Remembering Laura Cereta: public and private lives of a humanist scholar

Carniel, Jess (2017) Remembering Laura Cereta: public and private lives of a humanist scholar. In: Recovering history through fact and fiction: forgotten lives. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom, pp. 171-182. ISBN 978-1-5275-0325-0


In her few brief years in the public eye Laura Cereta (1469-99) became a humanist of some renown in the developing humanist culture of Quattrocento Brescia, a town in northern Italy, but has been largely forgotten in the history of humanism. Many women who participated in this tradition of learning have been lost in its history, or have been disregarded as serious humanist thinkers and the literary merit of their texts has been neglected. Cereta is particularly significant as a proto-feminist thinker. Her awareness of the innate potential of women, which is demonstrated in her treatment of her female correspondents, and her advanced ideas regarding socioeconomic reform to encourage women’s full participation in all aspects of civic and public life. Cereta developed an array of techniques to deal with social and cultural mores regarding women and learning in the fifteenth century, and the aspects of her life experience that influenced the construction of her humanist literary persona.
This paper examines the autobiographical elements of Cereta’s letter book (a collection of writings commonly collated by public humanist scholars) to explore both her determined construction of a public, civic persona, and her ultimate withdrawal from public life, and subsequent fading from historical attention.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2018 00:20
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2018 05:20
Uncontrolled Keywords: humanism, autobiography, Renaissance, gender, epistolary, Laura Cereta, gender, education, public/private, career, letters, epistolary works, feminist historiography
Fields of Research : 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200205 Culture, Gender, Sexuality
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210307 European History (excl. British, Classical Greek and Roman)
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210304 Biography
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950504 Understanding Europe's Past

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