Kissing the Wild Woman: Concepts of Art, Beauty, and the Italian Prose Romance in Giulia Bigolina's Urania

By Christopher Nissen

© 2011

Giulia Bigolina's (ca. 1516-ca. 1569) Urania (ca. 1552) is the oldest known prose romance to have been written by an Italian woman. In Kissing the Wild Woman, Christopher Nissen explores the unique aesthetic vision and innovative narrative features of Bigolina's greatest surviving work, in which she fashioned a new type of narrative that combined elements of the romance and the novella and included a polemical treatise on the moral implications of portraiture and the role of women in the arts.

Demonstrating that Bigolina challenged cultural authority by rejecting the prevailing views of both painting and literature, Nissen discusses Bigolina's suggestion that painting constituted an ineffectual, even immoral mode of self-promotion for women in relation to the views of the contemporary writer Pietro Aretino and the painter Titian. Kissing the Wild Woman's analysis of this little-known work adds a new dimension to the study of Renaissance aesthetics in relation to art history, Renaissance thought, women's studies, and Italian literature.

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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED AUG 2020

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    Regular Price: $98.00

Quick Overview

Kissing the Wild Woman's analysis of this little-known work adds a new dimension to the study of Renaissance aesthetics in relation to art history, Renaissance thought, women's studies, and Italian literature.

Kissing the Wild Woman: Concepts of Art, Beauty, and the Italian Prose Romance in Giulia Bigolina's Urania

By Christopher Nissen

© 2011

Giulia Bigolina's (ca. 1516-ca. 1569) Urania (ca. 1552) is the oldest known prose romance to have been written by an Italian woman. In Kissing the Wild Woman, Christopher Nissen explores the unique aesthetic vision and innovative narrative features of Bigolina's greatest surviving work, in which she fashioned a new type of narrative that combined elements of the romance and the novella and included a polemical treatise on the moral implications of portraiture and the role of women in the arts.

Demonstrating that Bigolina challenged cultural authority by rejecting the prevailing views of both painting and literature, Nissen discusses Bigolina's suggestion that painting constituted an ineffectual, even immoral mode of self-promotion for women in relation to the views of the contemporary writer Pietro Aretino and the painter Titian. Kissing the Wild Woman's analysis of this little-known work adds a new dimension to the study of Renaissance aesthetics in relation to art history, Renaissance thought, women's studies, and Italian literature.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    ‘Nissen offers to the modern reader of Bigolina’s Urania a comprehensive and erudite perspective on this author’s place in literary history…This is a book that will be useful to scholars in all fields whose research depends on historicizing and theorizing genre, gender, and representation.’
    Stephanie Jed
    Renaissance Quarterly; vol 65:03:2012
  • Author Information

    Christopher Nissen is an associate professor in the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures at Northern Illinois University.

  • Table of contents

    Introduction

    1  The Reformation of the Prose Romance

    Bigolina's Cultural Formation

    Elements of the Prose Romance

    The Plot and Characters of Urania

    The Prose Romance According to Boccaccio

    Urania in Its Literary Context

    Bigolina's Defense of Women

    2  Writing a Portrait

     Bigolina and Aretino

     Portraiture in Urania

     The Caricature of Titian

     Of Mirrors, Istoria and Women in the Arts

    3  Ekphrasis and the Paragone 

    Ekphrasis in Western Literature

    Bigolina and the Paragone

    The Judgment of Paris

    Descriptio Mulieris

    Bigolina's Two Venuses

    The Book as Object

    4  The Sight of the Beautiful

    Beauty and the Senses in Urania

    Sight in the Doctrines of Love

    The Body, the Gaze, and the Arts

    The Woman's Portrait as Gift

    5  Kissing the Wild Woman

    Wildness in Urania

    Urania's (Nearly) Mad Flight

    Femina Salvatica

    The Game of the Senses

    Conclusion 

    Appendix: Bigolina's Will in the State Archive of Padua

    Text and Translation

    Bibliography