Le <i>parole son femmine e i fatti sono maschi</i>: Toward a Sexual Poetics of the <i>Decameron</i> (<i>Decameron</i> 2.9, 2.10, 5.10)

Teodolinda Barolini

in Dante and the Origins of Italian Literary Culture

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780823227037
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241019 | DOI:
Le parole son femmine e i fatti sono maschi: Toward a Sexual Poetics of the Decameron (Decameron 2.9, 2.10, 5.10)

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“Le parole son femmine e i fatti son maschi” succinctly captures Boccaccio's sexual poetics by suggesting both a mutual exclusion between the sexes and their proper spheres, and an inevitable contamination between these same spheres, since fatti are masculine, but the word “fatti” is a parola, and thus feminine. In other words, the boundary that the proverb at first glance so emphatically delineates, between women and words, on the one hand, and men and deeds, on the other, is much less rigid than it first appears. The proverb's ambiguity makes it all the more applicable to Boccaccio, who both invokes two separate and gendered domains, one connoted by words.

Keywords: Boccaccio; sexual poetics; parola; ambiguity; proverb

Chapter.  10277 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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