Veronica Copello

Veronica Copello

Jean-François Malle Fellow
Women’s reception of the Classics in Early Modern Italy
Veronica Copello


Veronica Copello is a scholar in Italian Renaissance literature. In particular, she studied Ludovico Ariosto and Vittoria Colonna, publishing many articles and books (Valori e funzioni delle similitudini nell’Orlando furioso, 2013; V. Colonna, La raccolta di rime per Michelangelo, SEF, 2020; V. Colonna, Selected letters, with A. Brundin, 2022; V. Colonna, Carteggio, 2023). She has been Visiting Student at the University of Cambridge (UK), post-doc at the Université de Fribourg (CH), Italian Fellow in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at the American Academy in Rome, post-doc at the Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento in Florence, ‘assegnista di ricerca’ at the Università dell’Insubria and at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa.

Project Summary

This project aims to be the the first systematic and comprehensive study of the reception of the Classics in Early Modern Italy women writers, whose number and relevance are impressive. It has often and rightly been said that the explosion of the phenomenon of Italian women writers is closely linked to the canonization of vernacular poetry (the so-called Petrarchism). However, this line of interpretation has also at times promoted the misleading notion that women were completely unfamiliar with the Classical languages. Holding on the background erudite women writing in Latin and translating the Sacred into vernacular, the project will focus on women writers’s relation with the Classics. What was their ‘canon’ of models? Which episodes or characters they preferred? How the Classics were assimilated, integrated and re-interpreted into their own literary works? These women writers did not normally show an ‘erudite’ approach to their classical models, but they rather seemed to establish a relationship of empathy with them. They preferred “exempla” of mythological heroines or ancient women, with whom they established complex and profound resonances: they appropriated ancient myths and history to illustrate their own present situation, to understand and negotiate their own identity of women and of writers, or to find alternatives in style, themes and literary genres to the pervasive Petrarchism.