Now available for the first time in English translation, Enrico retells the story of the conquest of Byzantium in the Fourth Crusade (1202–04). Marinella intersperses historical events in her account of the invasion with numerous invented episodes, drawing on the rich imaginative legacy of the chivalric romance. Fast-moving, colorful, and narrated with the zest that characterizes Marinella’s other works, this poem is a great example of a woman engaging critically with a quintessentially masculine form and subject matter, writing in a genre in which the work of women poets was typically shunned.
Marinella's masterpiece, The Nobility and Excellence of Women, and the Defects and Vices of Men was first published in 1600, composed at a furious pace in answer to Giusepe Passi's diatribe about women's alleged defects. This polemic displays Marinella's vast knowledge of the Italian poetic tradition and demonstrates her ability to argue against authors of the misogynist tradition from Boccaccio to Torquato Tasso. Trying to effect real social change, Marinella argued that morally, intellectually, and in many other ways, women are superior to men.
Who Is Mary? testifies to the emotional and spiritual relationships that women had with the figure of Mary, whom they were required to emulate as the epitome of femininity. Now available for the first time in English-language translation, these writings suggest new possibilities for women in both religious and civil culture and provide a window to women’s spirituality, concerning the most important icon set before them, as wives, mothers, and Christians.