Table of Contents

1 The Reformation of the Prose Romance ; Bigolina's Cultural Formation ; Elements of the Prose Romance ; The Plot and Characters of Urania ; The Prose Romance According to Boccaccio ; Urania in Its Literary Context ; Bigolina's Defense of Women.
2 Writing a Portrait ; Bigolina and Aretino ; Portraiture in Urania ; The Caricature of Titian ; Of Mirrors, Istoria and Women in the Arts.
3 Ekphrasis and the Paragone ; Ekphrasis in Western Literature ; Bigolina and the Paragone ; The Judgment of Paris ; Descriptio Mulieris ; Bigolina's Two Venuses ; The Book as Object.
4 The Sight of the Beautiful ; Beauty and the Senses in Urania ; Sight in the Doctrines of Love ; The Body, the Gaze, and the Arts ; The Woman's Portrait as Gift.
5 Kissing the Wild Woman ; Wildness in Urania ; Urania's (Nearly) Mad Flight ; Femina Salvatica ; The Game of the Senses. "Giulia Bigolina's (ca. 1516-ca. 1569) Urania (ca. 1552) is the oldest known prose romance to have been written by an Italian woman. In Kissing the Wild Woman, Christopher Nissen explores the unique aesthetic vision and innovative narrative features of Bigolina's greatest surviving work, in which she fashioned a new type of narrative that combined elements of the romance and the novella and included a polemical treatise on the moral implications of portraiture and the role of women in the arts. Demonstrating that Bigolina challenged cultural authority by rejecting the prevailing views of both painting and literature, Nissen discusses Bigolina's suggestion that painting constituted an ineffectual, even immoral mode of self-promotion for women in relation to the views of the contemporary writer Pietro Aretino and the painter Titian. Kissing the Wild Woman's analysis of this little-known work adds a new dimension to the study of Renaissance aesthetics in relation to art history, Renaissance thought, women's studies, and Italian literature."--Pub. desc.