Writing Gender in Women's Letter Collections of the Italian Renaissance

Writing Gender in Women's Letter Collections of the Italian Renaissance

by Meredith K Ray

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Overview

During the Italian Renaissance, dozens of early modern writers published collections of private correspondence, using them as vehicles for self-presentation, self-promotion, social critique, and religious dissent. Writing Gender in Women's Letter Collections of the Italian Renaissance examines the letter collections of women writers, arguing that these works were a studied performance of pervasive ideas about gender as well as genre, a form of self-fashioning that variously reflected, manipulated, and subverted cultural and literary conventions regarding femininity and masculinity.

Meredith K. Ray presents letter collections from authors of diverse backgrounds, including a noblewoman, a courtesan, an actress, a nun, and a male writer who composed letters under female pseudonyms. Ray's study includes extensive new archival research and highlights a widespread interest in women's letter collections during the Italian Renaissance that suggests a deep curiosity about the female experience and a surprising openness to women's participation in this kind of literary production.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802097040
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 07/17/2009
Series: Toronto Italian Studies Series
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Meredith K. Ray is an assistant professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Delaware.

What People are Saying About This

'Writing Gender in Women's Letter Collections of the Italian Renaissance is a pleasure to read. A strong, well-argued book, it is written in an engaging, scholarly, and polished style. Meredith K. Ray makes the case for the importance of the genre of letter writing for women as she shows how difficult it was for intellectual women to adopt a public persona. She also illustrates how popular it was at the time to "write like a woman," to the point that even male authors wanted to catch the wave. Brava!'

Valeria Finucci

Writing Gender in Women's Letter Collections of the Italian Renaissance is a pleasure to read. A strong, well-argued book, it is written in an engaging, scholarly, and polished style. Meredith K. Ray makes the case for the importance of the genre of letter writing for women as she shows how difficult it was for intellectual women to adopt a public persona. She also illustrates how popular it was at the time to "write like a woman," to the point that even male authors wanted to catch the wave. Brava!

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