Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


History (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Guido Ruggiero

Second Committee Member

Mary Lindemann

Third Committee Member

Karl Gunther

Fourth Committee Member

Laura Giannetti


The study of how a literary academy shaped the transition of a sixteenth-century Italian republic into a subject city and defined the subsequent evolution of civic life. This transition involved a complete reimagining of what constituted a meaningful life, placing new importance on intellectual activities, cultural innovation, and rhetorical fluency. In this shift, the Intronati attempted to relegate traditional political activities to a secondary position, implicitly arguing that it was cultural leadership that should determine elite status in any society, rather than traditional political positions. This new vision of civic identity required the active participation of women, who were expected to attain the same level of education and embody many of the same behavioral norms as did men. The members of the Intronati – and affiliated women – used activities such as intellectual parlor games, theater, comportment treatises, orations, dialogues, and other literary pursuits to develop these ideas and broadcast knowledge of their new priorities to an educated elite throughout the Italian peninsula. The efforts of the Intronati foreshadowed the revolutionary salons of eighteenth-century France, which many historians identify as important catalysts in the transition to modernity. This project rethinks the crisis of sixteenth-century Italy that saw once proud and independent city-states fall to larger powers from throughout Europe.


Italy; Europe; early modern; Renaissance; Siena; Intronati