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Women's Invisible Ink: Trans-Genre Writing and the Gendering of Intellectual Value in Early Modernity

Project description

Rescuing the intellectual value of women’s ideas in texts from the past

The recovery of early modern literature has unearthed extraordinary works, most of which have come from male writers. This is because a lot of women’s writings from the 16th to 18th centuries have either been ignored, neglected or unrecorded. The EU-funded WINK project aims to change this and modify the single-gender paradigm of intellectual value. To do this, the project will locate, identify and examine the neglected women’s production in early European modernity and provide a model for the intellectual recovery of their work in several languages.


Literature scholars have succeeded in recovering texts by early modern women from different languages, genres, and sociopolitical contexts. Still, compared to their male counterparts, few women writers feature in national canons, or they compose a separate set of ‘early modern women writers’. A nuanced qualitative approach to their textual production reveals forms of self-taught, intellectually-minded trans-genre discourse (traversing poetry, drama, prose, novels) traditionally deemed irrelevant as it did not conform to a practice of scholarly male-dominated discourse. Thus, much original thinking by women has remained intact even if their texts are available to us.
The proposed research locates, identifies and examines the invisible written production of women in early European modernity in order to modify the single-gender paradigm of intellectual value. It surveys sources in six languages through a methodology based on trans-genre writing rather than on close genre types, allowing patterns of persuasive argumentation to emerge as intellectual input, while exposing the rhetorical models that have impinged on the social and cognitive processes identifying intellectual value as being androcentric.
The main research unfolds in three strands: 1) Synergies, examining religious and life-writing themes that shaped into ethical discourses on the common good. 2) Cloud intertextualities, tracing fragmented chains of intuitive argument in discursive narrative. 3) Textual porosity, understanding patterns of knowledge transference and authorial attribution in the management of sources.
The research outcomes will render co-authored articles, a virtual space environment as the reservoir and task field for comparative textual analysis, and a four-volume collection on the cultural history of textual misogyny. WINK approaches intellectual value as a category of gender analysis, bringing to light transformative thinking from understudied and underrepresented women authors.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 1 489 550,00
08193 Cerdanyola Del Valles

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Este Cataluña Barcelona
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 489 550,00

Beneficiaries (1)