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Lucrezia Marinella (1571–1653)

Author of The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men

Includes the names: Lucrezia Marinelli

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Lucrezia Marinella was born in the Republic of Venice. Her father Giovanni Marinelli was a physician who wrote a number of medical treatises. He encouraged her to study and become educated, and gave her access to works on medicine, biology, and moral and natural philosophy. Her own written works demonstrated a deep knowledge of classical literature and training in rhetoric and dialectic, unusual for a woman of her time. She wrote some 10 books of poetry and prose in a variety of genres, including lyric, epic, narrative, philosophical, and devotional. Her first published work, a heroic poem called La Colomba sacra (The Sacred Dove), appeared in 1595. Her most important work was an eloquent treatise entitled La nobiltà et l'eccellenza delle donne, co' difetti et mancamenti de gli uomini (The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men), first published in 1600. It was a reply to a previous treatise by Giuseppe Passi called I donneschi diffetti (The Defects of Women). She continued writing and revising this work until her death. She also wrote biographies of famous women. Relatively late in life, she married another doctor, Girolomo Vacca. She became famous throughout Italy as a leading female intellectual. See also LT entry for her older contemporary, Moderata Fonte.
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