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Sarah Rolfe Prodan: Women, Devotional Poetics, Identity, and the Self in Early Modern Italy

Date and Time: 
Friday, May 21, 2021. 10:00 AM
Meeting Location: 
Zoom
Workshop: 
Renaissance Worldmaking
Meeting Description: 

In early modern Italy, lyric poets of devotional verse experimented with engaging and representing the Word in new and memorable ways. Drawing inspiration from evolving lay practices of affective piety such as emphatic meditation, on the one hand, and from direct and indirect reading of scriptural sources, on the other, Italian women composed deeply introspective, fervently penitential, and surprisingly sensuous verses. Through a close analysis of devotional lyric poetry by such writers as Vittoria Colonna, Lucrezia Marinella, Semidea Poggi, and Francesca Turini Bufalini, this talk will explore representations of the divine Word by early modern women and examine the relations among piety, identity, and the self in the context of contemporary Italian literary culture and religious life.

Sarah Rolfe Prodan is assistant professor of French and Italian at Stanford University. A scholar of Michelangelo and of early modern Italy, she currently studies relations among poetry, art, and piety in the period. Her publications include Michelangelo’s Christian Mysticism: Spirituality, Poetry and Art in Sixteenth-Century Italy (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and Friendship and Sociability in Premodern Europe: Contexts, Concepts, and Expressions (Toronto: CRRS, 2014). Her talk, “Women and the Word: Devotional Poetics, Identity, and the Self in Early Modern Italy,” emerges from research for her current book project, Poetics of Piety in Early Modern Italy and Beyond, which considers the ways in which male and female poets of devotional verse engaged the Word in text, image, and imagination in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

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