Helena Sanson

in Women, Language and Grammar in Italy, 1500-1900

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264836
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754043 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs


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This chapter presents some concluding thoughts from the author. The end of the nineteenth century was a further landmark in women's long battle for the literary, and now also national, language and its grammar. The journey started with Nicostrata holding a hornbook and a key to access a symbolic tower (that of learning) from which she herself was excluded. It continued in the Cinquecento with the female addressees of some of the first vernacular grammars and with the refined portraits of women readers, such as Lucrezia Panciatichi and Maria del Berrettaio. In the Settecento they were followed by Pietro Longhi's ‘dame’, so eager to learn and instruct themselves, and with a preference for anything fashionable and French. But alongside these figures, fixed forever in time by the artist's paint and brush or the writer's pen, there were those women for whom, over the centuries and across the peninsula, acquiring even just a smattering of literacy was a small victory.

Keywords: women; literacy; Italian; language; grammar

Chapter.  893 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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