Epistolae & Orationes Cassandare Fedelis (Patavii: Bolzettam, 1636), 230 pages, 8vo, Half leather with decorative paper boards, portrait of Cassandare Fedellis on pg 14. Cassandre Fidele was the most renowned female scholar in Italy during the last few decades of the 15th century. By age twelve Fedele was a master of Greek and Latin and sent to study under the tutelage of a Servite monk who taught her classical literature, philosophy, the sciences and dialectics. This volume of work, 123 letters and 3 orations, does not include her poetry, of which none survives. Sadly, her time in the limelight was short and after she was married at age 34 she hardly ever wrote again. Some scholars argue that she may have been pressured to stop writing by social pressures and stigmas. She once stated that she did not believe a woman could be married and pursue rigorous studies at the same time. In one of her letters (#31) she writes to Alessandra Scala, who had written Fedele asking her if she should marry or continue to devote her time to her studies, Fedele nebulously responded with "choose the path for which nature has suited you." While she herself did stop writing, she once gave a speech about how she thought women of her day could benefit from the education which was available to them, and still make use of it even though they had no professional outlet for their talents, this speech reads in part (in translation) "...When I meditate on the idea of marching forth in life with the lowly and execrable weapons of the little woman-- the needle and the distaff-- even if the study of literature offers women no rewards or honors, I believe women must nonetheless pursue and embrace such studies alone for the pleasure and enjoyment they contain..." Very Good Copy. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection.

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