Lucrezia Marinella

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Lucrezia Marinella
Born Lucrezia Marinelli
1571
Venice, Italy
Died 1653
Occupation Writer, poet
Known for Amore innamorato, et impazzato

Lucrezia Marinella (1571-1653) was an Italian poet, author, and an advocate of women's rights. She is best known for her writing The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men.

Life[edit]

Lucrezia Marinella was the daughter of a celebrated Physician and natural philosopher, Giovanni Marinelli and next to nothing is known of her mother. He wrote novels, some of which were on women’s well-being, hygiene and beauty.[1] Although her father was not from Venice, Lucrezia and her family were "cittadinaza".[2] Her brother Curzo Marinella was also a physician and she married a physician Girolamo Vacca. None of her children seem to have been born in Venice.[3] Her father might have been the vital link between her private studies and the writing and the wider world of Venetian literary circles.[4] Many women back in those days usually entered into convents or became courtesans like the famous Veronica Franco. Entering a convent meant that a woman did have to be married off and was able to pursue education, freedom from marriage, and family life, and they could strive for holiness and sainthood. But, at the same time the Roman Catholic Church maintained rigid theories of gender and expectations of women’s place and nature. Also, being a courtesan would have meant that she could pursue knowledge and not be restricted to living the traditional life of a woman in Italian late Middle Ages but, at a very great price. However, Lucrezia Marinella did not enter the convent and wasn't pressured into marriage. She came from a professional family that very much encouraged her studies, and her father was extremely supportive.[5] Marinella had a lot of support, which was not the norm, and many of women’s family members were greatly involved in their lives, pressuring them to do what their relatives felt would be best for the family. Although Lucrezia’s writing brought her fame, she lived her life in seclusion. It is believed that her solitary life is what allowed her to write so much so soon. But a life of seclusion was typical for women of her social rank in sixteenth-century Italy. She did not travel, except to local shrines, there is no evidence she gathered with other authors for discussions, and there is no record of her even attending meetings held in academies outside.

Women in the Late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance[edit]

Women’s rights and the equality of women were a major focus of Lucrezia’s writings. In the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance era in Italy, women were largely just home makers. Many women who wanted to pursue knowledge either had to be of elite standing, enter convents, or become courtesans. Those were essentially the smart way women used to avoid the familial life. Women were normally not a part of political conversations and had to be extraordinary to be fully recognized in literature. Although Lucrezia was one of the best recognized female writers of the time, some of her near-contemporaries included Christine de Pizan, Moderata Fonte, Arcangela Tarabotti and Veronica Franco. Lucrezia Marinella’s works mostly dealt with women’s rights and she even asserted that women were superior to men, which was a popular argument in that time for polemical and philosophical works.[6] Lucrezia also wrote in the style of pastoral romance, as in Arcadia Felice.This genre was traditionally limited to male-authors and featured male characters; however Arcadia Felice explores love and eroticism as a plot complication instead of a resolution.[7]

Works[edit]

The title page of a 1601 edition of Marinella's La nobilita, et l’eccellenza delle donne.

Marinella was a polished writer in many genres. Her work ranged from philosophical commentaries on poetry to religious works, and drew heavily on a wide variety of sources including scientific and mythological works. In her lifetime, Marinella published 10 books; there were sometimes as much as 10 years of silence between her works, notably after her marriage to Girolamo Vacca between 1606-1617.[8] Her first poem saw light in 1600, and was composed quickly in response to Giuseppe Passi’s diatribe about women’s defects “Dei donneschi difetti” Marinella took the first part of her own title from the Italian translation of a supposedly anonymous French tract "Della nobilita et eccellenza delle donne" ,printed in Venice in 1549.[9] The book was largely a long polemical tradition of attacks against women, and their defense. It also mounts an attack on men for exactly the same vices Passi had dared to accuse women of.[10] Marinella was the first woman in Italy to argue with a man in print, and it was the only time she wrote explicitly about the misogyny of Passi.[11]

In her work Enrico, Marinella selected a topic that was both religious and political, and that also built on her previous works. She highlighted the fact that women were excluded from the political discussion in this time. In the work, she expresses a patriotic pride in Venice and singles out a Venetian version of the events of the Fourth Crusade, about which no contemporary Venetian documents evidently existed. This point in the history of Venice reminds the reader of Venice’s destiny and import.[12] In Enrico, Marinella chose to write in one of the highest literary genres of her time, that was for cultural reasons out of favor in Venice. Marinella’s warrior women in Enrico wear masculine armor with grace and dignity; they were written as respectable in deed and thought, and as chaste virgins (Querelle des femmes).[13] 'Arcadia Felice also echoes the idea that love is restricting to women and detrimental to their liberty and creativity.[14]

In another one of Lucrezia's notable works Amoro Innamorato et Impazzato: "In Exhortations", however, Marinella seems to recant completely, praising the complete domestication of women and suggesting in the strongest of terms that they avoid scholarly pursuits. According to her arguments, women ought to remain firmly in what I will anachronistically call the private sphere, leaving the world of politics and philosophy for men. Like many of her contemporaries, she uses the ideas of classic authors to make her arguments...She argues in favor of sequestration for women, places the greatest value on the skills women use while managing a home and raising children, and locates all female virtue in the domestic arts."[15] ' She also lamented the state of women in literature and urged women to avoid a literary career in her final work, Essortationi alle donne.[16] On seclusion, Lucrezia wrote: "I also stated this in my book entitled The Nobility and Excellence of Women, but now considering the issue in a more mature fashion, I am of the view that it is not the result of conscious manipulation nor the action of an angry soul, but the will and providence of nature and God."[17]

List of Works[edit]

---Marinella, L. , 1595, La Colomba sacra, Poema eroico. Venice.

–––, 1597, Vita del serafico et glorioso San Francesco. Descritto in ottava rima. Ove si spiegano le attioni, le astinenze e i miracoli di esso, Venice.

–––, 1598, Amore innamorato ed impazzato, Venice.

–––, 1601a, La nobiltà et l'eccellenza delle donne co' diffetti et mancamenti de gli uomini. Discorso di Lucrezia Marinella in due parti diviso, G , Venice.

–––, 1601b, The Nobility and Excellence of Women, and the Defects and Vices of Men, Dunhill, A. (ed. and trans.), Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1999.

–––, 1602, La vita di Maria vergine imperatrice dell'universo. Descritta in prosa e in ottava rima, Venice.

–––, 1603, Rime sacre, Venice.

–––, 1605, L'Arcadia felice, Venice.

–––, 1605a, L'Arcadia felice, F. Lavocat (ed.), Florence: Accademia toscana di scienze e lettere, ‘La Colombaria’ 162, 1998.

–––, 1605b, Vita del serafico, et glorioso San Francesco. Descritto in ottava rima, Venice.

–––, 1606, Vita di Santa Giustina in ottava rima, Florence.

–––, 1617, La imperatrice dell'universo. Poema heroico, Venice.

–––, 1617a, La vita di Maria Vergine imperatrice dell'universo, Venice.

–––, 1617b, Vite de' dodeci heroi di Christo, et de' Quatro Evangelisti, Venice.

–––, 1624, De' gesti heroici e della vita meravigliosa della serafica Santa Caterina da Siena, Venice.

–––, 1635, L'Enrico ovvero Bisanzio acquistato. Poema heroico, Venice.

–––, 1645a, Essortationi alle donne et a gli altri se a loro saranno a grado di Lucretia Marinella. Parte Prima, Venice.

–––, 1645b, Exhortations to Women and to Others if They Please, L. Benedetti (ed. and trans.), Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2012.[18]

Personal Life and Influence[edit]

Francesco Agostino della Chiesa described her as " a woman of wondrous eloquence and learning" and asserted "it would be impossible to surpass her."[19] Cristofero Bronzino, pronounced her exceptional in writing prose and poetry, most accomplished in sacred compositions, and a supreme expert in moral and natural philosophy." Arcangela Tarabotti was also said to be one of her biggest admirers, but towards the end of her life Lucrezia was said to have "attacked"[20] her. Marinella dedicated The Nobility and Excellence of Women to another doctor and friend of her father Lucio Scarano who took a particular interest in her literary formation. At one point, he called her "The adornment of our century" and compared her to Greek poet Corinna.[21] Marinella dedicated her poem Amoro Innamorato et Impazzato to a female reader: the dutchess of Mandua, Caterina Medici.[22]

Death[edit]

Marinella died of quartan fever, a form of malaria, in the Campiello dei Squillini in Venice on 9 October 1653. She was buried in the nearby parish church of S. Pantaleone.[23]

Bibliography/ References[edit]

Westwater, Lynn Lara. "The disquieting voice: Women's writing and antifeminism in seventeenth-century Venice (Italy, Lucrezia Marinella, Sara Copio Sullam, Arcangela Tarabotti)." Dissertation Abstracts International. Section A: Humanities And Social Sciences 64, no. 10 (2003): 3705. Women's Studies International, EBSCOhost

Putnam, Christie-Anne, and Anna Riehl. "Lucrezia Marinella and the "Querelle des Femmes" in Seventeenth-Century Italy." Sixteenth Century Journal 41, no. 4 (Winter 2010 20010): 1200-1201. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost

Byars, Jana. "Byars on Marinella." H-Net Reviews In The Humanities & Social Sciences (December 2012): 1-2. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost

Payne, Lynda Stephenson. "The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men (Book)." ISIS: Journal of the History of Science in Society 92, no. 4 (December 2001): 779.Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost

Marinella, Lucrezia, and Anne Dunhill. 1999. The nobility and excellence of women, and the defects and vices of men. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lucrezia Marinella. De’ gesti eroici e della vita maravigliosa della Serafica S. Caterina da Siena De’ gesti eroici e della vita maravigliosa della Serafica S. Caterina da Siena by Lucrezia Marinella Review by: Stephen Kolsky

Deslauriers, Marguerite, "Lucrezia Marinella", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2012/entries/lucrezia-marinella/>.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marinella, Lucrezia, and Anne Dunhill. 1999. The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (pg.3)
  2. ^ Marinella, Lucrezia, and Stampino MG. 1998. Enrico; or Byzantium Conquered: A Heroic Poem. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (pg.4)
  3. ^ Marinella, Lucrezia, and Stampino MG. 1998. Enrico; or Byzantium Conquered: A Heroic Poem. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (pg.4)
  4. ^ Marinella, Lucrezia, and Anne Dunhill. 1999. The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.(pg. 3)
  5. ^ Marinella, Lucrezia, and Anne Dunhill. 1999. The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.(pg. 1)
  6. ^ Deslauriers, Marguerite, "Lucrezia Marinella", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2012/entries/lucrezia-marinella/>.
  7. ^ Cox, Virginia (2011). The Prodigious Muse: Women's Writing in Counter-Reformation Italy. (PDF) (Web ed.). Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 198. Retrieved May 1, 2015. 
  8. ^ Marinella, Lucrezia, and Anne Dunhill. 1999. The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (pg.8)
  9. ^ Marinella, Lucrezia, and Anne Dunhill. 1999. The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (pg. 2)
  10. ^ Marinella, Lucrezia, and Anne Dunhill. 1999. The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (pg.3)
  11. ^ Kent, Francis William; Zika, Charles (2005). Rituals, Images, and Words (PDF) (Web ed.). Turnhout Brepols Publishers. p. 326. ISBN 978-2-503-53801-3. Retrieved May 1, 2015. 
  12. ^ Marinella, Enrico. Chicago Press. (pg. 4)
  13. ^ Marinella, Enrico.Chicago Press. (pg. 8)
  14. ^ Kent, Francis William; Zika, Charles (2005). Rituals, Images, and Words (PDF) (Web ed.). Turnhout Brepols Publishers. p. 332. ISBN 978-2-503-53801-3. Retrieved May 1, 2015. 
  15. ^ Byars, Jana. "Byars on Marinella." H-Net Reviews In The Humanities & Social Sciences (December 2012): 1-2. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost
  16. ^ Kent, Francis William; Zika, Charles (2005). Rituals, Images, and Words (PDF). Turnhout Brepols Publishers. p. 340. ISBN 978-2-503-53801-3. Retrieved May 1, 2015. 
  17. ^ Marinella, Lucrezia (1645). Essortationi alle donne et a gli altri se a loro saranno a grado di Lucretia Marinella: Parte prima. Venice: Per Francesco Valuasense. p. 11. 
  18. ^ Deslauriers, Marguerite, "Lucrezia Marinella", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2012/entries/lucrezia-marinella/>.
  19. ^ Marinella, The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men. Chicago. (pg.1)
  20. ^ Marinella, The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men (pg.5)
  21. ^ Marinella, The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men. Chicago. (pg.1)
  22. ^ Marinella, Enrico.Chicago Press. (pg. 8)
  23. ^ Marinella, The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men. Chicago. (pg.6)

Additional reading[edit]

  • Luca Piantoni, Mirabile cristiano ed eloquenza sacra in Lucrezia Marinelli, in Poesia e retorica del Sacro tra Cinque e Seicento, a cura di Elisabetta Selmi, Erminia Ardissino, Alessandria, Edizioni Dell'Orso, 2009, pp. 435–445.

External links[edit]