26023 - Medieval Women's Literature

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The student achieves in-depth knowledge of medieval women's writing. He acquires abilities for the analysis and the interpretation of the literary text.

Course contents

Women in writing


From a comparative and gender perspective, the course introduces some important medieval women writers  and the study of the various forms of representation, between image and text, of artists and intellectuals in the main literary genres in the Middle Ages.



From April, 13th 2023




The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye

Primary sources:

Maria di Francia, Lais, Carocci

Français:Lais bretons (XIIe-XIIIesiècles): Marie de France et ses contemporains.Édition bilingue établie, traduite, présentée et annotée par Nathalie Koble et Mireille Séguy, Paris, Champion (Champion Classiques. Moyen Âge, 32).

English:The Lays of Marie de France, transl. by D.R. Slavitt, Edmonton, AU Press, 2013.

Español:María de Francia, Lais, introducción, traducción y notas de Carlos Álvar, Madrid, Alianza, 2004.


Christine de Pizan, La Città delle dame, Carocci.

English: Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies, translated by E. J. Richards, New York, Persea books, 1998 or Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies, translated by Rosalind Brown-Grant, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1999.


Flamenca, Carocci (available online).

 Français: Flamenca, édité par F. Zufferey et V. Fasseur, Paris, Livres de Poche, 2014.


Heldris di Cornovaglia, Il romanzo di Silence, Carocci.

Français: Le Roman de Silence. Roman d’ Heldris de Cornuailles,  in Récits d’amour et de chevalerie, XIIe-XVe siècles,  Paris, Robert Laffont.

Español: Heldris de Cornualles, El libro de Silence,  Madrid, Siruela.

Optional texts

Boccaccio, Decameron, X,X : Griselda (Teaching resources on Virtuale)

Historia de la doncella Teodor (Teaching resources on Virtuale))

Chrétien de Troyes, Philomena (Teaching resources on Virtuale)

A. Byatt, Il genio nell'occhio d'usignolo, Einaudi

English:The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye, Chatto & Windus


Bibliography of Secondary texts (two of your choice)

P. Caraffi, Figure femminili del sapere, Carocci

P. Caraffi (a cura di), Christine de Pizan. Una città per sé, Carocci

P. Caraffi (a cura di), Corpi da paura, Odoya, I Libri di Emil.

A. Cavarero, Tu che mi guardi, tu che mi racconti, Feltrinelli (Relating Narratives: Storytelling and Selfhood, Routledge)

A. Giallongo, La donna serpente, edizioni Dedalo (The Historical Enigma of the Snake Woman from Antiquity to the 21st Century, Cambridge Scholars Publishing; La mujer serpiente, Asociación Cultural Benilde)

Logan D. Whalen, Marie de France and the Poetics of Memory, The Catholic University of America Press

N. Margolis, An Introduction to Christine de Pizan, Gainesville, University of Florida Press, 2011





Teaching methods

Lessons, seminars and conferences given by external scholars.

Language: ITALIAN

Attendance and active participation in the lectures and conferences of the visiting teachers are required. Attendance is compulsory for GEMMA students.

Assessment methods

The exam consists of an oral test. The knowledge of the individual topics covered during the course, the ability to contextualize the cultural and literary phenomena and to identify the elements of originality of the texts studied, the ability to personal and critical re-elaboration of the reference bibliography and the language properties will be evaluated with top marks. A manual competence without any interpretative support will be considered to be positive but will not be given a high grade. Training gaps, superficial analyses, inappropriate and confused language will make the evaluation insufficient.

Teaching tools

Multimedia resources (films, Power Point, audio and image projection, links to Internet sites, etc.)

Office hours

See the website of Patrizia Caraffi