The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, 1999 - History - 200 pages
A gifted poet, a women's rights activist, and an expert on moral and natural philosophy, Lucrezia Marinella (1571-1653) was known throughout Italy as the leading female intellectual of her age. Born into a family of Venetian physicians, she was encouraged to study, and, fortunately, she did not share the fate of many of her female contemporaries, who were forced to join convents or were pressured to marry early. Marinella enjoyed a long literary career, writing mainly religious, epic, and pastoral poetry, and biographies of famous women in both verse and prose.

Marinella's masterpiece, The Nobility and Excellence of Women, and the Defects and Vices of Men was first published in 1600, composed at a furious pace in answer to Giusepe Passi's diatribe about women's alleged defects. This polemic displays Marinella's vast knowledge of the Italian poetic tradition and demonstrates her ability to argue against authors of the misogynist tradition from Boccaccio to Torquato Tasso. Trying to effect real social change, Marinella argued that morally, intellectually, and in many other ways, women are superior to men.


 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION TO THE TRANSLATION
1
THE NOBILITY AND EXCELLENCE OF WOMEN AND THE DEFECTS AND VICES OF MEN
35
THE NOBILITY AND EXCELLENCE OF WOMEN
43
ON THE NOBILITY OF THE NAMES GIVEN TO THE FEMALE SEX
45
THE CAUSES THAT PRODUCE WOMEN
52
OF THE NATURE AND ESSENCE OF THE FEMALE SEX
55
THE REASONS FOR MENS NOBLE TREATMENT OF WOMEN AND THE THINGS THEY SAY ABOUT WOMEN
69
OF WOMENS NOBLE ACTIONS AND VIRTUES WHICH GREATLY SURPASS MENS AS WILL BE PROVED BY REASONING AND EXAMPLE
77
OF WRATHFUL ECCENTRIC AND BRUTAL MEN
149
OF OBSTINATE AND PERTINACIOUS MEN
155
OF UNGRATEFUL AND DISCOURTEOUS MEN
156
OF FICKLE INCONSTANT MEN
160
OF EVIL MEN WHO HATE OTHERS EASILY
164
OF MEN WHO ARE ORNATE POLISHED PAINTED AND BLEACHED
166
OF MEN WHO KILL THEIR MOTHERS FATHERS BROTHERS SISTERS AND GRANDCHILDREN
176
BIBLIOGRAPHY
185

A REPLY TO THE FLIPPANT AND VAIN REASONING ADOPTED BY MEN IN THEIR OWN FAVOR
119
THE DEFECTS AND VICES OF MEN
147

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