1st Edition

Gender, Mediation, and Popular Education in Venice, 1760–1830

By Susan Dalton Copyright 2023
    282 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Gender, Mediation, and Popular Education in Venice, 1760–1830, examines how women with enough cultural capital could turn their identity as representatives of "the public" – those on the receiving end of education – to their advantage, producing knowledge under the guise of relaying it.

    Author Susan Dalton demonstrates how elite women turned their reputation for ignorance into an opportunity to establish themselves as published authors at the dawn of the nineteenth century in Venice. Many literary figures saw women as a group in need of education. By deploying essentialist understandings of femininity, whereby women possessed superior moral virtue but deficient rationality, these women entered the world of print as cultural mediators, identified by contemporaries as key players in the social projects of public education and moral edification central to the European Enlightenment. Focussing on Isabella Teotochi Albrizzi and Giustina Renier Michiel, both renowned Venetian authors, Dalton introduces two well-known Italian women of letters to English-speaking scholars, re-evaluates the impact of their writing in Italy and raises questions about female authorship across Europe, broadens our conceptions of gender norms, and enriches our knowledge of a little-known period of women’s writing in Italy.

    This volume is an essential resource for students and scholars alike interested in women’s and gender history, early modern history and social and cultural history.

    1. Gender, Aesthetics and the Public in Venice 2. Women Writing Portraits 3. Editing and Interpreting Character in the Theatre 4. The Value of the Female Dilettante 5. Women and History


    Susan Dalton is an associate professor of history at the Université de Montréal. Her latest research focusses on elite women’s roles as popularizers in the area of art and literature through the production of letteratura amena or light reading. She has published articles in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Women’s History Review and was one of the co-authors of Interacting with Print: Intermediality in the Era of Print Saturation.