Other texts among the later Epistles defined women as the weaker sex and emphasized their subordination to their husbands 1 Pt ; Col ; Eph — These passages from the New Testament became the arsenal employed by theologians of the early church to transmit negative attitudes toward women to medieval Christian culture—above all, Tertullian On the Apparel of Women , Jerome Against Jovinian , and Augustine The Literal Meaning of Genesis. The philosophical, legal, and religious traditions born in antiquity formed the basis of the medieval intellectual synthesis wrought by trained thinkers, mostly clerics, writing in Latin and based largely in universities.
Medieval stories, poems, and epics also portrayed women negatively—as lustful and deceitful—while praising good housekeepers and loyal wives as replicas of the Virgin Mary or the female saints and martyrs. It was always adulterous. From the conventions of courtly love derive modern Western notions of romantic love.
The tradition has had an impact disproportionate to its size, for it affected only a tiny elite, and very few women. The exaltation of the female lover probably does not reflect a higher evaluation of women or a step toward their sexual liberation. More likely it gives expression to the social and sexual tensions besetting the knightly class at a specific historical juncture. The literary fashion of courtly love was on the wane by the thirteenth century, when the widely read Romance of the Rose was composed in French by two authors of significantly different dispositions.
Guillaume de Lorris composed the initial four thousand verses about , and Jean de Meun added about seventeen thousand verses—more than four times the original—about The fragment composed by Guillaume de Lorris stands squarely in the tradition of courtly love. Here the poet, in a dream, is admitted into a walled garden where he finds a magic fountain in which a rosebush is reflected. He longs to pick one rose, but the thorns prevent his doing so, even as he is wounded by arrows from the god of love, whose commands he agrees to obey.
The longer part of the Romance by Jean de Meun also describes a dream. But here allegorical characters give long didactic speeches, providing a social satire on a variety of themes, some pertaining to women.
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Love is an anxious and tormented state, the poem explains: women are greedy and manipulative, marriage is miserable, beautiful women are lustful, ugly ones cease to please, and a chaste woman is as rare as a black swan. The Lamentations sum up medieval attitudes toward women and provoked the important response by Christine de Pizan in her Book of the City of Ladies.
In , Giovanni Boccaccio wrote Il Corbaccio, another antifeminist manifesto, although ironically by an author whose other works pioneered new directions in Renaissance thought. The former husband of his lover appears to Boccaccio, condemning his unmoderated lust and detailing the defects of women.
Anthony K. Cassell, rev. Binghamton, N. Assigned to subordinate positions in the household and the church, they were barred from significant participation in public life. Medieval European households, like those in antiquity and in nonWestern civilizations, were headed by males. It was the male serf or peasant , feudal lord, town merchant, or citizen who was polled or taxed or succeeded to an inheritance or had any acknowledged public role, although his wife or widow could stand as a temporary surrogate. From about , the position of property-holding males was further enhanced: inheritance was confined to the male, or agnate, line—with depressing consequences for women.
Her dowry was managed by her husband, and at her death it normally passed to her children by him. Women bore children through all the years of their fertility, and many died in childbirth. They were also responsible for raising young children up to six or seven. In the propertied classes that responsibility was shared, since it was common for a wet nurse to take over breast-feeding and for servants to perform other chores. Women trained their daughters in the household duties appropriate to their status, nearly always tasks associated with textiles: spinning, weaving, sewing, embroidering.
Their sons were sent out of the house as apprentices or students, or their training was assumed by fathers in later childhood and adolescence. Women also worked. All wives produced or embellished textiles and did the housekeeping, while wealthy ones managed servants. These labors were unpaid or poorly paid but often contributed substantially to family wealth. A woman could enter a convent, parallel in function to the monasteries for men that evolved in the early Christian centuries.
In the convent, a woman pledged herself to a celibate life, lived according to strict community rules, and worshiped daily. Often the convent offered training in Latin, allowing some women to become considerable scholars and authors as well as scribes, artists, and musicians. For women who chose the conventual life, the benefits could be enormous, but for numerous others placed in convents by paternal choice, the life could be restrictive and burdensome.
The conventual life declined as an alternative for women as the modern age approached. Reformed monastic institutions resisted responsibility for related female orders. The church increasingly restricted female institutional life by insisting on closer male supervision. Women often sought other options. Some joined the communities of laywomen that sprang up spontaneously in the thirteenth century in the urban zones of western Europe, especially in Flanders and Italy.
Some joined the heretical movements that flourished in late medieval Christendom, whose anticlerical and often antifamily positions particularly appealed to women. In all, although the options offered to women by the church were sometimes less than satisfactory, they were sometimes richly rewarding.
After , the convent remained an option only in Roman Catholic territories. Protestantism engendered an ideal of marriage as a heroic endeavor and appeared to place husband and wife on a more equal footing. Sermons and treatises, however, still called for female subordination and obedience. The process began as part of a larger cultural movement that entailed the critical reexamination of ideas inherited from the ancient and medieval past.
The humanists launched that critical reexamination. Spreading in the sixteenth century from Italy to the rest of Europe, it fueled the literary, scientific, and philosophical movements of the era and laid the basis for the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. Humanists regarded the Scholastic philosophy of medieval universities as out of touch with the realities of urban life.
They found in the rhetorical discourse of classical Rome a language adapted to civic life and public speech. They learned to read, speak, and write classical Latin and, eventually, classical Greek. They founded schools to teach others to do so, establishing the pattern for elementary and secondary education for the next three hundred years. In the service of complex government bureaucracies, humanists employed their skills to write eloquent letters, deliver public orations, and formulate public policy.
They developed new scripts for copying manuscripts and used the new printing press to disseminate texts, for which they created methods of critical editing. Humanism was a movement led by males who accepted the evaluation of women in ancient texts and generally shared the misogynist perceptions of their culture. Female humanists, as we will see, did not. Yet humanism also opened the door to a reevaluation of the nature and capacity of women. By calling authors, texts, and ideas into question, it made possible the fundamental rereading of the whole intellectual tradition that was required in order to free women from cultural prejudice and social subordination.
The other voice first appeared when, after so many centuries, the accumulation of misogynist concepts evoked a response from a capable female defender: Christine de Pizan — A pioneer, she has received the message of female inferiority and rejected it. From the fourteenth 4. Recent monographs and articles have begun to hint at the great range of this movement, involving probably several thousand titles. About , the same Boccaccio whose Corbaccio rehearses the usual charges against female nature wrote another work, Concerning Famous Women.
A humanist treatise drawing on classical texts, it praised notable women: ninety-eight of them from pagan Greek and Roman antiquity, one Eve from the Bible, and seven from the medieval religious and cultural tradition; his book helped make all readers aware of a sex normally condemned or forgotten.
Women who were active in the public realm—for example, rulers and warriors—were depicted as usually being lascivious and as suffering terrible punishments for entering the masculine sphere. Whereas Boccaccio portrays female virtue as exceptional, she depicts it as universal. Many women in history were leaders, or remained chaste despite the lascivious approaches of men, or were visionaries and brave martyrs.
Whatever their embedded prejudices, these works drove home to the public the possibility of female excellence. At the same time, many questions remained: Could a woman be virtuous? Could she perform noteworthy deeds? Was she even, strictly speaking, of the same human species as men? The debate resurfaced repeatedly over the next two hundred years. The Champion of Women —42 by Martin Le Franc addresses once again the negative views of women presented in The Romance of the Rose and offers counterevidence of female virtue and achievement. A cameo of the debate on women is included in The Courtier, one of the most widely read books of the era, published by the Italian Baldassare Castiglione in and immediately translated into other European vernaculars.
The Courtier depicts a series of evenings at the court of the duke of Urbino in which many men and some women of the highest social stratum amuse themselves by discussing a range of literary and social issues. Gasparo argues the innate inferiority of women and their inclination to vice.
Only in bearing children do they profit the world. Giuliano counters that women share the same spiritual and mental capacities as men and may excel in wisdom and action. Men and women are of the same essence: just as no stone can be more perfectly a stone than another, so no human being can be more perfectly human than others, whether male or female.
It was an astonishing assertion, boldly made to an audience as large as all Europe. Humanism provided the materials for a positive counterconcept to the misogyny embedded in Scholastic philosophy and law and inherited from the Greek, Roman, and Christian pasts. A series of humanist treatises on marriage and family, on education and deportment, and on the nature of women helped construct these new perspectives.
These themes reappear in later humanist works on marriage and the education of women by Juan Luis Vives and Erasmus. Both were moderately sympathetic to the condition of women without reaching beyond the usual masculine prescriptions for female behavior. An outlook more favorable to women characterizes the nearly unknown work In Praise of Women ca. In addition to providing a catalog of illustrious women, Goggio argued that male and female are the same in essence, but that women reworking the Adam and Eve narrative from quite a new angle are actually superior.
In the same vein, the Italian humanist Mario Equicola asserted the spiritual equality of men and women in On Women This humanist tradition of treatises defending the worthiness of women culminates in the work of Henricus Cornelius Agrippa On the Nobility and Preeminence of the Female Sex. No work by a male humanist more succinctly or explicitly presents the case for female dignity. While humanists grappled with the issues pertaining to women and family, other learned men turned their attention to what they perceived as a very great problem: witches.
Witch-hunting manuals, explorations of the witch phenomenon, and even defenses of witches are not at first glance pertinent to the tradition of the other voice. But they do relate in this way: most accused witches were women. The hostility aroused by supposed witch activity is comparable to the hostility aroused by women. The evil deeds the victims of the hunt were charged with were exaggerations of the vices to which, many believed, all women were prone. These traits inclined women to make a bargain with the devil— sealed by sexual intercourse—by which they acquired unholy powers.
Such bizarre claims, far from being rejected by rational men, were broadcast by intellectuals. In , he explained the witch phenomenon thus, without discarding belief in diabolism: the devil deluded foolish old women afflicted by melancholia, causing them to believe they had magical powers. Only a few women wrote anything before the dawn of the modern era, for three reasons. First, they rarely received the education that would enable them to write. Second, they were not admitted to the public roles—as administrator, bureaucrat, lawyer or notary, or university professor—in which they might gain knowledge of the kinds of things the literate public thought worth writing about.
Third, the culture imposed silence on women, considering speaking out a form of unchastity. Given these conditions, it is remarkable that any women wrote. Those who did before the fourteenth century were almost always nuns or religious women whose isolation made their pronouncements more acceptable. Women continued to write devotional literature, although not always as cloistered nuns. They also wrote diaries, often intended as keepsakes for their children; books of advice to their sons and daughters; letters to family members and friends; and family memoirs, in a few cases elaborate enough to be considered histories.
In addition to The Book of the City of Ladies and her critiques of The Romance of the Rose, she wrote The Treasure of the City of Ladies a guide to social decorum for women , an advice book for her son, much courtly verse, and a full-scale history of the reign of King Charles V of France. Women who did not themselves write but encouraged others to do so boosted the development of an alternative tradition. Highly placed women patrons supported authors, artists, musicians, poets, and learned men. Such patrons, drawn mostly from the Italian elites and the courts of northern Europe, figure disproportionately as the dedicatees of the important works of early feminism.
These authors presumed that their efforts would be welcome to female patrons, or they may have written at the bidding of those patrons. Silent themselves, perhaps even unresponsive, these loftily placed women helped shape the tradition of the other voice. The literary forms and patterns in which the tradition of the other voice presented itself have now been sketched. It remains to highlight the major issues around which this tradition crystallizes.
In brief, there are four problems to which our authors return again and again, in plays and catalogs, in verse and letters, in treatises and dialogues, in every language: the problem of chastity, the problem of power, the problem of speech, and the problem of knowledge. Of these the greatest, preconditioning the others, is the problem of chastity.
Women themselves and their defenders— without disputing the validity of the standard—responded that women were capable of chastity. The requirement of chastity kept women at home, silenced them, isolated them, left them in ignorance. It was the source of all other impediments. Why was it so important to the society of men, of whom chastity was not required, and who more often than not considered it their right to violate the chastity of any woman they encountered? Female chastity ensured the continuity of the male-headed household.
The whole system of the integrity of the household and the transmission of property was bound up in female chastity. Such a requirement pertained only to property-owning classes, of course. Poor women could not expect to maintain their chastity, least of all if they were in contact with high-status men to whom all women but those of their own household were prey. In Catholic Europe, the requirement of chastity was further buttressed by moral and religious imperatives.
Original sin was inextricably linked with the sexual act. Virginity was seen as heroic virtue, far more impressive than, say, the avoidance of idleness or greed. Monasticism, the cultural institution that dominated medieval Europe for centuries, was grounded in the renunciation of the flesh. The Catholic reform of the eleventh century imposed a similar standard on all the clergy and a heightened awareness of sexual requirements on all the laity.
Although men were asked to be chaste, female unchastity was much worse: it led to the devil, as Eve had led mankind to sin. To such requirements, women and their defenders protested their innocence. Furthermore, following the example of holy women who had escaped the requirements of family and sought the religious life, some women began to conceive of female communities as alternatives both to family and to the cloister. Moderata Fonte and Mary Astell envisioned others.
Here women not only might escape, if briefly, the subordinate position that life in the family entailed but might also make claims to power, exercise their capacity for speech, and display their knowledge. Only men were citizens, only men bore arms, only men could be chiefs or lords or kings. There were exceptions that did not disprove the rule, when wives or widows or mothers took the place of men, awaiting their return or the maturation of a male heir.
A woman who attempted to rule in her own right was perceived as an anomaly, a monster, at once a deformed woman and an insufficient male, sexually confused and consequently unsafe. The association of such images with women who held or sought power explains some otherwise odd features of early modern culture.
She was a prince, and manly, even though she was female. She was also she claimed virginal, a condition absolutely essential if she was to avoid the attacks of her opponents. She chose as one symbol the figure of Artemisia, an androgynous ancient warrior-heroine who combined a female persona with masculine powers. Power in a woman, without such sexual imagery, seems to have been indigestible by the culture. The old tune was sung by the Scots reformer John Knox in his First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women ; for him rule by women, defects in nature, was a hideous contradiction in terms.
The confused sexuality of the imagery of female potency was not reserved for rulers. Any woman who excelled was likely to be called an Amazon, recalling the self-mutilated warrior women of antiquity who repudiated all men, gave up their sons, and raised only their daughters. The catalogs of notable women often showed those female heroes dressed in armor, armed to the teeth, like men.
Excellence in a woman was perceived as a claim for power, and power was reserved for the masculine realm. A woman who possessed either one was masculinized and lost title to her own female identity. A good woman spoke little. Excessive speech was an indication of unchastity. By speech, women seduced men. Eve had lured Adam into sin by her speech. Accused witches were commonly accused of having spoken abusively, or irrationally, or simply too much.
Another Italian humanist, Leonardo Bruni, in advising a noblewoman on her studies, barred her not from speech but from public speaking. That was reserved for men. Related to the problem of speech was that of costume—another, if silent, form of self-expression. Assigned the task of pleasing men as their primary occupation, elite women often tended toward elaborate costume, hairdressing, and the use of cosmetics.
Clergy and secular moralists alike condemned these practices. Any further indulgence in adornment was akin to unchastity. When the Italian noblewoman Isotta Nogarola had begun to attain a reputation as a humanist, she was accused of incest—a telling instance of the association of learning in women with unchastity. That chilling association inclined any woman who was educated to deny that she was or to make exaggerated claims of heroic chastity.
If educated women were pursued with suspicions of sexual misconduct, women seeking an education faced an even more daunting obstacle: the assumption that women were by nature incapable of learning, that reasoning was a particularly masculine ability. Just as they proclaimed their chastity, women and their defenders insisted on their capacity for learning.
The pioneers of female education were the Italian women humanists who managed to attain a literacy in Latin and a knowledge of classical and Christian literature equivalent to that of prominent men. Only when women were educated to the same standard as male leaders would they be able to raise that other voice and insist on their dignity as human beings morally, intellectually, and legally equal to men. The other voice, a voice of protest, was mostly female, but it was also male.
It spoke in the vernaculars and in Latin, in treatises and dialogues, in plays and poetry, in letters and diaries, and in pamphlets. It battered at the wall of prejudice that encircled women and raised a banner announcing its claims. The female was equal or even superior to the male in essential nature—moral, spiritual, and intellectual. Women were capable of higher education, of holding positions of power and influence in the public realm, and of speaking and writing persuasively. During the period —, the other voice remained only a voice, and one only dimly heard. It did not result—yet—in an alteration of social patterns.
Indeed, to this day they have not entirely been altered. Yet the call for justice issued as long as six centuries ago by those writing in the tradition of the other voice must be recognized as the source and origin of the mature feminist tradition and of the realignment of social institutions accomplished in the modern age. We thank the volume editors in this series, who responded with many suggestions to an earlier draft of this introduction, making it a collaborative enterprise. Many of their suggestions and criticisms have resulted in revisions of this introduction, although we remain responsible for the final product.
Inventory no. Reproduced by permission of the Museo Civico, Vicenza. This neglect is unfortunate, since Campiglia is potentially a figure of great interest to presentday readers, on account of both her unconventional life and the originality and distinction of her writings, qualities especially evident in her most substantial literary work, the pastoral drama Flori , presented here in its first modern edition.
By the time Campiglia came to write, a tradition of published writings by women was already well established in Italy, stimulated by the vast publishing success enjoyed by the poetry of Vittoria Colonna — , which had first appeared in the late s. Although it is sometimes maintained that this tradition faded in the latter decades of the sixteenth century as a result of the reactionary cultural policies of the Counter-Reformation, there is in fact little evidence that this was the case.
Women continued to write and be published in this period, and to innovate within the tradition; indeed, it is around this time that we first see Italian women beginning to venture beyond the bounds of lyric and devotional verse, which had up to this point comprised the majority of their output, into a more varied production, including chivalric romance and epic, religious narrative, and pastoral drama.
Of her other substantial works, her pastoral eclogue Calisa is similarly innovative in terms of genre, while her Discourse on the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is also unusual for a woman writer in this period, as an extended work of devotional prose. While in many ways adhering to the highly standardized poetic and dramatic conventions of pastoral drama, Flori significantly departs from them in other respects, not least in its striking portrayal of its central protagonist, the nymph Flori, whose transgressive passions for, in turn, her fellownymph Amaranta and the wandering shepherd Alessi form the nucleus of the main plot of the play.
In her representation of Flori, Campiglia exploits the conventional pastoral type of the nymph vowed to chastity in the service of Diana to explore the dilemmas of a woman whose intellectual and affective impulses conflict with existing social values. In this respect, Flori offers a fascinating point of comparison with the better-known work of Moderata Fonte, whose Floridoro and The Worth of Women similarly exploit the resources of fantasy to explore issues of concrete social concern. As has been widely recognized in criticism, however, despite its obvious escapist thrust, the pastoral mode in literature was often used as a vehicle for an implicit critique of the contemporary social order.
The documents cited by Mantese suggest that the separation took place between June and April By the time she drafted her will in , Campiglia appears to have been living in the house of a cousin, Lavinia Gualdo —9. Morsolin, Maddalena Campiglia, 71—72; cf. In practice, far from suffering cultural isolation as a result of her socially equivocal position, Campiglia seems to have been well integrated in Vicentine literary society, in a manner attested by the barrage of commendatory sonnets that accompany her works. Nor was her circle of acquaintance circumscribed to her home city.
Her literary connections elsewhere included the poets Angelo Grillo — and Orsatto Giustinian —c. Among her most strenuously cultivated aristocratic patrons, meanwhile, were the poet Curzio Gonzaga? Morsolin, Maddalena Campiglia, By the late Cinquecento, Vicenza had for almost two centuries formed part of the mainland empire of the republic of Venice, and this political affiliation inevitably left its mark on the cultural life of the city. This had implications for the position of women.
Consistent with republican tradition, elite women in Venice had conventionally maintained a relatively low cultural profile. It is striking, for example, how few of the two hundred or so published female writers recorded in Italy in this period came from Venetian patrician families. Soragna, men Fonte, The Worth of Women, On the lifestyle and values of the aristocratic elite of Vicenza, see also Grubb, Provincial Families of the Renaissance.
The best-known sixteenth-century female writer from a Venetian patrician background is Olimpia Malipiero d. Particularly interesting in relation to Campiglia is her connection with Barbara Torelli Benedetti of Parma —post , author of a pastoral drama, Partenia c. While we do not know precisely by what means Campiglia first entered into contact with Isabella Pallavicino Lupi, possible channels of connection are not lacking among her circles in Vicenza.
One of her closest literary associates in the city, the Brescian Benedictine Gregorio Ducchi d. Though it produced no writers of national distinction after Giangiorgio Trissino — , Vicenza had a thriving literary and intellectual scene, centering around the celebrated Accademia Olimpica Olympic Academy , which was especially noted in this period for its striking initiatives in the field of drama.
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Most noteworthy among the latter was the construction of the Teatro Olimpico Olympic Theater , originally de The text of Partenia survives in a single manuscript at the Biblioteca Statale of Cremona ms. Ducchi, La Schacheide. Ingegneri, Della poesia rappresentativa e del modo di rappresentare le favole sceniche, xxv—xxvi. Ingegneri spent an extended period in Vicenza —85 , and was closely involved with the theatrical scene in the city.
He is mentioned in the Flori under the pastoral pseudonym Leucippo; see p. Most notably, Paolo Chiappino? See below, p. Both are The Discourse was a novelty at the time of its publication, as an extended piece of devotional prose writing by a secular woman. A translation of selections from these writings is forthcoming in the present series, edited by Susan Haskins. The more substantial of the two works, Flori, published in , is a pastoral drama in five acts, chronicling the tortured, though ultimately felicitous, amorous career of its eponymous heroine. Both the Flori and Calisa are clearly oriented toward a less parochial audience than the earlier Discourse, and represent a bid by Campiglia for a visibility extending beyond her home city of Vicenza.
As Campiglia, Flori, favola boschereccia. Campiglia, Calisa, ecloga. The text is available in a modern edition, in Perrone, La Calisa di Maddalena Campiglia; her discussion of the text is on pp. Campiglia is referred to as Flori in poems by a number of contemporaries; see pp.
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Within this minor area of her literary production, one small corpus of works is especially worthy of interest. A tradition of dialect literature existed in many cities in Italy in this period, where it served as an expression of local civic identity and as an earthy counterpoint to the unrelenting gentility of the dominant, Tuscan poetic tradition. Precisely on account of its earthiness, however, this area of literary culture generally excluded female writers; the Rava anthology, which includes contributions by four female poets, all from the Veneto, is exceptional in this respect.
Like the other women published in the volume, Campiglia upholds gender decorum by writing in propria persona rather than adopting a comic peasant identity, as was the custom of male dialect poets. More generally, the presence of women in an anthology of this kind invites us to consider the distinctive character of the Venetian mainland as a cultural environment for female writers.
A fifth dialect poem by Campiglia, addressed to Menon during his lifetime, was included in another anthology published in the same year ibid. Other female writers of note living and writing on the Venetian mainland in this period were Issicratea Monte of Rovigo ? Certainly, there are grounds for thinking that Campiglia had plans for some such large-scale narrative work, given the hints to this effect both in her dedicatory letters to the Flori and Calisa, and in one of the commendatory sonnets by fellow poets that accompany the former work.
Of these writers, Issicratea Monte, at least, was known to Campiglia; see Mantese and Nardello, Due processi per eresia, See also Manfredi, Lettere brevissime, — Grillo, Poesie Sacre, poem lxxv. The sonnet is reproduced in Morsolin, Maddalena Campiglia, The term carme, however, more readily implies a narrative than a dramatic form. These first experiments, variously known as favola pastorale or boschereccia, developed out of a great range of existing tragicomic forms such as eclogues, mythological dramas, and pageants and were written by a few humanistically trained intellectuals and dramatists, mainly operating in Ferrara, but also in Mantua.
Aminta was first published in and went through no fewer than seventeen editions by the end of the century, rapidly establishing itself as a classic of the genre. See also note 43 below. The latter environment is particularly important. Although not published until , the Pastor fido was composed in the early s and circulated in manuscript in numerous cultural centers of northern Italy, including Venice and the university city of Padua, some twenty miles from Vicenza.
Another point of resemblance is the prominence Campiglia gives to the religious dimension of Arcadian society; her play is similarly structured around a ritual sacrifice conducted by a priest, and the outcome is predicted by an oracle. On the one hand, she is clearly eager to establish her credentials as a serious writer by showing herself to be familiar with current theoretical issues and aware of the potential weaknesses that Aristotelian critics might detect in her play.
The claim is significant, even if it is couched in the language Il Pastor fido was attacked for its inappropriate mingling of comedy and tragedy by Giason Denores, of the University of Padua, in , in a work that triggered fierce debate, especially in the area of the Veneto and Ferrara. For an outline of the quarrel — and its wider implications for poetry, see Weinberg, A History of Literary Criticism in the Italian Renaissance, 1: 26— 31; 2: — As was customary, the individual plot-strands intertwine over the five acts, through a series of often convoluted love intrigues among the Arcadian cast of nymphs and shepherds.
Through various encounters and frequent monologues these characters reveal their intrinsic nobility or baseness, as well as attitudes to marriage, death, authority especially religious , and that most important of pastoral preoccupations, love. Like most pastoral dramas, Flori is tragicomic, submitting its protagonists to the experiences of bereavement, madness, and unrequited passion before allowing them solace in the form of the concluding sequence of family reunions and love-matches. To summarize the plot briefly, in the first three acts the chaste nymph Flori is mad with obsessive love for her dead female companion, Amaranta.
She is released from this madness through a sacrifice organized by her concerned fellow Arcadians but, immediately afterwards, falls in love with an unknown shepherd, Alessi, who is passing through Arcadia at that time. On being reassured that Alessi returns her feelings act 5 , Flori astounds those around her by rejecting the option of marriage, resolving instead to establish a chaste union with her lover that will allow her to pursue her spiritual and intellectual aspirations.
After he too is cured by the sacrifice, Flori intervenes to unite Licori in marriage with her beloved. The action of the play is structured around the centrally positioned sacrifice 3. During the first half of the play, the Arcadians prepare this event with the hope of curing the madness of Flori and Androgeo. From this point, there is a distinct shift in tone. The predominantly melancholic mood, the morbid insistence on death, and dramatic representations of madness are dispelled and replaced by an atmosphere of hope and marvel, and by the promise of transcendence.
Flori herself, too, is radically transformed after the sacrifice. She now determines how her reciprocated love for Alessi is to be realized and arranges the marriage between Androgeo and Licori. In contrast to her incoherent, mad rambling at the start of the play, her often lengthy speeches reveal a striking linguistic and intellectual mastery, partic Such parenthetical citations are to act and scene of Flori; thus, 3.
Ingegneri, La danza di Venere, 71—74 act 3, scene 3. Even more provocatively, she challenges the institution of marriage, asserting the benefits of the single life as a woman. As was traditional in pastoral drama, the play is set in an ancient, pagan Arcadia, complete with its associated deities such as Pan, Diana, Venus, Pales who are ritually worshiped. Through this means, writers could lend a religious dimension to their work—beneath its ostensible paganism, the Renaissance Arcadia is imbued with Christian values—while avoiding the possible dangers of representing Christian rituals in a work of fiction intended for the stage.
Like many other Italian writers, after the Congregation of the Index was set up in , Campiglia would have been careful not to attract any unwanted attention from inquisitors, who had been actively engaged in censoring print publication in Vicenza since Despite its apparently peripheral status, the Darello episode has a degree of structural importance within the Flori, in that his accusation— Colla et al. See Mancini, I teatri del Veneto, 1, pt. Parenthetical citations refer to act and scene numbers in the English translation in this volume. Thus, for example, 2.
Darello is regarded by the Arcadians as being almost as loathsome as Death itself 3.
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Strikingly, then, evil is embodied by a male character, while perfection finds its representation in the nymph Flori. The priest Damone may acknowledge that humans can consciously choose evil over good, following the Catholic conception of Free Will 1. I realize now that the heavens rarely or never reward evil thoughts. Moralizing sententiae are sprinkled liberally throughout the play, highlighted by the capitalization of the first word in the Italian edition. As an actress, Andreini was less strictly bound by decorum than was a member of the civic elite like Campiglia, while, as a married woman in a supportive marriage, she had less to fear than Campiglia from malicious tongues.
Prime among these is the challenge the play offers to con- The heroine initially appears as a devoted member of the all-female entourage of the virgin goddess, Diana, interested only in hunting, and cruelly rejecting her suffering shepherd-lover.
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This entails the abandonment of a lifestyle that offers an unusually active model of feminine freedom, while conforming to contemporary Christian ideals of feminine chastity. Throughout her pastoral play, Campiglia tests the potential within the genre for an exploration of female autonomy, most strikingly in her polemical rejection of marriage as a resolution to the main plot. Following tradition, the two main female protagonists, Flori and Licori, are nymphs vowed to the service of Diana.
This he accepts without demur 5. Already present in embryo in the Italian lyric tradition from the time of Dante and Petrarch, this ideal had become codified, in a classicizing, Neoplatonic form, in the theoretical love literature of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, where it performed a valuable role in reconciling the courtly cult of love with the ascetic traditions of Christianity. Even Whether or not we accept the tantalizing hints in the text that Alessi may be identified with Torquato Tasso, we may find it plausible to accept the suggestion of Carlachiara Perrone, in her recent edition of Calisa, that the supportive and mutually admiring union of souls that Flori attains with Alessi may be seen as an idealized staging of the intellectual relationships Campiglia sought with her male literary peers.
The coincidence of ideas here is striking, especially since no mutual influence is apparent, and it may well be that this consonance in thinking stems from contextual factors common to both writers. Perrone, La Calisa di Maddalena Campiglia, On the possible identification of Alessi with Tasso, see note 92 to the English text in this volume. One immediately striking difference is that Fonte locates her vision of the celibate creative life for women within a circle of exclusively female relationships, while Campiglia envisages her celibate heroine within a supportive and equal relationship with a man.
Explicit depictions of female-female desire were extremely rare in the Italian Renaissance, both in literature and in theoretical writings on love; indeed, lesbianism is infrequently mentioned even in scientific or legal writings or in religious manuals listing condemned sexual practices. Traces of unease are certainly present in a number of the commendatory poems that accompany the text in its published edition, jarring oddly with the blandly eulogistic rhetorical conventions that normally govern such pieces.
Diversi componimenti, in Campiglia, Flori, sig. But such a reading would oversimplify what is in practice a more complex and ambiguous text. Two further considerations may be useful in understanding the signifi On the tradition of representing lesbianism as an amor impossibilis, see Traub, Renaissance of Lesbianism, 6. One is that this portrayal of female-female desire is one instance of a more general tendency in the play to foreground relationships between women.
Both Amaranta and Alessi are portrayed in the Flori as past or future inspirations for poetry. The significance of this becomes apparent when we consider the autobiographical dimension of the figure of Flori, which, as has been noted, becomes explicit in The last appearance in the play of Flori and Alessi 5. One role that the language of love and courtship had conventionally performed within sixteenth-century literary culture was that of mediating the relationship between male writers and their aristocratic female addressees.
In Calisa, casting herself in the role of Flori, Campiglia similarly uses the discourse of chaste erotic love to express her devotion to Pallavicino Lupi, depicted under the pastoral pseudonym of Calisa. The opening segment of Calisa depicts Edreo attempting to dissuade Flori of her love for an unknown nymph: a task, as he admits, that he has already attempted many times vainly in the past. Flori refuses to be persuaded, insisting that her passion goes too deep for reason.
It would be reductive, however, to regard the Calisa as purely defensive in this sense. One fea For the correct identification, see Pallantieri, La Bucolica di Virgilio, 2—3. Female writers typically established their authorial credentials by imitating the works of canonical male authors, especially Petrarch, and gained access to a public beyond their immediate circles through the mediation of male readers, editors, and publishers.
While Campiglia is no exception to this general pattern, in her idealized portrayal of her relationship with her female patron in the Calisa, she does appear to be adumbrating the notion of a more autonomous and less dependent female-authored literature, in which the erotic selfsufficiency of a love discourse that places women in the roles of both subject and object figures the discursive self-sufficiency of a text both created by and addressed to a woman.
Perrone, La Calisa di Maddalena Campiglia, 44— The relationship between the two women was celebrated in a lecture by Alessandro Piccolomini in the Paduan Accademia degli Infiammati Piccolomini, Lettura del S. Alessandro Piccolomini , and Agnolo Firenzuola mentions it as an example of a virtuous and chaste same-sex attraction between women, in contrast to the lascivious liaisons of Sappho Firenzuola, Celso: Dialogo delle bellezze delle donne, The possibility of a direct influence on Campiglia cannot be ruled out, especially given her contacts with the cultural sphere of Parma Margaret of Austria was, in later life, Duchess of Parma through her second marriage to Ottavio Farnese.
In this case, however, we must be aware that, by the end of the sixteenth century, erudite drama was not necessarily meant for performance at all. That said, however, a pastoral play was more likely to be performed than a comedy or tragedy, given the relatively undemanding staging requirements of pastorals, which might be performed even in informal outdoor settings.
Internal textual evidence suggests, however, that the play was intended for literary fruition. The play does include various performative features, the most obvious being the central ritual sacrifice, choreographed with a priest and choruses of shepherds and nymphs. See above, p. Rituals directed to pastoral gods in pastoral plays preceding Flori mostly remain off-stage. The echo episode is very short 3. Besides these omissions, moreover, the text as it stands suggests certain practical difficulties in staging. A feac. See Ingegneri, Della poesia rappresentativa, 13—15, Serrano, for example, remains hidden behind a tree throughout act 2, scene 4, only reappearing halfway through the next scene.
Later published pastorals by women writers, of which several exist, are all more conventional in character. Despite the provocative aspects of its treatment of gender, however, it would be misleading to represent the Flori as a work too radical or transgressive to be appreciated by contemporaries.
Interesting evidence of this is supplied in a series of commendatory poems that is attached to some copies of the published Flori as an appendix. See pp. Most prestigiously, in , she secured the accolade of a mention by the greatest poet of the day, Torquato Tasso, who politely speaks in a brief note to her of his paradoxical delight in seeing his own Aminta outshone by her Flori. The same tendency is apparent in the smaller group of poems accompanying the Calisa, which includes sonnets by the prestigious figures of Angelo Grillo and Curzio Gonzaga.
Letter of 12 August , in Tasso, Lettere, ed. Guasti see p. Manfredi, La Semiramis, tragedia, Baldi, Ecloghe miste, Despite its honorable object, the love of nymph for nymph can only be conceived as a travesty of nature. This is not to say that her name was entirely forgotten. Manfredi, Il Contrasto amoroso, Bergalli, Componimenti poetici, 2: 37— Where modern literary-critical studies are concerned, Campiglia was notably ill-served until the mids, when Carlachiara Perrone, of the University of Lecce, published a substantial article on the Calisa,97 followed by a critical edition of the text.
The critical pickings outside Italy are still more meager. As the preceding discussion affirms, the work of this challenging and original writer contains much that speaks directly to the critical preoccupations of our time. References to this and other modern works mentioned subsequently in the text are given in note 1 above. Maria Luisa Doglio. Lucca: Pacini Fazzi, La Mirtilla: A pastoral. Translated with an introduction and notes by Julie D. Baldi, Bernardino.
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Vicenza: Appresso Agostino dalla Noce, Ecloghe miste. Turin: Edizioni Res, Beccari, Agostino. Il Sacrificio, favola pastorale. Ferrara: Francesco di Rossi da Valenza, Ferrara: Alfonso Caraffa, Bergalli, Luisa, ed. Venice: Antonio Mora, Bigolina, Giulia. Valeria Finucci.
Rome: Bulzoni, Bronzini, Cristoforo. Settimana prima e giornata prima. Florence: Zanobi Pignoni, Calderari, Cesare. Vicenza: Agostino dalla Noce, Camilli, Camillo. Imprese illustri di diversi. Venice: Francesco Ziletti, Campiglia, Maddalena. Vicenza: Perin Libraro and Giorgio Greco, Flori, favola boscareccia. Calisa, ecloga. Vicenza: Giorgio Greco, Galatina: Congedo, Contarini, Luigi. Il vago e dilettevole giardino.
Vicenza: Heirs of Perin Libraro, Cucchetti, Giovanni Donato. La Pazzia: Favola pastorale. Ferrara: Vittorio Baldini, In certain copies of Flori, favola boscareccia, by Maddalena Campiglia, sig. See appendix A, Ducchi, Gregorio. La Schacheide. Piacenza: Gio[vanni] Bazachi, Firenzuola, Agnolo. Celso: Dialogo delle bellezze delle donne. In Opere, ed. Adriano Seroni, — Florence: Sansoni, Fonte, Moderata. The Worth of Women. Virginia Cox. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Gonzaga, Curzio.
Venice: Al segno del Leone, Gli inganni. Venice: Giovanni Antonio Rampazetti, Grillo, Angelo. Bergamo: Comin Ventura, Poesie sacre. Guarini, Battista. Il Pastor fido, tragicommedia pastorale. Venice: Giovanni Battista Ciotti, Marziano Guglielminetti. Turin: UTET, Le Lettere di Torguato Tasso, disposte per ordine di tempo. Cesare Guasti. Naples: Gabrielle Rondinella, Ingegneri, Angelo.
La danza di Venere. Vicenza: Stamperia Nova, Della poesia rappresentativa e del modo di rappresentare le favole sceniche. Lollio, Alberto. Aretusa, comedia pastorale. Ferrara: Valente Panizza, Manfredi, Muzio. La Semiramis, tragedia. Pavia: Heirs of Girolamo Bartoli, Il Contrasto amoroso. Venice: Giacomo Anton[io] Somascho, Lettere brevissime. Venice: Roberto Megietti, Ongaro, Antonio. Alceo, favola piscatoria. Pallantieri, Girolamo. La Bucolica di Virgilio, tradotta verso per verso. Parma: Fratelli Borsi, Piccolomini, Alessandro.
Lettura del S. Sannazaro, Jacopo. Francesco Erspamer, Milan: Mursia, Tasso, Torquato. Aminta, favola boscareccia. In La tragedia del Cinquecento, ed. Marco Ariani, 2: — Il teatro italiano, Turin: Einaudi, Le Lettere di Torquato Tasso, disposte per ordine di tempo. Naples: Gabriele Rondinella, Torelli Benedetti, Barbara. Partenia, favola boschereccia. Ellen Greene, — Andretta, Stefano. La venerabile superbia: Ortodossia e trasgressione nella vita di Suor Francesca Farnese — Andrews, Richard.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Peter Brand and Lino Pertile, — Letizia Panizza, — Oxford: European Humanities Research Centre, Ballarin, A. Il gusto e la moda nel Cinquecento vicentino e veneto. Mostra a Palazzo Chiericati, Vicenza, 30 maggio—15 dicembre, Vicenza: Direzione Musei Civici, Bandini, Fernando. Franco Barbieri and Paolo Preto, 3, pt. Alberto Broglio and Lellia Crucco Ruggini.
Vicenza: Neri Pozza, Barish, Jonas. Berry, Philippa. New York and London: Routledge, Bowers, Jane. Jane Bowers and Judith Tick, — Urbana: University of Illinois Press, Brown, Judith C. New York: Dover, Brundin, Abigail. Calore, Marina. Calvi, Paolo Antonio. Vicenza: Giovanni Battista Vendramini Mosca, Carrara, Enrico. La poesia pastorale. Milan: Francesco Vallardi, Cavazzini, Giancarlo. Padua: Centro Arti Grafiche, Cerasano, S.
London: Routledge, Ceruti Burgio, Anna. Donne di Parma.
Parma: PPS Editrice, — Chiappini di Sorio, Ileana. Marcella Bardella, 37— Vicenza: Tipografia Istituto San Gaetano, Chiodo, Domenico. Cian, Vittorio. Colla, Angelo, et al. Costabile, Patrizia. Rome: Istituto poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, Letizia Panizza and Sharon Wood, 52— Crescimbeni, Giovanni Maria. Venice: Lorenzo Basagio, Crovato, Giambattista.
La drammatica a Vicenza nel Cinquecento. Bologna: Arnaldo Forni, Daniele, Antonio. De Marco, Giuseppe. The verse will be further explored in a forthcoming publication. The fact that Torelli was one of only three to contribute verse to a popular work by Vincenzo Vincentio Ferrini, a Dominican preacher and Vicar General to the Bishop of Parma and Piacenza,26 strongly suggests her involvement with local religious circles, possi- bly through patronage or through connections with the Farnese, who Parte Prima.
Collected by him from the works of the most famous preachers of our time and from among the most illustrious contemporary authors], Venice: I Gionti, , fol. See appendix B, n5; his Lima universale appeared in five editions between and Introduction 13 were firm promoters of Catholic reform. Evidently, the youthful Paolo Filippi dalla Briga later secretary of the Duke of Savoy , who had been im- pressed by recitations of her verse, sought her out for poetic corre- spondence.
Her poetry must also have been considered a desirable ornament to works authored or edited by others. Copy consulted in the Biblioteca Palatina, Parma Misc. The first part of this work is dedicated to Lucretia Scotti Angosciola Contessa di San Paolo; Barbara Torelli Benedetti is the dedicatee of the shorter Sommario delle indulgenze e peregri- nationi di Gerusalemme, with separate title-page pp.
Venice: Appresso Zuane Zenaro, , It is likely that her aristocratic rank made her favor the long- standing practice among her peers of circulating her works discreetly in manuscript form for select audiences, rather than seeking the pub- licity afforded by print like many female contemporaries in Italy, who increasingly came not just from lower social ranks, but also from the minor nobility. He had clearly become close to Torelli by and remained so until at least , playing an in- strumental role in the early circulation and promotion of Partenia Paolo Filippi dalla Briga, I Complimenti….
Turin: Per Gio. Domenico Tarino, , fol. Aldershot UK: Ashgate, , — Francesco Agostino Della Chiesa, Theatro delle donne letterate. Con vn breue discorso del- la preminenza, e perfettione del sesso donnesco Mondovi: G. Introduction 15 and the preparation of the Cremona manuscript. These activities would have ac- corded well with his continuous though not always successful efforts to seek patronage, especially through courtly service and through the copious production of publications in which he advertised his con- nections with social and cultural elites and academies.
In both of these activities, Manfredi assiduously courted noblewomen either to win their grace directly, or, following a well-established courtly practice, to attract indirectly the favor of their consorts by masking his ambi- tion as amorous devotion. Torelli for her part may have favored Manfredi for his literary reputation, his noble pedi- gree, and his important connections in elite circles, which would have made him well suited to introduce her work to others and to facilitate communication where social decorum prevented face-to-face con- tact. Manfredi served as a courtier in several influential courts, in- cluding Parma under Farnese rule and Mantua under the Gonzagas, as well as its small but vibrant satellite court of Guastalla.
In , he offered the play as a court entertainment for the wedding of his patron, Don Ferrante II Gonzaga — , pos- sibly in an attempt to regain favor after a mysterious fall from grace. See F. Mantua: Appresso Francesco Osanna, ; Manfredi also celebrated women explictly in his anthologies Per donne romane Bologna: Per Alessandro Benacci, ; Cento sonetti in lode di cento donne di Pavia Pavia: Bartoli, ; and Cento sonetti in lode di donne di Ravenna Ravenna: per gli heredi di Pietro Giovanelli, For the dynamics of literary patronage, cf. The duke had a notable collection of manu- script tragicomedies and pastoral plays, and was himself a writer and dramatist.
As a member of academies in Mantua, Parma, Vicenza, and Bologna he seems to have played an important role in discussions on dramatic theory and dramaturgical practice, which may have made him particularly useful to Torelli, given that women were normally not admitted to such institutions. Literary academies became ubiquitous across the Italian peninsula around the mid-sixteenth century and played an important role in unify- ing Italian intellectuals in an era of political upheaval.
They were also concerned with entertainment, as evidenced by the use of humorous nicknames for academies and their members. The Biblioteca Nazionale, Turin, holds many manuscript plays dedicated to Duke Carlo Emanuele, though only some survived the devastating fire in the library of See Giuseppe Mazzatinti, ed. I, Il letterato e le istituzi- oni Turin: Einaudi, , — Introduction 17 In Parma, the Accademia degli Innominati i. Converting theoretical debate into practice, the academicians also made important contribu- tions to contemporary experimentation with epic verse, lyric poetry, Two other groups active in Parma the Amorevoli Loving Ones and the Pellegrini Pilgrims seem to have been dedi- cated solely to theatrical performances Maylender, , ; Pezzana, Memorie, ; for an earlier proto-academy in Parma, see above note On the university of Parma, see Paul F.
Andretta and C. Denarosi, ADIP, 29—30, —, Brian Richardson et al. Leeds: Society for Italian Stud- ies, : 99— esp. The letter of condolences penned by Battista Guarini to Barbara Torelli in on the death of her husband and mother may similarly indicate a gesture of collegial support. Lucia Denarosi has hypothesized that a group of Innominati academicians close to Muzio Manfredi, in- cluding Ferrante II Gonzaga of Guastalla, also experimented around the same time with different forms of pastoral drama.
Their result- Battista Guarini, Lettere…. Venice: Appresso Gio. Battista Ciotti Senese, al segno della Minerva, , — His wide-ranging works include a pastoral play Danza di Venere, , a tragedy Tomiri, , as well as a treatise on dramatic composition Della poesia rappresentativa, See A. While Partenia would seem to corre- spond to the pastorale, the Cremona manuscript uses both terms fols. At least two contributors of verse to the Partenia manu- script were clergymen close to Manfredi—Bernardino Baldi, the Ab- bot of Guastalla, and Girolamo Pallantieri, a priest at Castel Bolog- nese.
It is very likely that during her widowhood especially she cultivated an image of herself, on the model of Vittoria Colonna and Maddalena Campiglia, as a lady de- voted to spiritual and intellectual matters and content to shun worldly goods, hoping to deflect any potential suspicions about her virtue. She seems successfully to have maintained a dignified reputation well into Bernardino Baldi was a wide-ranging intellectual from Urbino, close to Don Ferrante Gonzaga of Guastalla as mathematician from , and then as abbot of Guastalla from He was a member of the Innominati Academy, and published widely in many dis- ciplines, including mathematics, history and poetry.
See Elio Nenci, ed. Manfredi, LB, no. Introduction 21 old age. Importantly, such attitudes also infused her major work, as we shall see, in terms of both its language and its themes, and may also have contributed to her creative engagement with an increasingly popular new genre in her day, the pastoral play. Nonetheless, the pastoral mode proved appealing to women writers in the mid-sixteenth century, and women poets such as Gaspara Stampa, Veronica Gambara and, later, Laura Battiferri and to some extent Veronica Franco used it in their verse. See generally Bryan Loughrey, ed. Related Papers.
Le lettere, a cura di G. Ronchi, Mup Editore, Parma, , pp.