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LAURA TERRACINA

Laura Terracina (1519–1577).
Discorso sopra il principio di tutti i canti d’Orlando furioso.
Venice: Domenico Farri, 1560.

The poetry of Laura Terracina of Naples achieved fame throughout Renaissance Italy. Born to a family of minor nobility in Naples, Terracina was educated at home until her noteworthy intellectual gifts allowed her entry into the Accademia degli Incogniti in Naples. Soon her poetry found wide acceptance and popularity, despite her own protests of its unworthiness. When writing of women’s intellectual virtues, she preferred to encourage the efforts of others. Her most successful work was her Discorso, a chivalric romance based on Orlando furioso by Ludovico Ariosto (1474–1534). First printed at Venice in 1550, Terracina’s Discorso appeared in more than a dozen editions. This edition of 1560 includes one of the earliest known portraits of a living woman poet.