Imagining the Woman Reader in the Age of Dante

ISBN : 9780198818960

Elena Lombardi
304 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
May 2018
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Imagining the Woman Reader in the Age of Dante brings to light a new character in medieval literature: that of the woman reader and interlocutor. The volume explores the figure of the woman reader by contextualizing her within the history of female literacy, the material culture of the book, and the ways in which writers and poets of earlier traditions imagined her. It argues that these figures are not mere veneers between a male author and a 'real' male readership, but that, although fictional, they bring several advantages to their vernacular authors, such as orality, the mother tongue, the recollection of the delights of early education, literality, freedom in interpretation, absence of teleology, the beauties of ornamentation and amplification, a reduced preoccupation with the fixity of the text, the pleasure of making mistakes, dialogue with the other, the extension of desire, original simplicity, and new and more flexible forms of authority.


Preface: On a Portrait of a Woman Reader
Introduction. The Making of the Woman Reader in the Italian Trecento
Addressees and Readers in Lyric Poetry
Women as Text, Text as Woman
Beata Lectrix
Francesca and the Others
Epilogue. Boccaccio's Women Readers

About the author: 

Elena Lombardi graduated from the University of Pavia, with a thesis in nineteenth-century philology, and received her Ph.D. from NYU with a thesis on Dante and the medieval theory of language. She was Assistant Professor in Italian Studies at McGill University, then Senior Lecturer in Italian at Bristol, and now is Associate Professor at Oxford. She is the author of The Syntax of Desire: Language and Love in Augustine, the Modistae and Dante (2007) and The Wings of the Doves: Love and Desire in Dante and Medieval Culture (2012), has co-edited volumes on Dante and medieval culture. She has published several essays on medieval literature and on the Renaissance epic poem, d'Annuzio and De Sica.

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