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“I am like a child who of diverse / flowers intends to form a beautiful garland”: Moderata Fonte’s Revisions of Gender in Floridoro




Putnam, Christie-Anne

Type of Degree





Sixteenth-century Venetian author Moderata Fonte’s first literary work, Tredici canti del Floridoro, is compared to the epic romance of Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso to suggest why and how a woman writer begins to model her literary work on such a patriarchal example. While entering a masculine dominated genre, Fonte combats issues of female oppression normally seen within treatises and other female dominated genres of the querelle des femmes. By mimicking and undermining the standards of the genre of epic romance, Fonte bends gender and genre boundaries to suggest that male knights and male writers inevitably disrupt their own male dominance paradigms. They adhere to strict dichotomous relations of the masculine and feminine, while female knights and writers reject dichotomous paradigms and turn the patriarchal tradition on its head. In so doing, Fonte reveals that with equal education opportunities for men and women, the male oppressive model for genre and society is false.