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Konrad Eisenbichler, “Not only Love Poetry: Women Poets in the Political Arena in Sixteenth Century Siena”

March 11, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

eisenbichler posterThis presentation will discuss how, in the mid-1500s, as the ancient republic of Siena was coming to an end, a group of women suddenly appeared on the city’s cultural landscape and began to compose poetry that attracted the attention not only of the local literati, but also of prominent writers elsewhere in Italy. Their works reflected contemporary tastes for the Petrarchan lyric, but they also engaged with vital contemporary questions, both social and political. Three women in particular stand out: the beautiful Aurelia Petrucci, a grand-daughter of  Petruccio Petrucci, lord of Siena at the turn of the sixteenth century, who used her poetic skills to argue for civil cooperation; the controversial Virginia Martini Salvi, married into one of the most turbulent families in the city, who called loudly and clearly for French intervention into the Sienese problem; and the ambivalent Laudomia Forteguerri, a reader of Dante, who used same-sex affection to ensure Spanish protection for her city. While all three women ultimately failed in their efforts to secure the city’s freedom and peace, their poetry underscores the presence of intelligent, talented, and politically engaged women in Renaissance Siena.
Professor Konrad Eisenbichler teaches in the Renaissance Studies Program. A prolific scholar, several of his books have won prestigious international awards, both in history and in literature. His most recent monograph, from which today’s presentation is drawn, won the 2013 Ennio Flaiano Prize for Scholarship (Italy) and received “Honourable Mention” in the MLA’s “Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies”; it was also selected as “Outstanding Academic Title” for 2013 by the editors of Choice magazine.  In 2012 Professor Eisenbichler received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies and before that, in  2010, he was knighted by the President of Italy for his contribution to Italian scholarship.


March 11, 2014
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Senior Common Room, Burwash Hall (Victoria College)
89 Charles St W, Victoria College
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1K7 Canada
View Venue Website


Association of Renaissance Students