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Early Women Writers

Cassandra Fedele



Cassandra Fedele


Veneto, Italy




Fedele was born in Venice to Barbara Leoni and Angelo Fedele. When Fedele reached fluency in Greek and Latin at the age of twelve, she was sent by her father to Gasparino Borro, a Servite monk, who tutored her in classical literature, philosophy, the sciences, and dialectics. In 1487, at twenty-two years of age, she achieved success in Italy and abroad when she delivered a Latin speech in praise of the arts and sciences at her cousin's graduation at Padua. Her speech, Oratio pro Bertucio Lamberto, was published in Modena (1487), Venice (1488), and Nuremberg (1489). From 1487 to 1497, she exchanged letters with prominent humanists and nobles throughout Spain and Italy. One of these correspondents, Isabella I of Castile, urged Fedele to join her court in Spain. Fedele declined the invitation, writing that she could not go while Italy was at war with France (Fedele's early biographers believed that the doge Agostino Barbarigo would not allow Fedele to leave Italy).


123 letters, 3 orations (published Padua 1623)




Epistolary, Oration

Editions and Translations

"Cassandra Fedele: (a) Alessandra Scala to Cassandra; (b) Cassandra to Alessandra." Translated and edited by Margaret L. King and Albert Rabil, Jr. Her Immaculate Hand: Selected Works by and about the Women Humanists of Quattrocento Italy. Binghamton, N.Y.: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1983, 87-88; Cassandra Fedele: Letters and Orations. Edited and translated by Diana Robin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

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