Petrarch and the Making of Gender in Renaissance Italy
Amsterdam University Press
This book is a new history of early modern gender, told through the lyric poetry of Renaissance Italy. In the evolution of Western gender roles, the Italian Renaissance was a watershed moment, when a confluence of cultural developments disrupted centuries of Aristotelian, binary thinking. Men and women living through this upheaval exploited Petrarchism’s capacity for subjective expression and experimentation - as well as its status as the most accessible of genres - in order to imagine new gendered possibilities in realms such as marriage, war, and religion. One of the first studies to examine writing by early modern Italian men and women together, it is also a revolutionary testament to poetry’s work in the world. These poets’ works challenge the traditional boundaries drawn around lyric’s utility. They show us how poems could be sites of resistance against the pervading social order - how they are texts capable not only of recording social history, but also of shaping it.
Shannon McHugh is Associate Professor of Italian and French at University of Massachusetts Boston. She is co-translator of Writings on the Sisters of San Luca and Their Miraculous Madonna (Iter Press, 2015) and co-editor of Innovation in the Italian Counter-Reformation (University of Delaware Press, 2020) and Vittoria Colonna: Poetry, Religion, Art, Impact (Amsterdam University Press, 2021).