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The Self-Fashioning of Women Writers in Early Modern Italy (1490-1610)

Project description

Early modern Italy’s women writers in the spotlight

Equity and inclusion for women are not novel concepts. Female and some male advocates began writing about these around 600 years ago, with Italy as the main hub. The EU-funded WOMENWRITERS project will fuel our current understanding of women’s roles in the early modern period. It will assemble the intellectual biographies of 18 women writers included in 17 anthologies of poetry published in Venice (1545-1590) and identify self-fashioning strategies; gather and classify female portraits; and assess the formal and visual strategies of self-fashioning adopted by these women writers and quantify and classify their portraits. The results will help challenge preconceptions on Renaissance misogyny; existing anxieties on gender-related attitudes; and lack of female’s access to education.

Objective

Today issues vital to women are on the public agenda: equal pay, childcare, domestic abuse, breast cancer research and curricular revision with an eye to the inclusion of women. These recent achievements have their origins in things women (and some male supporters) said - or rather wrote - for the first time 600 years ago.
Women writers began to emerge as a collective, non-occasional, literary phenomenon in the long 16th century (1490-1610). While the development was to an extent pan-European, its centre of gravity was undoubtedly Italy. The activity of women writers has been well documented by historians and scholars of literature. However, unlike their male counterparts, interest in the self-fashioning and presentation of women writers in portraits has been only sporadically touched upon.
The project WOMENWRITERS will pursue 3 objectives: a) to assemble the intellectual biographies of 18 women writers included in 17 anthologies of poetry published in Venice (1545-1590), by detecting the strategies of self-fashioning in their published works; b) to collect and classify female portraits from the 16th century, in different media, on the basis of their association with the names of women writers, according to internal (inscriptions, attributes) or external (later traditions) evidence; c) to make a final assessment of the formal and visual strategies of self-fashioning adopted by women writers active in the long 16th century, and to provide the first quantification and classification of their portraits.
The general goal of WOMENWRITERS is to improve our current understanding of the role of women in the cultural and artistic life of the early modern period. The project will challenge preconceptions on Renaissance misogyny, while at the same time addressing current anxieties on attitudes around gender. Furthermore, by focusing on women writers, it will raise awareness on the still highly relevant problem of female access to education.

Funding Scheme

MSCA-PF - MSCA-PF

Coordinator

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI PADOVA
Net EU contribution
€ 235 737,60
Address
VIA 8 FEBBRAIO 2
35122 Padova
Italy

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Region
Nord-Est Veneto Padova
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
No data

Partners (1)