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Arcangela Tarabotti (1604–1652)

Author of Paternal Tyranny

Includes the names: A Tarabotti, Arcangela Tarabotti

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Short biography
Elena Cassandra Tarabotti, born in Venice, was sent to a Benedictine convent for her education and then forced by her family at age 16 to become a nun under the name of Arcangela. She protested in vain that she had no vocation for the religious life. She wrote at least seven works, though only five were published in her lifetime. Her major work was Tirannia Paterna (Parental Tyranny), a passionate indictment of the injust practice of depositing unwanted young women such as herself into convents for life. Tarabotti shows how despicable it was for Venice, a republic that prided itself on its political liberties, to deprive its women of the rights accorded even to foreigners. The book was published in 1654 under the peudonym Galerana Baratotti in Leiden, Holland. Because she dared to challenge the basic societal assumptions of her era, Tarabotti was continually attacked by hostile critics; but she fought back skillfully in a number of works that were centuries ahead of their time. Her published Letters include correspondence with leading figures of the time such as Vittoria della Rovere of Florence and Cardinal Mazarin of France. A modern critical edition of her letters was published in 2005 by Lynn Lara Westwater and Meredith Kennedy Ray.
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