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Otero, Ellan Bethia.
The fiction of the _rime_ :
b gaspara stampa's "poetic misprision" of giovanni boccaccio's _the elegy of lady fiammetta_
h [electronic resource] /
by Ellan Bethia Otero.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
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Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2010.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
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ABSTRACT: This study maintains that although Gaspara Stampa's Rime (1554) appears to straddle two popular literary genres-lyric poetry and autobiography-analysis of the Rime within its cultural context demonstrates that while Stampa (1523-1553) used Petrarchan conventions, she also both borrowed and swerved from Giovanni Boccaccio's Elegy of Lady Fiammetta (1334-1337) to imagine a non-Petrarchan narrative of an abandoned woman. In the Renaissance, lyric poetry and autobiography were distinguished not only by their style-prose vs. verse-but, more importantly, by the treatment of their distinctive subject matter. Lyric poetry focused on those emotions involving love, whereas Renaissance autobiography shunned emotions. A comparative analysis of the Rime with the Elegy concludes that the Rime is not a lyric version of Boccaccio's Elegy; however, a consideration of Harold Bloom's "anxiety of influence" demonstrates that although Stampa borrowed the Boccaccian idea of the woman as narrator to tell the story of love and abandonment, she creatively adapted-or, to use Bloom's term, swerved from-Boccaccio's presentation of the abandoned narrator's psychological pain. Instead, Stampa depicts the frustrations and the pain of the narrator whose love is unrequited although her beloved remains nearby.
Advisor: Silvia R. Fiore, Ph.D.
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
The Fiction of The Rime : Gaspara Stampas Poetic Misprision of Giovanni Boccaccios The Elegy of Lady Fiammetta by Ellan B. Otero A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of English College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Silvia R. Fiore, Ph.D. Giovanna Benadusi, Ph.D. Sara M. Deats, Ph.D. Patrizia La Trecchia, Ph.D. Date of Approval March 22, 2010 Keywords: Renaissance, Women, Pe trarch, Bloom, Autobiography Copyright 2010, Ellan B. Otero
i Table of Contents Abstract ...................................................................................................................... ........ iii Introduction .................................................................................................................. ........1 Chapter One: Fact vs. Fiction in Gaspara Stampas Rime .................................................10 Stampas Biography: The Standardized Version ...............................................12 Documented Facts ..................................................................................................16 Chapter Two: The Fiction of the Rime ..............................................................................21 Critics View of (Womans) Poetry .......................................................................22 Autobiography: Some Definitions .........................................................................25 Chapter Three: Venice, Music Writing, and the Ridotti ....................................................32 Music and Musicians in Venice .............................................................................33 Writing in Venice ...................................................................................................35 Education of Men ...................................................................................................51 Education of Women .............................................................................................53 Stampas Education ...............................................................................................60 Chapter Four: Renaissance Au tobiographical Writing and the Rime ................................63 The Renaissance Autobiographical Writing ..........................................................63 Autobiography and the Rime .................................................................................66 Emotional Story-telling ..............................................................................67 Emotional Words .......................................................................................70 Literary Language ......................................................................................72 Petrarchs Influence ...................................................................................79 Chapter Five: Stampas Poetic Misprision of Giovanni Boccaccios Elegy of Lady Fiammetta ....................................................................................................................87 The Elegy of Lady Fiammetta ................................................................................87 The Rime ................................................................................................................90 Parallels and Swerves .........................................................................................91 Similarities Between the Elegy and the Rime ............................................96 Stampas Swerve From Boccaccio ..........................................................107 Chapter Six: Stampas Bid for Fame ...............................................................................116
ii Notes ...............................................................................................................................122 References .................................................................................................................... ....153 Appendix A: Chart of the Original 1554 Editions Numbering with Comparison to Abdelkader Salzas 1913 Editions Renumbering ...............................................160 Appendix B: Cassandra Stampas Dedication of the Rime to Giovanni Della Casa .......170 Appendix C: Gaspara Stampas Dedicati on Letter to Collaltino di Collalto ...................175 Appendix D: Letters and Dedicat ions to Gaspara Stampa ...............................................180 About the Author ................................................................................................... End Page
iii The Fiction of The Rime : Gaspara Stampas Poetic Misprision of Giovanni Boccaccios The Elegy of Lady Fiammetta Ellan B. Otero ABSTRACT This study maintains that although Gaspara Stampas Rime (1554) appears to straddle two popular literary genresl yric poetry and autobi ographyanalysis of the Rime within its cultural context demonstrates th at while Stampa (1523-1553) used Petrarchan conventions, she also both borrowed and swerved from Giovanni Boccaccios Elegy of Lady Fiammetta (1334-1337) to imagine a non-Petrar chan narrative of an abandoned woman. In the Renaissance, lyric poetry a nd autobiography were distinguished not only by their styleprose vs. versebut, more importantly, by the treatment of their distinctive subject matter. Lyric poetry focused on those emotions involving love, whereas Renaissance autobiography shunned em otions. A comparative analysis of the Rime with the Elegy concludes that the Rime is not a lyric version of Boccaccios Elegy ; however, a consideration of Harold Blooms anxiety of influence demonstrates that although Stampa borrowed the Bocc accian idea of the woman as narrator to tell the story of love and abandonment, she creatively ad aptedor, to use Bl ooms term, swerved fromBoccaccios presentation of the aba ndoned narrators psychological pain. Instead,
iv Stampa depicts the frustrations and the pain of the narrator whose love is unrequited although her beloved remains nearby.
1 Introduction This study maintains that although Gaspara Stampas Rime (1554) appears to straddle two popular literary genresl yric poetry and autobi ographyanalysis of the Rime within its cultural context demonstrates th at while Stampa (1523-1553) used Petrarchan conventions, she also both borrowed and swerved from Giovanni Boccaccios Elegy of Lady Fiammetta (1334-1337) to imagine a non-Petrar chan narrative of an abandoned woman. In the Renaissance, lyric poetry a nd autobiography were distinguished not only by their styleprose vs. versebut, more importantly, by the treatment of their distinctive subject matter. Lyric poetry focused on those emotions involving love, whereas Renaissance autobiography shunned em otions. A comparative analysis of the Rime with the Elegy concludes that the Rime is not a lyric version of Boccaccios Elegy ; however, a consideration of Harold Blooms anxiety of influence demonstrates that although Stampa borrowed the Bocc accian idea of the woman as narrator to tell the story of love and abandonment, she creatively ad aptedor, to use Bl ooms term, swerved fromBoccaccios presentation of the aba ndoned narrators psychological pain. Instead, Stampa depicts the frustrations and the pain of the narrator whose love is unrequited although her beloved remains nearby. I argue that Giovanni Boccaccios Elegy of Lady Fiammetta influenced Stampas Rime and that it is a fiction, not autobiogra phy, as traditionally presumed. To support my hypothesis, I review the genr e of autobiography written c ontemporaneously with, or
2 slightly earlier than, the Rime The differences I find demonstrate that Stampa did not model her Rime on Renaissance autobiography; inst ead, she wrote a fiction in the Petrarchan manner, as did the poets she re spected. These poets constitute Stampas literary context and were the authoritative s ource determining what and how she wrote. Earlier in the century Pietro Be mbo (1470-1547) established the poetic modus operandi Stampa inherited. Just prior to her birth, he had convinced the literati of Venice and elsewhere that Francesc o Petrarchs (1304-1374) Rime sparse (1374) should be the sole model for poets (McLaughlin 268) and with his own Rime (1530) popularized the style (Richardson, Scribal 684). Moreover, the story of the abandone d woman lover was not unique to Stampa; it had existed for centuries and was well know to her as an educated woman: Ovids Heroides was still in circulation, as we re the twelfth-century trobairitz poems. Because Bembo had argued successfu lly that Boccaccio should be the prose model, ridotti (literary salons) members discussed the Elegy and his other works. The modern scholar Gordon Braden recognizes the likelihood of the Elegy s influence on Stampa but does not pursue the idea: If Stampa needed some literary paradigm for the story surrounding her poems, this one was readily [at] hand; we may describe her Rime dAmore as a lyricization of Boccaccios prose Elegy into a more affirmative mode (Gender 133). His tantalizing comment does not pursue what he saw in the Rime that so strongly resembled the Elegy His failure to do so, however, leaves me an opportunity to explore this matter of influence. Before examining the Elegy as Stampas muse, the long-standing opinion concerning the Rimes autobiographical nature should be addressed. Even a cursory review of the literature on Stampa and her Rime reveals than a biographical assumption
3 pervades the historiography. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, for example, scholars debated Stampas profession: whether she was a courtesan or not. Stampa was an unmarried woman earning her living as a mu sician and singer in the Venetian literary salons ridotti and other public venues in a societ y that sequestered its upper-class women ostensibly to protect their chaste reputations. Women who mixed freely with upper-class men at social events typically were courtesans.2 Because few documents survive detailing Stampas life, early scholars researched the Rime as a historical document to determine who (and what) Stampa was. Antonio Rambaldo di Collalto, heir to the family name of the Rimes beloved, began the practice with his 1738 publication of the Rime. His preface includes a biography of Stampa (the original does not) relying on the Rime as his source. Rambaldo claims that Stampa was an innocent, young woman seduced and abandoned by her lover (Bassanese, Stampa 23-24, Negativity 344). Scholars have repeated much of Ra mbaldos biography although he based it on unsubstantiated facts and assumptions. Not unt il 1913 did an Italian scholar, Abdelkader Salza, challenge the Romantic idea of Stampa as the innocent victim of love, claiming, instead, that she was a courtesan. Determined to prove Stampa a courtesan, Salza scoured the Venetian archives for information on the poet. He unearthed previously unknown documents, such as dedications, poems, and letters, thus broa dening our knowledge of the poet and her circles of acquaintances. However, in order to support his hypothesi s, Salza rearranged the order of Stampas Rime (See Appendix A for the changes). Specifically, he divided the Rime into the Rime dAmore and the Rime varie, and he removed all poems not concerning Collaltino di Collalto (the Rime s beloved) to the Rime varie. In addition, he
4 placed the religious poems at the end of the Rime varie, introducing them with a poem that he admits Stampa did not write3 (Jones, Bad Press 298-99; Salza, Nota 371-72). Salza effectively changes the story the Rime relates, an arrangement Ann Rosalind Jones labels radical (Bad Press 298). By rearranging the sequence and ending the Rime dAmore with poems of contrition, Salza creates a story of repentance incompatible with the original in order to dem onstrate that Stampa was a fa llen woman who, at the end of her life, felt contrition and sought forgivene ss (Jones, Bad Press 299). He published his version of the Rime with the Rime of Veronica Franco, a known courtesan, thus implying guilt by spatial association (Bassanese, Male 46). Stampas Rime as published in the Rime de Veronica Franco e Gaspara Stampa (1913) is the version used by subsequent scholars.4 Salza challenges the Romantic myth in two articles,5 beginning a somewhat contentious discourse on Stam pas profession. Who she knew pl ays an important part in Salzas arguments, and his conclusion a bout her profession relies in part on the reputations of Stampas acqua intances. Salza examines th ese men and women and finds them morally wanting, often quoting from le tters and other documents to support his hypothesis.6 For example, Salza refers to a poe m by Sperone Speroni, a vulgar joking rhyme, which asks who is the better lay, Gaspara or her sister Cassandra (Jaffe 240). In another case, he interprets a letter from the nun Suor A ngelica Paola Antonia de Negri as implying that Stampa lead a sinful life b ecause de Negri attempts to persuade Stampa to avoid worldly temptations and focus on God. For more evidence Salza analyzes the Rime itself as if it were Stampas autobiography of love affairs with Collaltino di Collalto and Bartolomeo Zen. Finally, Salza include s the libelous poem about Stampa published
5 posthumously (Secondo 73). Nonetheless, contemporary and modern scholars do not accept Salzas conclusions. In Gaspara Stampa: vita e opera (1919), Eugenio Donadoni, a contemporary scholar, objects to Salzas fi ndings, pointing out a weakness in Salzas argument; Salza, Donadoni claims, fails to consider Stampas cultural milieu, specifically the mores of the intellectual s and literati through whose ci rcles Stampa moved. Stampa was, Donadoni believed, an irregolare, one of a group of indivi duals who ignored the accepted morals of Venetian societ y (Bassanese, Self-Naming 104). While Stampas possible profession did not concern all early scholars, they did not ignore her gender (Bassanese, Male 46) in analyzing her poetry. Some analyze her Rime as a work of art, or in the case of Benedetto Croce, argue why it is not. For example, Croce, Conversazione critiche (1924), dismisses Stampas Rime as nothing more than a autobiography composed under th e banner of Petrarchism, refusing to recognize Stampas imitation as valid because, as a woman, her emotions take priority over art (Bassanese, Male 47). In fact, by highlighting Stampas gender Fu donna Croce implies it was impossible for Stampa to write poetry at all (Phillippy, Loves 92). Maud F. Jerrolds Vittoria Colonna with Some Acc ount of her Friends and her Times (1906) provides a vivid exampl e of how early tw entieth-century sc holars devalued Stampas poetry. In the chapter on Stampa, Jerro ld denigrates her poe try: we shall find nothing noble, nothing ideal, only an intensely passionate heart (169). In addition, Jerrold asserts that the Rime is autobiographical: Hers is th e first literary autobiography; we do not need to go beyond her verses to know her whole history; it is a love record, in fact, of everything except nobleness (184). Not surprisingly, Jerrold subscribes to the Romantic topos of Stampa as the victim of love: Whether any happiness could
6 ultimately have come from this [new love for Bartolomeo Zen] is an unresolved question, for Gaspara had felt and suffered too much; sh e had literally warn herself out and died April 1554, when only thirty-one (194). The p roblem with Stampas poems was that they were believed to express her unrestrained emotions su ffered during an illicit love affair. With the advent of the Womens Libera tion Movement in the 1960s and 70s, the attitude toward women writers, including poets changed. Feminist scholars re/discovered the literary works (and histor ies) of women and undertook seri ous study of their art. The most influential scholar on Stampa and her Rime and the most published on bothis Fiora A. Bassanese. In 1982 Bassanese published the only monograph ever written on Stampa, unfortunately now out of print. This monograph, Gaspara Stampa, is still considered the most comprehensive source on the poet: it includes a thorough discussion of the Rime s critical history; an analysis of the Rime varie ;7 a chapter comparing Petrarchs and Stampas styles and substance; an explana tion of Platonism, its history within the Renaissance, and Stam pas Platonism found within her Rime ; a chapter on the originality of the Rime dAmore ; comments on her poetrys musical qualities; and a detailed review of Stampas life. Bassanese places Stampa within her cultural and literary milieux, but regrettably, she repeats the arguably questionable biography. Although the Rime is now the subject of wester n scholarly study, most still consider it autobiography. A samp ling of scholars who view the Rime as based on a love affair includes Stanley Benfell, Translating Desire in Vittoria Colonna and Gaspara Stampa (2005); Irma B. Jaffe, Shining Eyes, Cruel Fortune: The Lives and Loves of Italian Renaissance Women Poets (2002); Laura Anna Stortoni and Mary Prentice Lillie,
7 Selected Poems (1994); Frank Warnke, Three Women Poets: Renaissance and Baroque (1987). A few scholars avoid the questi on entirely, analyzing instead the Rime s literary heritage: Gordon Braden, Petrarchan Love and the Continental Renaissance (1999); Patricia B. Phillippy, Altera Dido: The Mode l of Ovids Heroides in the Poems of Gaspara Stampa and Veronica Franco (1992); and Robert J. Rodini Post-Petrarchan and Language(s) of Desire ( 1996); others study Stampas Ve netian society: Martha Feldman, The Academy of Domenico Ve nier, Musics Literary Muse in MidCinquecento Venice (1991), who analyzes Stam pas ridotti and their musical interests; and Janet L. Smarr, Gaspara Stampas Poetry for Performance (1991), who reconstructs Stampas cont emporary literary audiences. As indicated above, previous studies have focused eith er on Gaspara Stampa the woman or on her Rime its literary heritage, its voi ce, and other poetic devicesbut no one has challenged the biographical assu mption. My study hopes to correct some misconceptions about the Rime ; it will ask, What exactly is the Rime ? Is it an autobiography detailing Stampas passions dur ing a love affair with the aristocrat Collaltino di Collalto? Is it au tobiographical because Stampa took events from this love affair and, rearranging and enhancing them, wrote a canzoniere about love? Or, Is the Rime a fiction drawn from her imagination? Th is paper takes the la st position contending that Gaspara Stampa drew inspir ation from Giovanni Boccaccios Elegy of Lady Fiammetta to compose a distinctive canzoniere that would attract critical acclaim and distinction in the crowded milieu of Petrarchan poetry. If scholarship embraces this last position, Rime studies would be enriched with new findings and insights: not only c ould scholars continue to study the Rimes syntax,
8 Classical and contemporary literary references, its rhyme schemes, its musical qualities, and the like, with Petrarchs Rime sparse hovering in the background as the benchmark. Scholars could also explore the Rime s portrayal of the prot agonist and antagonist, the protagonists growth and change plotting, tone, point of view, and other literary devices. As a result, scholars would no longer view the Rime as a projection of Stampas personality, but as a product of a skilled and imaginative poe t. We could then appreciate Stampa as a poet who envisions the emoti onal ups and downs of a tumultuous love affairthe most popular fic tion of the Renaissance. The thesis of this paperStampa wrote a canzoniere inspired by Giovanni Boccaccios Elegy of Lady Fiammetta requires a new unders tanding of Stampas Rime. Chapter One disputes the belief that the Rime is autobiographical by pointing out that no archival documents exist to support the biographical assumption. Chapter Two expands on the existence of the biographical assu mption by reviewing the historiography of womens poetry with a focus on the Rime Examples of modern autobiographical theory are discussed and applied to the Rime to demonstrate how Stampas canzoniere can easily fool the reader into believi ng he is reading about an actua l love affair. Chapter Three turns to the early 1500s Venice to review Stam pas literary and musi cal contexts and to explain why Stampa wrote what she did. Part of Stampas literary context is autobiography, so Chapter Four examines the parameters of Renaissance life writing and compares the Rime to the requirements of this genre. Analysis of Petrarchs influence on the Rime concludes the chapter, effectively removing the Rime from the genre of autobiography to that of Petrarchan poetry. Chapter Five summarizes Giovanni Boccaccios Elegy of Lady Fiammetta then, applying Harold Blooms anxiety of
9 influence, compares the Rime to the Elegy to reveal how Stampa first borrowed ideas from the Elegy then swerved from it to make room for herself as a poet. The concluding chapter sums up the papers findings that 1. ) Stampa did not write an autobiographical Rime 2.) but was influenced by the Venetian li terary environment to compose poetry in the Petrarchan mode. 3.) Desiring a unique canzoniere she turned to Boccaccios Elegy appropriating the concept of the sexually fulfilled then abandoned woman; however, seeking to create poetic space for herself to a void being labeled a son of her precursor, Boccaccio, she swerved from Boccaccio to crea te a new version of the psychological study of the abandoned female. The chapter c oncludes with a summary of the importance of these findings and suggests areas for further research.
10 Chapter One: Fact vs. Fiction in Gaspara Stampas Rime Gaspara Stampas biography tells us that at some point during her twenties she composed an introductory letter for a collection of poems what she referred to as her poor booklet (Stampa, Selected xxxiv). She addressed this letteralthough not by nameto the landed aristocrat Collaltino di Collalto, her inattentive lover. The letter expresses hope that the poems will inform him of her suffering: Here, Your Lordship will not see the whole sea of my passions, my tears and my torments, because it is a bottoml ess sea; but only a little stream of them; nor should Your Lordship think that I have done this to make you aware of your cruelty, because one cannot talk of cruelty when there is no obligation, nor to constrain you; but ra ther to make you aware of your own greatness and to make you rejoice (Stampa, Selected xxxiii). During this period, the warrior Collaltino fought for King Henry II of France against England over Boulogne-Sur-Mer, a region on the continent both countries claimed (Stampa, Selected xxxiii). Collaltinos obligation lasted for six to seven months, his first of two deployments during their threeyear relationship. As Stampa clearly states in the dedication and poems, he neglect ed to respond to her appeals: Since my amorous pains, which for the love of Your Lordship, I have written about in several letters and rhymes, have not been able, one by
11 one, to make Your Lordship take pity on me, nor to even make you courteous enough to write me one word in return. (Stampa, Selected xxxiii) Nonetheless, Stampa celebrates her unrequited love, claiming in both the letter and poetry that the pain she suffers inspires her; cons equently, she does not express regret or anger for the suffering he caused her, but ironically, a joy in its presence, because it made her productive: since even in tormenting me you ar e beneficial and produce fruit (Stampa, Selected xxxiii). The relationship was for Stampa very fruitful: she wrote 311 poems in a variety of styles, 220 on the relationship itself. The year following Stampas death in 1553, her sister Cassandra collected quelle che si sono potute trovare ( all those [poems] that could be found; Jerrold 194) and published them along with epis tles and elegiac poems by Stampa and others. The press Pietrasanta printed an exquisite edition with a title page, an engrav ed banner beginning each section, and historiated capitols beginning the sonnets eulogizing Stampa, Stampas dedicatory letter, and the first sonnet of the canzoniere itself.8 Giorgio Benzone, a family friend and a poet, aided Cassandra in editing the Rime (Jones, Currency 126), which she dedicated to Giovanni Della Ca sa on dottobre 1554 ( Stampa 1554).9 This small sample of Gaspara Stampas biography provides an example of the problem with her historiography: the incor poration of assumptions as facts. Although there are no supporting archival documents, th e biography above states: 1.) that Stampa wrote the letter dedication; 2.) that she sent the letter with a collection of her poems; and 3.) that she was having a love affair with Collaltino di Co llalto and that these poems reflect her personal feelings. What follows is the complete biography found in literature
12 on Stampa, from dissertations to articles, to the most recentalthough incomplete English translation of the Rime by Laura Anna Stortoni and Mary Prentice Lillie. With the exception of a few changes, the biogra phy has remained consistent for over two hundred years. Stampas Biography: The Standardized Version Gaspara Stampa was born in Padua in 1523 to Bartolomeo, a goldsmith and a member of Paduas rich mercantile class, and Cecelia (maiden name unknown) (Jones, Currency 119). The surname is Milanese, and Bartolomeo Stampa may or may not have descended from a poor branch of a great ar istocratic family (Bassanese, Stampa 1-2) although some scholars state matter-of-factly that the Stampas had aristocratic blood.10 Gaspara Stampa was the middle child with an older sister, Ca ssandra, and a younger brother, Baldassare, who she was very fond of (Bellonci 27).11 While his children were still young, Bartolomeo began their aristocratic-level education that included mythology, Roman history, art, poetry, Latin, Gree k, grammar, rhetoric, music, and literature (Bassanese, Stampa 3; Bellonci 29-30). Shortly after Bartolomeos death in 1 531 Cecelia moved with her children to Venice, her home town (Bellonci 29; Robi n 118), in order to launch her daughters careers as musical performers (Jones, Currency 118). The family occupied a house owned by Messer Geronimo Morosini in the p arrocchia dei Santi Gervansio e Protasio (or San Trovaso) where Stampa lived until her pre-mature death twenty-two years later. Cecelia continued the childrens educati on under the grammarian Fortunio Spiras
13 guidance from whom they learned their Latin (Wend 74).12 They also took voice and lute under the tutelage of Periss one Cambio (Bellonci 30).13 Stampas parents may have educated their daughters in the music profession because musicians and soloists were in hi gh demand. There existed the possibility that Stampa and Cassandra, with their good voi ces and musical skills, would end up living under the auspices of a wealt hy benefactor or having a suit able marriage arranged by a doting patron. Although both girls were admi red for their exceptional musical skills, Stampa received special attention for the beauty of her voice (Bassanese, Stampa 4). Four years after moving to Venice, C ecilia opened her house as a literary salonridotto; it was attended by young patricians, poets, musicians, literati, independent ladies, prelates, soldiers nobles, and foreigners (Bassanese, Stampa 7; Bellonci 31). Stampa was twelve and had received a number of years of humanist education and musical training. Music and si nging were favored entertainment at the time, so Cecilia would have had her two daughters sing and play instruments for the guests. As word of the girls singing and musical talents spread, they would have attracted a variety of guest s and admirers (Bassanese, Stampa 7). In her mothers ridotto and later in other ridotti including that of the patrician Domenico Veniera member of Venices highest classStampa mingled with a select group of individuals who conversed about Pe trarchan poetry and poetics (Bassanese, Stampa 12). Under such circumstances, Stampa s education, begun under Fortunio Spira, Perissone Cambio, and others, continued as she was exposed to discussions about versification, meter, rhythm, cadence, imag ery, form, and rhyme. In addition, as a singer she became intimately familiar with Petr archs sonnets since all of Petrarchs
14 sonnets were arranged dozens of times for flut e, the guitar, and most often for the human voice (Bassanese, Stampa 12). Early in 1544 Stampas brother Baldassare a promising poet, died at the age of 19 while at the university at Padua (Bassanese, Stampa 4). His death precipitated a religious crisis for Stampa, now 21. Suor Angelica Paola de Negri, in response to the death, sent Stampa a long letter to comfort he r, and to urge her to abandon the world and retire to a convent (Bel lonci 34-35; Jerrold 182).14 Instead of following Suor Angelicas advice, Stampa reentered the social scene, mingling with old friends and acquaintances, and continuing her work as a singer and mu sician. The following year, a friend of her now deceased brother, Francesco Sansovino, dedicated his Ragionamento damore15 to her (Bassanese, Stampa 8, 87-88; Bellonci 34-35; Jerrol d 177). Shortly thereafter Sansovino dedicated both the sixteenth edition of Boccaccios Ameto (1544) and the Lettura di Benedetto Varchi sopra un sone tto dell Gelosia di Monsignor Della Casa (1544) to Stampa16 (Bassanese, Stampa 44; Bellonci 34-35; Brad en Gender 131-32). Once again, in 1547, Stampa was the dedica tee of a published work, this time by Perissone Cambio, her lute and voice instruct or and himself a wellrespected singer; the book was a collection of madrigals titled Primo libro di madrigali a quarto voci (Bassanese, Stampa 4, 8). On Christmas Day 1548, in Domenico Veniers ridotto Stampa met Collaltino di Collalto,17 a landed aristocrat from Friuli, friend of many literati, a soldier, and himself a mediocre poet (Bellonci 36-37). This fortui tous meeting began a three-year tumultuous love affair during whic h Stampa composed her canzoniere For the most part, Collaltino ignored her advances, but Stampa persisted in writing love sonnets for him, nonetheless;
15 then in May 1549, Stampa enclos ed 100 sonnets with a letter18 and mailed it, with the poems, to Collaltino who was campa igning in France (Bassanese, Stampa 17; Robin 44).19 Initially, Cecilia and Cassandra hoped that Collaltino would marry Stampa, but his unresponsiveness during his six-month abse nce crushed their hopes (Bellonci 37).20 After his return and a brief reunion with Stampa, he retreated to his estate in Friuli, leaving Stampa to doubt that he still loved her. In 1550 Collaltino took her to his estate, San Salvatore, but ignored her while there (Bellonci 38-39). During the late 1540s, Stampa joined the Accademia dei Dubbiosi as Anassilla, a pseudonym based on the Latin name Anaxum of the river that ran through the Collalto estate in the Veneto (Bell onci 37-38). Giorgio Benzone, the editor of her posthumous Rime uses Anassilla in a poem, an indica tion that the name was public currency (Jones, Currency 126).21 It was during her i nvolvement with the Accademia that the affair with Collaltino ended, and she met her new l ove, Bartolomeo Zen, a Venetian patrician (Bellonci 38-39), whose name app ears in the acrostic poem in the Rime : Ben si convien, signor, che l'aureo dardo.22 Stampa remained with Zen until her death on the 23rd of April 1553, when she was thirty -one years old (Bassanese, Stampa 19; Bellonci 40-41; Robin 13).23 Urged by Stampas admirers, Cassandra gathered quelle che si sono potute trovare (all those [poems] that could be found; Jerrold 194) and published them October 1554; she dedicated the Rime to Archbishop Giovanni Della Casa (Bassanese, Stampa 20; Bellonci 40-41; Jaffe 246), a fr iend of the Stampas (Jerrold 177).
16 Documented Facts This biography is repeated in articles, essays, and di ssertations, hence the term standardized used in the previous header; but how many of these f acts can historical documents verify? The answer exists in the publications of the man who sought to prove Stampa a courtesan, the Italia n scholar Abdelkader Salza. Salza, dissatisfied with the Romantic vi ew of Stampa as a young, innocent victim of Collaltinos cruel heart, found new documents in the archives that he claims support his supposition. Although contemporary and presen t-day scholars disagree with Salzas conclusions, his archival findings demonstr ate how little we know about the poet. As Salza says: But the following details of her bi ography we can know for sure: the family of the poetess was Padovan, and certainly not noble, because no corroboration has reached us; Gaspara was born in Padua, as she herself says in a sonnet to Speroni. We do not know in what year, but probably not before 1525. As for her kin, we know nothing about the father. One hint about the mother and sister, [Gas para] places in another sonnet. Some other [sonnets] by Parabosco compliment [Gasparas sister] Cassandra who dedicated [Gasparas] Rime (1554) to Giovanni della Case. We have received a few other details and a li ttle song of the brother of Stampa, Baldassare, whom she never mentions. Stampa died precisely on the 23rd April 1554 (Secondo 4-5; translation mine) 24 The sonnet addressed to the Venetian literati25 Sperone Speroni, Voi nandaste, signor, senza me dove (Without me, lord, you went where),26 is a simple
17 communication expressing Stampas regret that she could not accompany him to her hometown for the religious festivities (Bassanese, Stampa 37; Wend 177). Stampa does not mention the citys name, but refers to it by its fame: where il gran Troian ferm le schiere errati (1-2). Padua claims Antenor the gran Troian, as its founder; he established the city when he ceased his wa nderings and settled there with his band of displaced Trojans. Stampa also refers to Paduas patron saint, St. Anthony,27 as un de li di pi cari al vero Giove ( the saint most loved of God; 7-8) (Bellonci 246; Jaffe 241). Other epistolary sonne ts included in the Rime provide names from her coterie and wider circle of acquaintances, a group that includes musicians, literati, nobles, and patricians of Venice and beyond. Stampa addres sed sonnets to Domeni co Venier; to the poet Luigi Alamanni (Bassanese, Negativity 336; Robin, Courtesans 43); to a certain Zanni who may have been the Venetian Bembista Giacomo Zane (Bassanese, Negativity 336); to the brot her of the beloved in her Rime Vinciguerra di Collalto; to Girolamo Molin, a Petrarchist and friend of Pietro Bembo, who also had composed a Petrarchan Canzoniere (Wend 76-77); to a Michiel w ho could have been Domenico Michiel, the Venetian poet and philosopher who taught Stam pa poetry (Wend 74). Other addressees were Leonardo Emo, Venetian poet, nobleman, and friend of Collaltino (Wend 173); a Balbi about whom nothing is known; the philosopher and Bembist Nicol Tiepolo (Wend 176); a Soranzo, who if he were Mercantonio Soranzo was a Venetian nobleman (Wend 174); Elena Barozzi Centan i, a Venetian gentildonna (Wend 176); Giovanna dAragona; Ortensio Lando, an adve nturous Milanese writer and a member of the same literary circles (Wend 173n. 112); and Francesco Fortunio, a jurist and founder of grammatical rules published as Regole Grammaticali (Wend 174n. 119). In
18 addition, Stampa wrote 15 sonnets whose addressees are uncertain.28 Finally, Cassandra frames Stampas Rime with poems by men who knew Stam pa: Benedetto Varchi, Giulio Stufa, Giorgio Benzone, Torquato Bembo, and Leonardo Emo. Stampa is often considered to have been a courtesan for three reasons: her acquaintances were primarily men; she appears to have been able to move freely around the Venetian social scene; and she composed unrestrained, even erotic, love poetry. Abdelkader Salza, for example, wrote upwards of 200 pages in two articlesand published Stampas Rime with that of Veronica Francosin an attempt to persuade skeptical scholars that Stampa was indeed a courtesan; nonetheless, to date no evidence has surfaced that settles the issue definitiv ely. We do know, however, that Stampa was a virtuosa who garnered praises for her voi ce and musical techniques. For example, Girolamo Parabosco extols the quality of Stampas voice, along with her beauty and intelligence, in the dedication of his Lettere amorose (1545) (Feldman, Academia 500). Typical hyperbolic praise aside, Stampa s singing was apparently excellent: And what shall I say of that angelic voice, which, whenever it penetrates the air with its divine accents, make s such sweet harmony that it does not merely, like the Siren, make everyone w ho is worthy of hearing it thrall to the brother of death, but infuses spir it and life into the coldest stones, making them weep for sovran sweetness ( Lettere amorose, Lib. 1. p 32) (Jerrold 175).29 The composer Perissone Cambio al so admired Stampa, dedicating his Primo libro de madrigali a quarto voci to her. Placing her first among women who loved music, he mentions that her grasp of music theory was incomparable so that she possesses music.
19 Last, he speaks of the quality of her voice, referring to the epitaph divine siren given her by another (Feldman, Academia 502-03). To the lovely and talented Signora Stampa: Noble lady, well might I be reproved by the wise and learned composers of this sweet and admirable sciencere proved in this science, yes, but no man in the world will ever be able to say that I have had little judgment in dedicating these notes of mine to your ladyship, however they may be. Because it is well known by nowand not only in this fortunate city, but almost everywherethat no woman in the world loves music as much as you do, nor possesses it to such a rare degree. And thousands upon thousands of fine and noble spirits at test to this who, having heard your sweet harmonies, have given you the na me of divine siren, remaining over time your most devoted servants, among whom I am as devoted as any. I come with this my little token and gift to refresh the memory of the love that I bear for your talent, begging th at you deign to find me worthy to be placed where you place the innumerable throngs of those who adore and love your rare talents and beauties And to your graces I commend and offer myself. Most devoted servant Pieresson [sic] Cambio (Feldman, City 373).30 Perissone Cambias dedication of his first book of madrigals to Stampa should not be dismissed as inconsequential. Authors typically dedicated their published works to individuals of high standing and wealth in hopes of receiving gi fts, or better, acquiring a patron who would support the musi cians (or writers) future projects with monetary gifts
20 or a stipend. For Cambio to forgo such an opportunity speaks volumes about his admiration for Stampas musical talents; he may have hoped to inflame the heart of a generous patron for Stampas benefit. We do not know if he was successful, but by dedicating one of his books to her, he publis hed her name as an exemplary virtuosa. Stampas standard biography presents an ove rview of her life from her birth to her death, with most detail s clustered around her 26th to 31st years. Information from these later years is derived from her Rime which tells of a love affair with the landed aristocrat Collaltino di Collalto. However, archival rese arch, especially by Abdelkader Salza, does not corroborate these facts. Ac tually, we know very little a bout Stampas life other than her city of birth, and the da te, location, and cause of d eath. We also know she was a talented singer and musician, and we have some names of people whom she knew. With this dearth of corroborating information, schol ars erroneously mistak e the facts of the Rimes love story as Stampas personal experiences.
21 Chapter Two: The Fiction of the Rime Critics, scholars, editors, poe ts, and just about everyone else have mined Gaspara Stampas Rime for biographical and psychological in formation beginning as early as 1738 when Antonio Rambaldo di Collalto wrot e the first biography or romanticized legend (Bassanese, Stampa 23). Using the Rime as a source results from the belief that Stampa wrote about a personal love affa ir. Yet, no scholar has analyzed the Rime in the Renaissance autobiographical c ontext, a deficiency that this paper seeks to correct. This chapter begins the process by reviewing some scholars opinions about Stampas Rime proceeds with a brief discussion of severa l modern autobiographical theories, and concludes with some thoughts on reasons why sc holars and lay readers alike consider the Rime autobiography. The autobiographical inclination stems from the nature of love poetry: in love poetryand Petrarchan poetry in particularthe loose plot line of love and loss, the vivid descriptions of emotions, the firstperson point of view, the inclusion of time markers, and Stampas references to actual pl aces and events create the narrative illusion of real experiences. Even some Renaissan ce readers assumed Petrarchs poetry was a (f)actual love story that [supported] a psychological and autobiographical reading, a tendency that Bassanese does not find unusual: Any Petrar chan volume invites such interpretations, fostering the desire in reader s, critics, and biographers alike to seek its narrative core and transform its lyric subjec tivity into objective facts (Male 45).
22 Giuseppe Mazzotta terms this assumption the biographical fallacy in his discussion of scholars approach to Petrarchs Rime sparse ; they assume, he says, that the dissymmetries and vagaries of [Petrarch s] conscience mechanically reflect and correspond to contingent viciss itudes of his restless life ( Worlds 6). Critics View of Womens Poetry and of Stampas Rime Critics and readers confuse the fiction found in womens poetry with autobiography, a phenomenon Lawrence Lipking deems a conseque nce of readers c onviction that the woman poet can only write inevitably from the experiential loss of love. The poetry serves, Lipking suggests, to hide the resulti ng pain. In fact, the wo man poet cannot write poetry without having been abandoned first. W ithout the lost lover, her poetry will not have a theme (171-72, 179). Critics rarely entertain the possibility that the poet drew from her imagination:31 Women writers are thought to be talking about their real experiences and writing about what they re ally believe (Benson and Kirkman 8); her material is autobiographical even if her ch aracter has nothing in co mmon with the author. Relevant to the objections made in this paper, the author is credited less with imagination than with sincerity (Lipking 172) Thus, critics analyze an authors poetry to elucidate her personality, not to appraise her poetic skill. The conviction that womens poetry is ly ricized autobiography also occurs in criticism of Gaspara Stampa and her Rime Maud Jerrold credits Stampa with the dubious honor of having written the first literary au tobiography, and that we do not need to go beyond [Stampas] verses to know her whole story (184). For Jerrold, Stampa could write only what she had experienced: Subject ive to the last degree, she has no outlook,
23 she only writes true history. Following this line of reasoning, Jerrold concludes: Stampas literary output is the story of a three years passion, and strikes the varying notes of joy, transport, jealousy, and reproach, returning to the height of ecstasy only to sink down in desolation and despair; it is a love record (183). Je rrold, in viewing the Rime as a direct reflection of St ampas morals, is unable to distinguish the poet from her work. Echoing Jerrold, Frank War nke asserts that the Rime is a straight-forward account of the ecstasies and sufferings cause d by her love for Collaltino di Collalto ( Three 20), and Eugenio Donadoni calls Stampas Rime her inner diary (qtd. in Lipking 171). Lipking sums up the general scholarly consensus about the Rime : Stampas miracles of love imply that another kind of inspiration may be available to the woman poet: not the Muse but the absent lover. The poem fills the empty space the beloved leaves behind ; it represents the failure of nature and humankind. The Rime would not have been written had Collaltino proved faithful (180; emphasis added). Even if the Rime does not record a love affair, critics still feel that Stampa must have experienced one before she could have written her poetry. Warnke, at least, credits Stampa with some poetic skill: It is possible that Collaltino is the occasion for Stampas poetry, her feelings for him deliberately and cunningly heightened and mani pulated in order to create an emotional state the will make the writing of poetry possible ( Three 20). Bassanese, the leading critic of Stam pa, has modified her opinion that the Rime is autobiographical little over the past 28 years. In her 1980 ar ticle, The Feminine Voice: Gaspara Stampa, Bassanese states that im itative poetry is a valid outlet for selfexpression, and that Stampa, always consci ous of her condition as both a woman and a
24 female writer [,] created a canzoniere which is extremely personal (81). Using the vocabulary afforded her, Stampa perceived her own experiences in the language of Petrarchism (82); however, in imitation of Petrarch, her poetry focuses on her own emotions during the love affair: The center of Stampas poetry is her love, her reactions, thoughts, needs, joy, and pains. In short, herself. And she presents an admirable, complete self-description, in which her femininity is of crucial importance. Just as Petrarch is the center of his poetry, so Stam pa is the main personal of hers (83-84). Bassanese clarifies her position on the Rime s autobiographical nature in her 1982 monograph Gaspara Stampa when she states that it cannot be true autobiography because Stampa wrote it under the constraints of the Petrarchan model: Stampas Rime has ceaselessly been read as an historical document, functioning as a source upon which cri tics have fashioned her life story. The poetry cannot reasonably be interpre ted as factual text, however. If it is biographical, it deals with sp iritual and psycho logical biography. Emotional states may be honestly rendered, but they have been adjusted to the constraints of a literary form, ge nerally the sonnet. Such alterations and the very act of recreating factual moments to suit artistic demands require a shift in perspective. The po ints of view of the poet and of the person are necessarily different and often at variance. (40) Nonetheless, Bassanese still views Stampas Rime as based on an actual love affair: Gaspara Stampa needs to be studied not as a woman who wrote, but as a poet who described, presented, and quite possibly invented situations, rendering life fiction in order to elevate it to true art ( Stampa 41; emphasis added). Bassanese comments on the
25 Rimes autobiographical nature in her 1989 article, Whats in a Name?: Self-naming and Renaissance Women Poets, asserting that a l ove affair inspired Stampas Petrarchism: In the Petrarchan-Bembian vein, her principl e love interest provides a name rich in poetic possibilities. Stampa transf orms her beloveds name into colle which extends into Parnassus and Helicon (105). Similarly, in her latest article, Stampas Petrarchan Commemorations: Validating a Female Discourse (2004), Bassanese refines her argument that Stampa did not write an aut obiography, but created a work of art based on her love for Collaltino, because, Bassanese ma intains, Stampa recognized the Petrarchan sonnet as the perfect mode for describing her love affair: Besides commemorating Petrarch as the master of prosody by imitating him stylistically, Stampa also celebrates the Canzoniere as an ideal rendering of the love experience (emphasis added), the perfect fabula (159).32 The idea that Stampa invented the Rime s love story has rarely been suggested and only once pursued, however briefly.33 Critical consensus holds that Stampa wrote about her own love affair; consequently, critic s do not hesitate to ex tract details from the Rime and employ them as facts in Stampas biography. This biogra phy, standardized for all practical purposes now, c ontains many assumed facts as noted in the previous chapter. Autobiography: Some Definitions Clues derived from reading her Rime probably only a sample of Stampas total oeuvre34indicate that Stampa sought recognition as a poet as seen by the fact that she composes the obligatory Petrarchan poety, uses a variety of poetic stylessonnets,
26 songs, canzoni, sestine, ballate, capitoli, and madrigali, and ad mits in Sonnet One that she seeks gloria (7). Yet, as discus sed previously, critics assume the Rime to be autobiographical. What constitutes autobiographical writing? Unfortunately, the number of definitions nearly equals the number of scholars who write about it. Nonetheless, although no one can agree on what distinguishes a work as autobiographical, a working definition can be helpful. In fact, Sidonie Smith, A Poetics of Womens Autobiography: Marginality and the Fictions of Self-Representation 1987, states that, Complex and typologically diffuse, autobiography demands of its critics careful consideration of the working definition from which they proceed (19). With this cau tion in mind, we now review a few relevant, modern definitions of autobiography, whic h, of course, is by no means a comprehensive or in-depth considerat ion of the genre. The purpose here is to consider some of the most widely accepted, modern critical ideas about autobiography, and then contrast them with what Stampas cultural context underst ood about this kind of writing The Oxford English Dictionary Online defines autobiography succinctly as the writing of ones own history; the story of ones life written by himself [sic].35 This pithy definition contrasts with that found in Roy Pascals Design and Truth in Autobiography (1960) which provides a thorough, refined, and specific discussion. Pascal analyzes the difference between multiple forms of first-person writingsthe diary, memoir or reminiscence, and the philosophical reflection on the selfand autobiog raphy to arrive at a working definition of autobiography. First, he distinguishes au tobiography from the diary: the autobiography is a review of life from a particular moment in time, whereas
27 the diary however reflective it may be, moves through a series of moments in time (3). The difference is slight, as it is between autobiography and the memoir/reminiscence: there is no autobiography that is not in some respect a memoir, and no memoir that is without autobiographical information; both are based on personal experience, chronological, and reflective (5). However, here the difference is more distinct: In autobiography proper, attention is focused on the self, in the memoir or reminiscence on others (5). Philosophical reflections on the self static analysis, and the self-portrait all attempt, by means of introspection, at a st atic representation of the personality;36 whereas autobiography is his torical in its method, a nd at the same time the representation of the self in and through its relations with th e outer world (8). Pascal concludes that autobiography involves the reco nstruction of the movement of life, or part of a life, in the actual circumstances, in which it was lived. Its central interest is the self, not the outside world, t hough necessarily the outside worl d must appear so that, in give and take with it, the pe rsonality finds its particular shape (9). Pascal adds: autobiography is the shaping of the past. It imposes a pattern on a life, constructs out of it a coherent story. It establishes certain stages in the individuals life, makes links between them, and defines, implicitly or explicitly, a certain consistency of relationship between the self and the outside world (or a consistency of misrelationship). This coherence implies that the writer takes a partic ular standpoint, the standpoint of the moment at which he reviews his life, a nd interprets his life from it. (9) This standpoint may be the authors social position, an achievement, or his philosophy, thus enabling the writer to see his life as so me thing of a unity (10). This superimposes
28 a structure on the writers life, and makes it a ppear that all events inevitably lead to the present moment and the situation in wh ich the author now finds himself. The autobiography moves through a chronological sequence of events that culminate in the lesson learned from living life. Pascals comment that aut obiography reconstructs a m ovement of life, or part thereof, in the actual circumstances in which it was lived implies that the writer accesses fully formed memories. Alternatively, John Paul Eakin, Fictions in Autobiography: Studies in the Art of Self-Invention (1985), defines autobiography as a ceaseless process of identity formation in which new versions of the past evolve to meet the constantly changing requirements of the se lf in each successive event (36; emphasis added). The autobiographer re-envisions the pa st to construct heror himself to meet personal needs at the time of writing Sidonie Smith approa ches the issue of autobiography from a different angle in A Poetics of Womens Autobiography: Marginality and the Fictions of Self-Representation (1987). She argues that autobiography includes all written and verbal communications where the speaking I is also the narrations subject. In addition, a different self emerges when the same I exists in a different context: context shap es self-awareness, as Smith explains: since I understand the self of autobiography not to be a priori essence, a spontaneous and therefore true pr esence, but rather a cultural and linguistic fiction constit uted through historical ideologies of selfhood and the processes of our storytelli ng, I also want to acknowledge the contextual influence of historical phenomena by accounting for communal
29 figures of selfhood, those intertexts that shape autobiographers selfinterpretation. (45) James S. Amelangs definition of autobiography resembles that of the OED Online and is, therefore, more inclusive than that of Pascal and Eakin, but perhaps not Smith. Amelang, The Flight of Icarus: Artisan Aut obiography in Early Modern Europe (1998), defines autobiographical writing as a ny literary work th at expresses lived experience from a first-person poi nt of view. He realizes that this is a problematic approach, especially since autobiography in this sense embraces so many forms that are, strictly speaking, not autobiographical. However, few acceptable alternatives come to mind (47). Amelang understands that his definition is overly inclusive, but views his position as pragmatic; he explains early in his book that: By holding less tenaciously to autobi ography in the strict sense, and ranging more widely among personal documents, one can take some first steps toward capturing the broader history of how pe ople from all walks of life, not just the usual suspects, wrote about themselves and their experience. What this approach loses in formal precisionand such a loss is not inevitableit gains in breadth. It also affords a more realistic view of the meaning of writing, and especi ally writing about oneself, for all classes in early modern Europe, wide ning and strengthening the light that one can shed on the complex ways in which people understood the self and its surroundings in Western societies in the past. (16) Amelangs more realistic view of the meaning of writing suggests the reason(s) why men and women write aut obiography. The deep impulse underlying the need to tell
30 ones life story derives from the writers ins istence of bearing witn ess on leaving to the self and others a convincing testimony of e xperience, and on regarding such testimony as a venue to a new, if not who lly assumed, identity, that of author (Amelang 51). Those who wrote were aware that the written word would remain after th e authors death, and with the autobiographys continued existen ce, the man (and rarelywoman) was granted immortality. Autobiography offers the aut obiographer authorial fame during life and immortality after death. Returning to the Rime we can now ask, What aspects about Stampas work induce readers to categorize it as autobiogra phy? Does it in any way meet the definitions previously discussed? In general, the Rime meets many of the prerequisites for autobiography as defined by contemporary cr itics with the first-person perspective leading the list. Others include the Rime s convincing portrayal of changing emotions, the detailed account of an event in the authors life, the implied desire to leave a record of herself as a lover, the references to the pa ssage of time, and the references to familiar places, events, and people, all creating the illusion of a personal history. While the OED Online would warrant including the Rime under the first definition as writing, it also requires that the history be t he story of ones life and, as such, requires more than the Rimes three years. As a result, the Rime does not meet the OED Online s criterion, but does approximate the parameters established by Pascal, Eakin, Smith, and Amelang. Pascal permits the retelling of a portion of Stampas life: the love affair. Stampa creates a somewhat coherent story that traces a love affairs stages over a defined period with time markers. She provides a rational fo r the emotions she describes and for the most part writes from the point of view of the constant lover, thus establishing her
31 identity from the beginning. The Rime also meets Eakins criteria of identity formation by presenting an evolving self through the narrators changing attitude toward her beloved and toward herself as the lover. The poems delineate the lovers growth from a woman who longs for the beloveds affection, to the disappointment and realization that the beloved will not provide the love she craves to the final awareness that, in her soul, it is being in love that makes her a lover, not th e reciprocal love from a man. The Rime satisfies Smiths requirements as is written communication addressing the reader, a female audience, or Collaltino, sometimes switching from one to another in the same poem. The poet is the narratives subj ect as she tells the story in first person of unrequited love and, in the process, construc ts two overlapping identities: that of the constant lover and that of the poet. If viewed by Amelangs definition of autobiography, the Rime clearly portrays itself as bearing witness, and as leaving to the self and other a convincing testimony of [an] experience (51), as seen in the first sonnet where the narrator hopes well-born people (le ben nate genti) will read her verses and reward her with gloria (6-7). The persuasiveness of the poems resides in th e intensity and breadth of the dramatized emotions and with the seeming logic of the loves progression from its first stirrings, through its joys and disappointments, to its eventual death. Although the modern reader may see it as autobiography when judged by th e criteria of severa l critics, would a cinquecento Venetian reader have considered it so?37 Did Stampa perceive herself as writing poetry or autobiography?
32 Chapter Three: Venice, Music, Writing, and the Ridotti To appreciate why Stampa as a successful musician-singer would write a Petrarchan canzoniere we must first understand her soci ety both on the grand scale and on the personal level. What follows is a broad overv iew of Venetian lifea wide brush stroke to be sure, but an indication, nonetheless, of Stampas world and her place in it. The patricians of Venicea population of five percent (Baldauf-Berde s 12)were the ruling class, a privilege they assumed with the Serrata del Maggior Consiglio in 1296 (BaldaufBerdes 12), leaving the other classes with limited or no voice in government. These same patricians elected the doge or prince, who, although he headed the Venetian state, was a figurehead. The real power lay with the procur ators or administrators, the senators, and the Council of Ten, the positions occupied by th e patricians themselves (Baldauf-Berdes 14). The cittadini or middle class were the strata under the patricians and comprised approximately 20 percent of the population. This class consisted of two categories: those who were descendants of settlers (the cittadinanza origaria ) and those who were citizens by birth (the cittadinanza nativa ) (Baldauf-Berdes 13). The cittadini were the Venetian professionals: merchants, lawyers, some artists and teachers, physicians, and others who did not do manual labor for pa y (Baldauf-Berdes 13). The cittadini also elected their own doge who held a position comparable to the headship of the civil service and represented his class in public functions, with some rights of precedence over nobles (BaldaufBerdes 14). Although Stampas father was a gold merchanttechnically a middle-class
33 professionalStampa would not have been a citizen of Venice because her father was Paduan, and she was born in Padua.38 Indeed, the Venetian inflexible class system predetermined Stampas place and role the day she was born. Beneath the middle class was the popolani or commoners, the largest class, comprising about 75 percent of the populat ion, who were the working class, those engaged in manual labor, such as fisher men, ladys maids, and gondoliers (BaldaufBerdes 14). The final category was not a cla ss since it was composed of members from all classes who were destitute and without a vi sible source of income or membership in a scoule or scole (societies for the mutual support of members) (Baldauf-Berdes 14). The large number of popolani made Venice a bustling working town; nonetheless, Venice also had vibrant intellectual and musical communities (Robin, Courtesans 35) making cinquecento Venice a stimulating and po tentially lucrative place for both literati and musicians. Music and Musicians in Venice During Stampas lifetime, Venice, with its passion for music, was awash with singers, musicians, and composers hired by the rido tti, individuals, churches, and the state, providing unlimited employment possibilities for the talented and skilled (Hay and Law 338). The main patrons were the state and th e church, (Burke 111), and in Venice where a centralized court did not exist, the Vene tian patricians and the nobles from the mainland. The biggest employer was the church, which required numerous singers and musicians for the many masses performed thr oughout the liturgical ye ar (Burke 111). The
34 state also hired many musicians for state func tions, which were celebrated in the open air with trumpets, cornets, trombones, and record ers (Burke 111), instruments could be heard in large outdoor arenas, such as the Square of San Marco. Courts and ridotti, with their indoor parties, preferred stri ngs, either solo or accomp anied by a singer (Lowinsky 521), as did the merchant class who also employe d singers and musicians for their events (Machlis and Forney 90). The demand for solo singers who could improvise their own or anothers lyrics to music was great (Hay and Law 334-35). Improvisation as well as the quality of the singer's voice were popular topics of conversation among ridotti (Hale 251), resulting in the rising re putations of musicians and si ngers. In fact, during this period a group of musicians a nd singers reached celebrity st atus by singing or playing the lute, lyre, viola da gamba, harp, cisthe rn, horn, or trumpet." Moreover, any singer who had an exceptional voice for soloing, as Gaspara apparently had, was in high demand (Bassanese Stampa 4). Consequently, the virtuosa Gaspara would have had access to numerous Venetian ridotti Musics role was an established and regular one in Domenico Veniers ridotto even if secondary to literary discussions (Feldman, Academy 493), and its members mixed socially with composers and musi cians; several members of Veniers ridotto knew Perissone Cambio, Stampas lute and voice teacher (Academy 493-94). The professional musician Girolamo Parabosc o, an organist, composer, and notable polygraph, also attended Veniers ridotto often. Both Cambio and Parabosco were students of Adrian Willaert (Academy 493-94), choirmaster of San Marco and composer of polyphony (Academy 480). With her contacts, Stampa probably had met Willaert and had access to his compositions, also. Others of Veniers ridotto would have
35 been interested in Willaerts compositions, since men of the classes who attended Venetian ridotti were familiar with music theory (Hale 248). Most of the men had attended universities where th e core curriculum included the study of music: in addition, most middleand upper-class men and women had learned a musical instrumentmost often the lutesince lessons were a custom ary part of their education (Hale 248).39 Writing in Venice Literary culture in Venice thrived alo ngside the musical one. Almost five hundred registered printers, editors, and booksellers in Venice produ ced and distributed between seventeen and eighteen million books (Robin, Courtesans 35); indeed, Venetian presses printed most of the poetry books published (Bassanese Stampa 56). The production boom was due in part to the intr oduction of the printing press;40 but it was, to a greater degree, owing to the acceptance of the vulgar or Tuscan Italian, as th e literary language. This change opened up publication opportunities to writers not trained in Latin (Robin, Courtesans 35; Bassanese, "Selling 8), so that, by Stampas lifetime, the publication of literature [had] became an industry (B urke 69). Pietro Bembo (1470-1547), a welleducated literati at ease wr iting Latin, advocated for a change from the scholarly Latin to the vernacular in prose and poetry. The vernacular Bembo chose was the Tuscan Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374) and Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) used. He argued in his Prose della vulgar lingua ( Prose in the Vernacular Language ) (1524)41 for a single vernacular poetic model based on Petrarchs Rime sparse (Feldman, Academy 481). Bembos own Rime (1530) popularized the Petrar chan poetic mode (Feldman, Academy 481; Richardson 684-85).
36 Owing to the concentration of printing pre sses in Venice, writers, editors, poets, and others flocked to the island republic wh ere they found instead of ducal courtsthe normal gathering places for writers, poets, a nd literati in other ci tiescasual literary salons. These salons or ridotti provided a place where new writers could be discovered since editors from the great presses scouted [the Venetian ridotti ] for new talent (Robin, Courtesan 39). Members of a ridotto gathered in private homes, such as that of Cecilia Stampa and Domenico Venier. The informality42 of the ridotti allowed easy access to Venetians and foreigners alike. C onsequently, without a formal structure, ridotti attracted a diversity of men and women with similar interests resulting in the constant introduction of ideas and people. At least two types of ridotti existed: those that focused on music and those that focuse d on vernacular literature, such as "poetry, letters, plays, editions, and treatises deali ng with the popular themes of love and language" (Feldman, Academy 476-77). A fashionable subject of de bate was "the stylistic requirements for the love lyric" (Rosenthal, Honest 209); these debates advanced the literary education for Stampa and others, bo th women and men. The ridotto thus provided a location where women could broaden their edu cation in "practical politics and intellectual subjects," could advance their education beyond what they could learn from tutors. As will be discussed below, women were not allo wed to attend schools and universities. Consequently, the ridotti may have been more important to women than their formal education in "allowing them to gain intellectual influence" (Wiesner, Gender 164). Venetian ridotti also provided a haven for women to form alliances for furthering "their own interests and those of their families, and presented them with opportunities to advance their literary profession by making c onnections with, and ga ining the support of,
37 powerful men (Rosenthal, Honest 2; Wiesner, Gender 164). For example, anthologies of womens poetry were particularly popular (R obin, Courtesan 39), and a poets presence in a ridotto increased her chances of being d iscovered by (male) editors, thus advancing her literary career. It should be noted, however, that it was only in merchant cities such as Venice with "a framework of political and class flexibility" that women were able to move about within and to rise in the literary circles (Rosenthal, Honest 2). The host of the most prestigious Venetian ridotto Domenico Venier (15171582),43 was a member of one of the most powerful clans of Venice who, throughout the sixteenth century, continually occupied important and intellectual positions. Venier established his ridotto at his home, CaVenier at S. Ma ria Formosa, after he resigned from the Senate due to his physical infirmity (Rosenthal, Honest 17). Initially, it began as a get-together of close patrician friends, some of whom knew each other from childhood and school, but by 1546, his academic gatherings had grown to include other writers (Feldman, Academy 477-78). Venier's ridotto was an open gathering with foreigners and educated women often in attendance. T ypical discussions incl uded poetry, poetics, and Petrarch and Petrarchan imitation in a ddition to a popular version of Platonism, "theories of love, mythology, ancient hist ory, comparative governments, and quite naturally, current events a nd local gossip" (Bassanese, Stampa 12). His ridotto s chief interest was Petrarchs poetry as analyzed and imitated by Pietro Bembo. Nonetheless, creativity was encouraged by having the memb ers compete in the composition of sonnets and other verse. A member read his or he r poem then a discussion followed wherein the attendees critiqued the poem, determining the poem's conformity w ith the standards of imitation (Bassanese, Stampa 10). When the members of Ve nier's group considered the
38 merits of each sonnet or terza rime they looked to Pietro Bembos Prose dell volgar lingua (1525) for critical guidance (Feldman, Academy 481). The Prose was the "primary stylistic guide for vernacular writers and especially so in the Venetian literary establishment that Venier came to represent" (Feldman, Academy 481). In 1539, after Bembo left for Rome and the duties of Cardinal Venetian literati turned to Venier as the "sole worthy successor of Bembo" (Bassanese, Stampa 336).44 Domenico exerted considerable influence and power over a group of Venetian poets that included Fortunio Spira, Girolamo Molino, Girolamo Parabosco, Girolamo Muzio, Bernardo and Torquanto Tasso, among others (Rosenthal 178). Also attending Venier's ridotto were Pietro Aretino; Sperone Speroni; Bedoer, founder of the Accademia Veneziana ; Alvise Zorzi; the vernacular poets Anton Jacopa and Co rsom; Lorneco Contariono, philosopher and classicist, (Feldman, Academy 488). Numer ous poets from other Italian cities sought advice from Venier with questi ons and concerns about their li terary projects (Rosenthal, Honest 213). Although poets were expected to imitate Petrarch, theorists such as Lodovico Dolce, Sebastian Rizzo, Giovanni Battist Pigna, Girolamo Molino, Girolamo Ruscelli, Bernardo Tasso, and Girolamo Mu zio "warned against slavish imitation of classical authors," but left the fi nal decision to Venier (Rosenthal, Honest 213). Venier's ridotto and his acquaintance were a means by which an aspiring writer could raise his or her public status, necessary if the writer sought to create a name within literary circles or obtain patronage. Ironically, although Venier was one of the most influential vernacular authors, he limited the circulation of his works to manuscripts, he being more interested in ment oring "aristocratic drop-outs," "patrician dilettantes," and fledgling writers, such as Gaspara Stampa (Feldman, Academy 486-87), Moderata
39 Fonte, Irene di Spilimbergo, Tullia dAr agona, and Veronica Gambara (Rosenthal, Honest 89). Due to womens educational constraints, they lo oked to men like Venier who played an important role in helping them achieve a literary vocation. The man could be her father, as Gaspara's father would have b een if he had lived, or the man could be a father figure. He provided mo ral and financial support for the woman's education as a writer (Rosenthal, Honest 83). The presence of an occasio nal sonnet (Sonnet 227: Se voi non foste maggior cose volto) addressed to Venier in her Rime indicates that Stampa sought to correspond with Venier on at least one occasion. The inclusion of another sonnet (Sonnet 26: Arsi, piansi, cantai; pi ango, ardo e canto) imita ting Veniers Sonnet 33 (Non punse, arse o lego, stral, fiamma, o lacci) affirms that she read his poetry. As a visitor to Veniers ridotto and friend of many of its members, Stampa was immersed in a society that was obsessed with poetic imitation. To make a lasting name for herself as Petrarch, Dante, and Boccaccio had done she had to write for writing alone could gain her admiration beyond the s ound of her voice, and writing lasted beyond the lifetime of the author. Being a musical virtuosa was, no doubt, lucrative, and probably supported her and perhaps her sister and mother (if she were still living). However, the impression that her singing and instrumental virtuosity left with her audience was temporary since her reputation lasted no longer than their memory of her last performance did. Yet, to put poetry down on paper provided the possibility for lasting fame, as it had for the aristocrats Vittor ia Colonna (1492-1549) and Veronica Gambara (1485-1550), and even for Stampas contem poraries, Tullia dAragona (1510-1556), Laura Terracina (15191577), Chiara Matr aini ( 1515-1604), and Laura Battiferri (15231589).
40 As evidenced by this brief review of the Venetian literary and musical scenes, Stampa lived in Venice during an intellectua lly exciting time when the number and types of vernacular publications exploded, and an innovative and dynamic music field was attracting new talent. Nonetheless, the question arises, to wh at extent were Gaspara and women like her able to benefit from this exciting milieu? Jacob Burckhardt, in his germinal book The Civilization of Renaissance Italy (1860), claims that Renaissance women stood on a footing of perfect equality with men (292), thus free to move among groups both spatially and intellectually.45 Did Stampa and her Venetian sisters enjoy the same so cial and literary freedoms, and the same educational opportunities that her brother di d? The answer is No, a consequence of societal fears that the presence of free -thinking, freely-acting women would disturb political and social stability.46 The result was a confining de finition of Woman and of proper female behaviors. The parameters of proper female beha vior defined by popular conduct books were customized to suit the different cultures of the court with their ar istocrats and the cities with their bourgeois househol ds; they also differed depe nding on the class, nation, or religion of the womans society (Jones, Currency 3). Whether written for the lady or the merchants daughter, all conduct books have one axiom in common: women lack the ability to withstand the temptations found in public places. For example, those books intended for the male heads of households in the merchant and pr ofessional classes insisted that women should be restricted to the private sphere, while those concerning upper-class women who held honorable jobs, such as the lady-in-waiting, detail how a woman should act in the c ourts public sphere (Jones, Currency 20).
41 The Book of the Courtier (1528) by Baldasar Castiglione is an example of a conduct book concerned with the proper decoru m of the courtier and the court ladythe donna. For the majority of the book, Castiglione lays out, in dialogue and in exhausting detail, how a courtier should distinguish himself in manners, dress, dancing, speaking, advising his prince, and the tr eatment of women. In Book Thr ee, when the topic turns to women, Castiglione distinguishes the two gende rs, allowing little overlap in physique or demeanor: [For], although some qualities are common to both [the courtier and the donna] and are as necessary for a man as for a woman, there are yet others that befit a man and to which a woman ought to be a complete stranger. I say this of bodily exerci se; but above all I think th at in her ways, manners, words, gestures and bearing, a woman ought to be very unlike a man; for just as he must show a certain solid and sturdy manliness, so it is seemly for a woman to have a soft and de licate tenderness, with an air of womanly sweetness in her every m ovement, which, in her going and staying, and in whatever she says, shall always make her appear the woman without any resemb lance to a man. (205-06) Nothing the donna says or does should contain a ny suggestion of the masculine or in any way deviate from pure femininity. Moreover, Castiglione admonishes the donna to jealously guard her reputati on, her most valuable possession, from blemish, a difficult requirement, to be sure, since the donna must somehow control what others say about her and has few recourses available if someone spreads malicious gossip. The donna
42 must be circumspect, and more careful not to give occasion for evil being said of her, and conduct herself so that she may not only escape being sullied by guilt but even by the suspicion of it, for a woman has not so many ways of defending herself agains t false calumnies as a man has. (206) A womans chastity was considered her most important treasure and, therefore, her most important concern. Juan Luis Vives (14921540), a Spanish Humanist and author of Education of a Christian Woman (1524), believed that a womans education should focus on protecting her chastity; all she needs to know, in fact must know, is how to protect that treasure: A womans only car e is chastity; therefore, when this has been thoroughly elucidated, she may be considered to have received sufficient instruction (Vives 47). Society exempted no woman from the mora l obligation of chastity. Stampa was no exception, as the anxiety expressed by others indicates: she received a letter 47 dated 20 August 1544 from Suor Angelica Paola de Ne gri. Suor Angelica expresses fear for Stampas chastity, which is perceived to be at risk because Stampa mingled with the literati (read: men) of the ridotti Suor Angelica urges Stampa to avoid situations where she could be tempted into immoral acts or even give cause for others to suspect her virtue: Do not be sorry to disappoint the wo rld in what it expects of you, and do not believe in flatterers, those who love you according to the flesh. Do not deceive yourself, I pray you, but cut off all those intimacies and conversations which separate you from Christ and put you in peril, or which might bring a breath of suspic ion upon that beautiful chastity which
43 shines forth in you, besides all your other virtues, on account of which I said that you must not wonder if I love you. I love you and will love you always, if you will love Him who loves you so much; and not only with letters, but with my blood, my life, my soul. I shall be content and I will not go back on my word I shall be cont ent if I am able to help you in the virtuous course which He who has begun it in you gives you to make perfect. I pray you to familiarise yourself by constant thought with the pains and torments that have been su ffered for you. Take some time from your other occupations to spend it at the feet of your Savior. Pray do this, so that you may be made worthy to r eceive true light and real knowledge of the will of God in you, so that you may be able to perform it, and pray with me. (Jerrold 182) It would be far superi or, certainly safer for her reputation, Suor Angelica states, if Stampa avoided conversations with men and spent her time in prayer instead. Francesco Sansovino, who had been a close friend of Stampas now deceased brother, also verbalizes concern for Stampas chas tity in the dedication of his book, the Ragionamento dAmore (1545): I send you this little sketch which I have made as a relaxation from graver studies, to remind you that by its means you may learn to shun the deceptions which perverse men practice [ sic ] on the pure and innocent maidens, such as you are. And herewith I instruct and advise you to proceed with your glorious studies, shunning every occasion which might distract you from your undertaking. I know that I am too bold, but the
44 memory of your virtues, a nd the extreme affection th at I bear to you and to Madonna Cassandra, your honoured sist er, and the duty, to which I am bound, constrain me to this, and so I h ope for your forgiveness. (Jerrold 177) 48 Angelica Paolo Antonia de Negris a nd Francesco Sansovinos concern for Stampas chastity was typical for the period. The early modern woman, and women writers in particular, were c onstantly reminded of their plac e in society and their proper code of conduct. Admonitions, both spoken and written, permeated the womans world, finding their way into sermons, stage plays, popular ballads; advice and letters from parents; treatises in Latin intended for fath ers, religious adviso rs, and magistrates; practical household handbooks and moralists pamphlets addressed to female audiences; best-selling satires pillorying rebellious women (Jones, Currency 12). Moralists insisted that women were the weaker vessel requiri ng the guidance of a man (Hay and Law 39), whether father, brother, or hus band. In this respect, Sansovino was acting in the place of Stampas deceased brother and father when he admonishes Stampa about her chastity. Not only must a woman be conscientious about her actions, she must also be circumspect about her speech. Most conduct books concern themselves with womens speech and, for their protection, demand their silence, whether the women were upper, middle, or lower class. Even the women of the Courtier are silent during discussion, speaking only to provide the topic for the men present to converse about. In fact, noblewomen, such the two women in the Courtier were enjoined to be careful least they say something others will denounce: The noblew oman was instructed to safeguard her social standing within the Venetian society by never incurring public rebuke (Rosenthal
45 Honest 61). Even the highly respected aristocr atic poets Vittoria Colonna and Veronica Gambara carefully crafted their public person as by keeping the focus of their poetry on their deceased husbands or on Christ (Cox, Women Writers 15; Smarr Substituting 3). The exhortations to silence applied to bot h vocal and written speech. In ordinary circumstances the injunction to silence (and, th erefore, to invisibility) could inhibit a woman writer if she were concerned about her reputation. Womens public speech was often linked with sexual dishonor in many peopl es minds; a loose tongue implied other sorts of loose behavior, and a woman w ho wanted her thoughts known by others was suspected of wanting to make he r body available as well (Wiesner, Gender 189). Stampa doubtless felt that putting her poems in print was too great a risk to her reputation, for if a woman printed her work, her action was translated as aggressive sexuality since Venetian soci ety equated publishing to seekin g men's attention (Krontiris 18-19). The audience for a womans speech and for her writing was assumed to be male even where the author addresses a female read ership (Krontiris 6). As a result, while the number of Italian women who wrote increase d in this period, only a small percentage published in print (Rosenthal, Honest 87). Another hurdle an aspiring woman writer had to negotiate was the prevailing attitude toward the genres. Romances, tragicomedies, and sonnets were considered the intellectual property of men, and, generally, the woman who wrote in these genres was viewed as a transgressor into mans domain (Krontiris 18). For example, Gaspara Stampa was accused of not only plagiarizing, but of overstepping the gender boundaries with her poety; specifically, she was alleged to ha ve stolen "poetic language from the sex to which
46 it belonged by precedent and propriety" (Jones, Currency 7-8). (Italics added) Alternatively, since literature was a male activity, society considered it unnatural for a woman to be creative (Krontir is 18), and, if she persis ted, the woman was seen as breaking dozens of rules: She was speaking rather than listenin g. She was not working in a private household for a family but in a public literary world, going for recognition for herself alone. If she had traine d herself in the conventions of Neoplatonism or Petrarchism, she wa s exercising argument and eloquence for her own ends. Above all, she was entering into a public discourse, exposing the beauty of her language, akin to her body, to the masculine gaze. (Jones, Currency 28) With so much emphasis on the link between public speech and sexuality, and the belief that words belonged to men, Stampa must have felt the conflict between societys demands and her own need to write. Yet, the existence of her poetry indicates that she not only had a strong will and a powerful motive, but she also must have had a supportive network of like-minded people in place. Stampa and other women who wanted to write, but felt uncomfortable challenging the syst em had several options: she could limit her audience to a circle of friends and family and circulate her works individually or collected into manuscript books; or she could write epistles. She could end up doing all three; for example, she could write her poem in a letter, which was circulated, then copied into a manuscript volume (Ezell 65 ). Although many manuscripts circulated widely, manuscript circulation protected the authors reputation because it was assumed she intended her work to be private. Noneth eless, manuscript circulation could create the
47 authors reputation as a poet or a philosopher (Ezell 70). Apparently, Stampa preferred to circulate her poems as manuscripts, restrict ed to her intimate and literary friends (Bassanese Stampa 19); but by circulating her manuscrip ts, she created a name for herself as poet, as the elegiac poems framing the post-mortem Rime testify. Unfortunately, none of Stampas autographs has survived. Manuscript miscellanies and published an thologies the co llected works of various authors compiled by booksellers and editors include a number of women poets, some found nowhere else. As mentio ned earlier, editors frequented ridotti in search of new talent; perhaps an editor discovered Stampa at one. For example, other than the three poems published with "a vast collection of poets" in Il sesto libro delle rime di diversi eccellenti autori, nuovamente raccolte et mandate in luce (The Sixth Book of Rhymes of Various Excellent Authors, Newly Gath ered and Brought to Light) (Venice 1553), Stampa never published her poems; her sister Cassandra published them as the Rime after her death (Bassanese Stampa 19). A year after th e publication of the Rime three of her poems were published in the anthology Rime diverse di molti eccellentiss. Auttori nuovament raccolte (1554) edited by Lodovico Do menichi for Giolito (Shemek, Collectors 240). Five years later, Domenichi included five of Stampas poems in a collection limited to poetry by wome n, the first of its kind, titled Rime diverse dalcune nobilissime et virtuossissme donne [Assorted rhymes by some most noble and virtuous women] (1559) (Shemek, Collectors 240, 25 5n. 4). It contains 237 pages, featuring 316 poems by 53 women, many of whom were aristocrats (Shemek, Collectors 244). Amateur anthologists also collected poetry by various authors, gathering them into what are called commonplace books (Ezell 71-72). Wome n created these books specifically to
48 preserve . female writings (Ezell 83). Sometimes, a printer published a pirated commonplace book, much to the anger of the authors (Ezell 71-72) many of whom sought to maintain control of their readership, as did Vitto ria Colonna whose poems were first printed in 1538 without her involvement (Bassanese, Sourcebook 86-87; Stortoni, Women 51). Although authors ran a risk of havi ng their material stolen and printed, manuscript circulation provided them with the intellectual stimulation and response they sought without stepping into the public sphere. Another method women poets used to inte ract with the literary scene was through epistles that established correspondence networks on intellectual or literary topics (Ezell 73) offering women the opportunity to engage in intellectua l conversation with both men and women like themselves and with well-known authors. A woman interested in a piece would write the author with "quest ions, compliments, or elegant criticism of his or her work" (Ezell 74). Sometimes the au thor would respond initiating an exchange of letters that gave women a chance to test the soundness of their ideas or material that would later be published (Ezell 76). It appear s from several of her occasional poems addressed to friends and liter ati of Venice and beyond that Stampa was a member of correspondence networks. Her addressees in clude Vinciguerra Collalto (Collaltino's brother), Domenico Venier, Sperone Speroni, Luigi Alamanni, Leonardo Emo, Giovanna d'Aragona, and Ippolita Mirtilla. Correspondence networks were popular among the upper classes also as seen by the aristocrat Vittoria Colonna who was a diligent and avid letter writer, conversing w ith influential men and women, such as Michelangelo Buonarroti; the scourge of pr inces, Pietro Aretino; Margue rite de Navarre, a French royal; and many others (Bassanese, Sourcebook 91). Veronica Gambara, another
49 aristocrat and contemporary of Colonna, was an energetic letter writer with 150 of her letters having survived (Stortoni, Women 25). Obviously, the reverse occurred also, men addressing letters to women either to initiate a literary conversation or to praise their talents. The older Bembo corresponded with Vittoria Colonna and Veronica Gambara frequently, exchanging poems, and encour aging and praising their work (Braden "Applied" 402). Another pertinent example is Sansovinos letter addressed to Stampa that he placed at the beginning of his 1545 re-publication of Boccaccios Ameto (Salza, Secondo 12). In addition to letters, the genres of elegies and epitaphs were considered appropriate since they were viewed as persona l, intended for the family of the deceased, and not used as they were by men as an in troduction into the literary worlda ritual hymn of poetic consecration during the course of which a new poet presents himself as heir to tradition. In contra st, the private nature of womens elegiac writing permitted the genre to be viewed as the spontaneous and feminine expression of personal grief rather than as a literary ambition. Yet, while elegiac writing was meant for private occasions and audiences, women often took the opportunity to display their learning (Kinney 60) and perhaps eventually even circulate them. Stampa's Rime contains several poems written on the occasion of th e death of a nun (possibly Suor Angelica Paola de Negri) (Stampa, Selected xxix); however, while she refrained from using this occasion to print her poems, she no doubt circulat ed them among her coterie. The negative attitude toward women wr iters in general presented a dilemma concerning how to praise texts of upper-c lass women which crit ics and flatterers circumvented by focusing on admirable femini ne traits. Consequently, aristocratic
50 women were praised not for thei r literary skills or for their classical learning, but for the morality of their poetry or for their unselfis h praise of others. For example, Lodovico Ariosto (b. 1474) in Orlando furioso admires Vittoria Colonna for her selfless devotion to her deceased husband (Cox, Women 18-19): If Alexander envied proud Achilles the glorious clarion of Homer, how much more, were he alive today, w ould he envy you, invincible Francesco of Pescara, that a wife so chaste, so dear to you, should sing the eternal honour due to you, and that she has br ought such resonance to your name that you need crave no shriller trumpet. (443)49 Colonna did not seek fame for herself, nor di d her poetry flaunt her poetic talent, Ariosto implies, but to trumpet her beloved hus bands virtues and thus immortalize him. Ariosto does not comment on Colonnas inte llect nor on her poetic skill and talent, praising instead Colonna and Veronica Gambara for their poetic abil ity to immortalize their deceased husbands. Unlike aristocratic women who were expected to be well educated and could reflect th eir learning in their poetry, ot her women were not permitted any display of their advanced education. In th eir case, the belief of womans intellectual inferiority prevailed, and this created a pr edicament for the average female writer who, unlike her aristocratic sisters, had to defend herself as a legitimate writer, as someone whose text was worth reading. Yet, if she ar gued that her education gave her the right to speak, she was regarded as having an unnatural sexuality, anothe r way of saying she was unchaste for an eloquent woman is neve r chaste; the behavior of many learned women confirms [this] truth (qtd. in Wiesner, Womens 12). While the pressure on women to be silent was not as intense as that concerning chastity, silence was,
51 nonetheless, considered an important virtue since it implied the purity of the womans sexuality (Krontiris 5). Stampas poetry resulted in at least one obscene poem50 about her sexuality written after he r death by an anonymous poet.51 No other such poem exists, but Stampas entry into the arena of the male-d ominated world of poetic writing and her bid for attention (and probably a patron) must have angered more than one competitor who preferred that she remain silent and closeted. Education of Men The early modern period was a time of inte llectual growth for middleand upper-class males: interest in boys edu cation increased, and humanist teachers established schools with a focus on the classics in Italian cities and courts.52 Humanists felt that a classical education prepared the boys for careers that benefited the state for it taught [boys] how to argue persuasively, base decisions on hist orical examples, write effectively and speak eloquently (Wiesner, Gender 153). Humanists linked rati onal speech and logic to politics and professions; more importantly, they felt rational speech and logic improved society for the betterment of all: The Ciceronian ideal of the oratorthe good man speaking well combined in himself logic, rhetoric and moral concerns of civil science; his oratorical duties to teach, delight, and persuade were to be directed always toward social virtue. By his words, he conveyed truth, by his life, he gave authority to his words, and by their combination, he led others to a good life (Gibson Educating 17).
52 Boys, usually at the age of seven or eight, began Latin grammar (Wiesner, Gender 145), and rhetoric, progressing to Roman hist ory and political philosophy before tackling the Greek language, literature, and philosophy (Wiesner, Gender 152-53). As young teens they attended a university where they studied the seven liberal arts, which were divided into the more elementary gr ammar, logic, and rhetoric (the trivium ), and the more advanced arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy (the quadrivium ) before pursuing a higher degree in theology, law, or medicine (Burke 54), or a car eer as a university professor, or as a government or church official (Wiesner, Gender 145). Universities in Italy were plentiful; 13 universities in the ea rly fifteenth century matriculated students in Bologna, Ferrar, Florence, Naples, Padua, Pavi a, Perugia, Piacenza, Pisa, Rome, Salerno, Siena and Turin. Venetian teens, if they ha d any aspirations involving Venice, had to attend the state-supported univers ity in Padua. Interested in the growth of its university, Venice increased the salaries of the prof essors, forbade Venetians to go to other universities, and made a period of study at Pa dua a prerequisite for office (Burke 54-55). Although most boys from the classes belo w the patrician and cittadini classes could not pursue a humanist education, a good number did learn to read. In 1587, 30 percent of the male population possessed at le ast a rudimentary literacy while in some trades, such as printing and goldsmithing, nearly all the male workers could read (Wiesner, Gender 144). The literacy rate for women was a third of that for men to 12 percenta figure that includes almost all the females of the nobility and the majority of wives and daughters of professional men and merchants (King, Women 172-73).
53 Education of Women The broad humanist education so typical of middleand upper-class men never spread beyond this small percentage of women for two reasons: first, no formal institutions of learning were available or accessible for wo men; second, the humanist ideals at the foundation of much of Renaissa nce educational theory focu sed on the education of the public person and his contri bution to society. Consequent ly, the goals of humanist education contradicted societys expecta tions for women. Anot her problem a woman faced was hostility to her advancing her knowledge beyond what was needed for a womans homebound duties, especially if she so ught to dialogue with male scholars. A woman who acquired a high level of educati on and made public us e of it was often pressured to stop, accused of deserting her public calling in the home (Hay and Law 39).53 Hence, a cultivated woman was a clea r exception (Bassanese, Selling 70), which makes Stampas education (discu ssed below) all the more remarkable. Even in this hostile environment, some male humanists, such as the Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives (b. 1492), argued for the education of women. He recommends in his influential book Instruction of a Christian Woman (1524) that a young woman receive a humanist education, a lthough tailored to her needs: In this the wisest of men is not deceived, nor are others who are of the same opinion, for the study of literature has these effects: first, it occupies a persons whole attention; second, it lifts the mind to the contemplation of beautiful things and rids it of lowly thoughts; and if any such thoughts creep in, the mind, fortified by precepts and counsels of good living, either dispels them immediately or does not le nd an ear to vile and base things,
54 since it has other pure, subs tantial, and noble pleasures to aspire after. . Not only does the mind dedicated to wi sdom shrink from lust, that is, something innocent and immaculate from filth and defilement, but likewise from those trivial and foolish pastimes that tempt the fickle minds of girls, like dancing, singing, and frivolous and insipid amusements of that sort. Never, says Plutarch, will a woman dedicated to literature distract herself in dancing. (70-71) Vives valued education for women as a means of strengthening thei r resolve to resist frivolous and soul-threatening activities by providing women with moral strength and the intellect to avoid evil. Mo reover, he maintains that if a woman did commit any vile act, her education would mitigate the de gree of evil she would have otherwise perpetrated: The woman who has learned to make th ese and similar reflections either through instinctive virtue, innate inte lligence or through her reading will never bring herself to commit any vile act, for her mind will have been strengthened and imbued with holy c ouncils. And if she were to be so inclined in spite of the many precepts of moral rectitude that would have acted as a deterrent, and in sp ite of so many admonishments and exhortations one can only imagine what she would be like if she had never heard anything about honorable conduct. (65) The same man who argued that Petrarch and Boccaccio ought to be the models for vernacular Italian, also argued for a broad education for women. Pietro Bembo writes in
55 his Gli Asolani 54 of his belief not only in womens ab ility to be educated, but also in their capacity to contribute to the search for truth: Things all may equally possess are held in equal scorn by all, and rarities command a far higher price. Yet tho ugh I believe many will blame me for asking women to take part in these in quiries, since it is more suitable for them to be occupied with womanish affairs than to rummage in such matters, I shall not accept the criticism. For unless it is denied that women as well as men have minds, I do not know why they any more than we should be refused the right to seek knowledge of what one ought to flee from or pursue; and these are among the most obscure questions, around which as on their axles all the scien ces revolve, questions which are the targets of all our diligence and thoughts. (148) Bembos advocacy for womans education is broader than Vives since he not only felt that women had the mental capacity to meet the challenges of education, but, in addition, should be involved in its discourse Even more unusual for the period was his argument that women should be included in the discourse on ethical behavior. However, Bembo was an exception in his belief that women should be educated in all subjects. Other humanists remained more circumspect by limiting a young womans education to only what would best train her to meet her feminine obligations. Vives, for example, did not intend for his educati onal program to cultivate the young womans mind, but only to reinforce her obedience to household duties and Christian virtues. He believed that the young womans education shou ld be carefully monitored in order to produce a moral individual who would be c onscientious in fulfilling her culturally
56 assigned duties as a woman, such as spinning, raising moral children, and managing the household: At the age when the girl seems rea dy to learn letters and gain some practical knowledge, let her begin by l earning things that contribute to the cultivation of the mind and the care and management of the home. . Therefore, she will learn, together wi th reading, how to work with wool and flax, two arts passed on to posterity from the former age of innocence, of great usefulness in domestic affair s and contributing to frugality, which should be a matter of prime concern for women. (58) Vives limits a womans literary studies to thos e works that form morals in the way of virtue, the study of wisdom, which [teach] the best and holiest way of life. Because a womans virtue included silence, Vives deletes rhetoric from the curriculum: I am not at all concerned with eloquence. A woman has no need of that; she needs rectitude and wisdom. It is not a shameful thing for wo men to be silent; it is disgraceful and abominable for her not to have wisdom and to lead a bad life (71). Vi ves position is that her education should focus on reinforcing her moral fiber and preserving her chastity. As the upper classes and the aristocracy be gan to associate Humanist education in the classics, philosophy, and Ita lian letters with feminine re finement and as necessary to prepare [their women] for their future ro les of women of stati on, wealth, and leisure, the number of educated women increased (Bassanese, Stampa 2). The upper classes accepted Vives view that education aided th e woman in raising her children honorably and wisely and to ward off the dange rs of moral turpitude (Rosenthal, Honest 84). Nonetheless, most young women still did not receive an education comparable with that
57 of their brothers, nor were the educational opportunities equal between the classes. The education a middle-class woman received was not as broad as that of her more privileged sisters; indeed, her education was normally limited to what was considered sufficient for the young woman to assume her role as wi fe and mother, or as a nun (Bassanese, Stampa 3), a position consistent with Vives. She wa s taught reading, but only to the elementary level; writing was limited to the vernacular; and arithme tic was not taught beyond the basic level. These subjects were viewed as part of a complete e ducation that included embroidery, weaving, and othe r like handiwork (Rosenthal, Honest 84). The daughter of an artisan mother was doubly disadvantaged: first, her mother had to have, against the odds, learned how to read and add; then, the young girl had to learn all her mother could teach her in the few years she had before sh e was sent out to work herself (Rosenthal, Honest 85). The education of the young womans mi nd was not considered her primary concern. No matter how intelligent the young woman or how desirous she was to continue her education, she was expected to end her studies when she married (Burke 44), and if she wished to continue her studi es, she had only two options, the convent or a life of seclusion (Wiesner, Gender 154). The texts available to a literate girl or woman were also limited. As discussed earlier, the function of learning her letters was aimed towa rd the goal of advancing a womans moral education, and the battle to save the young woman from herself began early. The best texts for this pur pose are, of course, the holy te xts, the Bible, the Christian Fathers, and moral philosophy, much of whic h she was expected to know by heart:
58 When she is taught to read, let her pe ruse books that impart instruction in morals, when she learns to write, do not have her imitate idle verses or vain and frivolous ditties, but rather some grave saying or a wise and holy sentiment from the holy Scriptures or the writings of philosophers, which should be copied out many times so that they will remain firmly fixed in her memory. (Vives 72) Vives denounces secular poetry and ro mances, for example, while other humanists forbid pagan classics and satire s, and comedies that contained immoral allusions (Wiesner, Gender 154). Vives prohibited Boccaccios Decameron along with the works of other authors whom he consid ered idle, unoccupied, and ignorance men, slaves of vice and filth (Vives 75). Vives also maintains that the selection of any reading material should not be left to the disc retion of the woman. Ap parently, no matter how much moral material she ingested, the woman would never have the strength of mind to recognize healthful reading material from da ngerous dribble. Consequently, she must always seek the advice of a man concerning her choice: But in the case of certain books, the advice of learned and sensible men must be sought. A woman must not rash ly follow her own judgment, lest with her slight initiation into learning and the study of letters she mistake false for true, harmful for salutary, foolish and senseless for serious and commendable. Her whole motivation for learning should be to live a more upright life, and she should be ca reful in her judgment. (Vives 78) If a woman sought to read more than what was specified in the list, Vives emphatically admonishes that she should seek the opini on of a learned man since a woman should not
59 trust her own judgment in making such a critical decision as to what was appropriate to read because, as a woman, and descendent of Eve, she was incapable of recognizing falsehood. In the sixteenth century, printers bega n to publish gender specific books although the number of male readers exceeded th e number of female readers (Wiesner, Gender 151). Those books published specifically for women were largely devotional and published in small format so that they would be relatively cheap. Expensive illustrated Bibles were available at one end of the price scale, small collections of psalms or devotional verses located somewhere in the mi ddle, and moderately priced, to even less expensive pamphlets of religious controversy or saints lives located at the end of the price scale. Nonetheless, book prices were ge nerally too high for mo st artisan households to own more than a few, and any books owned by a testator were more likely to pass to the son than to the daughter. If the daughter did in herit a book, she generally received the small, less expensive format religious book (Wiesner, Gender 150). Many guides instructing women on how to be a good Christia n wife and mother were also available. Interestingly, similar guides for male heads of households were more plentiful (Wiesner, Gender 151), and not surprisingly, men au thored many of the books published specifically for women, including midwiv es guides and books on needlework. Men probably gave these books as gifts to their wives and daughters. As expected, the books stressed gender roles and class distinctions in addition to author itatively prescribing women to be chaste, silent, and obedient (Wiesner, Gender 151).
60 Stampas Education Bartolomeo Stampas views concerning his da ughters education appear to have been commensurate with those of Pietro Be mbo. Beginning while they were still young, Bartolomeo had his daughters educated along side his son, Baldassare, providing them with an aristocratic-level education that in cluded Latin, Greek, grammar, rhetoric, music, and literature (Bellonci 29; Jones, Currency 119). After his death, and after Cecilia moved the family to Venice, the childrens education continued under the guidance of grammarian Fortunio Spira, from whom they learned their Latin (Wend 74). The girls also took voice and lute under the musician Pe rissone Cambios tutelage (Bellonci 30). This education, as innovative as it was, served primarily to train the sisters as professional musician/singers for the wealt hy and well placed; but it also provided the foundation on which Gaspara Stampa built her literary knowledge and poetic skill, culminating in a Petrarchan canzoniere and an assortment of other poems. By the time Stampa circulated among the pow erful, the wealthy, and the literati of Venice, anyone with aspirations of literary fame cultivated th e ability to write Petrarchan poetry well. Attendees of the literary ridotti read and critiqued poems written by both members and guests, assessing whether th e poems followed the principles and conventions of Petrarchan poetry as sti pulated by Pietro Bembo. Privy to these discussions, Stampa was able to advance her knowledge of poetic theory, and, more importantly, learn from both erudite analyses and common gossip that if she were going achieve lasting fame and gain a patron, sh e must appear humble and non-threatening to those poets who were potentially her compe tition for favor, while appearing skilled and knowledgeable to prospective patrons.
61 Chapter Four: Renaissance Au tobiographical Writing and the Rime Stampa was a professional musician and an aspiring poet seeking literary respect from the literati, aristocrats, and patricians among whom she circulated in the ridotti The differences in tone, content, and rhetor ic between Renaissance autobiography and Gaspara Stampas Rime together with the forceful presence of Petrarchan elements throughout her poetry, persuasively support the argument that her Rime was conceived as a work of art and derived from her imaginativ e reworking of traditional love conventions. The Renaissance Autobiographical Writing Tuscans wrote the greatest number of extant Renaissance diaries and journals, hundreds of which are from Florence alone (Burke 195). The historian Peter Bu rke states that the Florentine autobiography had a distinct form: The local name for this kind of literature was ricordanze which might be translated memor anda, a suitably vague word for a genre which had something of an account book in it, and something of a city chronicle, and was focused on the family (195). These di aries had certain char acteristics, although no typical, much less model, . autobiography existed (Amelang 3); nonetheless, Renaissance autobiographies had much in common; for example, they had similar themes: health (and less frequently, mental health), family, war, and public ritual (Amelang 117). These autobiographies and diaries fall into three categories: cornice and ricordi of family histories, daily recordings of financial transac tions, and diaries of
62 current events. Financial diar y entries tended to have shor t, one sentence paragraphs, written in first-person singular, and ending with a notation of de bt or credit. In addition, their authors commonly begin an entry with Ric ordo, che . , or Ricordo, come . , then the date (Elkins 8). The painter Giorgi o Vasaris autobiography records only dates, commissions, and payments: Note, how [ Ricordo, come ] on the 22nd of November 1527 I agreed with Luca di Giovanni of Miano to make a St. Domino, painted in fresco in the church of Santo Domino di Maiano, fo r the price of 4 lire. (Elkins 8) Unlike the brief entries found in financial diaries, ricordi and cornice (family histories) tend to be discursive, and sole ly interested in communicating information to future generations (Eakin 8): In general, fa mily histories were na rratives with unified genealogical or historical purpose. Elkins describes Giovanni Morellis Ricordi begun 1393, as expansive and generous on the subject of his homeland (9). According to Stefano Ugo Baldassarri and Arielle Saibe, Morelli wrote a vivid diary of personal and public events. . The memoirs are a notable ex ample of the typically Florentine genre of libri di famiglia (55). His memoirs are: disjointed, mingling memories of family life (births and deaths, marriages, his affection for his sister Bartolom ea, financial successes and failures) with the account of historical facts, such as the plague of 1348, the Ciompi revolt, and the war between Florence a nd Milan. As is characteristic of libri di famiglia moreover, Morelli expresse s his moral convictions and his teachings on various subjects, from the value of classical culture to the importance of not over disciplining children. (Baldassarr i and Saibe 55)
63 Morellis descriptions of his memoires and homeland are vivid and liv ely, indicating that he sought to provide informative details for his readers, most of whom would not have seen the valley. In addition, Mo relli wrote with pride about hi s familys history and with a deep appreciation for their homeland that had been so good to their business: The origin of our family dates back a long time, some five hundred years or more. Our ancestors were first noted for their properties and possessions in the beautiful Mugello Va lley, more precisely in the area of San Cresci, in the parish of San Ma rtino a Valcava. Not only is this distinguished and pleasant region the place where our family originated, but it has passed down the virtues of our ancestors. It would be most ungrateful not to mention the numerous noble qualities of the region. In order not to begin someth ing my humble intellect cannot finish, and in order to avoid verbosity, I shall focus merely on three main aspects of the Mugello: its beauty, its fertility, a nd the shape and extent of its land. (Baldassarri and Saiber 56) Similarly expansive, Luca Landuccis au tobiography details the events that took place in Florence between the years 1450 and 1516. He does not analyze his psychological responses to any of the observa tions recorded, although he lived during the difficult years of the plague; the dMedicis expulsion and return; the French invasion; Savonarolas preaching, excommunication, a nd execution; among other significant events; he merely observes his emotions as obj ectively as he did the incidents that caused them:
64 17th August. The Pratica (Court) met and sat in the Palagio from the morning till midnight. There were more than 180 men. And the five prisoners were condemned by word of mouth to be put to death and their property to be confiscated according to law. The five men condemned were Bernardo Del Nero, Niccol Ridolfi, Giovanni Canbi, Gianozzo Pucci, and Lorenzo Tornabuoni, for whom all Florence was sorry. Everyone marveled that such a thing could be done; it was difficult to realise it. They were put to death the same night, and I could not refrain from weeping when I saw that young Lorenzo carried past the Canto dTornaquinci on a bier, shortly befo re dawn. (125-26; emphasis added) 27th February. (the Carnival). There was made on the Piazza deSignori a pile of vain things, nude statues and playing-boards, heretical books, Morganti, mirrors, and many other vain th ings, of great value, estimated at thousands of florins. . The Frate was held in such veneration by t hose who had faith in him, that this morning, although it was Carnival Fra Girolamo said mass in San Marco and gave the sacrament with hi s hands to all his friars, and afterwards to several thousand men and women. . There was a great crowd, who had come in the expectat ion of seeing signs; the lukewarm laughed and mocked, saying He is excommunicated, and he gives the Communion to others. And certainly it seemed a mistake to me, although
65 I had faith in him; but I never wished to endanger myself by going to hear him, since he was excommunicated (130-31; emphasis added) The autobiography of the Florentine arti st Pontormo (Jacopo Carucci 1494-1556) exemplifies autobiography at the other end of the descriptive scale. The eclectic nature of Pontormos autobiography has baffled cri tics since its discovery because it does not resemble the ricordi and cornice of the period; nor does it resemble the medical and astrological treatises. . since Pontormo did not use his observa tions about health to draw conclusions, illustrate morals, inform astrological or bloodletting schemata, or even produce private rules of thumb. . He did not seek to understand and avoid his illnesses, only to record them (Elkins 9). Elkins finds Pontormos autobiography decisively unrelated to the personal, intimate autobiograp hies of later centuries, although it has often been explained in their terms (9). An excerpt reads thus: Friday-Saturday I worked [i.e., painted] as far as the legs; on Saturday I had dinner with Bronz[in]o. On the 8th Monday I wrote some letters and I started to have diarrhea. Tuesday I did a thigh . (Elkins 5). As the preceding examples demonstrate, autobiographies lack the authors analysis of their personal emotions (namely, th eir psychological states) since such did not belong in these works, even in private autobiographies such as Pontormos. Instead, Renaissance autobiographies have a relentless focus on externalities (Amelang 123), with first-person narratives displaying a r eticence surrounding the direct expression of sentiment (Amelang 125) in vivid contrast to the personal, intimate autobiographies that arose much later with Rousseau (Elkins 9) Renaissance autobiographies left behind
66 only the barest traces of the authorial se lf (Amelang 123). Autobiographys purpose was not the examination of persona l emotions; those autobiogra phies intended for publication, even if only to ones own decedents, such as cornice and ricordi were meant to transmit information. Other autobiographies served to pr eserve financial or h ealth-related data for future reference. Taking Sidonie Smiths advice that a cri tic of the genre of autobiography must have a definition from which to work, I propose the following: first, I agree that autobiography is any written hi story that takes the authors life as its subject; however, the Renaissance autobiographer focuses on external events (similar to the modern memoir) and thus does not expr ess personal emotions, or seek to analyze the psyche. In addition, the Renaissance autobiographer avoids artifice and literary effort, intentionally choosing plain language as a means of establishing the veracity of his or her observations. As a consequence, it can be difficult to determine what the autobiographer may have actually thought about events and the people in her or his life. Autobiography and the Rime The Petrarchan poet, i.e. Gaspara Stampa, however, permits the narrator to withhold nothing concerning her emotions. Poem after poem focuses on exposing her feelings. The narrator cares nothing for what happens about her unless her beloved is nearby, in which case she describes how his presence makes her feel, or, if he should be elsewhere, how his absence depresses her, a nd how tears flood her eyes. The narrator is determined that no emotion go undocumented. Since, she feels worse than any other lover due to her heightened state of unrequited love, she relies on rhetorical devices, such as exaggeration,
67 oxymoron, and antithesis, to translate the dept h and intensity of he r emotions. Her model is Petrarchs Rime sparse which provides her words and phrases that she has only to appropriate for her ends. Nor does the poet have to explain or justify anything. With Petrarchs rhetorical devices, the poet has access to ready-formed emotional responses in the reader. Finally, when the poet compiles her poems into a collection, she has Petrarchs canzoniere and other previously published rime as authoritative models. Emotional Story-telling. Stampas unabating expression of her lover-narrators vivid and intense emotions marks her poems as distinct from the Renaissance autobiography. In contrast to the Renaissa nce autobiography with its relentless focus on externalities (Amelang 125), Stampas love poems portray the emotions of the lover by embedding in many of her poems interjections such as deh and lassa that function as soul-felt sighs or moans of grief. Overall, the Rime employs 11 deh 11 O 48 lassa and several expressions of ahim and oim These numerous sighs steep her canzoniere with self-pity, as the following examples show: fuor chun poco (oim lassa!) empio in amore (7.8) But, ah, in love not faithful to his word (7.8; Stampa, Selected 13) Deh, perch cos tardo gli occhi aspersi Nel divin, non umano amato volto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Non avrei, lassa, gli occhi indarno asperse Dinutil pianto in questo viver stolto (12.1-2, 5-6)
68 Why did I wait so long to cast my eyes Upon this godlike, superhuman face . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I would not then in vain have drowned my eyes With useless weeping in my foolish life, (12.1-2, 5-6; Stampa, Selected 19) Di chi del suo tornar, lassa, mi manca (47.4) Of him for whose return I mourn in vain, (47.4; Stampa, Selected 45) Perch non batte omai, la ssa, a le porte? (49.8) Why do they never knock upon my door? (49.8; Stampa, Selected 47) Lassa, chi turba la mi a lunga pace? (88.1). Who is this who disturbs my long-held peace? (88.1; Stampa, Selected 65) Deh discacciasse il vel di questa notte (95.13) Alas, who can relieve me of this night (95.13; Stampa, Selected 71) Other poems rely on descriptive nouns and verbs that establish an emotional tone; Stampa, always conscious of their meaning and sound, selects words that influence the reader, as, for instance, in the following two poems where she uses key words to express the diametrically opposed emotions of despair and joy. In the first poem, the narrator
69 grieves that both her beloved and Death ignore her pleas, while in the second, her spirit soars with the news that her beloved will soon return. I have become so weary of my waiting, defeated by grieving and desire caused by the little faith and short remembrance of him for whose return I mourn in vain that I call her who make s the world turn pale55 (47.1-5; Stampa, Selected 45) O blissful, dearer, and sweetest of all news, message of joy, in which you promise me that soon Ill see again the dear and happy lights, and that face so beautiful and gracious.56 (100.1-4; Stampa, Selected 79) Stampa begins Sonnet 47 (Io son da laspe ttar omai s stanca) with melancholy wordsaspettar, stanca, vinta, dolor (waiting, weary, def eated, grieving; 1-2; Stampa 45)establishing a negative tone that continues until the last line where she comments on her beloveds happiness. The second sonnet, O beata e dolcissima novella, expresses her joy with the news th at her beloved will soon return through the use of uplifting adjectives: beata, dolcissima, caro (blissful, dearer, sweetest; 100.1; Stampa, Selected 79). In addition, Stampa begins phrases with Oexclamations of joyseven times, indicating that the na rrator cannot contain her excitement. The
70 sonnets energy is so great that the reader can envision the narrators radiant face as she anticipates being reunited with the beloved. Even a cursory comparison of Stampas poetry to Landuccis autobiography demonstrates the disparity between Stampas approach and his. For example, Sonnet 129s narrator wallows in self-pity: O mia sventura, o mio perverso fato, / O sentenzia nemica del mio bene, / poi chi senza mia colpa mi conviene / portar la pena de laltrui peccato (1-4)(O my misfortune, O my perver se fate, / O judgment, enemy of all my good, / since I must suffer, through no fault of mine, / the penalty due to another's sin!; 129.1-4; Stampa 101). Landucci presents his emotional state, for example, when he saw the body of young Lorenzo, as dry facts (126): he saw, he wept. Landuccis personality remains separate from the narration; the result is a text that could be described anachronistically as a chronicle or memoir. What Landucci valued, and what he believed his readers wanted to know, we re his annotations of histor ical events, not how he felt about them. Emotional Words The two previous sonnets (47 and 100) illustrate Stampas use of few external details in her Rime The vague and subjective adjectives found in Sonnet 100 used to describe the beloveds face and eyes care, liete, bella, graziosa, (dear, happy, beautiful, gr acious; 100; Stampa, Selected 79)fail to describe in detail his physical features. Stampa resists using physic ally descriptive adj ectives throughout her Rime and those she does use serve an importa nt purpose: to emphasize emotions. She selects words because of their ability to imply a state of mind. In the following poems, Stampa addresses the lush and hilly landscap e of the Collalto esta te. Although she uses
71 vivid and lively details, Stampa does not celebra te the natural world or even the Collalto lands. The natural beauty of the landscape only serves as a foil for her narrators misery. Dear river, who from my name take your own who bathe the foothills of that dear high hill where that tall, famous beech began to grow, tree from whose branches my burning love was born57 (139.1-4; Stampa, Selected 111) O happy country, sweet and smiling hills, green meadows, lofty woods and grassy banks, valley enclosed, where no w he lives and lingers, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . caverns of cool and pleasant amorous shades . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . beautiful birds, clear rivers, summer breezes, seductive nymphs, Seleni, Pan and fauns. . .58 (145.1-3, 5, 7-8; Stampa, Selected 115) Whereas, contemporary autobiography sought objectivity by avoiding emotional references, Stampa imbues her Rime with various emotions to convince the reader of the narrators depth of suffering. It is unclear if Stampa read au tobiographies, but they were popular and served as a valuable source of historical information, knowledge one needed for salon conversations. Stampa, as an e ducated woman, knew that autobiographers avoided including analysis of their emo tions. Yet, emotions permeate Stampas Rime as
72 they did Petrarchs poet ry and his imitators. The Rime s focuses on the suffering and passion of the narrator to the exclusion of external details supports this papers thesis that Stampas Rime is a fictional construct infl uenced in part by Petrarch. Literary Language. The Rime also diverges from Rena issance autobiography in its use of rhetoric, much of it influenced by Petrarchism. Bo th autobiographers and poets chose their words carefully, fully aware that their choices affected the way readers perceived their work. Because the autobiography functioned to inform and/or conserve facts, authors utilized plain text and avoide d artifice, decorations adornments, and even literary effort itself (Amelang 155), expecti ng that readers equate d plain text with truthfulness, as Amelang explains: Even in works less touched by such specific dictates, the absence of artifice is the norm. . So broad an imperative rested on the readers accepting simplicity as the best guarantee of the authors sincerity. It also provided a stylistic register of the latters beliefimplicitly shared with the readerthat truth was a lean, sp are thing, and that truthfulness was inseparable from disinterestedness. (157) Renaissance autobiographer s rarely wrote in the high style; instead they emphasize with universal frequencyand ma y have honestly feltthat their words were simple and sincere. Their vows of simplicity and sincerity . constituted a rhetoric of un-rhetoric not often found in other genres (Amelang 158). Landuccis autobiography reveals a simple, straightforward text in which he intends to inform, and perhaps to persuade, the reader. Persuasion was assumed to occur through the use of
73 unadorned language; the authors sincerity guaranteed the trut hfulness of the historical facts presented: a broad imperative rested on the readers accepting simplicity as the best guarantee of the authors sincerity. It also provided a stylistic regi ster of the latters beliefimplicitly shared with the readert hat truth was a lean, spare thing, and that truthfulness was inseparable from disi nterestedness (Amelang 157). Stampas Rime in contrast, is literary, written in the high style expect ed from a Petrarchan poet. Petrarchan poets exploited rhetorical devices inherited from Petrarch to manipulate the readers emotions and to impre ss the reader with the poets artistry. Poets also employed recent poetic inventions such as Pietro Bembos exaggerated compilation of the Petrarchan beloveds attributes59 or Domenico Veniers parallel lists of verbs, adjectives, and nouns.60 Both sonnets exemplify Petrarchism taken to an extreme. Stampa, likewise, sought to convince the reader of her narrators em otions by utilizing a number of noticeable Petrarchan devices. I ndeed, it is only with in the confines of imitation that the lyric poetry of the cinqu ecento, including Stampas own works, can be fully understood and appreciated (Bassanese, Stampa 51). Of the many rhetorical devices Stampa incorporated into her poetry, th ree were antithesis, rhetorical questions, and oxymoron. She found antithesis especially useful since it could represent the conflictual nature of love, the overriding theme of the Rime Bassanese states that through antithesis the psychologi cal reality of feeling could be expressed systematically in the language of contrasts ( Stampa 69), which the reader experiences as the same emotional confusion ( Stampa 67) experienced by the narrator. Sonnet 111 uses antithesis to contrast ideas thus illustrating the narrators mental and emotional bewilderment: O dove per amor si ride e piange; / . / O dove tosto o tardi uom vive e
74 pre (wherever people laugh and cry for love/ . /or where one lives and dies, too soon, too late; 111.8, 11; Stampa, Selected 91). Likewise, Sonnets 27s and 43s antitheses express the narrators confusion: in the first sonnet, the narrator states that she cannot live without the pain that simultane ously kills her; the second describes the contradictory feelings the narr ator suffers, focusing on the fr ustration of unrequited love and the resulting emotional confusion. Ill only grieve while I can live and love, if I should lose the burdens that I bear: the fire, the darts, the prison, and the chains.61 (27.12-14; Stampa, Selected 35) I hate the one who loves, loves him who scorns me. Against the humble ones, my heart rebels, but I am humble toward the one who spurns me.62 (43.5-7; Stampa, Selected 41) Similarly, Stampa utilizes rhetorical ques tions to evoke the narrators confusion. In a sonnet early in the sequence, the frus trated narrator-as-poet asks rhetorically or perhaps Fortune is the addressee why her poetic skill cannot be as strong as her pain is intense: Why cannot I, in an unusual way, make pain and pen be equal in myself?63 (8.7-8; Stampa, Selected 15)
75 At other times, the narrator a ddresses the reader, or Love, or the beloved, but whomever she addresses the effect is the same, the por trayal of her narrator as frustrated or befuddled by her situation: Why did I wait so long to cast my eyes upon this godlike, superhuman face where I can see imprinted, like a sculpture, a myriad of diverse and lofty wonders?64 (12.1-4; Stampa, Selected 19) Who will give wings of eagle or dove to my low style, to let it fly from India to Maurentania, from South Pole to North, where never arrow or slingshot can reach? 65 (13.1-4; Stampa, Selected 21) In the following sonnet, no. 111, Stampa w eaves a more complex anaphora: she begins each line with one of three different words: pommel, over, o dove The repetition creates an air of boredom signaling the na rrators annoyance with questions that challenge her loves strength. To silence thes e doubters, she lists all the possible places where one could live, and all th e possible psychological states that one could experience, and concludes emphatically that no matter what her situation, she would continue to love as she now loves: Place me where ocean breaks with angry roar, or where the waters lie serene and calm, place me wherever sun shoots sparks that scorch
76 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I shall live as I've lived, be what I've been, as long as my two faithful stars still shine and will not turn their light away from me.66 (111.1-3, 12-14; Stampa, Selected 91) Stampa also places words in opposition to emphasize the narrators unhappiness. This opposition can be descriptions of the bel oved compared with those of the narrator. Sonnet 41 contrasts narrators emotional states with Collaltinos: heat to icy, captive to free, misery to happy. But since I am all fire and you all ice, you live in freedom, but I live in chains; your breath flows easily, my own is labored; you live contented, I destroy myself.67 (41.5-8; Stampa, Selected 39) Stampa was not only interested in the communicative value of words, but using her musical training she drew on sound patte rns and rhythm, especially assonance, alliteration, consonance, intern al rhyme, anaphora, repetiti on, and refrain (Bassanese, Stampa 67). She builds rhythm through the use of multiple adjectives, a technique found in much of Renaissance poetry;68 she also triples and quadrup les other parts of speech, stringing words together for th eir pleasing harmonies (Bassanese, Stampa 69). Sonnet 26inspired by Veniers Sonnet 33groups verb s with verbs, and nouns with nouns to create a rhythm: Arsi, pian si, cantai; piango, ardo e canto ; / piangero, arder, canter sempre (1-2) (I burnt, I wept, I sang -bur n, weep and sing, / and I Shall weep, burn, sing forever more; 1-2; Stampa, Selected 33). Stampa also employs alliteration to
77 establish an emotional effect, enhancing the poems meaning. Sonnet 94 provides a vivid example in which the first four lines repeat the K sound ( che, conte, chi, contender, and con ) 12 times: A che, conte, a ssalir chi non repugna? / a che gittar per te rra chi si rende? / a che contender con chi con contende? / c on chi avete mai sempre fra lugna? (1-4). This constant repetition of the harsh K sound affects the sonnets interpretation by providing an edge to her questions, changing them from simple queries to accusations that demand an answer. Another Petrarchan device punning on the beloveds name provides opportunities to reference the beloved repeatedly but indirectly, and, in addition, displays the poets virtuosity. The beloveds name in the Rime Collaltino di Collalto parallels Petrarchs Laura with its poten tial for puns (laura, lauro). Stampa refers to the beloved with the words colle and colle alto and just as the name Laur a points toward Petrarchs real objective the poets lauro Stampas colle implies her goal recognition as a poet, and, therefore, admission to Parnassus. Stampa employs colle more than a dozen times, most often in reference to the beloved69 indicating that she re lishes the Petrarchan parallel. It is convenient for St ampas poetic goals that the be loveds name lends itself to Petrarchan puns (Bassanese, Self-Naming 105). The first 50 poems of the Rime offer examples of Stampas puns on Collaltinos name: il mio verde, pregiato ed alto colle? (3.8) My green, fine, and high h ill? (3.8; my translation) Alto colle, gradito e grazioso, novo Parnaso mio, novo Elicona,
78 . . . . . . . . . . . . . colle gentil, dignissim o d'impero. (10.1-2, 14) High hill, pleasing and gracious my new Parnassus, my new Helicon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . gentle hill, most worthy of empire. (10.1-2, 14; my translation) Alto colle, almo fiume, ove soggiorno (46.1) High hill, (beloved) river, where he sojourns (46.1; my translation) In total, Stampa puns Collaltino colle times in 15 poems and combines it with alto five times.70 Colle is the perfect analogy to the narra tors desires, and an indirect reference to the Stampas own poetic aspira tions. The name serves other functions as well, according to Bassanese: Collaltino of Collalto, Count of Trev iso, seems destined for literary stardom; his eloquent name is an ideal masculine counterpart to Petrarchs Laura. Stampa transforms her beloveds name into colle which extends into Parnassus and Helicon. The allegory thus obtained designates the love relationship as established by the poet: the beloved is a height to conquer, a sacred resting place, her insp iration, the home of the Muses. Colle is used to symbolize the Collalto estate, a setting which represents both amorous fulfillment and painful separation. (Self-Naming 105) Stampas choice of words and rhetorical devices confirms her fascination with composing interesting verses, engaging in th eir meanings, and app ealing in their tonal
79 qualities and emotional effects. Unlike cont emporary autobiographers, Stampa does not avoid artifice, decorations, adornments, ev en literary effort itself (Amelang 155), but embraces them as part of her Petrarchan heritage. Her occasional verses testify that Stampa sought to refine her poetic skills as she endeavored to compose admirable Petrarchan poetry. The poet's Canzoniere seemed to embody the artistic values of the renaissance: harmony, which consisted in the quantity, quality and position of sounds and words, a term closely allied to proportion and order, which implied formal structures; grace, which referred rather broadly to sweetness, elegance, and a pleasing je ne sais quoi ; an aesthetic sense of opulence or richness, includi ng variety, grandeur, abundance, and splendor, as well as magnificence, gr eatness, sumptuousness, and dignity. The five major concepts in literary criticism were decorum, grandeur, grace, variety, and similitude. (Bassanese, Stampa 53) Stampa did not compose her Rime in the plain and simple language found in contemporary autobiographies. She consciously and persistently imitates Petrarch and contemporary poets high style, embellis hing her poetrys language as demanded by Petrarchism to tell a convincing and emotional fiction of failed love. Petrarchs Influence. Pietro Bembos Prose della vulgar lingua (Writings on the vernacular; 1525) established Petrarch as the poet to imitate. Bembo was the most influential literary theorist of the early si xteenth century, and B ook 2 of his treatise quickly became the standard manual for vern acular forms. Consequently, Italian poets
80 felt pressure to follow his recommendations when making aesthetic and linguistic choices in their works (Rosenthal Honest 43). As a result, [Petrarchs] canzoniere was the epitome of a literary love story, the arti stic summit to be conquered, and the perfect iter to be followed (Bassanese, Stampa 57). Many poets relished the challenge of ma king the Petrarchan model uniquely their own. Stampa, for example, eager to become a recognized poet, also to ld a love story as it unfolds in a series of inne r conflicts and with painful se lf-awareness against a backdrop of deceptive dreams and betrayed hopes (Bassanese, Stampa 57-58). In addition, she begins her story as did so many other c ontemporary poets, with a restatement of Petrarchs first sonnet.71 Many of her poems incorporate Petrarchan expressions, some verbatim, while other poems allude to Petrarch (Bassanese, Stampa 58). In Sonnet 182 Stampa parrots the first phrase of Petrarchs Sonnet 272, and then hijacks the rest of the line, La vita fuge et non sarresta unora,/ et la Morte vien dietro a gran giornata (Life flees and does not stop an hour, / and D eath comes after by great stages; 272.1-2; Petrarch 450-51). Stampas version states, L a vita fugge, ed io pur sosprando / trapasso, lassa, il pi degli anni miei ( Life flees and even as I sigh / I pass through most of my years, alas; 182.1-2; Bassanese, Stampa 60). Stampas change is subtle; her narrator sees life slipping away as she waits for the be loved, whereas Petrarchs sees Death bounding toward him unchecked. Likewise, Stampas Sonnet 86 borrows Petrarchs first phrase from his Sonnet 92, Weep, Ladies; but for her Sonnet 151 Stampa utilizes the entire line, Piangete, donne, e con voi pianga Am ore (92.1; Petrarch 194-95) (Weep, Ladies, and let Love join in your grief; 151.1; Stampa, Selected 122). Stampa borrowed often
81 from Petrarchs Rime sparse. Compare, for example, the following lines between Petrarchs original poems and Stampas: fuggo ove l gran desio mi sprona e nchina; (151.4; Petrarch 297) I fly where my great desire spur s me on . . (96.3; Bassanese, Stampa 63) comio vorrei, tanto l disio mi sprona (96.3; Stampa) as I would like, for desire s purs me on so. (96.3; Bassanese, Stampa 63) devrian de la piet romper un sasso (294.7; Petrarch 473) out of pity, they should even break a stone. . (Bassanese, Stampa 63) rompa per la pietate i duri sassi (96.14; Stampa) out of pity, it breaks hard stones. . (96.14; Bassanese, Stampa 63) Similarly, Petrarchs poem 145 inspired Stam pas Sonnet 111 where she works Petrarchs multiple and contrasting settings to make them her own. Because of the length of the poem and the amount of details included, I repeat most of Sonnet 111 here: Place me where ocean breaks with angry roar, or where the waters lie serene and calm, place me wherever sun shoots sparks that scorch or where the ice pierces with sharpest pain, place me beside the frozen Don, by Ganges where the sweet dew and manna are distilled, or where the bitter air sparkles with poison,
82 wherever people laugh and cry for love. Place me where cruel, heartless Scythians strike, or where the people live in peace and quiet, or where one lives and dies, too soon, too late.72 (111.1-11; Stampa, Selected 91) Stampa does not emulate Petrarch literally; for one thing, the reader familiar with Petrarchs original will find a surprisingly hopeful ending. This posi tive ending serves to remind the reader that, at this point in th e story, the narrator enjoys the beloveds affections. An importance diffe rence lies in Stampas imaginative descriptions and vivid details: Place me where the sun kills the flowers and the grass, or where the ice and the snow overcome him; place me where his chariot is temperate and light, or where those dwell who yield him to us or those who take him away; Place me in lowly or proud fortune, in sweet clear air or dark and heavy; place me in the night, in day long or short, in ripe maturity or early youth; Place me in Heaven or on earth or in the abyss, or on a high mountain, in a deep and swampy valley; make me a free spirit or one fixed in his members. 73 (Petrarch 145) Sonnet 111 shows Stampas ability to adopt and adapt Petrarchs poems. By borrowing ideas and phrases from Petrarch, and writing a new version, Stampa challenges herself to meet Bembos requirements of imitation and originality; in addition, Petrarchan
83 references remind the reader that as a Petr archist Stampas work should be measured against Petrarchs and other Petrarchists. Not surprisingly, because Petrarchism permeated Renaissance life, even everyday words took their meanings from Petrarchs poetry; for example, sole sun, [t]hrough poetic application it had come to signify the beloved, Christ, a heavenly guide, or the eyes of the loved one; it was used to de scribe spiritual leadership, guidance, and elevation. Allied to this term, there existed a whole series of associated solar images: ray, light, lamp, flame, fire, beam and so forth (Bassanese, Stampa 55, 64). Stampa, of course, uses sole to refer to the beloved: But when at length my sun [ sole ] departs from me, I see the sun of heaven when it darkens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . but that sun will return with light and life, while my sun's brilliant dawning and return to me is doubtful; certain is the parting.74 (18.9-10, 11-14; Stampa, Selected 25) The existence of several parallel facts provides the most persuasive argument that Stampa models her narrative on Petrarchs Rime sparse instead on her own life: the occasion of the first sightings, and the belove ds appearances. First, Stampa chooses an important Christian holiday for the first sighti ng just as Petrarch had, for the same literary reason: both choose the holiday most appropriate to set the to ne for the overall narrative. Petrarch chose Good Friday in order to establ ish a tragic tone: Era il giorno chal sol si scoloraro / per la piet del suo fattore i rai / quando i fui preso, et non me ne guardai /
84 ch i be vostr occhi, Donna, me legaro (It was the day when the suns rays turned pale with grief for his Maker when I was take n, and I did not defend my self against it, for your lovely eyes, Lady, bound me; 3.1-4; Petrarch 38-39). Petrar chs narrator suffers for the whole of the canzoniere. First, Laura does not know of Petrarchs infatuation; when she finds out, she becomes modest, and avoids him, in order, according to Petrarch, to protect her chaste reputation. Later, Laura dies of the plague, leaving Petrarch behind to grieve his new losshe is now bereft of her person. Stampa, however, caused her narrator to fall for the belove d around Christmas, a joyous occasion. As she mentions in the introductory letter, her canzoniere is a celebration of th e narrators love for the beloved:75 It was about the day when the Creator, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . came down to show Himself in human form, issuing from the Holy Virgins womb, when it occurred that my illustrious lord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . made his own nest and refuge in my heart.76 (2.1, 2-5, 8; Stampa, Selected 5). Despite their many similarities, Stampas narrative differs from Petrarchs in other ways, one of which is the overall tone of her seque nce. Many sonnets detail the happiness that love gives her narrator. Unlike Petrarchs persona, Stampas narrator enjoys the reciprocal love of the beloved for a period. It is when he withdraws his love that the narrator suffers; however, her misery is alleviated by the realization that the
85 beloveds rejection has made th e narrator a poet: mi risponde egli in ultima sentenza: / questo ti basti, e questo fa che scriva (132.1314) (Love answers me in his hard final sentence. / Let this suffice you, that it makes you write; 132.13-14; Stampa, Selected 103). The two most important aspects of the beloveds physical featureshair color and skin tone are the same; both Laura and Collal tino are fair and have blond hair. Petrarch mentions Lauras hair color twice, first in Sonnet 29: Verdi panni sanguigni oscuri o persi / non vest donna unquanco / n d or capelli in bionda tr eccia attorse / s bella . (Green garments, crimson, black, or purple, did never a lady wear, nor ever twisted her hair in a blond brai d, as beautiful as this one . (1-4; Petrarch 82-83), and again in Sonnet 30: Giovene donna sotto un ve rde lauro / vidi pi bianca et pi fredda che neve / . . / chAmor conduce a pie de du ro lauro / ch i rami di diamante et dor le chiome. . . (A youthful lady under a gr een laurel / I saw, whiter and colder than snow / . . / that love leads to the foot of the harsh laurel / that as branch es of diamond and golden locks. . .; 1-2, 23-24; Petrarch 86-89). Stampa refers to the beloveds hair color and skin tone only once: di pelo biondo, e di vivo color e (7.5) (His hair is blond, and his complexion light. . .:77 7.5; Stampa, Selected 13). Antonio Rambaldo di Collalto included an engraving allegedly of Collaltino di Collalto, which, if authentic, indicates that the count did indeed have light-c olored hair. Like his name, the counts hair color was another Petrarchan convenience. declare This short overview of Petrarchan in fluence demonstrates that Stampas Rime is strikingly Petrarchan; however, Stampas love story is unique to he r. Although both plots deal with unobtainable love, an important difference sets the two apart: Petrarchs
86 narrator sighs over a love that can never matu re due to the ladys chastitya character trait that he admires even as it denies him his goal. Then, after 21 years of love at a distance, Fate removes his lady from earth, a nd from Petrarchs sight, but from not his imagination (Braden, Petrarchan 14). The second half of the Rime sparse details his continuing love for Laura, and his growing r ealization that he has misplaced his love. Stampas narrator, on the other hand, sighs ove r a love that she cannot retain because of the beloveds fickle nature and the differe nce in their social stations, he a landed aristocrat, she a middle-class musician. Stampas Rime focuses on the psychological ch anges of the narrator during a limited periodthree yearsand on a specifi c eventa love affair. She employs language modeled on Petrarchs Rime sparse and utilizes a number of literary devices, such as repetition, oxymoron, exaggeration, and rhetorical questions. In addition, Stampa incorporates mythological pla ces and beings, with the god Love most often mentioned; she puns on the beloveds name; and she appropriates numerous words, phrases, and concepts from Petrarch. Stampa strives to write commendable Petr archan poetry, as the number of Petrarchan referenc es testify. In contrast, autobiography, as determined from extant works, can be defined as any written hi story that takes the authors life as subject, with a focus, however, on external events. Autobiographies shun any expression of personal emotions and analysis of the psyc he, and the language remains simple, with a determined avoidance of artifice and literary effort, the sole goal being to present the authors observations as objective facts. Thes e details support my argument that Stampa did not write about an histori cal event. We turn now to a possible source of inspiration for Stampa: the Elegy of Lady Fiammetta
87 Chapter Five: Stampas Poetic Misprision of Giovanni Boccaccios Elegy of Lady Fiammetta The idea that the Elegy influenced the Rime is not new. Gordon Braden briefly comments about the possibility, but does not expand on his comment: If Stampa needed some literary paradigm for the stor y surrounding her poems, this one was readily [at] hand. We may describe her Rime dAmore as the lyricization of Boccaccios Elegia into a more affirmative mode (Gender 133). I want to pursue Bradens idea to its logical conclusion: Does Stampas Rime reveal the influence of Boccaccios Elegy and if so, how? A close comparative study of these two wo rks argues for an affirmative answer to this question. This conclusion is further s upported by the application of Harold Blooms critical principle of the anxiety of infl uence to demonstrate how Stampa may have borrowed aspects of the Elegy and then swerved from her precursor Boccaccio to write a poetic narrative that was her own inven tion. Although Boccaccio died 200 years before Stampas birth, his works were still read during her lifetime, because, as discussed earlier, Pietro Bembo established Boccaccio as the prose model at the same time he selected Petrarch as the poetic model. The Elegy of Lady Fiammetta 78 The Elegy presents a sympathetic portrayal of a broken-hearted woman told in the first person consisting of a long lament about the lo ss of a lover. Becau se the focus of the
88 Elegy is the womans emotional turmoil, it ha s been called a psychological romance.79 The plot is the narrators struggle to accep t her abandonment, and her refusal to do so. Lady Fiammetta a married, aristocratic womans pseudonym relates her tale of how she had been loved and abandoned, beginning with the event in which her heart was captured by a young man 16 months earlier, up to the present moment. The structure consists of monologues and dialogues set wi thin a framework of explanatory and, at times, foreshadowing, comments. Fiammetta begins by explaining her reason(s) for publishing her tragic taleto warn women of the deceits of menthen recal ls the omens that herald her downfall: the nightmare and the incident sent by the gods that failed to penetrate her self-absorption as she prepared for church. While at the church ceremony, she sees and falls passionately in love with Panfiloalso a pseudonym. As sh e struggles with her conscience in the privacy of her bedroom, the goddess of love appears, encouraging Fiammetta to pursue her inclinations, which she readily does. After nine months of shared passion summarized by FiammettaPanfilo departs to ca re for his ill father; he promises the distressed Fiammetta that he will return in four months. Fiammetta waits impatiently for his return, which, of course, does not occu r. Following the deadline, Fiammettas emotions swing wildly between fear, jealous y, and anger, passions exasperated by rumors concerning Panfilo. The first rumor states th at Panfilo had married; the informant had seen a young bride entering his home. The seco nd rumor corrects the first, claiming that it was Panfilos father who had married and that Panfilo would be returning. The next rumor alleges that Panfilo had fallen in l ove with a beautiful woman from his own country and would not return. The last rumor contends that Panfilo is on the next ship
89 from his country. However, the rumor that Panfilo loves another woman distresses Fiammetta enough to drive her to attempt suicide. The tale of the Elegy takes place over a 2-year peri od; and as Fiammetta ends her narrative, she implies that her saga will conti nue. She is resolved to travel to Panfilos land to find him. However, her husband persuades her to wait for a time when he can accompany her. During this waiting period Fiammetta writes her little booklet to prevent her love Panfilo from waning. Therefore since I am more eager to complain that any other woman, to make certain that the cause of my gr ief will not grow weaker through habit but stronger, I wish to recount my story to you, noble ladies, and if possible to awaken pity in you, in whos e hearts love perhaps dwells more happily than in mine. (Boccaccio, Lady 1) The Elegy details one womans misery as she suffers the days and years following her abandonment. Fiammetta could not, nor did she want to, forget Panfilo and move on to another lover. She refuse s to believe that her Panfilo had abandoned her for another woman; yet, she mentions the possibility when addressing her littl e booklet: But if by chance, you are passed from one hand to anot her within th e loving throngs of lovely ladies, you should fall into th e hands of my woman foe, the usurper of our riches, immediately run away as if from an evil place (157). Fiammetta does not hesitate to attribute her misery to another woman.
90 The Rime Stampas Rime is not a literal lyricization of the Elegy since her plot swerves from Boccaccios at a crucial point; however, many pa rallels exist between the two. Before I discuss these parallels and the swerve, I will give a brie f overview of Stampas plot. The Rime in contrast to the Elegy s prose narrative, is a collection of poems a canzoniere similar to Petrarchs Rime sparse many allegedly written duri ng a love affair with Count Collaltino di Collalto. The first poems (Sonnets 1-21) se rve as an introduction to the Rime wherein the narrator establishes her motives for the tale. Foreshadowing the Rime s plot, the narrator also describes the beloveds charms and fl aws. Stampas narrator, like Fiammettas, expects an audience of sympathetic women who are her social equals or betters: ove fia chi valor apprezzi e stim e, / gloria, non che perdon, de' mi ei lamenti / spero trovar fra le ben nate genti, / poi che la lor cagione s sublime (1.4-8) (I hope to find among some well-born people, / wherever they may be, t hose who prize honor, / not only pardon for my tears, but glory / because the reason for them is so lofty; 1.4-8; Stampa, Selected 3). Sonnets 22 to 205 (207 Salza) detail the narrators joys and frustrations experienced during the love affair with the Count who is emotionally and often physically distant. Yet, even during her darkest hours, the narrat or refuses to cease l oving; in Sonnet 27, the narrator lists the pains she suffers, but, ironic ally, claims she would suffer more if her passion cooled: Mi dorr sol, se mi trarr dimpaccio, / fin che potr e viver ed amare, / lo stral e l foco e la prigione e l laccio (27.12-14) (Ill only grie ve while I can live and love, / if I should lose the burdens that I be ar: / the fire, the darts, the prison, and the chains; 27.12-14; Stampa Selected 35).
91 Both the Elegy and the Rime describe a young womans realization that her lover has abandoned her, but each woman, in sp ite of crushing disappointments, remains constant in her love. However, the narrator of the Rime realizes that she does not have to love a specific man; rather she only needs to be in love. This knowledge allows the narrator to move on to a new, and she hopes, more receptive lover.80 Parallels and Swerves In the Prose della vulgar lingua Pietro Bembo argues that writers and poets should model their works on the linguistic usage of the prose works of Boccaccio and the poetry of Petrarch (Braden, Petrarchan 86-87). Nonetheless, writers and poets should exercise stylistic moderation and restraint in thei r works by a means of avoiding an unrelieved, extreme, and hence indecorous, emphasis on any one style or affect (Feldman, Academy 481). Bembo did not advocate blind imitation was the proper way to write; however, by publishing his Rime a canzoniere that imitated Petrarchs subjects in addition to language, Bembo established th e poetic template for future poets. T. S. Eliot wrote about imitation in his essay Tradition and the Individual Talent 457 years later. Like Bembo and the Petrarchan theorists, Eliot believed that tradition was not the handing dow n consisting of following the ways of the immediate generation before us in a blind or timid adhe rence to its successes (37), but a matter of much wider significance. As Bembo argues, that effort is required to write Petrarchan poetry well, so does Eliot: Tradition . ca nnot be inherited, and if you want it you must obtain it by great labour (37). Bo th men state that to be a great poet, the poet must understand the work of those who came before: this historical sense compels a man [sic]
92 to write not merely with his own generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer and with in it the whole of the literature of his own country has simultaneous order (Eliot 37). Th erefore, when looking at Stampas poetic oeuvre, we cannot value [her] alone; we must set [her], for contrast and comparison, among the dead writers (Eliot 37). By locating Stampa among dead writers, it is evident that when she composed her poetry, she looked to them for inspiration a nd her own self-definiti on. Yet, looking to the past greats does not come without complications. According to Harold Bloom, Anxiety of Influence (1997), a specific order of events precipitates an aut hors or poets anxiety of influence: first, there is a strong misread ing by the later po et who engages in a profound act of reading that is a kind of fa lling in love with the literary work; the reading is not straight forward, however. Th e author interprets the work (what Bloom calls poetic misprision) resulting in an idiosyncratic and ambivalent reading (xxiii). Having read her precursor with ad miration, our poet now suffers anxiety, and her work reflects this anxiety: Poetic history . is held to be indis tinguishable from poetic influence, since strong poets make that history by misreading one another, so as to clear imaginative space for themselves. . But nothing is got for nothing, and selfappropriation involves the im mense anxieties of indebted ness, for what strong maker desires the realization that [she] faile d to create [herself]? (Bloom 5). Blooms use of the masculine does not betray when Anxiety of Influence publication date; instead, it re veals the source of Blooms theory, and, perhaps, its weakness when applied to women writers. Bloom employed Sigmund Freuds family romance with its Oedipal struggle to build the foundation for his argument, i.e., the
93 belated (male) poet must destroy his precursor his Poetic Father, in order to create himself as a poet (Gilbert and Gubar 46-47). Sa ndra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, authors of The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writ er and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (2000), explain that Bloom s strong poet must engage in heroic warfare with his precursor, for, involved as he is in a literary Oedipal struggle, a man can only become a poet by somehow invalidating his poetic father (47). Blooms theory, by the nature of its source, excludes wo men from the vocation of poet. Yet, there were women poets during Stampa s era just as there had been before and after, and until recently, they had only male poets as models. Women had to imitate these male predecessors if they wanted rec ognition as a poet. So, the question must be asked, Can a poet, such as Stampa, engage in an Oedipal struggle with her male precursor in the manner that Bloom mainta ins? No, according to Gilbert and Gubar, because the belated woman poet suffers from more than anxieties of indebtedness: Certainly if we acquiesce in the patr iarchal Bloomian model, we can be sure that the female poet does not ex perience the anxiety of influence in the same way that her male counterp art would, for the simple reason that she must confront precursors who are almost exclusively male, and therefore significantly different fr om her. Not only do these precursors incarnate patriarchal authority . they attempt to enclose her in definitions of her person and her potential which, by reducing her to extreme stereotypes (angel, monster) drastically conflic t with her own sense of her selfthat is, of her s ubjectivity, her autonomy, her creativity. (48)81
94 Stampa did not, however, allow herself or her ar tistic potential to be defined by her male precursors nor by her misogynistic culture; in this way her poetry distinguishes itself from that of other women Petrarchists. Stam pa would not be confined to the realm of silent, chaste, and obedient women (nor was he r narrator) so admired by (male) poets and humanists. She stepped out of the shadow of the silent (and silenced) Laura to write a canzoniere that challenged that st ereotype. Nonetheless, G ilbert and Gubar are right when they argue that a woman writer confronts not just a precursor, but a male precursor with whom she cannot identify: On the one hand, therefore, the woma n writers male precursors symbolize authority; on the other hand, despite thei r authority, they fail to define the ways in which she experiences her ow n identity as a writer. More, the masculine authority with which they construct their literary personae, as well as the fierce power st ruggles in which they engage in their efforts of self-creation, seem to the woman writer directly to contradict the terms of her own gender definition. (48) In Stampas case, her models were Petrarch and male poets who imitated Petrarch. These Petrarchan poets speak about or to silent women who, for the most part, are more imagined than real flesh and blood. The (male) poet retained the masculine characteristics of acting (writing poetry) and voc alizing (voicing his complaints ); the object of his desire does neither, but remains silent, chaste, and beautiful. Consequently, the woman as writer with something to say cannot relate to either her male precursor or his description of her as a woman, and thus she suffers from someth ing more basic than anxiety of influence:
95 Thus the anxiety of influence that a male poet experiences is felt by a female poet as an even more primar y anxiety of authorshipa radical fear that she cannot create, that because she can never become a precursor the act of writing will isolate or dest roy her. (Gilbert and Gubar 48-49) One of Stampas themes is that she does not have the talent or skill that allows her to describe the wonders of the beloved. The narr ator claims that she struggles to discover the right words; yet, she is never satisfied that she has succeeded in praising the beloved as he deserves. She laments that her words fail her: I go on always, hour by hour, describing your beauty, your rare talent and your valor, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . nor, much as I may toil at all my writing, do I ever strike the least point of my target, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . that all I find to say is still too little. (45.1-2, 5-6, 11; Stampa Selected 43)82 This anxiety of authorship did not precl ude Stampa from also suffering anxiety of influence. Blooms theory does present a challenge because Stampas gender does not fall within his critical parameters (male poet, son), but Stampa is not necessarily excluded. If we interpret the son of Blooms theory as a metaphor for latecomer, Stampa becomes the son of her precu rsor, Boccaccio. She can occupy no other position, for all writers were expected to imita te either Petrarchs poetry or Boccaccios
96 prose, and all writers, male and female alik e, would have suffered anxiety of influence to some degree. Bembo had established dual requirements of imitation and originality for poetry. As an aspiring poet who worked within the confines of Petrarchism, Stampas first sonnet, Voi, chascoltate in queste meste rime (Oh you who listen to these mournful verses) (1.1; Stampa, Selected 3), borrows from Petrarchs first sonnet and establishes the expectations that she will emulate Petrarc h. Yet, the shift in focus within the sonnet announces that her canzoniere will be innovative. The inde btedness acknowledged in the first line of sonnet one is a lie because, in reality, she could not stand to be smothered by [her] own awe for Petrarch. The sonnet, t hus, constitutes an ir ony not in anything like the New Critical sense of verbal or pa radoxical wit that is, a rhetorical irony occurs when we as readers see that the poet is lying to get started, sa[y]ing other than what [she] means in order to appropriate some space from the precursor for [her] own vision (Fite 80). Consciously or unc onsciously, Stampa subverts the readers expectations, appearing at firs t to tell a love story like Petrarchs, when, in fact, she intends no such thing. True, she does borrow Petrarchs style, words, and phrases, but the plot she imitates is the Elegy s. It is Boccaccios narrative and characters that inspire Stampa to depart from Petrar chs plot of unrequited love. Similarities between the Elegy and the Rime Stampa does not reproduce Boccaccios Elegy in verse, however. Instead, she borrows what would advance her story, but no more. An example is a comparison of the narrators reactions upon the impending retu rn of their beloveds. The Elegy includes two episodes
97 during which Fiammetta waits for her Panfilos return; both times, her language betrays her uncontainable excitement. The first occurs toward the end of the four-month wait: Alas, how often I said: When he comes back, I will embrace him a million times, and my kisses will multiply so many times that they will not allow one entire word to come out of his mouth, and I will give him back twice as many kisses, without receiving any in return, as he gave my face while I lay unconscious. (52) Fiammetta suffers another period of agitation when her nurse brings news that Panfilo will be arriving on the next ship from his country (his country, and hers, are never named). The rumor seems plausible enough since the nurse received the information from a young man from Panfilos country claiming to be his friend. Once again, Fiammettas emotions swing to joy and hope, and her repeti tion of O God are so much like effusive declarations that it creates an ai r of unrestrained exhilaration: O God, who sees all things, will I be ab le to control my urge to embrace him in front of everyone when I first see him? I scarcely believe so, to be sure. O God, when holding him tightly in my arms, will I give him back the kisses he gave my unconscious face without receiving any in return? Certainly the omen which came from my not having been able to bid him farewell has come true, and by it the gods showed me correctly that he would eventually return. O God, when will I be able to tell him of my tears and anguish and listen to the re asons for his long absence? Will I live that long? I scarcely believe it. Oh may that day come soon, because
98 Death, whom formerly I not only invoked but eagerly sought, now frightens me; if it is possible that a prayer may reach Deaths ears, I beg her to keep away from me and let me spend my youth happily with my Panfilo. (137) Throughout the Elegy Fiammetta appears as an emotional and gullible young woman believing every rumor that she hear s. However, Fiammetta cannot test the validity of each rumor without exposing her interest in th e young man. This inability to discern the truth, in addition to her desperate hope that Panfilo would return, cause her passions run higher than they might normally. Stampas female narrator is, in many ways, similar to Fiammetta in temperament. With her beloved absent and incommunicablehe does not answer her lettersthe narrators joy, as expressed in Sonnet 100, is palpable, but hardly matches the intensity caused by Fiammettas repetitive exclamations of O God. O blissful, dearer, and sweetest of all news, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O my good fortune, my propitious star, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O faith, O hope, you who have been to me . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O life of mine, changed in a single moment . (100.1, 5, 7, 9; Stampa, Selected 79)83
99 Both women begin many comments with O, an exclamation of joy. The energy in Fiammettas monologue also emerges from her fear that she will be unable to control herself upon seeing Panfilo: I n my own mind, I doubted more than once that I could restrain the burning desire to embrace him in front of others when I could first see him (52), and O God, who sees all things, will I be able to control my urge to embrace him in front of everyone when I first see him? I s carcely believe so, to be sure (137). The Rimes narrator likewise doubts th at she can remain a decorous composure upon seeing her beloved for the first time; she declares in Sonnet 101 that she cannot imagine how she will act: With what sufficient greetings or what words shall I receive my dearly cherished lover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What color rosy-red or violet-pale will mine be, as my heart is brave or fearful when I am lead before his noble form which makes me bold and timid all at one? 84 (101.1-2, 5-8; Stampa, Selected 81) The scenario of the lover speak ing about the beloved returning to his or her arms is an event not found in Petrarchs Rime sparse or, perhaps more impor tantly, neither in the poetry of Vittoria Colonna nor Veronica Gambara. Nor do these poets speak of their transition (or attempted transi tion) out of depression. With the news of the impending return, both Stampas narrator and Fiammetta attempt to dismiss the dark emotions that
100 haunt them in their loneliness. Fiammetta, addr essing her heart, urges it to put aside all negative memories and emotions and to restor e itself to the old self Panfilo knew: My loving heart, weakened for so lo ng by suffering, free yourself at last from bothersome worries, since our darl ing lover is remembering us and is on his way, as he had promised. May the pain, fear, and the deep shame that abounds in affliction take flig ht; dont let it cross your mind how fortune has guided you in the past, but chase away all the clouds of cruel fate, and may all images of miserabl e moments leave you; turn your happy face towards the present good, and may the old Fiammetta, with a soul renewed, divest herself of everything. (134) The Rime s narrator also suffers her be loveds absence for a long time85six monthsalmost as long as Fiammettas Panfilo had been gone. Like Fiammetta, Stampas narrator admonishes herself to forget the pains of the past and look forward to a happy future with her lover. Away from me, you shadows and dark mists which have been constantly before my eyes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . now it is time to be serene again, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . May everything in me be filled with laughter now that my sun return s to stay with me, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
101 Now may my soul be wrapt in countless pleasures, a thousand sweets, and all my life serene, rejoicing in itself with sheer contentment.86 (102.1-2, 5, 9-10, 12-14; Stampa, Selected 83) The structure of the two monologues is para llel; both women begin by addressing a part of themself as if it were a separate entity. Fiammetta addresses her heart, urging it to release negative thoughtsshadows and da rk mistdismissing them from her presence. Having commented on the need to change to positive thinking, each woman then addresses herself as in a short soliloquy. Another event that occurs in both narratives is the rumor that the beloved plans to or has taken a wife. Fiammetta is visiting so me nuns when a merchant brings news of Panfilos marriage; the merchant had seen a young bride enter Panf ilos house. One of the nuns, a good-looking young woman, struggles to maintain her composure when she hears the news. For Fiammetta also, the news is devastating, resulting in sorrowful rage that causes her to be as furi ous as a Lybian lion that disc overs hunters on its tracks, now flushed and now pale. . . (60). She feels alternatively betrayed, helpless, and angry. On hearing this, I was first seized by extremely deep grief, and then, as I watched the scene, I was suddenly sei zed by another pain just as sharp, and I could hardly restrain myself fr om reproaching her very rudely for her display of emotion, for I was jealous of the open signs of love she was showing towards Panfil o, suspecting that, like me, she might have a legitimate reason to grieve at the words she had just heard. Nonetheless, with an effort that was painful a nd, I believe, unequaled by any other, I
102 tried to hid the turmoil in my hear t under an unchanged face, more willing to weep than to listen further. (59-60) Once I could behave as I wished, I walked into my room and began weeping bitterly, and when after a long time the abundant tears had relieved some of the deep sorrow and I felt more free to speak, I began in a very weak voice: Now my unhappy Fiammetta, you know why your Panfilo is not coming back; now you have what you were trying to find. What more do you want, you miserable one? What more do you ask? This should suffice: Panfilo is no longer yours, let go of your desire to have him back, free yourself of your misplaced hope, forget this passion and abandon your insane thoughts, trust at last the om ens and your intuitive soul, and start learning about the deceptions of young men. You have reached the point usually reached by women w ho trust too much. (60) And with these words my anger flar ed again; I wept harder and I began to speak words much too daring. (60) Now you are celebrating the sacred rites of Hymen, and I, who am self-deceived and deceived by you and by your words, waste away weeping, and with my tears I make way for my own death, whose painful approach will rightly be attributable to your cruelty, and my life span, which I so desired to lengthen, will be shorter because of you. (61) Due to the constraints of the sonnet form with its meter and rhyme scheme, Stampa cannot display the same intense tone of anger that Boccaccio can with prose.
103 Nonetheless, Stampas narrator, handling the news differently than Fiammetta, does not go into a rage, but sinks into depression. She is also quick to accuse the beloved of being false while praising her own solid constancy. A knot, a faith, which are not fixed and constant, will break, or be dissolved, for little cause; but my own faith, my knot, will steal the honors both from the Gordian knot, and adamant. (179.4-8; Stampa, Selected 147)87 It is amusing and ironic that both women would be genuinely upset that their lovers should deign to take wives. Fiammetta is a married woman whose husband, although boring and absent, treats her well. The Rime s narrator is a middle-class woman, well below her aristocratic beloved in class rank. In addition, neither woman cannot realistically expect to have a long-term relationship with her lover. Panfilo is from a different country, whereas Collalto is a mercenary for the King of France. Fiammetta addresses her lament to women readers, her Dear Ladies: Therefore since I am more eager to complain that any other woman, to make certain that the cause of my grief will not grow weak er through habit but stronger, I wish to recount my story to you, noble ladies, and if possible to awaken p ity in you, in whose hearts love perhaps dwells more happily than in mine (Boccaccio, Lady 1). She continues to address her female readership throughout the stor y: compassionate ladies (Boccaccio, Lady 23 ); if my imagination is not mist aken, my ladies, (Boccaccio, Lady 24); just as you ladies do (Boccaccio, Lady 25); Compassionate ladies (Boccaccio, Lady 47); And so,
104 compassionate ladies, as you have heard (Boccaccio, Lady 53); Compassionate ladies, up to this moment my tears were slight (Boccaccio, Lady 58); It would be difficult for me to show you, ladies, how vehement an a nger, how many tears, and what a heartache would accompany these thoughts and arguments (Boccaccio, Lady 66); Why will I conceal from you, ladies (Boccaccio, Lady 79); and so on. She assumes that women would be sympathetic since some had suffere d abandonment, and others would have pity for her nonetheless. Whereas men, Fiammetta believes, would laugh at her tears. Consequently, Fiammetta expects pity from these ladies: it is fitting that you [my little booklet] go where I am sending you discomposed, with your hair uncombe d, stained and full of gloom, to awaken by my misfortunes blessed pity in the minds of those women who will read you. (Boccaccio, Lady 156) In contrast, Lady Fiammetta, angry with Panfil o and distrustful of all men, instructs her book to Flee the eyes of men, and even if you should be seen by them, tell them this: You ungrateful sex, denigrator of innocent wo men, it is not suitable for you to perceive godly things (158). Stampas narrator, not so exclusive in her r eadership, begins her canzoniere with an address to all who listen to these mournful verses, implying that both genders are invited to h ear the story. However, she li mits some well-born people to those from whom she hopes to receive honor and glory, a nd expresses hope that another woman will envy her (1.1, 5-7; Stampa, Selected 3) O you who listen to these mournful verses, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I hope to find among some well-born people,
105 wherever they may be, those who prize honor, not only pardon for my tears, but glory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I dare to hope some woman will exclaim: Happy is she, she who has undergone for such a noble cause, sorrow so noble! Why were not such high fortune, such great love, granted to me, and such a splendid lord, so I could walk as equal to that lady? 88 (1.1, 5-7, 9-14; Stampa, Selected 3) The narrator continues to acknowledge her female audience throughout the Rime : Chi vuol conoscer, donne, il mio signor e (7.1) (If, ladies, you desi re to know my lord; 7.1; Stampa, Selected 13); Voi che novellamente, donne entrate (You women who have newly entered in; 64.1; Stampa, Selected 53); Piangete, donne, e con voi pianga Amore (151.1) (Weep, Ladies, and let L ove join in your grief; 151.1; Stampa, Selected 123); Donne, voi che fin qui libere e sciolte(286.1) (Young ladies, you who still enjoy your freedom; 241.1; Stampa, Selected 193). Nowhere does the narrator address a male audience other than the beloved. The reason could be similar to Fiammettas anger, lack of tr ust, and fear of ridicule fr om the wider circle of men. While these textual parallels exist in the two works, they do not prove, in themselves, the Elegy s influence on the Rime ; however, one common plot detail does: both narrators admit that they consummated th eir love. Fiammetta ma kes it clear that she and Panfilo spent many nights in lovemaking:
106 I say then, that after such an event [of Panfilos first time coming to her bed], which in the past I had imag ined but had never experienced, and under these circumstances, fate and our wits helped us to solace ourselves at length and with immense pleasur e not once but many times, although it seems to me now that the time then fl ew faster than any wind. . Oh how many tender kisses and amorous em braces, and how many nights were spent talking more than if it were daytime, and how many pleasures, dear to each lover, we had there during those joyful hours! (Boccaccio, Lady 26) Fiammetta even admits that she and Panfilo schemed ways to spend more time together, and she recalls these times with a dreamy tone. Likewise, the Rime s narrator relishes her memories of her nights w ith Collaltino. Sonnet 104, which is probably her best known, and certainly her most jubilant poem, recalls the joyful time spent with her beloved: Oh night, more glorious and more blest to me than are the brightest and most blissful days! Night, worthy to be praised by the most brilliant of human minds, not only by my words.89 (104.1-4; Stampa, Selected 85) I believe that Lady Fiammettas admission to making love with Panfilo not once, but many times (Boccaccio, Lady 26) impressed Stampa. This plot point is the most striking evidence of Boccaccios influence on Stam pa, for in both works, the narrators shamelessly refer to their lovemaking during a time when women poets were circumspect about their chastity (unless they were c ourtesans, which Stampa was not; nor was Lady
107 Fiammetta). For example, the foremothers of Petrarchan poetry, Vittoria Colonna and Veronica Gambara, keep their sexual passions for their deceased husbands out of their poetry. Society frowned upon even a married woman admitting passion for her husband, living or dead: for a woman, too full of de sire even for her own husband was considered dangerously wanton (Smarr, Substituting 3). The lack of authorial intervention denouncing Fiammettas actions even though she is a married woman must have been refreshing to Stampa living as she did in a culture fixated on womens chastity. The Elegy also suggests a radical new direction for Stampa to take the Petrarchan canzoniere : the narrative about physical love and the following emotional abandonment as told by a woman. Stampas Swerve from Boccaccio In the Elegy Boccaccio explores what a self-centered young woman would experience emotionally if her lover left her, and she wa s powerless to either find out what happened to him or go herself to find him. What Boccacc io finds is that Fiammetta spends a great deal of time rehashing bittersweet memories feeling self-pity, a nd making accusations. In contrast, Stampa explores the emotions of a woman deeply in love with a man who changes his mind about his love for her and grows cold and distant. This plot change provides Stampa with new material to examine of a lovers reaction upon being emotionally abandoned. Like Fiammettas, th e narrators responses to the beloveds chilliness vacillate between denial of the ne w relationship to jeal ousy, anger, self-pity, and even suicidal thoughts. A number of poems examine these emotions; for example, Sonnets 129, 136, 142, 150, and 174 investigat e anger, and Sonnets 125, 126, 132, 155,
108 171, 179 jealousy. Sonnets 125 and 132 speak directly on jealousy. The narrator challenges Love to relieve her pain. First, sh e asks Love to remove his sisters Jealousy and Fear from her life. Failing to move him to pity, she asks in Sonnet 132, How can she feel pain if she has no heart: I wish you could tell me, Love, a little what I should do with Fear and Jealousy, your cruel sisters. . ?90 (125.1-3; Stampa, Selected 97) Although the narrator pleads with Love to re lieve her suffering, she receives no respite because, as Love implies, her beloved is unmatched in the world: but not a one of those / has such a noble cause for f earing them (125.8-9; Stampa, Selected 97). In Sonnet 126, the narrator claims to have resigned he rself to her jealousy, but the reader, and indeed the lover herself, remains unconvinced as seen in the poem following this one: So I must calm myself, content with fearing and living on in bitter jealousy as long as my beloved light consents, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . And I, who am immersed in so much grief, when his bright rays ap pear in front of me am glad to change from what I used to be.91 (126.1-3, 12-14; Stampa, Selected 99) Having failed to fool herself, the narrator turns to Love again in Sonnet 132, this time asking how, if she is without a heart, she still suffers?
109 "How can it be, since I gave heart and soul to him, the day I took them both from me, if everything enclosed within his breast is only joy and laughter, never sorrow, how can I feel cold jealousy and fear and be deprived of all my joyfulness. . 92 (132.5-10; Stampa, Selected 103) However, jealousy can rarely be alleviate d, especially when the beloved has become cold. What follows, then, is anger alternating with self-pity and depression, of which the Rime has numerous examples. One fine example of the woman scorned is Sonnet 174 where the narrator accuses the beloved of be ing callous about her pain. Because of her rage, the narrator compares herself to two terrible anomalies of nature, the fearsome Chimera and the violent Charybdis: A new unheard-of cruelty! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . seeing me suffer without any pity, and thinking always how to give me pain, laughing about my deathwhile I am dying his wishes ever cold as ice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . All this has made me turn to a Chimera, confused abyss, a sea forever raging. . 93 (174.1, 5-8, 12-13; Stampa, Selected 143)
110 When anger cannot be expressed, depression may ensue. Although the narrator is capable of expressing her anger and thus letting o ff steam, as we see in Sonnet 174 above, she, nonetheless, suffers depression and is not above wallowing in self-pity. In Sonnet 129 the angry narrator seems on the verge of depression as she asks, Why me? O my misfortune, O my perverse fate, O judgment, enemy of all my good, since I must suffer, through no fault of mine, the penalty due to another's sin! (174.1-4; Stampa, Selected 101)94 By Sonnet 133, the narrator has slid into the depths of depression, unable to change her fate because she has resigned herself to bot h her situation and her dark moods. She is alive; yet, she does not live; she cannot en joy lifes pleasures b ecause her pain-filled state. The narrator expresses a desire to end her life and her pain, but, cleverly, because she is not alive, she cannot act: And if I wish to finish my own life, and with my life my pain, Im not allowed, for without life one had no power to act. (133.9-11; Stampa, Selected 105)95 Finally, foreseeing her death, the narrator co mposes her own eulogythe ultimate act of self-pity. The poem is, of course, a topoi, but by repeating the firs t line of Petrarchs Sonnet 92, a lament on the death of the great poet Cino da Pistoi a (1270-1336) (Petrarch 91), Stampas narrator (and Stam pa by association) appropriate s the fame Petrarch allots to Pistoia.
111 Weep, Ladies, and let Love join in your grief, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . When, dead and cold, I in my grave shall lie, write down the reasons for my early death: "Loving too much, loved little in return, she lived and died unhappy, who now lies here, the most loyal lover of all times. Pray for her soul's repose, good passer-by, and learn from her, who was so badly used, never to love one cruel and untrue."96 (151.1, 7-14; Stampa, Selected 123) Most poems are not so focused; rather, they combine two feelings, the shift in emotions occurring between the first and sec ond quatrains or between the second quatrain and the sextet. In Sonnet 142, for example, verses one through eight reflect anger, shifting to desperation beginning with line ni ne; and in Sonnet 166, th e anger directed at Love and the beloved in verses one through four is redirected to the narrator in verses 5 to 14. O cruel tyrant, give me back my heart which you so wrongfully are torturing and tearing all to pieces, like a lion or tiger, preying on antelope. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I, a young woman, with small strength of mind,
112 now left without my heart, which dwells in you, without you to defend me from myself you who were wont to be by strength and vigor? (142.1-4, 11-14; Stampa, Selected 113)97 I accuse Love, and equally accuse him whom I love: Love who bound me so fast, and him who can give life to me, or death, who steals from me to win anothers love. But now, wiser at last, both I excuse, accuse myself alone for my hard fate, and since my wishes were too ill-advised, I see I was the minister of my grief.98 (166.1-8; Stampa, Selected 135) Fiammettas narration includes in stances where she displays anger, depression, suicidal thoughts, and jealousy, often scolding Panfilo for his cruelty; noneth eless, she dialogues with herself with no expectation that Panfilo will read her words. This is probably the only time that Fiammetta has a clear understanding of reality. The Rime s narrator, however, does address the beloved believing he will read her poems. The letter to the beloved beginning the Rime indicates both that she has sent previous poems and letters to him and that he has read them. For example, Sonnet 117 is a response to a poem sent by her beloved in which she argues that she is unw orthy of praise, and th at he is the one to be praised:
113 Why do you waste, my lord, paper and ink in praising me, since I have nothing worthy of such high honor as you pay to me. . 99 (117.1-3; Stampa, Selected 95) Many sonnets, like the one above, directly a ddress the beloved. Fiammetta, on the other hand, is unable to communicate with Panfilo. He does not, it appears, have a problem getting letters to her initially. She received le tters from him soon after his departure: I . took out the numerous letters he had sent me. . .(Boccaccio, Lady 47). She knew he had reached his country from a letter: not only did I think that he had reached his country, but I was reassured about his by a letter from him. . . (Boccaccio, Lady 44). Later, during a fit of rage, she burns all the lett ers (Boccaccio, Lady 67). After the deadline has passed, Fiammetta receives no more letters, which would explain her ignorance of any new return date, or any reasons why he failed to return. Fiammetta considers writing Panfilo, being desperate fo r some communication from him. She muses about sending him a letter but hesitates, concerne d for her reputation: I often sought the advice of my discreet nurse on this matter, wishing to find a way to get my lover back. Some times we planned to write letters full of laminations, informing him of my sorrowful circumstances; other times we thought it would be better to send a wise messenger who by word of mouth would te ll him of my suffering, and although my nurse was old and the journey was long and arduous she was ready to go for me. But after weighing everything, we conc luded that letters, no matter how pitiful, would not be effective in light of his hew and present love affairs,
114 so we judged them useless; in spite of all this I wrote some, with the results we had foreseen I clearly perceived that if I sent my nurse, she would not live to reach him, and I di d not believe that anyone else could be trusted; therefore, the first attempts were futile (Boccaccio, Lady 128; emphasis added) Boccaccios version of the abandoned woman ex amines the psyche of a woman who is self-centered and who will not accept the reality of the situ ation. She cannot believe that her lover would leave her although he fails to return as promised and stops sending lettersor any communication whatsoeveraft er the date passed. Fiammetta stubbornly will not quit loving Panfilo. What Boccaccio disc overs in this particular woman is a selfdestructive tendency. Even before she suspect s that Panfilo has abandoned her, she lets her looks, and we can presume her health, dec line, and she even attempts suicide. She obsesses over memories, refusing to let go of the past, and sh e never accepts the possibility that her possessiveness may be to bl ame for his departure. She is not, in spite of the commendable trait of constancy, an ad mirable figure. She has taken fidelity to the extreme for no other reason than pride, wh ich is underlying reason why she wrote her book. Consequently, she is not someone, Boccaccio implies, other women should emulate. Stampas narrator is somewhat like Fiam metta, but is not pathologically fixated on one lover. The Rime is an investigation of a woma ns reactions after her lover has emotionally abandoned her, that is, returned from war without his love for her. She cannot stop writing love poems to him and about him, claiming that she is singing his praises; yet, in reality, like Petrarch, she sings about her own emotions experienced when
115 thinking of him. The narrator tells her love story in real time, except at the beginning where she establishes the setting. Like Fiammetta, the Rime s narrator is frustrated by the beloveds lack of communication. However, while Fiammetta cannot communicate with her beloved for various reasons, this narrator can; consequently, the lack of replies to letters and poems are clear indications that he is ignoring her. The narrator persists, trying to woo her beloved to reciprocate her love. Nonetheless, more realistic than Fiammetta, the narrator is not shocked that the beloved has decided not to love her or that she will have his love unconditionally. Moreover, unlik e Fiammetta, the narrator does not blame a false goddess, or fortune, or the beloved for her pain. More stable than Fiammetta, the failure at love does not drive her to attempt suicide, although she does play with the topoi of her beloveds coldness killing her. Finall y, after a period of failu re in attracting him, she realizes that the beloved will not have a change of heart, and so, allows for the possibility of a new lover. Stampa would ha ve her woman reader realize that, although she is deeply in love with one man, his rejectio n of her love will not ki ll her; in fact, like the Rime s narrator who realized that she could love again and that she benefited from the experience because she honed her poetry skills, the abandoned woman will not only survive the pain, but come out of the experience stronger and wiser.
116 Chapter Six: Stampas Bid for Fame Petrarchan poetry fascinated the Venetian literati and upper classes. No other literary endeavor was so highly valued. According to Bassanese, [Petrarchs] canzoniere was the epitome of a literary love story, the arti stic summit to be conquered, and the perfect iter to be followed ( Stampa 57). So much of that style was written that surviving examples run the gamut from brilliant, original pieces to simple recompilations of Petrarchs own verses. Stampa, an admired singer and musician and, more importantly, friends with some important Venetian composers, performed at Veniers ridotto Exposed to a culture whose discussions focused on poetry, caught up in the quest for poetic fame, and she writes her version of the Petrarchan canzoniere, telling the story of unrequited love from the abandoned womans point of view. With her Rime s first-person point of view, convincing portrayals of emotions, references to real people and place s, and use of time markers, it did not require much imaginati on for later readers, beginning with Antonio Rambaldo di Collalto, to read Stampas Rime as her autobiography of a love affair. Yet, interpreting the Rime in this manner cannot be justif ied. Very little contemporary documentation exists on Stampa as the Italian scholar Abdelkader Salza discovered when he searched the Venetian ar chives in the early 1900s. We know from dedications and eulogies that her contemporaries admired he r singing and musical talents. For example, Girolamo Parabosco waxes lyrical in a dedi cation about her singing: And what shall I
117 say of that angelic voice, which, whenever it penetrates the air with its divine accents, makes such sweet harmony that it does not me rely, like the Siren, make everyone who is worthy of hearing it thrall to the brother of death, but infu ses spirit and life into the coldest stones, making them w eep for sovran sweetness. . . (Jerrold 175). We also know from a coroners report that she died on 23 April 1554 after 15 da ys of matrix pain and fever (Bellonci 40-41; Robins 45).100 As for her social, cultural, and musical milieux, more is being discovered each year; nevertheless, much more information needs to be uncovered about the Venetian middle-class, a nd especially about wo men of that class (and of the classes below). There is a lack of scholarly research about the professional, possibly freelance, women singers and musicians in Venice. It might be that the requirement for a chaste reputation for wome n in the workforce may not have been as rigid as those espoused by moralists and humanists such as Vives. The assumption that women can compose autobiographical poetry is all has pervaded literary analysis in the past, and sti ll rears its head in many recent analyses as, for example, in Fiora A. Bassa neses articles and Laura Anna Stortoni and Mary Prentice Lillies book of Rime translations. The mistake of assuming that Stampas Rime is autobiography, and the resulting anachronistic categorization of he r work, results from not considering her poetry in its literary and cultural contex ts. Modern readers interpret the Rime anachronistically, viewing the work th rough the lens of a modern understanding of what constitutes autobiography. Not surprisingly, the Rime does meet the parameters set by several modern definitions for autobiography; however, when compared to Renaissance autobiography, si gnificant differences found between the two do not support the placement of her oeuvre within the genre of autobiography. In sum, Stampas Rime is
118 the portrayal of a three-year love affair wr itten in the Petrarchan mode; that is, the Rime focuses on the suffering lover. Stampa uses rh etorical devices, word games, and puns in her poems, and her word choices heighten the emotional effect on the reader. In contrast, contemporary autobiographers wrote in simple style, avoided the use of rhetoric, focused on externalitiesnot on the individualand avoided the presentation of emotions. They wrote to preserve the history of a community, or keep a personal health or expense log, or transmit family history to future generations Simple words were important in suggesting the veracity of the text since readers equated plain, unadorned language with truth. Stampas Rime and contemporary autobiography st ood poles apart on the emotional, rhetorical, and arti culative scales. Stampa did not write her canzoniere to record her love story; she composed poetry because the society she aspired to di d. Stampas preference for Petrarchan poetry was affected by her social climate, by what her contemporaries were reading and writing, and what they admired in literature. Her basic knowledge of Petrarchan poetry was sound, based as it was up her aristocratic educ ation and her professional repertoire. As a singer/musician, she frequented the ridotti and homes of the wea lthy, earning her living through entertainment. Much of what she sang were Petrarchan sonnets, either composed by Petrarch and put to music by contempor ary composers, or sonnets by poets and lyricists from the past or pres ent. By observing poets at the ridotti she frequented, she learned that a good Petrarchist could ear n fame among his compatriotsperhaps a patron, and more importantly, she be lieved that she could do the same. Over her lifetime, Stampa composed nearly 250 songs, sonnets, madrigali, and capitoli about a love affair with an aristocrat from the Venetian mainland. She labored on
119 these poems and arranged them during the late 1540s into a canzoniere that told the story of the abandoned lover (Jones, B ad Press 295). The layout of the Rime the number of poems written, and her comments in her occasion al verses indicate that she endeavored to perfect her art. Composing a canzoniere with such skill and emotional intensity was no small accomplishment. It narrates the stor y of a passionate womans love for an unavailable, perhaps unwilling, beloved, and fo cuses on the female narrators emotional states from falling in love to the bitter re alization that the belove d would not reciprocate her love. The plot of the abandoned woman lover ha d been around for centuries, and some of those ancient texts were still in pr oduction, as was, for example, Ovids Heroides, a collection of letters written by abandoned my thological women to their unfaithful lovers. Another such oldalbeit not anci enttext was Giovanni Boccaccios Elegy of Lady Fiammetta (1343-45). Pietro Bembo, the influential author of Prose della vulgar lingua [Writings on the vernacular] (1525) arguing for a single model for poetry and for prose, had chosen Boccaccio as the prose writer to imitate. Consequently, Boccaccios works and there were quite a few, the Decameron being the most famouswere still in print during Stampas lifetime. Juan Luis Vives, in his Education for a Christian Woman (1524), specifically names the Decameron as one of the books that a young woman should not read. Perhaps the Elegy was permitted. However, I believe that Stampa did read it and that the Elegy s forthright and sympathetic portrayal of the abandoned woman intrigued Stampa. Here was a plot that unlike the plots of other canzoniere with which her Rime would be competing for recognition an d patronage, but one that she could exploit for a Petrarchan canzoniere. Perhaps Stampa did not want to fall under
120 Boccaccios shadow, so she swerved from Boccacci o to reinvent his storyline. Stampa found that the story of an emotionally abandoned woman who continued to see her beloved at social events and to hear about him in conversa tions offered a creative plot change from that found in Petrarch and Boccaccio. Whereas the lover of the Elegy physically abandons Fiammetta, the male beloved of Stampas Rime returns to the narrators city with a cold heart. This cha nge allowed Stampa to represent the emotional turmoil suffered by the lover over the loss of her beloved. The story arc of Stampas Rime consists of the narrator falling in love and hopeful of reciprocation, her suffering while he is away, his return and her initial joy, and then her growing awareness that the beloved has abandoned her for good. The story ends w ith her budding feelings for a new lover, and her decision to risk her heart yet again. The goal of this paper has been to show that Gaspara Stampa as an educated, trained, and engaged in the intense cultural environment of Venetian society, did not depend on an affair with Collaltino di Colla ltoor anyone else, for that matterin order to compose a skillful, emotionally realistic canzoniere about what an abandoned female lover experiences. This paper takes the positi on that Stampa, as a fledging Petrarchan poet, succeeded in placing herself in th e shoes of an abandoned lover to write convincingly about the emotions experienced by that woman in the diverse situations that could occur during the blooming and death of a love affair. In addition, while this paper demonstrates that Boccaccios Elegy of Lady Fiammetta influenced Stampa, it does not claim that this work (or Petrarchs Rime sparse ) was the sole influence. Stampa lived and worked in a remarkably rich literary cultu re where numerous poets were available to influence and inspire her, both male and female, i.e., Vittor ia Colonna, Veronica
121 Gambara, Pietro Bembo, and Giovanni Della Ca sa just to name four of the many poets whose verse circulated among the literati of Venice and Northern Italy. An important contribution to any study of influences on Stampas Rime would need to include that of her coterie to whom Stampa would have sent her poems for their critique. A prime influence would have been Stampas close frie nd Ippolita Mirtilla a bout whom very little information has been written Moreover, a comp arative analysis of Stampas oeuvre with that of Giovanni Della Casa and Domeni co Venier, both of whom she knew and respected, has yet to be done, although these me n were two of the most influential poets in Venice during Stampas lifetime. Finally, no scholar has compared Stampas poetry to Pietro Bembos, an important assessment because of the contributions Bembo made to the creative evolution of Petrarchism with the publication of his own Rime Although scholars have devoted a great deal of rese arch and thought to Gaspara Stampa as a woman and to her Rime, there are still many questions to be answered and mysteries to be resolved about this courag eous and brilliant artist.
122 Notes 1. Lyric: a verse or poem th at is, or supposedly is, susceptible of being sung to the accompaniment of a musical instrument (i n ancient times, usually a lyre) or that expresses intense personal emotion in a manner suggestive of a song. Lyric poetry expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet and is some times contrasted with narrative poetry and verse drama, which relate events in the form of a story. Elegies, odes, and sonnets are all important kinds of lyric poetry (Lyric"). 2. This view of womens limited place in Renaissance Venice is slowly undergoing expansion as scholars discover more about the lives of middle class women and men. (See, e.g.: Women in the Streets: Essays on Sex and Power in Renaissance Italy by Samuel K. Cohn, Jr., Working Women in Early Modern Venice by Monica Chojnacka, and Women Musicians of Venice: Musical Foundations, 15251855 by Jane l. BaldaufBerdes). Eventually, we may determine that the chaste middle-class working woman was ordinary. 3. Nelledizione 1738, oltre il sonetto al Bone tti, fu ristampato per la prima volta un capitolo (a p. 173 sgg.), che aveva visto la luce soltanto nel 1573, in una raccolta genovese messa insieme da Cristoforo Zabata: Nuova / Scelta di Rime / di diversi begli / ingegni;/ fra le quali ne son molte del Tansillo / non pi per ladietro impresse, / e pur ora date in luce ecc. // In Genova, / appresso Ch ristofforo Bellone F. A. / MDLXXIII. Quivi il capitolo Della signora Gasp ara Stampa a pp. 194-8; e, poich colei che lo scrive,
123 dirigendosi ad una giovane fattasi monaca, ri sulta essere una donna maritata, m sorto qualche dubbio sullautenticit della poesia; ma non ho creduto sufficiente questo argomento per escluderla dal canzioniere della Stampa, che pot scriverla a nome daltra persona (Nota, 371-72). (The chapter The lady Gaspara Stampa is pages 194-8, and because the one who writes, directed at a young nun, is a married woman, there arose in me some doubt as to the auth enticity of the poetry, but I have not thought this sufficient argument to exclude it from the songs of the Stampa because she could write on behalf of another person; my translation). 4. Interestingly, many scholars are awar e that Salza rearranged Stampas Rime ; yet, they continue to use its numbering system I have never seen a scholarly rationale for preferring Salzas version to an earlier edi tion or to the original. The University of Houston Library owns one of the few surviving originals. 5. Madonna Gaspara Stampa Secondo Nuove Indagini (1913) (New Research on Gaspara Stampa) and Madonna Gaspara Stampa e la Societ Veneziana del Suo Tempo, Nuove Discussioni (1917) (Ma donna Gaspara Stampa and the Venetian Society of Her Time: New Discussions). 6. Jaffe states that some of [Gasparas male friends], according to Salza, were womanizers, and frequented women of easy virtue (240). Specifically, Salza says of Parabosco Il Parabosco, da quel donnaio lo di buon gusto che era (Secondo 16). 7. Fiora A. Bassanese uses Salza s edition and partition designations ( Rime dAmore and Rime varie ) in all her works on Stampa. 8. The copy of the Rime owned by the University of Houstons M. D. Anderson Library is described as follows: Binding: li ght brown leather, gilt and blind double fillets
124 border. Gilt vegetal element on the center of both covers. Spine with five false raised bands, gilt compartments with central asterisk element. On second compartment in gilt is the title: '1RIME DI STAMPA 4STAMPA'. On third compartment the date: '1VENETIA '. Gilt edges, marbled pastedow ns . woodcut historiated capitals at the opening of each section. 9. For Cassandras dedication, see Appendix B. This Rime was the first printing of Stampas poems as a collection; prior to th at, only three of Stampas poems had been published in a 1553 anthology, Il sesto libro delle rime di diversi eccellenti autori (The Sixth Book of Poems by Various Excellent Authors; Robin 45), edited by Lodovico Domenichi and printed by Giolito. The poems ar e Vieni Amora verdere la Gloria mia (51), Ohora, stella disp ietata e cruda (70), and Fa chio ravegga amoranzi chio moia (75) (Jaffe 246). These sonnets have the same numb ering in both the 1554 edition and in Salzas 1913 edition. 10. Although she doesnt explain herself, Jerrold comments that Bartolomeo Stampa was of aristocratic lineage: [But the name] is said to have belonged to a noble Milanese family a fact bourne out by the existence of a letter writ ten to [Stampa] by Paola Antonia de Negri, the daughter of L azzaro Negri, public professor of letters at Milan. . . (169-70). 11. It is often hard to determine whethe r critics use the modern calendar or the Venetian calendar. The difference is slight a nd does not affect any conclusions presented here. The first day of the Venetian year was March 1st (Benedetti vii).
125 12. A poet who was in contact with famous literati. He knew Latin, Greek, and Hebrew and taught languages to Stampa (cfr: G.A. Cesareo. Stampa, donna e poetessa Napoli, Perrella (1920) 15) (Wend 74). 13. A singer and teacher of music who published two vol umes of madrigals in Venice, in 1547 and 1550, the first being de dicated to Stampa. He taught music to Stampa (cfr: G.A. Cesareo. Stampa, donna e poetessa Napoli, Perrella (1920) 16) (Wend 74). 14. See Appendix D. 15. Lettera di prefacione al Ragionamento di M. Francesco Sansovino, nel quale brevemente singsegna a giovani uomani la bellArte d Amore Venice, January 3, 1545 (i.e. 1546). (Jerrold 177). 16. It is . significant that Francesc o Sansovino would de dicate a rather theoretical work to he r, the publication of Benedetto Varchis lesson on a sonnet by Della Casa adding that your worth and your purified judgment far exceed any common praise (Bassanese, Stampa 44). 17. The details of the love story as told by Salzas Rime dAmore I return to Salzas version because, as you no doubt recall, this is the edition mined for details concerning Stampas love for Collaltino. 18. This letter is the same that begins the Rime (1554) (Bassanese, Stampa 17). 19. We can presume that the letter and early canzoniere were sent during the summer of 1549 (Bassanese, Stampa 17). 20. Bellonci is the only scholar I know to make this statement.
126 21. By Giorgio Benzone: Ben dalta uaghezz il mondo scarco poi che spendo Anasilla ha Morte rea, che sol col canto, e con le luci fea a giri eterni, a lor lu mi incarco. Spegni Amor la lua face, e romp larco, perche, chiusi quegli occhi, one sardea; sparita una s stretto varco. Poi dir, che sei rimaso solo, e inorme, sole e inerme le suore al puro argento, di Castalia hor, ch su elto ill or bel germe. Chi vedr pi bellezza, vdr concento dolce, dalma? Ahi te rrene cose nferme, non s, qual voi, sugace laura, el vento. 22. Ben si convien, signor, che l'aureo dardo Amor v'abbia aventato in mezzo il petto, rotto quel duro e quel gelato affetto, tanto a le fiamme sue ritroso e tardo, avendo a me col vostro dolce sguardo, onde piove disir, gioia e diletto, l'alma impiagata e 'l cor legato e stretto oltra misura, onde mi struggo ed ardo. Men dunque acerbo de' parer a vui
127 esser nel laccio aviluppato e preso, ov'io s stretta ancor legata fui. Zelo d'ardente caritate acceso esser conviene eguale omai fra nui nel nostro dolce ed amoroso peso. (216; 219 Salza) 23. Il registro dei morti nell Archivio parrocchiale dei SS. Gervasio e Protasio a Venezia riporta: Ad 23 april 1554. Ma Gasparina Stampa in le case de messer Hieronymo Morosini la qual st mal da febr e et mal colico, et mal de mare zorni 15, morta in questo zorno. (B ellonci 40). (April 23, 1554. Madonna Gasparina Stampa in the home of messer Hieronymo Morosini, who was ill with fever and colic and matrix pains for fifteen days, died this day; Robins Courtesans 45). 24. Ma noi possiamo tener per sicuri solt anto i seguenti particolari della sua biografia: la famiglia della poetessa era padovana, e certamente non nobile, perch di questa nobilit nessuna attestaz ione ci giunta; Gaspara era nata a Padova, comella stessa ci dice in un sonett o allo Speroni: non sappiamo in quale anno, probabilmente non prima del 1525. Quanto alla sua parentela, nulla sappiamo del padre: un accenno alla madre e alla sorella fa ella stessa in un altr o sonetta: alcune alter cose ci son note intorno alla sorella di Gaspara, Cassandra, complim entata dal Parabosco, la quale dedic a Giovanni Della Casa le Rime della nostra poetessa (1554): pi altri ragguagli e un piccolo canzoniere ci son pervenuti, del fratello di Gaspara, Baldassare, da lei non mai nominato. Gaspara mor precisamente il 23 prile 1554 (Secondo 4-5). 25. Sperone Speroni authored the Diologo dAmore (Dialogue on Love) (1542) (Finotti Women Writers 129, 141n. 30).
128 26. Sonnet 225: Voi n'andaste, signor, senza me dove il gran troian ferm le schiere erranti, ov'io nacqui, ove luce vidi innanti dolce s, che lo star mi spiace altrove. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . tanti, che ad onorar vengono, e tanti, un de li di pi cari al vero Giove. Without me, lord, you went where the great Trojan stopped with his wandering hordes, where I was born, where the first light of heaven struck my eyes, so sweet a place, non other is its equal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and many pilgrims honoring that god, dearest of all the gods to the true Zeus. (250.1-4, 7-8; Stampa, Selected 197) 27. Padua honors the feast day of Saint An thony, the patron of the city (Jaffe 241). 28. Salza, in his 1913 edition of the Rime introduces Stampas poems with a comment about the poems addressee; the number of uncertain addressees comes from him. Bassanese, in her discussion of Ver onica Francos letters that do not have addressees takes a different approach, belie ving the letters may have been exercises:
129 Lack of specificity suggests the possibility th at these letters may be inventions, literary exercises composed for the purpose of persuading the reading public of Francos worthiness, both as writer a nd as a woman. . Equally suggestive is Francos identification of a mere handful of addressees, namely: a cardinal, a king, a great artist, and a patrician family. The individuals named ar e highly connotative, as is the rhetorical communication with which they are addresse d. Symbols of achievement and power, they cannot be diminished but illuminate the write r, who shines through her words (Selling 74). 29. Che dir io di quella angelica voce, che qualhora percuota laria de suoi divini accenti, fa tale si dolce harmonia, che non pura a guisa di Sirena fa dognuno, che degno dascoltarlama infonde spirto e vita nelle pi fredde pietre, facendole per soverchia dolcezza lacrimare? (Feldman, Academia 500-01n. 64). 30. Alla bella e virtuosa Signora Gasparina Stampa Valorosa signora, io potr ben esse r ripreso apresso ai saggi, & dotti compositori di questa dolce et mirabile scie nza: in essa scienza ma no mi potra gia huomo del mondo dire giamai chio habbia ha vuto poco giuditio nel dedicare queste mie note, quale elle siano, alla S. V. perche si sa bene homai. & non pure in questa felice citta: ma quasi in ogni parte, niuna donna al mondo amar piu la Musica di quello che fate voi, ne altra piu raramente possederla, & di questo ne fanno fede i mille, & mille spirti gentili & nobili: i quali udito havendo i dolci concenti vostri, vhanno dato nome di divino sirena, restandovi per tempo devotissimi servi, fra i quali, io devoto quanto altro, vengo con questo mio picciolo segno & presente, a rinfrescarle nella memoria, lo amore chio porto alle sue virtu, pregandola che si degni, chio si a degno di esser posto dove ella
130 pone la innumerabil turba di quei chadorano & amano le sue rare virtu, & bellezze. & alla sua bona gratia mi raccomando & offe ro. Devotissimo servo Pieresson Cambio. (Feldman, City 373) 32. See Jaffe 249-50. 33. In Stampas dedication, the poet pr etends that she has written only the history of her pene amoros in diverse lettere e rime (Natalicchi 140). 34. Cassandras statement in the dedication, that she gathered those poems that she could find, indicates that she suspected others existed. 35. For contrast, the OED Online defines diary as: diary, n.: 1. A daily record of events or transactions, a jour nal; specifically, a daily record of matters affecting the writer personally, or which come under his personal observation. 36. Examples given by Pascal include the works of Marcus Aurelius, Boethius, and Nietzsches Ecce Homo (8). 37. Autobiography did not emerge as an explicit, distinct literary genre until about the 18th century (Dale 39). 38. Salza, Secondo 4-5. 39. "Domestic keyboard instruments were less common, but most large churches and many great houses possessed an organ." Ho wever, training in wind instruments was rare in the upper-classes. According to Castiglione, se rvants usually played wind instruments and so such instruments carried a servile stigma (Hale 248). 40. The brothers Johann and Wendelin von Speyer (sometimes called da Spira and sometimes of Spire) opened the first press in Venice in 1469 ("typography").
131 41. Although the Prose was not published until 1 524, it had circulated in manuscript form years before (Feldman, Academy 481). 42. The ridotti of the 1500s did not have bylaws, statutes, membership lists, minutes, or "systematic records"; these woul d develop later (Feldman, Academy 476). 43. Rosenthal, Honest 17. 44. Venier was also considered one of th e foremost Venetian poets of the period and was admired for his imitation and orig inality of Petrarchan poetry. Although a Petrarchist, he took the form beyond anythi ng Petrarch wrote, experimenting with complex poetic forms verging on the baroque (Rosenthal, Veronica 240). 45. Burckhardts pronouncements remained unchallenged until 1977 when Joan Kelly-Gadol argued persuasively to the contrary in her germinal article Did Women Have a Renaissance? The purpose of this sectio n is not to rehash pr evious scholarship, to provide the reader with a general idea of the cultural atmosphere in which Stampa lived. 46. Rosenthal mentions the fear of social upset by women who did not remain in their proper place, such as courtesans. Howeve r, the same can be applied to women who wrote, for women were supposed to be sile nt. Upper-class married womens activities were carefully regulated by th eir husband, and government officials, who feared political and social disturbances, repeatedly monitore d courtesans dress, expenditures, and public appearances, apparently not always with success. Indeed, sixteenth-century womens lives were hardly immune to, or protected from, soci al and personal oppression (Rosenthal, Honest 15). 47. See Appendix D.
132 48. . . vi mando la presente bozza da me fatta, per ricreamento delle pi gravi lettere; acciocch col mezzo di questa possi ate imparare a fuggir glinganni, che usano i perversi uomini alle candide e pure donzelle, come voi siete. E con questa vi ammaestro e vi consiglio a procedere nevostri studi, f uggendo ogni occasione, che disturbar vi potesse dalla impresa vostra. Io so chio son troppo ardito; ma i meriti delle virt vostre, e laffezione estrema portata a voi e a madonna Cassandra, vostra onorata sorella, e il debito a che io son tenuto, mi costrin gono a questo: l onde sp ero trovare appo voi perdono (qtd. in Salza, Secondo 9). 49. S'al fiero Achille invidia de la ch iara meonia tromba il Macedonico ebbe, quanto, invitto Francesco di Pes cara, maggior a te, se vivess e or, l'avrebbe! che s casta mogliere e a te s cara canti l'eterno onor ch e ti si debbe, e che pe r lei s 'l nome tuo rimbombe, che da bramar non hai pi chiare trombe (Canto Trentasettesimo, par. 20; Ariosto, Gutenburg ). 50. Jaffe recognizes the bitterness in th e poem (240). Gaspara Stampa insisted throughout her canzoniere on her fidelity to a di stant and indifferent man; yet, an obscene epitaph published immediately after her death attacked her as equally promiscuous in body and texts. The anonymous author charact erized her as a common whore, sleeping with any man, plagiarizing everything she wrot e from an early cohort in sin, and inviting a phallic salute from men passing by her grave (Jones, Currency 29). Maria Bellonci in her introduction to Stampa's Rime (Milan: Ri zzoli, 1976) suggests Ar etino as the author of this and other scurrilous poems about Stampa (20) (Jones Currency 206).
133 51. The author of the poem configured it to enhance its meaning. Frmati, viator, se saper vuoi lessito de la mia vita meschina: Gaspara Stampa fui, donna e reina di quante unqua p.. [sic] fur tra voi. Mebbe vergine il Gritti, e ho da poi fatto di mille e pi c. ruina; vissi sempre di furto e di rapina, muccise un c. con gli mpiti suoi. Vergai carte damor con laltrui stile, ch per quell fatto i versi mi facea il Fortunio, compare mio gentile. Va in pace, e, per temprar mia pena ria inestiami col m. tuo virle, ch sol quell, mentre, vissi mi piacea. il fin dei XXI So: Sopra Mad. Gaspara Stam pa. (Salza, Secondo 73) Stop, passerby, if you wish to know the end of my wretched life;
134 I was Gaspara Stampa, woman and queen of how many whores among you. Gritti had me first, as a virgin, and since then I have ruined thousands of cocks; I lived by cheating and robbing I was killed by violent fucking. I ruled paper that I filled with love letters that I copied from others and verses written for me by Fortunio appeared to be my own. Go in peace, and to soothe my terrible pain, screw me with your strong pecker which was the only thing in my life that pleased me. (Jaffe 240) 52. Humanism is an intellectual movement which admired the works of the ancient Greeks and Romans for both their cont ent and their style, and so advanced the study of classical literatu re as the best type of learning (Wiesner 152). 53. Two secular scholars, Isotta Nogaro la and Laura Cereta found their writing curtailed by vicious criticism a nd supported only to the extent that they suppressed their femininity or could be praised as exceptions to their sex (Jones, Currency 29). 54. Bembo may have been inspired by his introduction to a Fiammetta during his visit to the court of his kinswoman, Cateri na Cornaro, once Queen of Cyprus, now Lady of Asolo, in 1509 (Bembo, Lyric viii). In addition, Bembo was involved in three love
135 affairs, the first unknown, the second, Maria Savorgnan, the third with Lucrezia Borgia, all of whom influenced his ideas in the Gli Asolani (Bembo, Lyric x-xi). 55. Io son da laspettar omai s stanca, s vinta dal dolor e dal disio, per la s poca fede e molto oblio di chi del suo tornar, lassa, mi manca. . (47.1-4) 56. O beata e dolcissima novella o caro annunzio, che mi promettete che tosto rivedr le care e liete luci e la faccia graziosa e bella. . (100.1-4) 57. Fiume, che dal mio nome nome prendi, e bagni i piedi a lalto colle e vago, ove nacque il famoso ed alto fago, de le cui fronde alto disio maccendi. . (139.1-4) 58. Liete campagne, dolci colli ameni, verdi prati, alte selve, erbose rive, serrata valle, ovor soggiorna e vive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Antri dombre amorose e fresche pieni, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vaghi augei, chiari fiumi ed aure estive, vezzose ninfe, Pan, fauni and sileni. . (145.1-3, 5, 7-8)
136 59. Hair of curled gold and of po lished and pure amber which waves and flies in the wind over the snow; lovely eyes even brighter than th e sun for making dark night into clear day; a smile which quiets all bi tter and harsh pain; r ubies and pearls from which issue words so sweet that the soul wants nothing else; a hand of ivory which imprisons and steals hearts; singing which s eems of divine harmony; mature judgment in the greenest years; charm never yet seen am ong us; the highest chas tity joined to the highest beauty; these were tinder to my flame, and are in you graces which generous heaven destines for few women (Braden, Petrarchan 91). 60. Venier: Non punse, arse o lego, stral, fiamma, o laccio D'Amor lasso piu saldo, e freddo, e sciolto Cor, mai del mio ferito, acceso, e 'nvolto, Gia tanti di ne l'amoroso impaccio. Perc'haver me'l sentia di marmo e ghiaccio, Libero in tutto i' non temeva stolto Piaga, incendio, o ritegno, e pur m'ha colto L'arco, il foco, e la rete, in ch'io mi giaccio. E trafitto, infiammato, avinto in modo Son, ch'altro cor non apre, avampa, o cinge Dardo, face, o catena hoggi piu forte. Ne fia credo chi'l colpo, il caldo, e'l nodo, Che'l cor mi passa, mi consuma, e stringe, Sani, spenga, o disciolga altri, ch e morte. (Feldman, Academy 489)
137 The arrow, flame, or snare of Love never stung, burned, or bound, alas, a heart more steady, cold and loosed than mine, wounded, kindled, and tied Already so many days in an amorous tangle. Because I felt marble and ice within me, free in everything, I foolishly did not fear wound, fire, or restraint, and yet the bow, the fire, and the net in which I lie have caught me. And pierced, and inflamed, and captured in such a way am I that no dart, torch, or chain opens, blazes, or clasps any other heart today more strongly. Nor, I believe, may it be that th e blow, and the heat, and the knot that enter, break, and squeeze my heart could be healed, extinguished, or unloosed by any ot her but death. (Feldman, Academy 489) Veniers sonnet influenced Stampa, so she tried her hand at her own version, as can be seen in Sonnet 26: Arsi, piansi, cantai; pi ango, ardo e canto; pianger, arder, canter sempre (fin che Morte o Fortuna o tempo stempre a l'ingegno, occhi e cor, stil, foco e pianto) la bellezza, il valor e 'l senno a canto, che 'n vaghe, sagge ed onorate tempre
138 Amor, natura e studio par che tempre nel volto, petto e cor del lume santo: che, quando viene, e quando parte il sole, la notte e 'l giorno ognor, la state e 'l verno, tenebre e luce darmi e trmi suole, tanto con l'occhio fuor, con l'occhio interno, agli atti suoi, ai modi, a le parole, splendor, dolcezza e grazia ivi discerno. I burnt, I wept, I sang -burn, weep and sing, and I Shall weep, burn, sing forever more (until Death, Time, or Fortune wash away my talent, eyes, heart, style, my fire and tears) the beauty, courage and deep intellect, which in a lovely wise and honored manner, love, nature and the hi ghest art have painted within the face, breast, heart of my true light who--when the sun itself rises or sets, by night or day, in summ er or in winter -gives me or takes aw ay darkness or light. thus, with my outer or inner eye,
139 I see in all his acts, manners and words his splendor, and his swee tness and his grace. (26; Stampa, Selected 33) Because Stampas circles knew Veniers poe m, she can entice the reader to guess the next sequence of words. Her version, I imag ine, delighted the reader/listener with her original imitation on the model. 61. Mi dorr sol, se mi trarr d'impaccio, fin che potr e viver ed amare, lo stral e 'l foco e la prigione e 'l laccio. (27.12-14) 62. Odio chi m'ama, ed amo chi mi sprezza: verso chi m' umle il mio cor rugge, E son uml con chi mia speme adugge. . (43.5-7) 63. perch non pu non con usato gioco far la pena e la penna in me simle? (8.7-8) 64. Deh, perch cos tardo gli occhi apersi nel divin, non umano amato volto, ond'io scorgo, mirando, impresso e scolto un mar d'alti miracoli e diversi? (12.1-4) 65. Chi dar penne d'aquila o colomba al mio stil basso, si ch'ei prenda il volo da l'Indo al Mauro e d'uno in altro polo, ove arrivar non pu saetta o fromba? (13.1-4)
140 66. Pommi ove 'l mar irato geme e frange, ov'ha l'acqua pi queta e pi tranquilla; pommi ove 'l sol pi arde e pi sfavilla, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vivr qual vissi, e sar qual son stata, pur che le fide mie due stelle vere non rivolgan da me la lu ce usata. (111.1-3, 12-14) 67. ma perch'io son di foco e voi di ghiaccio voi ste in libertade ed io 'n catena, i' son di stanca e voi di franca lena, voi vivete contento ed io mi sfaccio. (41.5-8) 68. To my knowledge, no one has analyzed the influence of Veniers poetry on Stampas beyond that of the obvious impre ssion Veniers sonnet, Non punse, arse o lego, stral, fiamma, o laccio, made upon Gaspara. 69. A number of other uses of colle occur in the following verses: E tutti i miei disiri e i miei pensieri mirano a quel bel colle, ove ora stanza il mio signor e i suoi du e lumi alteri. (134.9-11) Dopo il vostro da noi allontanare quanta compassion a me propria aggio, tanto ho invidia al bel co lle, al pino, al faggio, che gli fanno ombra, al fiume, che bagnare. . (135.3-6)
141 After you moved so far away from me, I feel as much compassion for myself as I feel envy toward that lovely hill, the pines, the beeches that provide your shade . . (135.3-6; Stampa, Selected 107) Sacro fiume beato, a le cui sponde scorgi l'antico, vago ed alto colle. . (138.1-2) Fiume, che dal mio nome nome prendi, e bagni i piedi a l'alto colle e vago (139.1-4) Dear river, who from my name take your own who bathe the foothills of that dear high hill. . (139.1-4; Stampa, Selected 111) Egli fa giorno al suo colle natio, come a chi nulla o poco incresce e duole o 'l morir nostro o 'l pianto o le parole (146.5-7) He brings the daylight to his native hill, like one who has no sorrows or regrets, unmindful of my death, or tears, or words. (146.5-7; Stampa, Selected 117)
142 Voi far fiorir potete esternamente il colle ch'amo; voi farlo, lodando. . (240.9-10) Tu, ch'agli antichi spirti vai di paro, e con le dotte ed onorate rime rischiari l'acque e fai fiorir le cime del colle, ove si sale oggi s raro, movi il canto, Molin, canoro e chiaro, se mai movesti; e 'l mio colle sublime fa' fiorir fra le co se al mondo prime, poi ch'a me il ciel di fa rlo stato avaro. (241.1-8) Signor, che per s rara cortesia con rime degne di futura etate s dolcemente cantate e lodate l'alto mio colle, l'alta fiamma mia. (273.1-4) 70. Stampa never uses the beloveds name (Collaltino di Collalto) in the sonnet sequence. 71. Stampa: Voi, ch'ascoltate in queste meste rime, in questi mesti, in questi oscuri accenti il suon degli amorosi miei lamenti. . (1.1-3) O you who listen to these mournful verses,
143 in these unhappy, in these somber accents, to the sound of laments inspired by Love, . . (1.1-3; Stampa, Selected 3) Francesco Petrarch: Voi ch'ascolte in rime sparse il suono di quei sospiri ond'io nudriva 'l core in sul mio primo giovenile errore, . . (1.1-3; Petrarch 37) You who hear in scattered rhymes the sound of those sighs with which I nourished my heart during my first youthful error. . (1.1-3; Petrarch 36) 72. Ponmi ove 'l mar irato geme e frange, ov'ha l'acqua pi queta e pi tranquilla; ponmi ove 'l sol pi arde e pi sfavilla, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vivr qual vissi, e sar qual son stata, pur che le fide mie due stelle vere non rivolgan da me la lu ce usata. (111.1-3,12-14) 73. Ponmi ove l sole occide i fiori et lerba, o dove vince lui il ghi accio et la neve; ponmi ov il carro suo temprato et leve, et ov chi cel rende o chi cel serba;
144 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ponmi con fama oscura o con illustre: sar qual fui, vivr com io son visso, continuando il mio sospir trilust re. (145.1-4, 12-14; Petrarch 291) 74. Quando poi parte il mio sol finalmente, parmi l'altro veder, che scolorita lasci la terra anda ndo in occidente. Ma l'altro torna, e rende luce e vita; e del mio chiaro e lucido oriente 'l tornar dubbio e cert a la partita. (18.9-14) 75. By choosing this date, Petrarch sets the tone for the sonnet sequence. Because he never can have his beloved, the tone of the sequence, like the day he saw her, is somber, if not depressing. However, although Stampas sonnet sequence details her narrators misery, the overall tone of the Rime is triumphant. She loved, is rebuked, but discovers that she ca n love long and true. 76. Era vicino il d che 'l Creatore, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . in forma umana venne a dimostrarsi, dal ventre virginal uscendo fore, quando degn l'illustre mio signore, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . farsi nido e ricetto del mio core. (2.1, 3-5, 8) 77. Collaltino di Collalto was i ndeed blond (or at least ha d fair hair) (Jaffe 248).
145 78. The Elegy was not Boccaccios only fictional work; others included La caccia di Diana (1334-37), Teseida (1339-40), Comedia Ninfa (1341-42), Amorosa visione (1342-43), Ninfale fiesolano (1344-45), the Decameron (1349-51), and the Corbaccio (1365) (Boccaccios). 79. nevertheless the book hasand its style perhaps enhancesa quality of tragic grandeur which makes it unique am ong psychological romances, of which it was the first example (Boccaccio, Amorous xxxiii-xxxiv). 80. Amor m'ha fatto tal ch'io vivo in foco, qual nova salamandra al mondo, e quale l'altro di lei non men stranio animale, che vive e spira nel medesmo loco. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A pena era anche estinto il primo ardore, che accese l'altro Amore, a quel ch'io sento fin qui per prova, pi vivo e maggiore. Ed io d'arder amando non mi pento, pur che chi m'ha di novo tolto il core resti de l'arder mio pago e contento. (206.1-4, 9-14; 208.1-4, 9-14 Salza) Love has made me live in ceaseless fire like a strange salamander come to earth or like that bird of fable, no less strange, that lives and breathes in this same element.
146 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Barely had I put out my heart's first flame than Love kindled a second, which I feel as sharper, livelier than the first had been. This ardency of love I don't repent, so long as he who lit my heart anew remains at peace, contented in my love. (208.1-4, 9-14; Stampa, Selected 161) 81. It does not appear that Boccaccio limited Fiammetta to these two extreme poles. Thus, he is able to broaden Fiammetta s personality to include subtle but human characteristics: personal needs and concern for her husband, the two of whom conflict. Because Fiammetta, a married woman, has sinne d (against patriarchy) by taking a lover, she is quickly removed from the angel categor y, a designation that ex pects the woman to be inhumanly perfect (that is, selfless). To prevent Fiammetta from falling into the monster category, Boccaccio is car eful to give her sympatheti c characteristics also, such as her concern for her husbands feelingss he expresses regret that he must suffer cuckoldingand concern for his own reputatio nshe struggles to be sure that no one knows of her love affair. She always presen ts her husband as loving and caring. We must not forget that womans chaste reputation re flects on her husbands ability to control and satisfy her. 82. Io vo pur descrivendo d'ora in ora la belt vostra e 'l vostro raro ingegno, . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
147 n, perch'io m'affatichi, giungo ancora di tanti pregi vostri al minor segno, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cos, s'io prendo a scriver, il mio foco tanto e tal, da ch'egli da voi nasce che s'io ne dico assai, ne dico poco. (45.1-2, 5-6, 10) 83. O beata e dolcissima novella, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . o mia ventura, o mia propizia stella, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . o fede, o speme, ch'a me sempre ste . . . . . . . . . . . . . . o cangiato in un punto viver mio. . (100.1, 5, 7, 9) 84. Con quai degne accoglienze o quai parole raccorr io il mio gradito amante, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Qual color or di rose, or di viole fia 'l mio? qual cor or saldo ed or tremante, condotta innanzi a quel divin sembiante, ch'ardir e tma insieme dar mi suole? (101.1-2, 5-8)
148 85. Ironically, it was on French soil that Petr arch first saw, and lost his heart to, Laura, but for the Rimes narrator, the French soil steals the beloved from her, taking her heart with him. In addition, when he retu rns, he is no longer in love with her. 86. Via da me le tenebre e la nebbia, che mi son sempre state agli occhi intorno . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ben ragion ch'asserenarmi io debbia, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sia ogni cosa in me di riso piena, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sia la mia vita in mille dolci, eletti piaceri involta, e tu tta alma e serena, e se stessa gioendo ognor di letti. (102.1-2, 5, 9, 12-14) 87. Nodo e f, che non stretto e costante, per picciola cagion si rompe e scioglie: la mia fede e 'l mio nodo il vanto toglie al nodo gordiano ed al diamante. (179.5-8) 88. Voi, ch'ascoltate in queste meste rime, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ove fia chi valor apprezzi e stime, gloria, non che perdon, de' miei lamenti spero trovar fra le ben nate genti, . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
149 E spero ancor che debba dir qualcuna: Felicissima lei, da che sostenne per s chiara cagion danno s chiaro! Deh, perch tant'amor, tanta fortuna per s nobil signor a me non venne, ch'anch'io n'andrei con tant a donna a paro? (1.1, 5-7, 9-14) 89. O notte, a me pi chiara e pi beata che i pi beati giorni ed i pi chiari, notte degna da' primi e da' pi rari ingegni esser, non pur da me, lodata. . (104.1-4) 90. Vorrei che mi dicessi un poco, Amore, c'ho da far io con queste tue sorelle Temenza e Gelosia? ed ond' ch'elle. . (125.1-3) 91. Cos m'acqueto di temer contenta, e di viver d'amara gelosia, pur che l'amato lume lo consenta, . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ed io. che sono in tante pene immersa, quando avanti il suo ragg io almo mi viene, resto da quel ch'esser so lea diversa. (126.1-3, 12-14) 92. Come esser pu, s'io diedi l'alma e 'l core al mio signor dal di ch'a me l'ho tolta, e se ogni cosa dentro a lui raccolta
150 riso e gioia, scema di dolore, ch'io senta gelosia fredda e temenza, e d'allegrezza e gioia resti priva. . (132.5-10) 93. Una inaudita e nova crudeltate, . . . . . . . . . . . . un vedermi penar senza pietate, un aver sempre a' miei danni il pensiero, un rider di mia morte quando pro, . . . . . . . . . . . . m'han fatto divenir una Chimera, uno abisso confuso, un mar, ch'avanza. . (174.1, 5-7, 12-13) 94. O mia sventura, o mio perverso fato, o sentenzia nemica del mio bene, poi che senza mia colpa mi conviene portar la pena de l'altrui peccato. (129.1-4) 95. E s'io voglio per me stessa finire con la vita i tormenti, non m' dato, ch senza vita un uom non pu colpire. (133.9-11) 96. Piangete, donne, e con voi pianga Amore, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . dapoi ch'io sar morta e sepelita, scrivete la cagion del mio dolore: "Per amar molto ed esser poco amata
151 visse e mor infelice, ed or qui giace la pi fidel amante che sia stata. Pregale, viator, riposo e pace, ed impara da lei, s mal trattata, a non seguir un cor crudo e fugace." (151.1, 7-14) 97. Rimandatemi il cor, empio tiranno, ch'a s gran torto avete ed istraziate, e di lui e di me quel proprio fate, che le tigri e i leon di cerva fanno. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . giovane e donna e fuor d'ogni ragione, massime essendo qui senza 'l mio core e senza voi a mia difensione, onde mi suol venir forza e vigore? (142.1-4, 11-14) 98. Io accuso talora Amor e lui ch'io amo; Amor, che mi leg s forte; lui, che mi pu dar vita e dammi morte, cercando trsi a me per darsi altrui; ma, meglio avista, poi scuso ambedui, ed accuso me sol de la mia sorte, e le mie voglie al voler poco accorte, ch'io de le pene mie ministra fui. (166.1-8)
152 99. A che vergar, signor, carte ed inchiostro in lodar me, se non ho cosa degna, onde tant'alto onor mi si convegna; e, se ho pur niente, tutto vostro? Entro i begli occhi, entro l'avorio e l'ostro, ove Amor tien sua gloriosa insegna, ove per me trionfa e per voi regna, quanto scrivo e ragiono mi fu mostro. Perch ci che s'onora e 'n me si prezza, anzi s'io vivo e spiro, vostro il vanto, a voi convien, non a la mia bassezza. Ma voi cercate con s dolce canto, lassa, oltra quel che fa vostra bellezza, d'accrescermi pi foco e maggior pianto. (117) 100. Il registro dei morti nell Archivio parrocchiale dei SS. Gervasio e Protasio a Venezia riporta: A d 23 april 1554. Ma Gasparina Stampa in le case de messer Hieronymo Morosini la qual st mal da febr e et mal colico, et mal de mare zorni 15, morta in questo zorno. (B ellonci 40). (April 23, 1554. Madonna Gasparina Stampa, in the home of messer Hieronymo Morosini, who was ill with fever and colic and matrix pains for fifteen days, died this day; Robins Courtesans 45).
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160 Appendix A: Chart of the Original 1554 Editions Numbering with Comparison to Abdelkader Salzas 1913 Editions Renumbering
161 Appendix A Sio non avessi al cor gi fatto un callo 63r/101 193 283/162 283/204 Forse allo stesso (Guiscardo o Viscardo) Se quel grave martir, chel cor mafflige 63v/102 194 193/105 ----Chi dar lena a la tua stanca vita 63v/102 195 194/105 ----Voi vi partite, conte, Ed io, qual soglio 64r/103 196 195/106 ----Ecco, Amor, io morr, perch la vita 64r/103 197 196/106 ----Chi l crederia? Felice era il mio stato 64v/104 198 197/107 197/152 Se soffrir il dolore, lesser forte 64v/104 199 198/107 ----Signor ite felice, ovel disio 65r/105 200 199/108 199/154 Al partir vostro, s con voi partita 65r/105 201 200/198 ----questa quella viva e salda fede 65v/106 202 201/109 ----Poi che per mio destin volgeste in parte 65v/106 203 202/109 202/156 Ardente mio disir, a che, pur vago 66r/107 204 203/110 ---Poi che mhai resa, Amor, la libertade 66r/107 205 207/112 207/158 Amor mha fatto tal chio vivo in foco 66v/108 206 208/112 208/160
162 Appendix A (Continued) Qual darai fine Amor, a le mie pene 66v/108 207 215/116 ----Desser sempre sca al tuo concente foco 67r/109 208 216/116 216/172 A che bramar, signor, che venga manco 67r/109 209 217/117 ----Dove volete voi ed in qual parte 67v/110 210 228/117 ----Io non veggio giamai giunger quel giorno 67v/110 211 209/113 209/162 Veggio Amor tender larco, e novo strale 68r/111 212 210/113 210/164 Che farai, alma? ove volgerai il piede? 68r/111 213 212/114 ----Un veder trsi a poco a poco il core 68v/112 214 213/115 213/168 La piaga, chio credea che fosse salda 68v/112 215 214/115 214/170 Ben si convien, signor, che laureo dardo 69r/113 216 219/118 ----Signor, poi che mavete il collo avinto 69r /113 217 220/118 ----Qual sagittario, che sia sempre a vezzo 69v/114 218 211/114 211/166 A mezzo il mare, chio varcai tre anni 69v/114 219 221/119 221/174 Di chi ti lagni, o mio diletto e fido 70r/115 220 --------Diologo tra Amor e un innamorato 70v/116 --------
163 Appendix A (Continued) Sacro re, che gil antichi e novi regi 71r/117 221 246/143 ----King of France Alma reina, eterno e vivo sole 71v/118 222 247/144 ----Queen of France Tu, che traesti dal natio paese 72r/119 223 248/144 ----Alamanni Alma fenice, che con lauree piume 72r/119 224 249/145 ----Voi nandaste, signor, fenze me, dove 72v/120 225 250/145 250/196 Mentre chiaro Signor per voi sattende 72v/120 226 251/146 ----A personaggio il lustre per doti eccelse Se voi non foste a maggior cose vlto 73r/121 227 252/146 ----Venier Speron, ch lopre chiare, et honorate 73r/121 228 253/147 ----Speroni Alma celeste e pura 73v/122 229 299/176 ----In morte duna monaca 74r/123 299/177 ---- 74v/124 -------Alma onorata e saggia, che tornando 74v/124 230 300/178 ----Sullo stesso argumento Casta, cara e di Dio diletta ancella 75r/125 231 301/178 ----Sullo stesso argumento Quelle lagrime spesse e sospir molti 75r/125 232 302/179 ----Sullo stesso argumento Quando quellalma, i cui disiri ardenti 75v/126 233 303/179 ----Sullo stesso argumento
164 Appendix A (Continued) Qual frescaura, a lestivora ardente 75v/126 234 286/163 ----ad un Priuli Zanni, quel chiaro e quel felice ingegno 76r/127 235 254/147 ----Adun Zanni (Zane?) Conte, quel vivo e honorato raggio 76r/127 236 255/148 ----Ad incerto poeta O inaudita e rara cortesia 76v/128 237 257/149 ----A Vinciguerra II da Collalto Quel lume, chel mar dAdria empie ed avampa 76v/128 238 256/148 ----Forse allo stesso [incerto poeta] Se quanta acqua ha Castalia e Elicona 77r/129 239 259/150 ----Ad un incerto Io vorrei ben, Molin, ma non ho lale 77r/129 240 260/150 ----A Girolamo Molin Tu, chgli antichi spiriti vai di paro 77v/130 241 261/151 ----Allo stesso Voi, che fate sonar da Battro a Tile 77v/130 242 262/151 ----Ricambio di lodi ad un ammiratore SAmor Natura al nobilintelle tto 78r/131 243 -------s gradito e s dolce lobietto 78r/131 244 264/152 ----Riposta ad un incerto encomiatore Il gran terror de le nimiche squadre 78v/132 245 265/153 ----Per un guerriero, ucciso ad un festa Se d vostrocchi da lavorio e ostro 78v/132 246 266/153 ----Lodi ad un incerto Grazie, che fate il ciel fresco e sereno 79r/133 247 267/154 ----Augurale, ai poeti di Venezia
165 Appendix A (Continued) Voi, cha le muse e al signor di Delo 79r/133 248 271/156 ----Ad un Michiel Deh, perch non possio qual debbo e quale 79v/134 249 269/155 ----Ad una coppia illustre di sposi Perch Fortuna, avversa amiei disiri 79v/134 250 273/157 ----Ad un Balbi A voi sian Febo e le sorelle amiche 80r/135 251 268/155 ----ai poeti amici Anima, che secura sei passa ta 80r/135 252 274/157 ----In morte duomo illustre, forse Trifone Gabriele Qual a pieno portr mai prosa o rima 80v/136 253 275/158 ----A Leonardo Emo Ben posso gir de laltre donne in cima 80v/136 254 276/158 276/202 Allo stesso Ninfe, che dAdria i pi riposti guadi 81r/137 255 278/159 ----Encomiastico, ad Elena Barozzi Centani Felice cavalier e fortunato 81r/137 256 279/160 ----Ad una coppia gentile di sposi Porgi man, Febo, a lerbe, e con quellarte 81v/138 257 277/159 ----Per la guarigione dellEmo e di un Tiepolo Le virt vostre e quel cortese affetto 81v/138 258 280/160 ----A G.A. Guiscardo, o Viscardo Quel, che con tanta e s larga misura 82r/139 259 281/161 ----Allo stesso Signor, da poi che lacqua del mio pianto 82r/139 260 258/149 258/198 [A Vinciguerra II da Collalto]
166 Appendix A (Continued) Pastor, che dAdria il fortunate seno 82v/140 261 284/162 ----Ad un poeta incerto Mentre al cielo il pastor dalma beltate 82v/140 262 285/163 ----Forse allo stesso Amica dolce e onorata schiera 83r/141 263 269/155 ----Ad una schiera damici Rivolgete la lingua e le parole 83r/141 264 270/155 270/200 Algi stessi Chiunque a fama gloriosa intende 83v/142 265 287/164 ----[Ad un Priuli] Cercando novi versi e nove rime 83v/142 266 288/164 ----Ad un reverendo degnissimo Soranzo, de limmenso valor vostro 84r/143 267 289/165 ----Ad un Soranzo Questo felice e glorioso tempio 84r/143 268 290/165 ----In lode di Giovanna dAragona Signor, sa quei lodati e chiari segni 84v/144 269 291/166 ----Ad un incerto Voi, che di vari campi e prati vari 84v/144 270 292/166 ----A Ortensio Lando Suna sola eccellenzia suol far chiaro 85r/145 271 293/167 ----Ad un personaggio politico Mille fiate a voi volgo la me nte 85r/145 272 294/167 ----A Gianfrancesco Fortunio Signor, che per s rara cort esia 85v/146 273 295/168 ----Ad un lodatore di Collaltino di Collalto Quel gentil seme di virtut e ardente 85v/146 274 282/161 ----[A G.A. Guiscardo o Viscardo]
167 Appendix A (Continued) Di queste tenebrose e fiere voglie 86r/147 275 304/180 ----Invocazione a Dio Quelle piaghe profonde e lacqua, el sangue 86r/147 276 305/180 ----Sullo stesso argomento Signor, che doni il paradiso e tolli 86v/148 277 306/181 ----Sullo stesso argomento Mesta e pentita demiei gravi errori 86v/148 278 311/183 311/218 Volgi a me, peccatrice empia la vista 87r/149 279 307/181 307/214 Spera nel soccorso divino Purga, Signor, omai linterno affetto 87r/149 280 308/182 308/216 Vuol amar solo Dio Volgi, Padre, del cielo a miglior calle 87v/150 281 309/182 ----Dio laiuti a pentirsi Dunque io potr, fattura empia, e ingrata 87v/150 282 310/183 ----Rimorsi e pentimento religioso Virtuti eccelse e doti illustri e chiare 88r/151 283 204/110 ----Quel desir, che fu gi caldo et ardente 88r/151 284 205/111 ----Canta tu, musa mio, non pi quell volto 88v/152 285 206/111 ----Capitoli Donne, voi che fin qui libere, e sciolte 89r/153 286 241/131 241/192 89v/154 /132 /194 90r/155 --------
168 Appendix A (Continued) Da pi lati fra noi, conte, risuona 90r/155 287 242/133 ---- 90v/156 /134 91r/157 /135 91v/158 Dettata dal dolor cieco e insano 91v/158 288 243/136 ---- 92r/159 /137 92v/160 /138 93r/161 De le ricche, beate e chiare rive 93r/161 289 244/139 ---- 93v/162 /140 94r/163 Musa mia, che s pronta, e s cortese 94r/164 290 245/141 ---- 94v/164 /142 95r/165 Non aspett giamai focoso am ante 95r/165 291 296/169 ----A Mirtilla, amica dilettissima 95v/166 96r/167 Felice in questa e pi ne l altre vita ------298/173 298/206 ------/174 ------/175 Madrigali Dimmi per la tua face 96v/168 292 222/121 ----Cos mimpresse al core 96v/168 293 223/121 ----Lempio tuo strale, Amore 97r/169 294 224/122 224/176 Io veggio spesso Amore 97r/169 295 225/122 ----Sapete voi perch ognun non accende 97r/169 296 226/122 ----Se tu credi piacere al mio ignore 97v/170 297 227/123 ----
169 Appendix A (Continued) Il cor verrebbe teco 97v/170 298 228/123 ----Qual fosse il mio martre 98r/171 299 229/124 229/178 Le pene de linferno insieme insieme 98r/171 300 231/125 231/182 Sel cibo, onde i suoi servi nutre Amore 98r/171 301 232/125 232/184 Beato insogno e caro 98v/172 302 233/126 233/186 Signor, per cortesia 98v/172 303 230/124 230/180 Deh, far mai ritorno agli occhi miei 99r/173 304 234/126 ----Conte dov andata 99r/173 305 235/127 235/188 Spesso chAmor con le sue Tempre usate 99r/173 306 236/127 ----Sio credessi por fine al mio martre 99v/174 307 237/128 ----Con quai segni, signor, volete chio 99v/174 308 238/128 238/190 Dal mio vivace foco 100r/175 309 239/129 ----Deh, perch soffri, Amor, che disiando 100r/175 310 240/129 ----Di M. Leonardo Emo a Mad Gaspara Stampa 101r 311 --------
170 Appendix B: Cassandra Stampas Dedication of the Rime to Giovanni Della Casa
171 Appendix B ALLILLUSTRISSIMO ET REVERENDISSIMO MONSIGNOR MESSER GIOVANNI DELLA CASA, ARCIVESCOVO DI BENEVENTO SUO SIGNORE CASSANDRA STAMPA Poi che a Dio nostro Signore piaciuto di chiamar a s, sul fiore si pu dire degli anni suoi, la mia da me molto cara e molto amata so rella; ed ella partendo ha portato con esso lei tutte le mie speranze, tutte le consolazioni, e la vita istessa; io ho cercato di levarmi davanti gli occhi tutte le sue cose, acci che il verder le ed il trattarle non rinovasse laccerbissima memoria di lei nellanimo mio, e per consequente non rinfrescasse la piaga demolti dolori, avendo perduto una cos sa via e cos valorosa sorella. E, volendo e devendo far il medesmo di queste sue rime, tessu te da lei, parte pe r essercizio dello ingegno suo, felice quanto a donna, se non minganna laffezzione fraterna, parte per esprimere alcun suo amoroso concetto, mo lti gentiliuomini di chiaro spirito, che lamarono, mentre visse, ed hanno potere sopra di me, mhanno tolta, mal mio grado, do questo proponimento e costretta a raccogliere insieme quelle che si sono potute tovare; mostrandomi che io non devea n potea, per non turb ar la mia pace, turbar la gloria della sorella, celando le sue fatiche onorate. Questa adunque stata la cagi one chio le ho fatto publicare. Perch poi io le abbia dedicate pi a Vostra Signoria reverendissima che ad
172 Appendix B (Continued) altro signore, per questo. Tre, se io non err o, sono le sorti designo ri, che si trovano al mondo: di natura, di fortuna e di virt; i due primi sono signori di nome, lultimo di ffetto, perch quelli sono fatti da altri, e questo si fa da se stesso; per a lui dirittamente si conviene il none e la riverenza di signore. Girando per tanto g li occhi per tutta Italia, per trovare a chi pi meritevolmente il nome di vero signore si conveni sse, il vivo raggio di Vostra Signoria reverendissima splend agli occhi miei da quella sua riposta solitudine, ove il pi delle volte dar opera ai suoi gravi ed alti studi, e pa scer di preziosissimo cibo il suo divino intelletto, si ritiene, s fattamente che, come ferro da calamita, sono stata tirata a viva forza a consacrarle a lei, perch (olt ra che signore di natura, nato nobilissimo in nobilissima citt dItalia; di fortuna, per le ricchezze amplissime che ella ha; di virt, possedendo tutte le pi nobili e pi segnalate sc ienze che si trovino, ed alla quale, come a chiarissima stella e ferma, si deono indrizza re tutte le opere di quei che nel mare di qualsivoglia fatica onorata navigano), io sona si cura che in questo compiacer anche alla benedetta anima della amata sorella mia, se di l sha alcun senso o memoria delle cose di questo mondo. La quale, vivendo, ebbe sempre per mira Vostra Signoria reverendissima, come uno depi belli lumi dItalia, ed a lei destinate le sue fatiche; inchinando e riverendo sempre il nome e lalto giudicio di lei qualunque volta se ne ragionava, che era assai spesso, e portando a cielo i suoi dottissimi, leggiadrissimi e gravissimi omponimenti al pari di tutti gli antichi e moderni, che si leggono. Non is degni adunque Vostra Signoria reverendissima di ricever con quella molta bont danimo, che Dio le ha dato, questi
173 Appendix B (Continued) pochi frutti dellingegno della disideratissima sorella mia, dalla quale fu, mentre visse, osservata e tanto reverita; cont entandosi che sotto lombra del suo celebratissimo nome si riposi anco la penna, la studio, larte e gli amorosi e ferven ti disidri di una donna con tante altre divinissime fatche de i pi alti ed escquisiti spiri ti dellet nostra. E con queto, baciandole le dotte e sacre mani, faccio fine. Da Venezia a 13 dottobre 1554 (Salza Rime 368-69) Cassandra's dedication to della Ca sa, Archbishop of Benevento 1554. Since it has pleased our Lord G od to call to Himself, as one may say in the flower of her age, my very dear and much-loved sister, a nd she, departing, has ta ken with her all my hopes and consolations and life itse lf, i have tried to put all he r things away out of sight, so that seeing them and dealing with them should not renew the bitter memory of her in my mind, or reopen the grievous wound made by the loss of so excellent a sister. And while I was wishing and intend ing to act in the same manne r with these poems of hers, composed by her, partly to exercise her tale nt, great as ever woman had, if my sisterly affection does not deceive me; partly to express some of her amorous ideas; many talented gentlemen who loved her while she wa s alive, have dissuaded me, against my
174 Appendix B (Continued) will, from this resolve, and have constrained me to collect all those that could be found, showing me that, for the sake of my own piece, I neither could nor ought to hinder the glory of my sister my concealing her honourab le laborours. This then is why I have preferred to dedicate them to your most reverend Lordship ra ther than to anyone else in this I am sure that in this i shall also please the blessed soul of my beloved sister, if yonder she has any sense or memory of the things of this world, for, while ;she was alive, he always looked up to your most reverend Lord ship as to one of the most shining lights of Italy, and had destined he r labours for you, always reve rencing your name, and bowing to your critical insight, when ever she discoursed about it, which was very often, and praising to the skies your most learned, graceful, and weighty writings, to the level of all the ancients and moderns that were read. Let not your most reverend Lordship then disdain to receive, with that great kindness of hear which God has given you, these few fruits of the talent of my most lamented sister, by whom, while she lived, you were so much honoured and revered; being glad that under the shadow of your most celebrated name should repose also the pen, the study, the art, and the amorous and fervent desires of a woman, with so many other most divine works of the highest and most exquisite spirits of our age; and with this, kissing your learned and holy hands, I make an end. (Jerrold 194-196)
175 Appendix C: Gaspara Stampas Dedication Letter to Collaltino di Collalto
176 Appendix C To My Illustrious Lord Since my amorous pains, which for the love of Your Lordship I have written about in several letters and rhymes, have not been ab le, one by one, to make Your Lordship take pity on me, nor even to make your courteous enough to write me one word in return, I have resolved to collect them all in this book, to see if all together they will be able to do it. Here Your Lordship will not see the w hole sea of my passions, my tears and my torments, because it is a bottomless sea; but only a little steam of them; nor should Your Lordship think that I have done this to make you aware of your cruelty where there is not obligation, nor to constrain you; but rather to make you aware of your own greatness and to make you rejoice. Because, seeing that these fruits of love have issued from your harshness towards me, you can conjecture which ones will be produced by your pity, if it should ever happen that the heavens make you compassionate toward me: O noble object, O bright object, O divine object, since even in tormenting me you hare beneficial and produce fruit. Read then, Your Lordship, when you have a rest from your dearest and greatest concerns, the notes of the grave and amorous cares of your most faithful and wretched Anaxilla; and from this reflection may you recon how deeply she must feel in her soul; because certainly, if ever it will happen that my poor sad house be made worthy to receive Your Lordship, I am sure all the beds, the rooms, the halls and everything will tell of the laments, sobs, sighs and tears, which night and day I have shed, calling on Your Lordships name, and nevertheless always blessing, in the mi dst of my greatest
177 Appendix C (Continued) torments, the heavens and my good fortune for th eir cause; since it is far better to die for you, Count, than to rejoice for anyone else. But what am I doing? Since I am boring Your Lordship needlessly for too long, also insult ing my poems, as if they could not express their motives, and as if they needed someone help? Trusting in them, then, I shall end, begging Your Lordship that, as last reward of my most faithful service, in receiving this poor booklet, you may give me the courtesy of even one sigh, which from afar may refresh the memory of his forgotten and abandoned Anaxilla. A nd you, little booklet of mine, trustee of my tears, pres ent yourself in the most humb le possible manner in front of my Lord, in the company of my candid faith ; and if, when he receives you, you will see those fatal and eternal lights of mine (Collaltinos eyes) become even more serine, may all of our labors be blessed and all of our hopes be happy; and so may you eternally remain with him in peace. Gaspara Stampa (Stampa Selected xxxiii-xxxiv) Allo Illustre mio Signore. Poi che le mie pene amorose, che per amor di V. S. porto scritte in di verse lettere, e rime, non han possuto una per una, non pur far pietoso V. S. verso di me, ma farla n anco cortese di scrivermi una parola: io mi son risso luta di ragunarle tutte in questo libro, per
178 Appendix C (Continued) vedere, se tutte insieme lo potranno fare. Qu i dunque V. S. vedr, non il pelago delle passioni, delle lagrime, e de' tormenti mie i; perch mar senza fondo; ma un piccolo ruscello solo di esse; n pensi V. S. ch' io abbia ci fatto, per farla conoscente della sua crudelt; perch crudelt non si pu dire, dove non obligo, n per contristarnela: ma per farla pi tosto conoscente della sua grandezza ed allegrarla. Perch vedendo esser usciti dalla durezza vostra, verso di me questi frutti congeturer, quali saranno quelli, che usciranno dalla sua piet, se averr mai che i cieli me la faccino piet osa: o obietto nobile, o obietto chiaro, o obietto divino, poi che to rmentando ancora giovi e fai frutto. Legga V. S. dunque, quando aver triegua delle sue maggior i, e pi care cure, le note delle cure amorose, e gravi della sua fidissima ed infelic issima Anassilla; e da questa ombra prenda argomento quali ella le debba provare e sentir nell' animo; ch certo, se accader giamai che la mia povera e mesta casa sia fatta degna del ricevere il suo grande oste, che V. S. io son sicura, che i letti, le camere, le sa le, e tutto racconteranno i lamenti, i singulti, i sospiri e le lagrime, che giorno, e notte ho sparse, chiamando il nome di V. S. benedicendo per sempre nel mezzo de' miei maggior tormenti, i cieli e la mia buona sorte della cagion d' essi: perc ioch, assai meglio per voi, conte, morire, che gioir per qualunque. Ma che fo io? Perch senza bi sogno tengo V. S. troppo lungamente a noia, ingiuriando anco le mie rime, quasi che esse non sappian dir le lor ragioni, ed abbian bisogno dell' altrui aita? Rimettendomi dunque ad esse, far fine, pregando V. S. per ultimo guiderdone della mia fedelissima servit che nel ricever questo povero libretto, mi sia cortese sol di un sospiro, il quale refreschi cos lontano la memoria della sua
179 Appendix C (Continued) dimenticata ed abbandonata Anassilla. E tu, libretto mio, depositario delle mie lagrime, appresntati nella pi umil forma, che saprai dinanzi al signor nostr o, in compagnia della mia candida fede. E, se in recevendoti, vedr ai rasserenar pur un poco quei miei fatali ed eterni lumi, beate tutte le nostre fatiche e fe licissime tutte le nostre speranze; e ti resta seco eternamente in pace. (Bellonci 79-80).
180 Appendix D: Letters and Dedi cations to Gaspara Stampa
181 Appendix D Dedication from Francesco Sansovino in the Ragionamento d'Amore Many times, gracious damosel, while Messor Baldassare was alive, whom I cannot remember without grief (your br other and a part of my soul), I heard him, in telling over to me the blessings given him by the supreme grace of God, mention you as the chief, and the one which he esteemed most highly. Many times did he describe to me the excellence of your intellect and the steadfa stness of your mind. . And because, being somewhat the elder, I remember that, as though he had made me his father, I rebuked, admonished, and counseled that most gentle nature of his which begged me for advice, instruction, and restraint; proceeding with you in the same manner, because I am bound to do so, you being his very self, I send you th is little sketch which I have made as a relaxation from graver studies, to remind you th at by its means you may learn to shun the deceptions which perverse men practise on the pure and innocent maidens, such as you are. And herewith I instruct and advise you to proceed with your glorious studies, shunning every occasion which might distract you from your undertak ing. I know that I am too bold, but the memory of your virtues, and the extreme affection that I bear to you and to Madonna Cassandra, your honoured sister, and the duty to which I am bound, constrain me to this, and so I hope for your forgiveness . ( Lettera di prefazione al Ragionamento di M. Francesco Sansovino, ne l quale brevemente s'insegna a'giovani uomini al bell' Arte d' Amore Venice, January 3, 1545 (i.e. 1546) (Jerrold 176-77).
182 Appendix D (Continued) Letter from Angelica Paola Antonia de' Negri Why should you wonder, O soul most sweet to me, and most dear to the most pure Blood of Jesus Christ, that I shoul d love you in Him who has l oved you so much that, through excess of love, He gave Himself to so bitter and painful a death? If the Creator loves you so much, why should not I, a miserable creatur e, love you? If He took such pleasure in you as to adorn you with His abundant graces in order that He mi ght better be able to take delight in you, why should not I also take de light in the wonderful works that He has wrought in you? Ah! if it might please His goodness to make me worthy to see the beautiful work which He has begun in you brought to perfection; and this I am sure He will do, you being willing, as I trust you will be For, if you are possessed of that noble spirit that is announced to me by many, I ca nnot believe that you would wish to imitated the folly of those who, arrogating to themse lves the gifts and graces bestowed on them, are so charmed with themselves and become so proud that, making an idol of such graces, they desire for themselves the prai ses that belong to God. They want to be worshipped and praised, and they make it th eir whole study to please the world and men, and to gratify themselves, their own senses and sensual impulses, and other abominable desires. They only use the favours which God ha s bestowed on them to offend and revile Him, and, if they could, they would choose that there should be neither God nor soul, so that they might serve their unbridled desires, ambitions, and vices more unrestrictedly. I
183 Appendix D (Continued) pray earnestly that this may never happen in your sweet soul, but I know that you are grateful for the graces that you have received, so that you may become worthy of greater ones. Remember, most sweet sister, that the graces you have were given to you in order that you might make yourself all spirit, and an angel in the flesh. Now what an evil it would be if, with so many gifts and graces, you were to turn away from God who created you and re-created you in the most precious Blood of His Son, to give yourself to the world, to its frivolities, amb itions, vanity, and luxury? Rec ognise, recognise, the beauty, and the dignity, and the excelle nce of your spirit, and strive to increase its worth by making it all divine with holy vi rtues. Remember that all these gifts pass away with the wind, and, after death, nothing remains of them but sorrow and torment, if we have not made good use of them. Those virtues which the world honours give nothing to the soul but that small and momentary content which sp rings form the praises of flatterers; and, when these eyes are closed in their last slee p, those also will be dead; but true virtues, holy virtues, Christian virtues, divine virtues, adorn the so ul, illuminate it, enrich it, ornament it, glorify it both in the present life and in that which is to come. What is the worth of the virtue which, when we die, dies with us? How much more useful and more desirable is that virtue which always accompan ies the soul, and never leaves it, but brings it always new crowns, new palms, new trium phs? O God, shall I believe that my sweet Madonna Gasparina will have so little insight that she will not know how to choose? Will
184 Appendix D (Continued) she refuse heavenly good for earthly? O but, someone will say to me, I wish to have both. And I answer (nay, not I, but the Lord): One can only serve two masters badly. Paul answers: 'The unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord that she may be holy both in body and inspirit. but she th at is married thinketh on the things of the world how she may please her husband.' Ah! dear soul, make it your study to be truly pure, humble, patient, and full of all other holy virtues, so that you may indeed be pleasing to your celestial Spouse, whose chaste embraces give more joy to the soul than all the pleasures that can be had apart from Him. And you, to whom He has given such favours, can you not, with the help of His gr ace, prepare yourself to enjoy Him for ever? Would you then refuse such a great good? Ah no, for the love of God, no, no, blessed soul, redeemed at so great a price; nay, l eaving all others, embrace Him alone. Do not be sorry to disappoint the world in what it expe cts of you, and do not believe in flatterers, those who love you according to the flesh. Do not deceive yourself, I pray you, but cut off all those intimacies and conversations wh ich separate you from Christ and put you in peril, or which might bring a breath of susp icion upon that beautiful chastity which shines forth in you, besides all your other virtues, on account of which I said that you must not wonder if I love you. I love you and will love you always, if you will love Him who loves you so much; and not only with letters, but w ith my blood, my life, my soul. I shall be content and I will not go back on my word I sh all be content if I am able to help you in the virtuous course which He who has begun it in you gives you to ma ke perfect. I pray
185 Appendix D (Continued) you to familiarise yourself by constant thought with the pains and torments that have been suffered for you. Take some time from your other occupations to spend it at the feet of your Savior. Pray do this, so that you may be made worthy to rece ive true light and real knowledge of the will of God in you, so th at you may be able to perform it, and pray with me. Salute your mother and sister whom I consider mine; our Lady Abbess salutes you. Farewell, spirit created in Paradise in order that there might be your conversation and hereafter your et ernal habitation. From the holy place of St. Paul the Apostle in Milan, August 20, 1544. Yours wholly in Jesus Christ "A. P. A" ( Lettere spirituali dell devota religiosa Angelica Paola Antonio de'Negri, pp. 619-623) (Jerrold 179 -82)
186 Appendix D (Continued) Letter from Girolamo Parabosco O Lady loved above measure and favoured by the st ars, this is that fire which shall never burn in me less fiercely, owing to your grea t virtues. Who ever saw elsewhere such beauty? Or such graces, or such sweet ways ? And who ever heard such sweet and gentle words, or listened to such high ideas? And what shall I say of that angelic voice, which, whenever it penetrates the ai r with its divine accents, makes such sweet harmony that it does not merely, like the Siren, make everyone w ho is worthy of hearing it thrall to the brother of death, but infuses sp irit and life into the coldest stones, making them weep for sovran sweetness. You may then rest assu red, most beautiful and most gracious Lady Gasparina, that every man who sees you is bound to remain your servant for ever. Of which number, albeit I may be the most unworthy in virtues, yet I shall not be so in love, and from henceforth, in everything that I know will please you, I shall show it to you by most evident tokens. ( Lettere amorose Lib. 1. p 32) (Jerrold 175)
About the Author Ellan B. Otero has her undergraduate degree from the University of North Florida, Jacksonville, in Banking and Finance; a J.D. from Stetson University College of Law, St. Petersburg; a Masters of Liberal Arts and a Graduate Certificate in Comparative Literary Studies from the University of South Florida, Tampa. She has been an editorial assistant with JAC under Lynn Worsham, Ph.D., Editor. Otero has taught Composition, Humanities, and World Literature at the University of South Florida, Tampa. Otero has traveled extensively in Spain and Italy. Her research interests are Italian Renaissance women writers, Renaissance Venice, and the unique challenges women writers face. Oteros conference presenta tions include, John Donne and Lady Mary Wroth: Songs in Dialogue, The Influence of Trobairitz Poetry on Gaspara Stampa, and Feminine Presence in the Rime d'Amore of Gaspara Stampa.