Moral Combat: Women, Gender, and War in Italian Renaissance Literature

By Gerry Milligan

© 2018

The Italian sixteenth century offers the first sustained discussion of women’s militarism since antiquity. Across a variety of genres, male and female writers raised questions about women’s right and ability to fight in combat. Treatise literature engaged scientific, religious, and cultural discourses about women’s virtues, while epic poetry and biographical literature famously featured examples of women as soldiers, commanders, observers, and victims of war.

Moral Combat asks how and why women’s militarism became one of the central discourses of this age. Gerry Milligan discusses the armed heroines of biography and epic within the context of contemporary debates over women’s combat abilities and men’s martial obligations. Women are frequently described as fighting because men have failed their masculine duty. A woman’s prowess at arms was asserted to be a cultural symptom of men’s shortcomings. Moral Combat ultimately argues that the popularity of the warrior woman in sixteenth-century Italian literature was due to her dual function of shame and praise: calling men to action and signaling potential victory to a disempowered people.

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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP004952

  • AVAILABLE JUN 2018

    From: $56.25

    Regular Price: $75.00

    ISBN 9781487503147
  • AVAILABLE APR 2018

    From: $56.25

    Regular Price: $75.00

Quick Overview

Moral Combat explores dozens of primary texts to ask why women’s militarism became one of the central discourses of sixteenth-century Italy.

Moral Combat: Women, Gender, and War in Italian Renaissance Literature

By Gerry Milligan

© 2018

The Italian sixteenth century offers the first sustained discussion of women’s militarism since antiquity. Across a variety of genres, male and female writers raised questions about women’s right and ability to fight in combat. Treatise literature engaged scientific, religious, and cultural discourses about women’s virtues, while epic poetry and biographical literature famously featured examples of women as soldiers, commanders, observers, and victims of war.

Moral Combat asks how and why women’s militarism became one of the central discourses of this age. Gerry Milligan discusses the armed heroines of biography and epic within the context of contemporary debates over women’s combat abilities and men’s martial obligations. Women are frequently described as fighting because men have failed their masculine duty. A woman’s prowess at arms was asserted to be a cultural symptom of men’s shortcomings. Moral Combat ultimately argues that the popularity of the warrior woman in sixteenth-century Italian literature was due to her dual function of shame and praise: calling men to action and signaling potential victory to a disempowered people.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Gerry Milligan is an associate professor at the College of Staten Island-CUNY.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction

    1. The Philosophical History of the Armed Woman
    2. The Poetic and the Real: The Chivalric-Epic Commentary of the Armed Woman
    3. Women Writers Demanding Warrior Masculinity: Catherine of Siena, Laura Terracina, Chiara Matraini and
    4. sabella Cervoni
    5. Illustrious Warring Women: From Plutarch to Boccaccio
    6. The Noble Warrior Woman (1440-1550)
    7. The Fame of Women and the Infamy of Men in the Age of Warring Queens (1550-1600)

    Conclusion