Late Renaissance Feminism Analytical Essay by Shaad

Late Renaissance Feminism
An overview of late renaissance feminism with specific emphasis on how writing becomes a means towards emancipation and evasion.
# 147065 | 2,754 words | 10 sources | APA | 2010 | BD

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This essay examines how writing emerged as means towards emancipation for forcefully cloistered nuns in the late renaissance period. It begins with a re-examination of the renaissance, the corresponding rise of paternalism, and the reaction to it made by "male feminists" such as Erasmus, Garzoni and Agrippa. It goes on to examine proto-feminist works by the likes of Lucrezia Marinella and Moderate Fonte. Following this, a background is provided of the custom of forcefully cloistering daughters whose dowries their fathers were not able to pay, specifically in the context of Venetian society. The paternalistic corruptions of this society are outlined, with emphasis of the greed of fathers who appropriated the inheritances of their daughters, and how church and society were accomplices in this task. This is followed by a detailed exposition of Archangela Tarabotti's writings, preceding by a background to her forceful cloistering. It is shown how Tarabotti, through her writings, accepted male privilege, but only spoke out against the abuses of it, and how church and society were implicit in this abuse. Tarabotti's approach is then contrasted with the letters of Maria Celeste Galilei to her father, in which she uses writing as a means of self-expression when it was denied her in other ways.

The Renaissance Re-examined
Proto-Feminist Works
The Corruption of Venetian Society
The Appropriation of Female Inheritance
Archangela Tarabotti
Background and Works of Tarabotti
Insights into Fundamental Corruption
The Benign Approach of Maria Celeste Galilei

From the Paper:

"It is customary to view feminism in terms of political activism, and therefore historians of the movement struggle to find exemplars before the 20th century. However, political activism is only one aspect of feminism, and it should not be conflated with the whole. Another aspect is related to the expression of the female voice. This is where women seek novel avenues of expression in the event that her natural means of expression are denied her. We do in fact notice this form of feminism arising from the time of the renaissance, and the voices heard in this period deserve to be studied in the context of the prevailing repression. One form of repression was the forceful cloistering of unmarriageable daughters in Italy in the late renaissance period. The extant writings of these forcefully cloistered nuns provide a remarkable example of feminine expression as overcoming the severest of barriers. They thus project a spirit of emancipation as well as describe the evasion of paternalistic restrictions."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Benson, P. (1992). The invention of the Renaissance woman: the challenge of female independence in the literature and thought of Italy and England. Philadelphia, PA: Penn State Press.
  • Chojnacki, S. (2000). Women and men in Renaissance Venice: twelve essays on patrician society. Baltimore, MD: JHU Press.
  • Cox, V. (1995). "The Single Self: Feminist Thought and the Marriage Market in Early Modern Venice." Renaissance Quarterly. Vol. 48, pp. 513 - 581.
  • Jones, A. R. (1990). The Currency of Eros: Women's Love Lyric in Europe, 1540-1620. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
  • Kenney, T. M. (Ed.) (1998). "Women are not human": an anonymous treatise and responses. New York: Crossroad Publications.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Late Renaissance Feminism (2011, February 13) Retrieved April 21, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Late Renaissance Feminism" 13 February 2011. Web. 21 April. 2021. <>