this book in 2000 after the conference “Strong Voices, Weak History: Medieval and Renaissance Women in Their Literary Canons” in Philadelphia where I met Al Rabil. The progress has been slow, but here I am at the end of my book. I encourage anyone who has had a stroke to believe that they can improve with help and to persevere in making their own dreams a reality.