A Corresponding Renaissance: Letters Written by Italian Women, 1375-1650

Paperback | June 10, 2015

byLisa Kaborycha

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Women's vibrant presence in the Italian Renaissance has long been overlooked, with attention focused mainly on the artistic and intellectual achievements of their male counterparts. During this period, however, Italian women excelled especially as writers, and nowhere were they more expressivethan in their letters. In A Corresponding Renaissance: Letters Written by Italian Women, 1375-1650 Lisa Kaborycha considers the lives and cultural contributions revealed by these women in their own words, through their correspondence. By turns highly personal, didactic, or devotional, these lettersexpose the daily realities of women's lives, their feelings, ideas, and reactions to the complex world in which they lived. Through their letters women emerge not merely as bystanders, but as true cultural protagonists in the Italian Renaissance.A Corresponding Renaissance is divided into eight thematic chapters, featuring fifty-five letters that are newly translated into English-many for the first time ever. Each of the letters is annotated and includes a brief biographical introduction and bibliographic references. The women come from allwalks of life - saints, poets, courtesans and countesses - and from every geographic area of Italy; chronologically they span the entire Renaissance, with the majority representing the sixteenth century. Approximately one third of the selections are well-known letters, such as those of Catherine ofSiena, Veronica Franco, and Isabella d'Este; the rest are lesser known, previously un-translated, or otherwise inaccessible.

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Women's vibrant presence in the Italian Renaissance has long been overlooked, with attention focused mainly on the artistic and intellectual achievements of their male counterparts. During this period, however, Italian women excelled especially as writers, and nowhere were they more expressivethan in their letters. In A Corresponding R...

Lisa Kaborycha received a B.A. in Comparative Literature, an M.A. in Italian Studies, and a Ph.D. in Medieval and Early Modern European History. She has taught history at the University of California, Berkeley and at Menlo College. Currently, she lives in Florence, Italy, where she teaches courses on Renaissance history at the Univers...

other books by Lisa Kaborycha

A Short History of Renaissance Italy
A Short History of Renaissance Italy

Paperback|Dec 14 2010


Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.1 × 1.1 inPublished:June 10, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199342431

ISBN - 13:9780199342433

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Table of Contents

Map of Italy showing cities and towns of origin or destination of letters associated with the correspondentsAcknowledgementsAbout the EditorIntroduction1. The Active Versus the Contemplative Life1. Caterina Benincasa describes the execution of Niccolo di Toldo to Raymond of Capua2. Brigida Baldinotti praises the women who serve at Florence's S. Maria Nuova hospital3. Cassandra Fedele responds to Alessandra Scala's request for advice on whether to write or marry4. Paula Antonia Negri urges Gaspara Stampa to choose the life of the spirit over the worldly life5. Olympia Fulvia Morata to Caelius Secundus Curio on "giving birth" to her writings6. Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi sends Christmas nativity scene decorations to her niece MariaSuggestions for further reading2. Humanism and its discontents7. Maddalena Scrovegni to Jacopo dal Verme in praise of Giangaleazzo Visconti8. Isotta Nogarola asks Guarino Guarini why he has not responded to her letter9. Costanza Varano writes to Isotta Nogarola, praising her learning10. Nicolosa Castellani Sanuti to Cardinal Bessarion challenging sumptuary laws11. Laura Cereta to Agostino Emilio condemning women's excessive luxury in dressSuggestions for further reading3. Governing the household/governing the state12. Margherita Datini criticizes her husband Francesco Datini for his handling of business matters and worries about his health13. Lucrezia Tornabuoni reports her impressions of a prospective bride for their son to husband Pietro de' Medici14. Eleonora D'Aragona complains to husband Ercole d'Este about his soldiers' unbridled violence15. Guglielmina Schianteschi informs her husband Luigi della Stufa of her management of country property and urges him to economize16. Lucrezia Borgia warns her father Pope Alexander VI Borgia to leave Rome17. Maria Salviati tells Giovanni [?] of her determination not to re-marry18. Caterina de' Ricci advises her father Pierfrancesco de' Ricci to resolve a family quarrelSuggestions for further reading4. Mothers and children19. Pandolfina Baglioni expresses her desire to see her mother, Pantasilea Salimbene20. Alessandra Macinghi Strozzi to her son Filippo Strozzi on taking precautions against illness and death21. Lucrezia (Nannina) de' Medici confides in her mother Lucrezia Tornabuoni about a marital disagreement22. Caterina Sforza warns her son Ottaviano Riario to maintain secrecy and beware of enemies23. Cassandra Chigi discusses household needs and shopping with her mother Sulpizia Petrucci24. Veronica Franco reproves a woman who wants to train her daughter as a courtesan25. Isabella Andreini congratulates a man on the birth of a daughterSuggestions for further reading5. Love and friendship26. Camilla Pisana complains to Francesco del Nero about her lover, Filippo Strozzi27. Maria Savorgnan to Pietro Bembo expressing the depth of her love for him28. Cecilia Liconella expresses her love to Nicolo de Lazara, a noble she met in Padua29. Marietta Corsini describes their newborn son to her husband Niccolo Machiavelli30. Vittoria Colonna explains her silence to Michelangelo Buonarroti31. Ginevra Gozzadini requests marital advice from her spiritual advisor, Leone Bartolini32. Celia Romana describes amusements of Roman Carnival season and expresses distress at her lover's neglect33. Emilia N. Fiorentina returns her lover's letters but asks him to publish his love poems34. Margherita Costa imagines a love letter written by a beautiful woman to a dwarfSuggestions for further reading6. Literature and leisure35. Bartolomea degli Obizzi Alberti discusses theories of reading to a female friend36. Ippolita Maria Sforza describes her impressions as a newlywed at the Aragonese court to her mother Bianca Maria Visconti37. Tullia d'Aragona asks Benedetto Varchi's aid in drafting a letter to Duke Cosimo I de' Medici and Duchess Eleonora di Toledo38. Laura Battiferra dedicates her book of poetry to Eleonora di Toledo, Duchess of Florence39. Vittoria Archilei laments her declining singing career and asks the Grand Duchess Christine to assist her son40. Francesca Caccini requests a libretto for her new composition from Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger41. Arcangela Tarabotti thanks friar Giovanni Battista Fusconi for his musical dramaSuggestions for further reading7. Art: Patrons and painters42. Isabella d'Este proposes a subject for a painting to Leonardo da Vinci43. Veronica Gambara recommends a work of the painter Correggio to Isabella d'Este44. Cornelia Colonello appeals to Michelangelo Buonarroti in a legal dispute with her father45. Margherita Aratori expresses to Costanza Colonna how she misses her46. Sofonisba Anguissola asks Philip II of Spain for a recommendation for her husband47. Lavinia Fontana to Alfonso CiacBLn sending a self-portrait that he had requested48. Artemisia Gentileschi discusses costs and terms of payment for her paintings with Don Antonio RuffoSuggestions for further reading8. Inquiring minds: science and philosophy49. Ceccarella Minutolo to Theophilo on how knowledge is acquired and transmitted50. Chiara Matraini to Maria Cardonia on the superiority of philosophy to military "science"51. Margherita Sarrocchi confirms Galileo's astronomical observations to Guido Bettoli52. Camilla Erculiani Greghetti explains her theory of the interaction of physical elements at the time of the Biblical Flood to Morton Berzeviczy53. Sara Copio Sullam discusses philosophical and theological views on human mortality with Baldassarre Bonifacio54.Virginia Galilei sends for linens and requests a copy of The Assayer from her father Galileo Galilei55. Elena Lucrezia Corner Piscopia asks university director Nicolo Venier to restore her mentor's tenureSuggestions for further readingSelected BibliographyCreditsIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Kaborycha's creative choices make this text eminently useful for courses in Italian Renaissance history, women's history, Italian literature, or gender studies in early modernity." --Julia Hairston, University of California, Rome Study Center