La Compiuta Donzella: The First Woman in Italian Literature

Presented by Fabian Alfie
Professor of Italian, University of Arizona

Free and open to the public

About the Program
Active between 1260-1270, the woman known only as La Compiuta Donzella (“the fulfilled damsel”) attracted the attention of several male writers. Two of them were astonished that such wisdom could be found in a female. The third, the important poet Guittone d’Arezzo (1235-1294), praised her insights but reminded her to follow virtue. And yet, almost nothing is known about her, not even her name. She left a corpus of three sonnets in which she demonstrates her knowledge of literary forms. At the same time, though, she introduces seemingly personal material into her verse, decrying her father’s intentions to marry her to someone she didn’t love. In this talk I will discuss her status as a woman in thirteenth-century Florence, a topic that her works all but invite us to examine.

About Fabian Alfie
Fabian Alfie is the Head of the Department of French and Italian. He received a PhD in Italian from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1995 with a specialization in the Middle Ages. He has published extensively on medieval Italian literature and has given numerous scholarly and public talks on Dante. He is currently on the Board of the Humanities Seminars Program. In 2008, he received a Distinguished Teaching Award from the College of Humanities, and in 2013, he was awarded the Superior Teaching Award from the Humanities Seminars Program.

Fearless Females: Audacious and Feisty Women of the Middle Ages and Renaissance

The Tucson Woman's Club 6245 E. Bellevue St. Tucson, AZ 85712