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Dante and the Origins of Italian Literary Culture$
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Teodolinda Barolini

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823227037

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823227037.001.0001

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Le parole son femmine e i fatti sono maschi: Toward a Sexual Poetics of the Decameron (Decameron 2.9, 2.10, 5.10)

Le parole son femmine e i fatti sono maschi: Toward a Sexual Poetics of the Decameron (Decameron 2.9, 2.10, 5.10)

Chapter:
(p.281) Chapter 13 Le parole son femmine e i fatti sono maschi: Toward a Sexual Poetics of the Decameron (Decameron 2.9, 2.10, 5.10)
Source:
Dante and the Origins of Italian Literary Culture
Author(s):

Teodolinda Barolini

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823227037.003.0014

“Le parole son femmine e i fatti son maschi” succinctly captures Boccaccio's sexual poetics by suggesting both a mutual exclusion between the sexes and their proper spheres, and an inevitable contamination between these same spheres, since fatti are masculine, but the word “fatti” is a parola, and thus feminine. In other words, the boundary that the proverb at first glance so emphatically delineates, between women and words, on the one hand, and men and deeds, on the other, is much less rigid than it first appears. The proverb's ambiguity makes it all the more applicable to Boccaccio, who both invokes two separate and gendered domains, one connoted by words.

Keywords:   Boccaccio, sexual poetics, parola, ambiguity, proverb

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