Aileen A. Feng

Aileen A. Feng

Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fellow
Feminism's First Paradox: Female Misogyny and Homosociality in Early Modern Italy and France


Aileen A. Feng is Associate Professor of Italian and Faculty Affiliate in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona. She has published on Petrarch’s poetry, Quattrocento female humanism, and Gaspara Stampa, and has co-edited with Unn Falkeid the volume of criticism Rethinking Gaspara Stampa in the Canon of Renaissance Poetry (Routledge, 2015). Her English translation and edition (with Fabian Alfie), The Poetry of Burchiello (ca. 1404-1449):  Deep-fried Nouns, Hunchbacked Pumpkins, and Other Nonsense, is forthcoming with ACMRS Press.  Her first monograph, Writing Beloveds: Humanist Petrarchism and the Politics of Gender, will appear with the University of Toronto Press in 2017.

Project Summary

My project investigates female-authored misogyny and homosociality in the writings of Quattro- and Cinquecento women in Italy and France.  It indicates how two seemingly oppositional traditions in literature (misogyny and proto-feminism) often went hand-in-hand to mutually constitute what I call “feminism’s first paradox,” a complex negotiation of power, appropriation, and positioning from which modern feminism emerges and with which it still grapples.