Blogging from A-Z April 2018 Challenge

C is for Laura Cereta

Laura Cereta (September 1469 – 1499), was a humanist, feminist scholar in fifteenth-century Italy. Cereta was among the first writers to put women’s issues at the forefront of her work. A renowned scholar in Brescia, Verona, and Venice in 1488-92, she is best known for the letters she wrote to other humanists around Italy and Europe. Laurae Ceretae Brixiensis Feminae Clarissimae Epistolae jam primum e MS in lucem productae a Jacopo Philippo Thomasino, qui eius vitam et notas addidit, which translates as An outstanding Brescian woman, Laura Cereta’s Letters now first produced into the light from manuscript by Jacobus Philippus Thomasinus, who added her life and notes was published in 1640. Authors in the 17th century were not known for their concise titles. 

Cereta discussed themes such as women’s education, war, and marriage in  her letters, although she also included childhood memories and other personal thoughts. Although these letters are addressed to particular scholars, they are also framed for a wider audience. Like her countryman Petrarch, Cereta sought fame and immortality through her writing. 

Cereta, Laura. Collected letters of a Renaissance feminist. Transcribed, translated, and edited by Diana Robin. University of Chicago Press, 1997.

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