Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal

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Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Volume 13 - Number 2 - Spring 2019

Edited by Bernadette Andrea, Julie D. Campbell and Allyson M. Poska.



Selling the Duchess:  Narratives of Celebrity in A Catalogue of the Portland Museum (1786)

Madeleine Pelling


The Special Value of Precarious Patrons:  Lucrezia Agliardi and the Tradition of Italian Laywomen Church Builders
Catherine King


Women in the Garden:  The Decameron Reimagined in the Moderata Fonte’s Il merito delle donna
Katherine McKenna


Recognition of the Winner of the Best Article Prize for Volume 12 (2017-18)


Jessica Goethals

Assistant Professor of Italian

University of Alabama

“The Bizarre Muse:  The Literary Persona of Margherita Costa,” EMWJ 12.1, fall 2017


In “The Bizarre Muse: The Literary Persona of Margherita Costa,” Jessica Goethals discusses the fascinating Margherita Costa, a seventeenth-century Italian author and opera singer, who cultivated a network of powerful patrons across Europe including the Barberini in Rome, the Medici in Florence, and Cardinal Mazarin in Paris. As a performer, Costa existed at the margins of society and of her gender. As a writer, she experimented in a wide range of genres and registers, publishing an impressive fourteen volumes. In Goethals’ characterization, Costa engaged with the marginalized, anti-Petrarchan tradition to circumvent gender prescriptions, turning upside down the traditional strategies of self-legitimation of some women writers. Costa embraced instead a rhetorical ventriloquism of parody and burlesque.


Goethals’s essay is to be praised for the breadth of its vision in illuminating a particular moment in Italian women’s history to look at the concept and performance (literary, theatrical, and socio-cultural) of bizzarria, a term associated in early modernity with capriciousness. It is also remarkable for its usage of some newly uncovered manuscript sources and for bringing to life an intriguing case of self-actualization by a multi-talented and audacious early modern female author and artist.


And, as always, a wide selection of Book and Multimedia Reviews


Stay tuned for the fall 2019 issue, with a new forum on Early Modern Women’s Mobilities!