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Selected Poetry and Prose

A Bilingual Edition

Edited and Translated by Elaine Maclachlan
With an Introduction by Giovanna Rabitti
Chiara Matraini (1515–1604?) was a member of the great flowering of poetic imitators and innovators in the Italian literary heritage begun by Petrarch, cultivated later by the lyric poet Pietro Bembo, and supplanted by the epic poet Torquato Tasso. Though without formal training, Matraini excelled in a number of literary genres popular at the time—poetry, religious meditation, discourse, and dialogue. In her midlife, she published a collection of erotic love poetry, but later in life her work shifted toward a search for spiritual salvation. Near the end of her life, she published a new poetry retrospective.

Mostly available in only a handful of rare book collections, her writings are now adeptly translated here for an English-speaking audience and situated historically in an introduction by noted Matraini expert Giovanna Rabitti. Selected Poetry and Prose allows the poet to finally take her place as one of the seminal authors of the Renaissance, next to her contemporaries Vittoria Colonna and Laura Battiferra, also published in the Other Voice series.

232 pages | 5 halftones, 2 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2007

The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe

History: European History

Literature and Literary Criticism: Romance Languages


Religion: Religion and Literature

Women's Studies


"As usual in this series, introduction, footnotes, translations and bibliography combine to provide everything the English-speaking reader could possibly want in order to begin the (thoroughly worthwhile) experience of engaging with the writing. . . . Anyone interested in Italian and comparative literature, early moden studies, or women’s writing will appreciate this excellent bilingual edition."


"The quality of Elaine Maclachlan’s translations as well as Rabitti’s thorough introduction will undoubtedly spark the attention of students and scholars that Matraini’s work richly deserves. This is indeed a comprehensive and extensive anthology that profits from the collaboration of the scholar who has done the most research on Mattraini’s life and writings (Rabitti) and of a translator who, in turn, knows her subject matter exhaustively."

Maria Galli Stampino | H-Net Review

Table of Contents

Series Editors’ Introduction
Volume Introduction, by Giovanna Rabitti
Volume Editor’s Bibliography

I 1555/56 Volume (Book A)

II Spiritual Meditations

III Considerations on the Seven Penitential Psalms of the Great King and Prophet David

IV A Brief Discourse on the Life and Praise of the Most Blessed Virgin and Mother of the Son of God

V 1597 Volume (Book C)

VI Spiritual Dialogues

Appendix: Derivative Lines in Matraini’s Poetry
Series Editors’ Bibliography
Index of First Lines
General Index

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