Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level





Dominguez, Freddy Cristobal

Committee Member/Reader

D'Eugenio, Daniela

Committee Member/Second Reader

Sonn, Richard

Committee Member/Third Reader

Brown, Lucy


Vittoria Colonna and Chiara Matraini were well known women in intellectual and public Italian society during the 16th century. However, the history surrounding their individual impacts has often been limited due to the common practice of grouping these two women together or focusing more intently on their male connections. This thesis aims to advance women’s history on the Early Modern period by providing holistic accounts of Vittoria Colonna and Chiara Matraini’s careers that provide a better understanding of the unique contributions that these women made to distinctly female literature in the Early Modern period in Italy. This thesis utilizes selected portions of Colonna and Matraini’s published works and personal letters that contribute to the examination of the female authors’ perspectives and goals by focusing on their lives as Italian women, public image, religious beliefs, and contribution to female intellectual development in the 16th century. For Vittoria Colonna, her adherence to a pristine image should not be viewed as her only asset, as she constantly redefined previously male-dominated literature forms and practiced spiritual and financial authority independent from her famous male connections. For Chiara Matraini, she should not be viewed as only an imitator to Colonna, as she actively engaged with humanistic literature and passionately defended her agency and career in the public sphere without emulating others. This work encourages the continuation and further development of women’s history in the Early Modern period by focusing on the unique impact of these women.


Women's History, Early Modern period, Vittoria Colonna, Chiara Matraini