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Early Women Writers

Veronica Gambara



Veronica Gambara


Pratalbiono, Italy (Currently known as Pralbiono)




Veronica Gambara was one of the first female poet-rulers of her time. She was an Italian governor, patron, writer, wife, and mother who was educated in literature, philosophy, and languages at an early age. At age 24, she married Lord Gilberto X of Correggio, a ruler of the small city. He died in 1518 and left Veronica to assume command of the rule and educate two young children. She took an effective role in the military defence of Correggio and dedicated gratifying yet firm poems to the leaders on the value of peace. She became a great patron of the artists and writers of the early Italian Renaissance. Approximately 50 of her poems and 130 of her letters still survive.Her literary career can be categorized in two stages. In the first stage, she composed love poems for her husband in the Petrarchan sonnet form. In the second stage, post her husband’s death, she engaged in political discourses. She composed a series of sonnets devoted to the theme of Holy Roman emperor Charles V’s empire, including his military campaigns against the Ottoman Empire and the return of Medici power to Florence. Her poetry was circulated privately, while some poems appeared in 16th century anthologies. Veronica’s poetic endeavours of her administrative years reveal the intersection of cultural currency and political power. This was customary in Renaissance Italy, but was rarely exemplified by women.


Italian, Latin


Lyric Poetry, Letters, Petrarchan Poetry, Devotional Poems, Vergilian Poems in Praise of the Countryside of Brescia and Corregio, Political Poetry


Rabitti, Giovanna. “Lyric Poetry, 1500–1650.” In A History of Women’s Writing in Italy. Letizia Panizza and Sharon Wood. Translated by Abigail Brundin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. 37–51; Richard Poss; “A Renaissance Gentildonna.” Women Writers of the Renaissance and Reformation, Katharina M. Wilson. Athens, London: University of Georgia Press, 1987. 47-65; “Veronica Gambara.” Oxford Bibliographies, 21 Jan. 2016, Accessed 23 Feb 2019; “Veronica Gambara, Complete Poems. A Bilingual Edition.” Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 7 April. 2014, Accessed 28 Feb 2019; Women Writers of Great Britain and Europe: An Encyclopedia. Katharina M. Wilson, Paul Schlueter and June Schlueter. London, New York: Routledge, 1997. 163.

Archival Holdings

Rime e lettere. Ed. Chiapetti, Pia Mestica. Florence, 1879; Rime e lettere. Ed. Rizzardi, Felice. Brescia, 1759; Rime inedited e rare di Veronica Gambara. Ed. Salza, A., ed., Cirié, 1915.Sonetti amorosi e rari Ed. Costa, E. Parma, 1890; Sonetti Inediti. Ed. Rampini, A. L. Padua, 1845; Undici Lettere inedited di Veronica Gamaba e un’ode Latina tradotta in volagre. Ed. Amadduzi, Luigi. Guastalla, 1889.

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