Aretafila Savini De̓ Rossi

in The Contest for Knowledge

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780226010540
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226010564 | DOI:
Aretafila Savini De̓ Rossi

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This chapter presents Aretafila Savini de' Rossi's apology in favor of women's education, against the preceding discourse by signor Giovanni Antonio Volpi. Acting in accordance with the conventions of academic disputation, her tone is moderate, her language decorous, and her arguments stoical and well reasoned. Savini de' Rossi's strategy in the apology represents an appropriation of the terms and tenets of the “new” empirical science and philosophy to which Vallisneri laid claim in his introduction to the debate. She opposes the indisputable facts of women's lives, ordinary and extraordinary. Throughout the apology, she counters Volpi's misogynist and often myth-based constructions of femininity with the real-life stories of women and men. Explicitly rejecting the division of women into two categories, the exceptional and the norm, invoked by each of the Ricovrati participants, Savini de' Rossi advocates the education of all women. However, she does not advocate women's civil emancipation.

Keywords: Aretafila Savini de' Rossi; Giovanni Antonio Volpi; women's education; civil emancipation

Chapter.  7375 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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