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ITALST first test.docx

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Department
Italian Studies
Course Code
ITALST 292
Professor
Dr.V.Rukholm

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Week 1:Women in History: Italy Traditional views of Women- 500 B.C. To 1500 A.D.  Women were not allowed out in the market place and basically stuck inside their house  It was not condoned at all for women to commit adultery but it was no problem for men to do it  Prostitution was tolerated because they thought it was used to mitigate other problems (homosexuality)  The honour of the women was their main virtue so honour was important  Sex was basically used just to procreate, not for pleasure  Greek philosophy and medicine: female as inferior to male in mind and body o We used this thinking for years and centuries  Greek biology: women inferior to men - child bearers and housekeepers  Roman civil legislation: biased against women  Aristotle: action (male> inaction (female); men identified with virile qualities (judgment, courage, stamina); women with their opposites (irrationality, cowardice, weakness)  Aristotle: man's semen creates human form (important), female contributes matter (secondary; not as important as the male)  Greeks believed biology of males and females key to their psychology - female psychology affected by her dominant organ: uterus (hysteria- in Greek); these made women irrational and lustful etc.  Humans have 4 'humours': black bile, yellow bile, blood, and phlegm; males corresponds to earth and fire= dry and hot; female, corresponds to air and water= cold and damp o Women need males to equal them out because they are 'cold'  Aristotle's biology-> social and political consequences: men rule and women subordinate  Married women's life: pregnancy, childbirth, lactation  Women trained daughters in household duties appropriate to their status, usually related to textiles  Women also worked: farm duties, merchant wives practiced husbands What is the Renaissance?  Began in 15th century and ended in the 16th century  About ancient Rome and ancient Greece/classical antiquity  Middle Ages: suppressed information and oppressed the church o Many important writings were hidden so the population could not get their hands on the information  Period of transformations o Printing press, agricultural innovations  Less focus on religious and more on dignity of man and his creative powers; less focused on the after life  Desire to recover world of classical antiquity in art, thought, philosophy, history and civilization o Thought that the Middle Ages had lost all culture and they wanted to get it back; the human is placed at the center of this instead of the divine  Rediscovery of classical Latin authors  Exaltation of liberty - human can create own life and liberty  Exaltation of STUDIA HUMANITATIS (grammar and rhetoric as sciences of expression) Women in Renaissance- Italy  The refined world of the Renaissance-> more freedom and opportunity to women  Abundance of female writers and poets  Cultural revolution of sorts for women: women, in upper echelons of society educated like male counterparts  Misogyny virulent among medieval clergy weakened somewhat as women's social and legal status improved  Misogyny renewed in early Renaissance with revived promotion of family and traditional values; e.g. Leon Battista  Number of notable male writers wrote in favour of women, asserting that (at least in theory) women as capable as men  Growing number of women wrote significant works in their own defense  Led to misogynistic reactions; e.g. Misogynist imagery reinforced negative biases (poked fun at women trying to stand up for women)  Upper class women received education equal to men in all but arts of war; education allowed them to take over husbands' courts in their absence and in some cases run the state o These were limited cases; they were educated in sciences  Ideal qualities of Renaissance woman according to Castiglione o Knowledge o Wit o Beauty o Spirit o Character o This list reflects qualities outside of the child rearing ideas  16th century Italy (up to 1563) known as High Renaissance  A time of flourishing in terms of art and literature  Lorenzo de' Medici instrumental in Florence's art and letters 'boom'  Between 1538 and end of century, some 200 books either written by women or were anthologies containing women's writing o Printing press invented in Germany; first time women were able to read books of different topics  Ludovico Domenichi published 1st anthology of SOLELY women's poetry entitled .....  His anthology was then followed by others' whose publications included the work of some 800 women poets The Courtesans  The cortigiana provided companionship (as well as sex) to wealthy and noble men in exchange for luxuries and status  The term cortigiana refers to courtly graces which distinguished them from common prostitutes  Two types of courtesans: o Lower- class di candela (of the candle); also called della minor sorte (of the lower kind) o Cortigiane honorate- upper class, very well-educated, trained by their own mothers (e.g. Veronica Franco) o Open intellectual rivalry between the courtly ladies and the cortigiane honorate o Generally daughters of courtesans or intelligent and beautiful girls from poor families who could not aspire to improvement in social standing o Courtesans were the smartest people in the known world because of the knowledge they needed o Courtesans had to be able to play musical instruments because they had to perform for the courts  2 major centres where courtesans flourished: Venice and Rome  Rome had largest number of courtesans; often precarious status b/c of expulsion by popes o Because of the church, they were not fond of this  In mid-1500s, approx. 12,000 courtesans legally registered in Venice o Courtesans that were expulsed from Rome, went to Venice o Venice was also a port so their was a bigger cliental o Also Venice had a ball very year that brought lots of people in o Venice was a liberal city, it was very politically stable (civic concord: people got along) o Courtesans usually dyed their hair red  Upper class women able to hold court, run lavish household, etc., but restricted by social mores and expectations; courtesans not restricted, able to express themselves freely o As a result of their trade, they were able to move up from being poor o It was easier to write as a courtesans because they were not restricted like the upper women were because of the restrictions places on them by the males (taking care of the children, and other expectations) o Courtesans had no expectations and could do whatever they pleased o They could wear lavish clothing and these were provided by the men (patrons) o Noble women did not like these courtesans because they could enjoy the wealth and life that the noble women had but they didnt have to live by the rules o Also they were in competitions for their husbands Week 2: Veronica Franco Biography:  Born 1546 in Venice  Daughter of Francesco Franco and Paola Fracasso ( a noted courtesan)  Veronica's and her mother's names appear in the ...... In 1565  Married young to a doctor, Paolo Panizza, but separated shortly thereafter  Had 6 children (3 died in infancy) and claimed none were Panizza's  Never remarried  Profited from support of wealthy Venetian men (esp. Domenica Venier)  Published number of poetry anthologies  Post-1570: know little of who helped her and children financially  Brought before court of Inquisition on charges of witchcraft; found innocent  Died 1591, impoverished 16th Century Venice: A City of Paradox  Centre of trade with other countries  Bustling merchant city, place of liberty, loose morals; in short a secular city  Pop. 100,000 with suggested count of 10,000 prostitutes  Seen as city of exemplary civic and social concord, wise leadership, constitutional excellence, and stability  Symbolic icon of city: representation of lady Justice in one figure- Virgin Mary and Venus.  Highlights paradoxical nature of city as both religious and secular o Virgin Mary (religious) and Venus (secular)  Despite liberal nature of city, Venetian women had no political power; laws biased against them Courtesans Phenomenon  Women had limited assess to education  Women could not rise socially because no access to education, kept n seclusion= isolation  Noblewomen schooled at home or in convent; elementary reading and writing, arithmetic, handiwork (embroidery, weaving)  In 1587: 30% male pop. Literate and 10-12% female population was literate  Expected to read religious texts: pious legends, guides on how to make a good confession, etc. Venice: City of Courtesans  Courtesans desired upward social mobility but had no means  Courtesan fulfilled societal desire for refined, sexualized aristocratic female  Seen as symbol of Venice's liberty, justice, and splendour  Achieved financial independence in many respects, thanks to their patrons  Access to publishing opportunities o Veronica was a very good poet but could not publish her work without a male in the family so when she became a courtesan, she then had a male in her life  Often victims of envious men who vilified them (e.g. Maffio Venier- related to her patrons and lover) o Portrays courtesans as producing horrible things to the society o Blamed courtesans for the ills of Venice and how poor they were born  Venetian government tolerated courtesans because they paid high taxes and provided sexual outlet to curb adultery, rape, sodomy, etc  Courtesans eased economic difficulties: "By capitalizing on the sexuality of young women who did not have the economic status to fit into society thought the normal dowry system[...] society created a secondary sexual economy that safely incorporated the sexuality of young women who were too poor to participate in the primary system."  Problem with the courtesans: blurred social boundaries Veronica Franco, her Patrons and Poetry  Her wills (1564 & 1570) give us insight into her profession o We know from her wills, that she was scared for the women like her in the city (too poor to have a dowry) o She left many of them money so they could have a dowry  Used many strategies to promote herself in literary circles  Used defensive legal manoeuvres against male detractors  Participated actively in intellectual life of Venice  Poems counter negative view of courtesan - appropriate 'virtue' to mean 'intellect' o Veronica demanded respect because she was a published poet and writer o She needed patrons to stand up for her  # if her poems are written in the form of a tenzone, a genre typical of literary satires or debates between poets  Several are responses to one writing defamatory and lewd invective against her; discovers he is Maffio Venier  Maffio's invective highlights the kinds of personal attacks Veronica and other courtesans like her were up against in Venetian Society Veronica Franco & the Inquisition  In 1580, summoned to the court of the Inquisition on charges of performing magical incantations and witchcraft o Court of the Inquisition: people who are against the Catholic church; this was made to counter the protestant movement  Part of the Canon law  Created a lot of anxiety and tension because you could turn your neighbour in for doing something against the church o Martin Luther: protestantism is coming into focus and everyone is starting to question the Catholic church  Plaintiff: Franco's son's tutor, Ridolfo Vannitelli - was a poor man, clearly jealous of her wealth and fame  No defence lawyers to assist her; she was defending herself  Trial proceedings: show her intelligence and understanding of legal procedures  Veronica adeptly turns inquisitor away from her specific misdeeds to those of people around her  Found innocent  Never recovered from financial losses Week 3: Lavina Fontana: a professional Bolognese artist o 1552 to 1614 o Has been called the first professional woman painter  She was charging just as much as her male colleges  She had hundreds of paints o Fontana was not the only female artist to be productive during Renaissance  She was able to work in a commercial sense which no other girl painters got to do 16th Century Bologna in Perspective o Seat of Europe's oldest university (found in the 12th century) and therefore a centre of social, cultural, and
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