A History of Women's Writing in Italy. (Reviews).Letizia Panizza and Sharon Wood Sharon Adele Wood (born May 18, 1957) is a Canadian mountaineer. On May 20, 1986, at 9:00 pm, accompanied by Dwayne Congdon, she became the first North American woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. , eds. A History of Women's Writing in Italy Cambridge UK and New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (known colloquially as CUP) is a publisher given a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1534, and one of the two privileged presses (the other being Oxford University Press). , 2000. 361 pp. $74.95 (cl), $27.95 (pbk). ISBN ISBN
International Standard Book Number
ISBN International Standard Book Number
ISBN n abbr (= International Standard Book Number) → ISBN m : 0-521-57088-3 (cl), 0-521-57813-2 (pbk).
Divided into historical periods and further subdivided by genre, this volume is a solid introduction to the writings (not necessarily literary) of women in Italy across seven centuries, from 1350 to the final decade of the twentieth century. Only the first part of the volume covers the early modern period, totalling some ninety pages and six chapters, but the book as a whole offers an intelligent and fairly complete overview of the figures, character, and socio-cultural frameworks comprising the female contribution to Italian letters. The essays are supplemented with an alphabetically arranged "Bibliographic guide" that includes a brief critical bibliography, as well as mini-bios of the authors and lists of their major works. A substantial "Bibliography" and a good "Index" complete the volume. This is a well-produced reference work that functions capably as a gendered literary history while concurrently providing some insightful textual analysis.
The six contributions to Part I, titled "The Renaissance, Counter-Reformation and seventeenth century," include surveys of the epistolary e·pis·to·lar·y
1. Of or associated with letters or the writing of letters.
2. Being in the form of a letter: epistolary exchanges.
3. , the Quattrocento quat·tro·cen·to
The 15th-century period of Italian art and literature.
[Italian, short for (mil) quattrocento, one thousand four hundred : quattro, four (from Latin (divided by poetry and prose), the lyric, fiction, polemical po·lem·ic
1. A controversial argument, especially one refuting or attacking a specific opinion or doctrine.
2. A person engaged in or inclined to controversy, argument, or refutation.
adj. prose, and devotional writing. Of the seven pieces, three have been expertly translated from the Italian. The contributors hail from British and Italian institutions, although some American scholars are represented elsewhere in the anthology. All have active publishing records in the areas covered by their essays. Of course, not all women writers can be represented or even mentioned in such a work but the contributors do a good job of selecting major and minor figures of some renown. Unlike traditional explorations of the female voice in the early modern period, there is an obvious attempt to avoid gender-bias -- although there is an acknowledgment of the prejudicial prej·u·di·cial
1. Detrimental; injurious.
2. Causing or tending to preconceived judgment or convictions: readings given to these women-authored texts in the past. The essayists The following is an abbreviated list of essayists, arranged alphabetically by last name (years of birth and death, if applicable, and country of birth, are noted in parentheses).
Note: An individual's country of birth is not always indicative of his or her nationality. seek to clarify and explain the cultural and social reasons for their subjects' choices of topics, genres, and style, focusing on the barriers to, as well as the openings for, female self-expression. These are not, however, detailed or extensive analyses of literary works and cultural models. No writer is dedicated more than a few pages and her works are treated with brevity. Nevertheless, the careful reader will come away with a good sense of the period, the issues, the motifs, and the style of the writers presented. The essays are intended as appetizers, not entrees.
The division of the first section by genre leads to some unavoidable repetitions since some female authors used several forms: for example, Veronica Franco Veronica Franco (1546-1591) was a poet and courtesan in sixteenth-century Venice.  Life as a Courtesan
Renaissance Venetian society recognized two different classes of courtesans: the cortigiana onesta, the intellectual courtesan, and the was both a poet and an epistolarian, while St. Catherine There are seven St. Catherines:
For the most part, the analyses do not propose polemical or unusual views or interpretations. The tone of all the essays is direct and informative, rather than subjective and controversial. The goal is the diffusion of knowledge about subjects that are often, regrettably, ignored in standard literary histories. While all the contributions show respect and admiration for the lives and works of the women represented, the approach is not militantly feminist. The chapter topics are also indicative of current scholarly trends, such as Gabriella Zarri's essay on religious writings or the repeated references to feminine epistolaries. Some discussions dispute long-standing attitudes. For example, Giovanna Rabitti declares a preference for Veronica Gambara among sixteenth-century poets while little known writers such as Maddalena Campiglia are given as much space as the more famous Chiara Matraini or Gaspara Stampa Gaspara Stampa (1523-1554) was an Italian poet. Life
Her father Bartolomeo was a dealer in Padua, coming from Milan. When she was eight her father died and her mother, Cecilia, moved to Venice with all her children (Gaspara, Cassandra and Baldassarre), whom she educated . Similarly, little studied genres like the female-authored romance is discussed as extensively as the mu ch-studied phenomenon of female Petrarchism. While the decision to highlight lesser known genres and writers could be criticized, it does foster a greater understanding of the broader participation of women in the writing process in general, whether or not they achieved enduring success or fame.
On the whole, this book will make an excellent addition to any public or school library as well as to any personal collection for those with an interest in women's writing.