Cereta, Laura

Cereta, Laura
   One of the rare female humanists and authors of Renaissance Italy. She was born to a prominent family of Brescia and educated at home and in a convent school. As was customary for women of her class, she married at age 15 but was left a childless widow when her husband died of plague. She devoted her life to study and writing. She met many of the humanists who lived in and near Brescia and addressed to them and others a series of letters discussing literary topics. Many of the men to whom she wrote refused to reply to her letters. She also attempted to meet and encourage other educated women. Her letters to humanists were often autobiographical, revealing her desire for a respected place in the all-male world of learning. She sought to establish a social environment in which educated women could participate without risking their reputation for moral uprightness.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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