In the first Book of the Convivio, Dante names women among the readers of his text, which include “non solamente maschi ma femmine.” However, the poet’s exhortations to women in the canzone Amor che ne la mente suggest that female readers may have a unique relationship to knowledge. Juxtaposing Dante’s interpretation with the language of the poem, this article analyzes how the Convivio articulates the pursuit of philosophical knowledge as one which is at once gendered and universal. Considering Dante’s woman reader raises questions such as: To what extent are women invited to participate in knowledge-seeking? How do women undertake an amorous pursuit of philosophical knowledge? The author concludes that Dante’s work ultimately proposes that women are capable of engaging in philosophical inquiry, and that this unique vision of women in the Convivio represents a significant step from the female figures of the Vita Nuova to those of the Commedia, revealing that Dante’s portrayals of women are intimately linked to the evolution of his thought.
Granacki, Alyssa M.
""Molti e molte:" Women Readers and Lady Philosophy in Dante's Convivio,"
Bibliotheca Dantesca: Journal of Dante Studies: Vol. 4, Article 3.
Available at: https://repository.upenn.edu/bibdant/vol4/iss1/3