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Dr. Meredith K. Ray, in collaboration with Lynn Lara Westwater, has published a new edition and translation of Arcangela Tarabotti's Convent Paradise.
The radical Venetian writer Arcangela Tarabotti (1604–1652), compelled against her will to become a nun, is well known for her scathing attacks on patriarchal institutions for forcing women into convents. Convent Paradise (1643), Tarabotti's first published work, instead invites the reader into the cloister to experience not only the trials of enclosure, but also its spiritual joys. In stark contrast to her other works, Convent Paradise aims to celebrate the religious culture that colored every aspect of Tarabotti's experience as a seventeenth-century Venetian and a nun. At the same time, this nuanced exploration of monastic life conveys a markedly feminist spirituality. Tarabotti's meditative portrait of the convent enriches our understanding of her own life and writing, while also providing a window into a spiritual destiny shared by thousands of early modern women.
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