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The Female Voice: Lyrical Expression in the Writings of Five Italian Renaissance Poets


Petra Wend

This study provides an analysis of the lyric poetry of five female Renaissance authors: Tullia d'Aragona, Vittoria Colonna, Veronica Franco, Chiara Matraini, and Gaspara Stampa, whose backgrounds and whose creative output are typical of the rich variety of work produced by women during the sixteenth century, and determines both their individual or 'emancipatory' features and their originality. Brief introductory chapters on Petrarchism and the concept of the Renaissance woman are followed by a detailed analysis of the authors' poetry in relation to both the work of Petrarch himself and the implicit contrast among his disciples between their desire for individuality and the need to conform to a precise style of composition and expression.
Contents: The sixteenth-century woman and her poetry: love, eroticism - Education, intellect - Self-confidence as 'donna', 'cortigiana', 'poetessa' - Female symbolism in nature - Scholarship, religion - Language and style: original or conventional?