VIC342H1 Lecture 6: Week 6 - Moderata Fonte

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Victoria College Courses
Manuela Scarci

Moderata Fonte The Worth of Women Born 1555 and died in 1592 in childbirth. Real name is Modesta Pozzo she ennobled her name, gave it a different meaning. Pseudonym is Moderata Fonte o Moderata = Moderate (exercise of reason) and Modesta = modest, Pozzo means wellstagnant water, Fonte means spring Contemporary of Veronica Franco And Gaspara Stampa but never met each other Middle class family. Raised by maternal grandmother Dialogue Classical form, not an abstract literary form Revived by humanists from Roman and Greek classical antiquity The importance of the art of conversation in the Renaissance Greek philosophy was sacral, oracular and symbolic Understanding differing positions (can change side) and more than one point of view The debate is valued, searching for knowledge together Part of the long running debate on the issue of womens equality. Parameters of debate set in early 1500. A few works squarely in womens camp Some presented, on the surface at least, men and women as equals The majority antiuxorial (marriagewife), misogynist texts Equal in body and mind Polemical there is a certain degree of male bashing she is responding to speculation that women did not have a soul, specifically in Venice Women have to prove themselves worthy She speaks against the dowry. If a woman does not marry they are under the control of the brother who treats her like a servant. Says women will live like queens if they are given dowries A figure in society that was never seen before was the unmarried secular woman (upper class, educated) Venetian Economy Second half of the XVI century, reduction of Venetian economy a move from trade to landed investments, urban upper class mimicking aristocracy, character of the republic of Venice All of this had an impact on marriage politics because wealth in a family was shared equally among brothers; but when you buy land you cant afford to buy it and divide it up (has more value not divided). Families started to leave their wealth to the first born male child nothing left for the daughters (needed to be given a dowry to get married) Consequences Reduction of marriage market Fewer marriages No share of family wealth for women Rise of unknown figure: the secular unmarried woman Exponential increase in number of nuns (most went unwilling)
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