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"A sunburst of light on a 'forest' of women, long darkly clouded by cliches of Counter-Reformation misogyny. With impeccable investigative skills Cox has discovered a New World, recounting its marvels in a panoramic network of more than 100 authors. Her prodigious scholarship brings a paradigm shift to Italian literary history."

"This is a worthy sequel to Cox's last book, full of little-studied literature, some of it completely new."

"Highly recommended to all, offering new faces and new facts, even a new tone in female authors suffering in an age of misogyny."

"An important contribution to a field about which too little is now written."

"To list the many literary discoveries of this book would be an impresa difficult even for the many guerriere of the Counter-Reformation, let alone for a reviewer constricted by space... astonishing research."

"As Cox stresses, the religious literature of this period has, like that of women, been comprehensively neglected for far too long."

"Such a wide-ranging and thoughtful book makes an impressive contribution to what is a lively and developing field, and will surely encourage further research on the complexities of women's writing in these particular decades in Italy and beyond."

"Building on her encyclopedic Women’s Writing in Italy, 1400–1650 (2008), Virginia Cox’s latest monograph, The Prodigious Muse, continues to emphasize the depth and breadth of early modern Italian women’s writing.... The Prodigious Muse amply sustains its argument that understanding early modern women’s writing requires assimilating the full range of authors and genres at play in the later sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries"

"After the acclaimed Women's Writing in Italy 1450-1650, in which Virginia Cox offered a crucial critical overview of the phenomenon of Renaissance women writers, she now develops the most critically innovative section of her previous work with this important, intriguing, impressive, beautifully written, and comprehensive new book. The Prodigious Muse — which implies in its title the variety, ambition, originality, and exceptionality of women's creativity of the period — is the result of a huge amount of research that opens the way to a new perspective on late-sixteenth- and early-seventeenth-century literature and culture, not only contributing to studies of women but also offering a new view of the history of Counter-Reformation politics and culture. The book is fascinating reading for those who want to learn more on the subject. It proposes a stimulating and well-documented new approach, offering important sources of information to those who work on Counter-Reformation literature and history, as well as on women's writing."

"Exhaustive and insightful... This is an amazing book, a major achievement in the field of women's studies."

"This is a definitive study and will surely remain so for many years to come."

"Virginia Cox has written a magisterial study of the major trends in women's writing in Renaissance and Counter-Reformation Italy... This is indeed an impressive volume and one which deserves to be read and studied. It will change the way we think about women's writing in early modern Italy."