Women's Writing in Italy, 1400-1650
By Virginia Cox
(Johns Hopkins University Press, Hardcover, 9780801888199, 464pp.)
Publication Date: May 2008
This is the first comprehensive study of the remarkably rich tradition of women's writing that flourished in Italy between the fifteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Virginia Cox documents this tradition and both explains its character and scope and offers a new hypothesis on the reasons for its emergence and decline.
Cox combines fresh scholarship with a revisionist argument that overturns existing historical paradigms for the chronology of early modern Italian women's writing and questions the historiographical commonplace that the tradition was brought to an end by the Counter Reformation. Using a comparative analysis of women's activities as artists, musicians, composers, and actresses, Cox locates women's writing in its broader contexts and considers how gender reflects and reinvents conventional narratives of literary change.