First published in Venice in 1547, this work casts a woman rather than a man as the main disputant on the ethics of love. Tullia d'Aragona argued that the only moral form of love between a woman and a man is one that recognizes both the sensual and the spiritual needs of humankind. Declaring sexual drives to be fundamentally irrepressible and blameless, she sought to challenge the Platonic and religious orthodoxy of her time, which condemed all forms of sensual experience, denied the rationality of women, and relegated femininity to the realm of physicality and sin. Human beings, the book asserts, consist of body and soul, sense and intellect, and honourable love must be based on this real nature. Aragona vindicates all women, proposing a morality of love that restores them to intellectual and sexual parity with men.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press