Tag: pre-modern culture

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1. Girlhood Constructed: Portrayals of Childhood in Italian Renaissance Biographies

by Sienna Hopkins

This article explores the divergent representations of girlhood in female commemorative biographies from the early 16th century and the spiritually exemplary biographies of secular women in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. While the commemorative biographies of Battista Sforza, Bianca Maria Sforza and Irene di Spilimbergo follow the traditional tropes of childhood representation for the genre, they nonetheless embody a fuller representation and acceptance of girlhood than that of the later,

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Italian Masculinity as Queer

Italian Masculinity as Queer: An Immoderate Proposal

by John Champagne

This essay investigates a particularly polemical claim: that, throughout much of Western history, Italian masculinity and male sexuality have been represented in the literary and fine arts as “queer” in the specific sense of deconstructing the binaries masculine/feminine and homosexual/heterosexual.  Briefly surveying some of the historical circumstances that have overdetermined Italian masculinity and male sexuality as queer, the essay then follows one theme—the status of Greek models of homoerotic relationships between men—through some of the extant historical and literary accounts,

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Against their Will

Against their Will: Deconstructing the Myth of the Heroic Rapist in Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso and Machiavelli’s La Mandragola

by Scott Nelson

There are no words that encapsulate the idea of the heroic rapist better than the ones used by Susan Brownmiller in her book Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape. She writes: “As man conquers the world, so too he conquers the female.” Throughout history no theme rules the masculine imagination more often and with less honor than the myth of the heroic rapist.

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