Giuseppe Verdi, Rigoletto (libretto by Francesco Maria Piave),
sound disks and
notes (Middlesex, England: Hayes, 1989), act 3. Unless indicated otherwise, all
translations in this volume are mine.
Gilda will in fact sacrifice her life for the Duke, thus revising the impact of
this song on any listener aware of the opera's conclusion.
3 Scholarly works that provide overviews of this literature include Ruth Kelso,
Doctrinefor the Lady
the Renaissance (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1956);
Ian Maclean, The Renaissance Notion
Woman: A Study
cism and Medical Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980); Marina
Zancan, "La donna," in Letteratura italiana: Le questioni, ed. R. Antonelli and
A. Cicchetti (Turin: Einaudi, 1986); Constance Jordan, Renaissance Feminism:
Literary Texts and Political Models (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990); Mar-
King, Women of the Renaissance (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
1991); Pamela Joseph Benson, The Invention
the Renaissance Woman: The Chal-
Female Independence in the Literature and Thought of Italy and England (Uni-
versity Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992); and Mary E. Wiesner,
Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1993). For further references, see the individual chapters of this book.
Akin, if perhaps remotely, to my thinking here are Rosi Braidotti's discussions
advocating a feminist "nomad subjectivity" in our postmodern age. See the
introduction to her Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Con-
temporary Feminist Theory (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 1-39.
5 See Wiesner's chapter
"Women's Economic Role," on the difficulties faced by
women travelers and merchants who were suspected of being prostitutes and
bawds (Women and Gender, 82-II4), and her discussions of similar responses to
women's efforts to educate themselves (II7-45) and participate in artistic and
political (146-78) and religious (179-217) cultures.
6 Following a scholarly tradition that views Christine de Pizan as the first woman
writer to formulate a systematic critique of misogynist literature and histori-
ography, I adopt the French name for this centuries-long quarrel.