Women have had a long and active role in Italian letters. This reference work contains biographical, critical, and bibliographical profiles of 51 writers from the 14th century to the present day. The entries are written by contributors knowledgeable of the historical period in which their chosen writers lived, and reflect both the literary tradition that conditioned their works and the modern gender issues that have shaped contemporary critical interpretation. For easy reference, the entries in this volume are organized alphabetically and have a uniform format. The first section of each entry is a biographical outline that places primary emphasis on the writer's career and her literary contributions. The second section analyzes recurrent themes, with special regard to the writer's major works. The third section surveys her critical fortune and includes a bibliography, which lists primary works, English translations, and critical studies of the writer. The writers included represent different periods in Italian cultural history and offer the greatest possible variety in women's literary experience.