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Religions 2018, 9(4), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9040120

Authority, Religion, and Women Writers in the Italian Counter-Reformation: Teaching Diodata Malvasia’s Histories

Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Department, University of Massachusetts, Boston, 100 William T. Morrissey Blvd, Boston, MA 02125-3393, USA
Received: 9 November 2017 / Revised: 1 March 2018 / Accepted: 9 March 2018 / Published: 9 April 2018
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Abstract

Recent decades have seen the rediscovery of a significant number of texts authored by Italian women between 1560 and 1630. And yet the commonplace that the Counter-Reformation silenced women writers has persisted. One figure useful for teaching a more nuanced vision of post-Tridentine Italy is the Bolognese nun Diodata Malvasia (c. 1532–post-1617). She authored a pair of histories recounting her convent’s efforts to maintain their way of life amidst an era of convent reform, employing strategies that capitalized on their education, familial and civic connections, and position of spiritual privilege. Malvasia’s writings demonstrate the ways in which women not only published in this period but began to speak with increasing authority. I offer some possibilities for how Malvasia’s chronicles can be used to teach students about women writers’ agency in post-Tridentine Italy, as well as the complex thinking with which one must approach a regime like the Counter-Reformation. View Full-Text
Keywords: Counter-Reformation; Italy; women writers; convent chronicles; Bologna; Diodata Malvasia Counter-Reformation; Italy; women writers; convent chronicles; Bologna; Diodata Malvasia
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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McHugh, S. Authority, Religion, and Women Writers in the Italian Counter-Reformation: Teaching Diodata Malvasia’s Histories. Religions 2018, 9, 120.

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