Moral Combat : Women, Gender, and War in Italian Renaissance Literature

TitleMoral Combat : Women, Gender, and War in Italian Renaissance Literature
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMilligan, Gerry
Number of Pages332
PublisherUniversity of Toronto Press

The Italian sixteenth century offers the first sustained discussion of women’s militarism since antiquity. Across a variety of genres, male and female writers raised questions about women’s right and ability to fight in combat. This volume asks how and why women’s militarism became one of the central discourses of this age. The author discusses the armed heroines of biography and epic within the context of contemporary debates over women’s combat abilities and men’s martial obligations. Women are frequently described as fighting because men have failed their masculine duty. A woman's prowess at arms was asserted to be a cultural symptom of men's shortcomings. This volume ultimately argues that the popularity of the warrior woman in sixteenth-century Italian literature was due to her dual function of shame and praise: calling men to action and signaling potential victory to a disempowered people. 

Entry by GWC Assistants / Work by GWC Assistants : 

Type of Literature:

Time Period:


Library Location: 
Call Number: