By Abigail Brundin

Vittoria Colonna was once the most effective recognized and so much hugely celebrated woman poets of the Italian Renaissance. Her paintings went via many variations in the course of her lifetime, and he or she used to be broadly thought of via her contemporaries to be hugely expert within the artwork of making tightly managed and fantastically modulated Petrarchan sonnets. as well as her literary contacts, Colonna was once additionally deeply concerned with teams of reformers in Italy ahead of the Council of Trent, an involvement which was once to have a profound impression on her literary creation. during this research, Abigail Brundin examines the style during which Colonna's poetry got here to fulfil, in a groundbreaking and exceptional approach, a reformed religious primary, disseminating an evangelical message to a large viewers interpreting vernacular literature, and offering a version of religious verse which used to be to be followed through later poets around the peninsula. She indicates how, via cautious administration of a suitable literary character, Colonna's poetry was once in a position to harness the facility of print tradition to increase its entice a wider viewers. In so doing this booklet manages to supply the important hyperlink among the 2 critical points of Vittoria Colonna's creation: her poetic evangelism, and her cautious building of a gendered id in the literary tradition of her age. the 1st complete size examine of Vittoria Colonna in English for a century, this publication should be crucial analyzing for students drawn to problems with gender, literature, spiritual reform or the dynamics of cultural transmission in sixteenth-century Italy. It additionally offers a good heritage and contextualisation to an individual wishing to learn Colonna's writings or to grasp extra approximately her position as a mediator among the worlds of courtly Petrachism and spiritual reform.

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Extra info for Vittoria Colonna and the Spiritual Poetics of the Italian Reformation (Catholic Christendom, 1300-1700)

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60 From this point on, any such ‘new’ spiritual material was highlighted with great insistence by publishers and placed at the beginning of the volume in the position of primary importance, clearly reflecting the importance of piety to Colonna’s public image. As is illustrated by the reaction of editors to the trickle of new poems that they were able to lay their hands on, the appetite of the reading public for new works by Colonna was immense. The direction in which the printed editions of the Rime moved, beginning in a traditionally ‘amorous’ vein and swiftly developing and exploiting a more ‘spiritual’ poetic voice, clearly reflects and responds to the wider trajectory of the poet’s public image as it was presented in works about and dedicated to her, swiftly moving from the Ariostan position of wifely commemoration to a more wholly ethereal one of religious contemplation.

Nonetheless, as a widow she could choose where to lodge herself, frequently returning south to Costanza D’Avalos’s court on Ischia where she enjoyed such fame and respect, or else entering various convents as a secular guest, where the tranquillity, order, and comfort no doubt contributed much to her poetic endeavour. Secondly, of course, the tragic events of 1525 provided Colonna with the ultimate confirmation of her poetic attitude and subject matter, concretising the elements that had been gestating since her earlier poetic beginnings into a clear and finely judged portrait of a mournful and pious widow.

12 It is to be hoped that, through the process of tracing the consonances between life and art, it will also be possible to come to some interesting conclusions about the extent to which the poet’s public image was shaped and manipulated, both by Colonna herself and at the hands of the editors and publishers who brought her work into the public realm. These latter actors in the drama are of particular importance, as the agents of a quite phenomenal publishing success from which the poet herself was always careful to maintain her distance and of which she claimed to disapprove.

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