Women and the world of knowledge : four collections of love letters in nineteenth-century Italy
Title: Women and the world of knowledge : four collections of love letters in nineteenth-century Italy
Author: GORI, Claudia
Citation: Women's History Review , 2011, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 641-650
This article focuses on four collections of love letters between engaged and married couples in nineteenth-century Italy, and explores the relationship between women and the world of knowledge. The research project on which it is based is concerned with analysing the overlap and borders between the private and public spheres. Personal and public sentiments are examined and contrasted with ideal constructions of love expressed in intimate correspondence as well as in the public discourse of the nation. Romanticism strengthened the importance of love not only in personal relationships but also in the public sphere. Consequently, perceptions of love as well as the role of women in society underwent change in the late nineteenth century. This article explores how women used ideal constructs of love to undermine, at least partially, their traditional subordination in society and their exclusion from the public sphere. Specifically, it analyses how the idea of love was used in the writings of the four women examined to access the world of literary education and knowledge.
Published online September 19, 2011
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