Amy Sinclair University of Melbourne
The concept of self-fashioning has developed into an important area of Renaissance scholarship, yet rarely has it been considered in gendered terms. Most research has focused on analysing male-authored texts for insights into shifting perceptions of the self and identity. My aim is to contribute to this important discussion by introducing a Renaissance woman’s voice into the conversation through an examination of Lucrezia Marinella’s 17th century conduct book, Essortationi alle donne et a gli altri, se a loro saranno a grado (1645). Specifically, I’m interested in exploring what the work can tell us about Renaissance self-fashioning by analyzing the construction and representation of self in discourse and the role of gender in these processes. I also analyse the way in which Marinella uses personal pronouns and the language of self-reference to understand how discourses make manifest and shape that identity construction process. And, to identify what is individual and what is general, I locate her work in the context of a corpus of approximately 50 excerpts from the conduct literature of the period.