“La Compiuta Donzella: The First Woman in Italian Literature (that we know of!)”

Presented by Fabian Alfie

Professor of Italian, University of Arizona

Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 7:00pm at Bookmans Entertainment Exchange, Tucson, AZ 85712

Co-sponsored by Women and Gender Studies in the School of Social Transformation and Project Humanities at Arizona State University

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.