‘A Web of Sentiments: Letter Writing and Gender in the Early Modern Mediterranean, University of Florence’ WG3 Workshop,
The full programme for this event is available here: A Web of Sentiments_ Florence WG3 Workshop Programme
Paper is a fundamental material medium for communication and consequently the creation, regulation and administration of complex human communities of all sorts. Epistolography is one of its most versatile and productive uses. Beyond the routines involved in the management of economic, political or religious institutions, the exchange of private letters informed a series of discursive patterns for sentimental engagements, from friendship and family ties to what has come to be known as romantic love. This sort of epistolary rhetoric, which circulated in printed popular products such as handbooks on letter writing and works of prose fiction, became a discursive mirror for emotional self-fashioning. It also contributed to the creation of public personae with published collections of originally private epistles that followed the models of classics and moderns like Cicero and Petrarch.
This seminar aims to explore this textual diversity with a particular emphasis on female authors. We seek to gather a series of case studies that can exemplify how female epistolography furnished discursive practices that facilitated not just the creation of private and public personae, but also textual spaces for shared sentiments, and consequently the creation of communities in which women sought to negotiate social and emotional spaces of their own. Our seminar aims to sample cases that can illustrate these genres and practices from different linguistic and cultural communities in the broad Mediterranean and European contexts, with a particular focus on the Early Modern period (ca. 15th-17th centuries).
Keywords: paper, epistolography, prose fiction, women’s writing, history of emotions, networks, republics of
letters, self-fashioning, Mediterranean
Dr Ida Caiazza email@example.com / Prof. José María Pérez Fernández firstname.lastname@example.org