Isotta Nogarola (1418–1466) was born to Bianca Borromeo and Leonardo Nogarola. Both her parents came from noble families with a humanist view of education, so that Isotta and her sisters studied Greek and Latin. Influenced by this classical education, Isotta wrote Latin epistles, poetry, orations, and dialogues. As one of the most famous female humanists of the Italian Renaissance, Isotta exchanged letters with other humanists, such as Lodovico Foscarini, Ermolao Barbaro, and Damiano del Borgo. Isotta inspired generations of female artists and writers. Her most influential work was a disputation between herself and Foscarini, The Dialogue on Adam and Eve, about whether Adam or Eve was the greater sinner. As defender of Eve, Isotta does mention the weakness of the female sex; however, she also argues that Eve had a compelling desire for knowledge, a desire innate in humankind. The Dialogue contributed to a debate on gender and the nature of women that lasted for centuries in Europe.
Nogarola, Isotta. Complete Writings. Edted and translated by Margaret L. King and Diane Robin. University of Chicago Press, 2003,