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The Humanists reverence for the academic philosophy of medieval universities effected a literary flare-up consisting of works by both men and women, in Latin and in lingua franca–works detailing the attainments of prominent women, works confuting the main allegations made against women, works contending for the equal education of men and women, works labeling and reclassifying women’s appropriate role in the family, at court, and in public and works depicting women’s lives and experiences. The proto-feminism of these “other voices” represents an important aspect of the literary effects of the Renaissance. Around 1365, Boccaccio whose Corbaccio made the typical attacks against female nature wrote Concerning Famous Women, a humanist discourse based on classical texts eulogizing distinguished women from pagan Greek, Roman ancient times, and from the religious and cultural tradition since the olden times making all readers conscious of a sex usually damned or forgot ten. However, in it, Boccaccio’s position was typically misogynist. The book only honored those women who maintained the conventional female “qualities” like virginity, quiet, and compliance. Socially active women, for example, sovereigns and fighters, were portrayed as enduring appalling penalties for infringing into male-domain. Even if Boccacio chose women as his theme, he maintained his male chauvinistic attitude although in the book. Christine de Pizan’s Book of the City of Ladies contains a second catalogue of famous women, as a reaction to Boccaccio’s.


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