This book bears the marks of my experiences at four institutions, each of
which represents for me a stage of its development and a community of
people with whom I delighted in learning. I began to think about Re-
naissance literature in relation to feminist questions during my doctoral
studies at Johns Hopkins, ultimately writing a dissertation
on Ariosto's treatment of gender, genre, and the querelle des femmes. To Ed-
uardo Saccone I express my enduring gratitude for his meticulous eye and
unfailing honesty as a reader, and for the generous good humor, intellec-
tual intensity, and high standards he brought to our work together. The
sudden death of Gregory Lucente in the summer of
as this book
goes to press, leaves me sadly unable to share it with him. I would have
wanted to thank him once again for his unflagging friendship, his sup-
port for my feminist interests, his training in professional matters, and the
literary-theoretical teaching he imparted to me. It was Kathy Ogren who
first introduced me
rigorous feminist thinking in those Hopkins years.
Her sharp and generous mind has provided sustenance both intellectual and
personal over the long haul from Baltimore to California, and
take this
opportunity to thank her warmly. While finishing my doctorate, I taught
for two years at the University of Pennsylvania, where I profited from the
collegiality and mentorship of Victoria Kirkham and Georgianna Ziegler,
among many others. To them I express my heartfelt thanks.
I came in
as an assistant professor to Yale, a university to which I
returned by several twists of fate for the two years in which I completed
this study. My colleagues in the Department of Italian during those two
phases-Giuseppe Mazzotta, whose professional and intellectual sustenance
in particular has been indispensable and is deeply appreciated; Paolo Valesio;
Fiorenza Weinapple; Ernesto Livorni; Mary Ann McDonald Carolan; Ste-
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