Date of Degree

2-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Comparative Literature

Advisor(s)

Monica Calabritto

Clare Carroll

Committee Members

Clare Carroll

Lia Schwartz

Subject Categories

Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity | Arts and Humanities | Comparative Literature | European Languages and Societies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Italian Language and Literature | Spanish Literature | Translation Studies | Women's Studies

Keywords

affect theory, theory of the body, history of emotions, renaissance studies, women's studies, reader's response theory

Abstract

In the vast gamut of human emotions, anger is one of the most complex, provocative, and enduring. From Greek philosophers working in antiquity to today’s most recent theories on emotions, most scholars agree that anger has a multifaceted nature. This near universal agreement across the barriers of time and geography stems from the following facts: in order to exist, anger involves the participation of other emotions; anger does not have an opposite; anger leads an individual to engage in an act of self-analysis and in an evaluation of other individuals; and, finally, anger inspires action to right a wrong that has been perceived as injustice. This sense of perceived injustice is what leads to the creation of vendetta for the women writers I analyze in my dissertation. They achieve their vendetta through their act of writing, as they themselves often assert. Like all vendetta, theirs grows from a sense of constant injustice and systematic subjugation. Unlike traditional vendetta however, these women, because of their status within society as women, could not take direct action to right these perceived wrongs. Their need for revenge therefore had to be fulfilled entirely through the written word, with their poems, plays, novels and short stories serving as the vehicles through which their anger could be delivered. This dissertation investigates the connection between anger and the act of writing. Specifically, it attempts to explore how anger served as a vital catalyst that prompted early modern women writers to engage in the act of writing.

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