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Fonte, Moderata (1555–1592)

Fonte, Moderata (15551592)

Born Modesta Pozzo, Moderata Fonte was an author whose work The Worth of Women posed an early feminist challenge to the male domination of society, education, and the sciences. She was raised in Venice by relatives after the death of her parents; her first work was a chivalric romance entitled Thirteen Cantos of the Floridoro. Her most famous work is The Worth of Women: Wherein Is Clearly Revealed Their Nobility and Their Superiority to Men. This book in a popular literary form, the dialogue/debate, presents the view of seven women who discuss the worth of men and marriage and who demonstrate that women can hold their own in intellectual argument. The characters include women of different classes and ages, who are divided into two main groups: those in support of marriage, and those resolutely opposed. The group sets up for itself the difficult challenge of explaining the many defects in men's characters and their undying hostility toward women. Fonte completed her work shortly before dying in childbirth at the age of thirty-seven.

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