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Margaret Rosenthal

Professor of Italian, Comparative Literature and English

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-3702
Office: THH 155H



Ph.D. Italian, Yale University, 1985
B.A. Italian and English Literature, Douglass College, 1975

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Professor of Italian, USC, 2009-  
Associate Professor of Italian, University of Southern California, 1992-  
Asisstant Professor, University of Southern California, 1985-1991  

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

While Professor Rosenthal views herself as a literary historian of early-modern Italy, her research and teaching interests involve several disciplines beyond literature. Up through her second book (The Honest Courtesan, University of Chicago Press, 1998), the central issues raised in her scholarship were what women writers in the past produced in urban settings, and how they succeeded, despite considerable obstacles, in publishing and disseminating their works. Since 1999 her primary interest has shifted to the history and uses of clothing in early-modern Italy. In both her previous and present work she attempts to show the multiple ways in which social and cultural norms shape behavior and activity in the public arena. In The Honest Courtesan, she explored Veronica Franco’s various public appearances in Venice, including her poems, as interrelated examples of her negotiations with the political, ideological and cultural structures of her place and time. In her third book, The Clothing of the Renaissance World: Cesare Vecellio's Costume Book 1590/1598 (London: Thames and Hudson, November, 2008), coauthored and co-translated with Ann R. Jones, she explores the ways that clothing in the early modern period had the power to enforce manners and customs. Their book is the first English translation of Cesare Vecellio's Habiti antichi et moderni di diverse parti del mondo, the most ambitious example in the sixteenth century of a book of prints illustrating and commenting on the clothing worn by people throughout the world. Vecellio’s nearly 500 page book includes 415 woodcuts of clothing from Europe, Asia, and Africa and twenty-one from the New World.

Research Keywords

Italian Renaissance, social history, Renaissance women writers, fashion, costume history, Venetian culture, renaissance popular culture

Conferences and Other Presentations

Conference Presentations

" "A Merchant of Fashion: Venetian Clothing, Customs and Commercial Markets in Cesare Vecellio’s Habiti antichi et diversi (1590)," Duke University, February 2007", Talk/Oral Presentation, 2006-2007   
" "Did Women Have a Renaissance?" USC Association of Trojan Leagues, Board of Directors Meeting, April 2007", Talk/Oral Presentation, Invited, 2006-2007   
" "Vecellio's Venice," Renaissance Society of America, April 2007", Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed 2006-2007   
" "Vecellio’s Women: Custom, Costume and Commerce in the Habiti antichi et diversi," University of California, Berkeley, March 2006", Talk/Oral Presentation, Invited, 2006-2007   
" "`Girls Gone Wild’: Virgins to Courtesans in Medieval and Renaissance Italian Literature," USC Fisher Art Gallery, October 2006", Talk/Oral Presentation, Invited, 2006-2007   
" Chair, "Negotiating Women: Diplomacy and Political History," Renaissance Society of America, April 2007", Chair, Invited, 2006-2007   
"The Politics of Space: Courts in Europe and the Mediterranean, ca. 1500-1750: "Space, Gender and Power," Huntington Library, January 2007", Chair, Invited, 2006-2007   

Other Presentations

" "Renaissance Postcards of Temporality: Fashion and Custom in Illustrated Alba amicorum" ", Dept. Colloquium, Spring 2004   
" "Collecting and Assembling a Fashionable Identity Abroad: An Examination of Two German University Students’ Illustrated Autograph Albums of the Late Sixteenth-Century" ", The History of Material Texts Workshop, University of Pennsylvania, Spring 2003   
""Dangerous Beauty"", Pre-Screening of Dangerous Beauty, Warner Grand Theater, San Pedro, Spring 2001   
""Veronica Franco" USC Trojan League of Orange County Fundraising Benefit for the Humanities at USC", USC Trojan League of Orange County Fundraising Benefit for the Humanities at USC, Norris Theater, Spring 2001   
"Italian Renaissance Women Writers"", Satellite lecture on Italian Renaissance Women Writers (to University of Rome), Casa Italiana, NYU, Spring 2000   



Rosenthal, M. F., Jones, A. R. (2008). The Clothing of the Renaissance World.
Rosenthal, M. F. Options for Teaching Women Writers of the Italian Renaissance. New York: Modern Language Association.
Rosenthal, M. F. (1998). M. Rosenthal and A. R. Jones, translators and eds., Poems and Selected Letters of Veronica Franco, 1998.
Rosenthal, M. F. (1992). The Honest Coutesan: Veronica Franco, Citizen and Writer in Sixteenth-Century Venice, 1992.

Book Chapter

Rosenthal, M. F. (2007). Fashion, Custom and Culture in Two Early-Modern Illustrated Albums. pp. 79-107. Biblos.
Rosenthal, M. F. (2006). Cutting a Good Figure: The Fashions of Venetian Courtesans in the Illustrated Albums of Early Modern Travelers. pp. 52-74. Oxford University Press.
Rosenthal, M. F. (2004). "`A Whore’s vices are really virtues’: The Erotics of Satire in Pietro Aretino’s Ragionamenti," in Pietro Aretino’s Ragionamenti," an introductory essay to Aretino’s Dialogues. Toronto: University Of Toronto Press.
Rosenthal, M. F. (1999). "Moda ed identita? nazionale in Italia all’inizio dell’eta? moderna," in Atti del XVI Congresso dell’AISLLI (Associazione Internazionale per lo Studio della Lingua e della Letteratura Italiana). Edizione Cadmo.
Rosenthal, M. F. (1993). • "Venetian Women Citizens and Their Discontents," in Sexuality and Gender in Early Modern Europe: Institutions, Texts and Images, ed. James G. Turner. pp. 107-132. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rosenthal, M. F. (1989). • "A Courtesan’s Voice: Epistolary Self-Portraiture in Veronica Franco’s Terze rime," Writing the Female Voice: Essays on Epistolary Literature, ed. Elizabeth C. Goldsmith. pp. 3-24. Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press.


Rosenthal, M. F. (1995). "Epilogue" in Aretino’s Dialogues. pp. 387-412. New York. Marsilio Editore.

Journal Article

Rosenthal, M. F. (2008). "Fashions of Friendship in Two Early-Modern Illustrated Alba Amicorum". The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies.
Rosenthal, M. F. (1989). Veronica Franco’s Terze Rime: The Venetian Courtesan’s Defense. Renaissance Quarterly. Vol. 42 (2), pp. 227-257.

Multimedia Scholarship and Creative Works

Guest Editor, Special issue of The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (Duke University Press), "Cultures of Clothing in Early Modern Europe," a peer-reviewed journal which will include 6-7 essays, scheduled for publication in Fall 2009 , 2007-2009  
USC Website , A USC website on the courtesan poet, Veronica Franco, 2007-2011  
Creative Consultant, American Music Theatre Project: Northwestern University, August 2008 Premiere of "Dangerous Beauty" themusical based on my book The Honest Courtesan and the movie, "Dangerous Beauty" National Alliance of Musical Theatre, 18th Annual Festival of New Musicals (only 8 selected from 100s of applications), October 2006 , 2006-2008  
Historical Consultant, Dangerous Beauty (Warner Brothers, 1998) Author of book (The Honest Courtesan) on which the film is based, 1992-1998  

New Courses Developed

• Designed and Taught a Micro-Seminar for USC in-coming freshmen on "The Renaissance Woman,", LAS, 2006-2007   
Designed and Taught a Micro-Seminar for USC in-coming Freshmen on “The Renaissance Woman,” A, LAS, Micro-Seminar for In-Coming Freshmen, Spring 2006   

Honors and Awards

USC Mellon Award for Mentoring, 2009-2010   
USC Associates Award For Excellence In Teaching, 2006-2007   
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship Recipient, 2002-2003   
Renaissance Society of America Research Grant, 1999-2000   
USC or School/Dept Award for Teaching, USC General Education Teaching Award, 1999-2000   
USC College Award for Research, 1997-1998   
Maggie Pexton Murray Grant, Doris Stein Center, LACMA, 1996-1997   
USC Zumberge Research and Innovation Fund Award, 1996-1997   
USC Faculty Recognition Award for Research, 1995-1996   
USC Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award, 1995  
Visiting Fellowship, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University (1993, postponed to May 1995), 1994-1995   
USC or School/Dept Award for Teaching, USC Mortar Board Faculty of the Month, 4/1995  
The Howard R. Marraro Prize by the Modern Language Association of America for the best book in Italian and Comparative literature, The Honest Courtesan: Veronica Franco, Citizen and Writer in Sixteen, 1994  
American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship Recipient, 1989-1990   
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship Recipient, Summer Fellowship, 1987-1988   
USC or School/Dept Award for Teaching, USC Funds in Innovative Teaching Award, 1987-1988   
USC Zumberge Research and Innovation Fund Award, 1987-1988   
Gladys Krieble Delmas Summer Fellowship, 1986-1987   

Service to the University

Administrative Appointments

Director, Center for Feminist Research, USC, 1993-1995  


Member, Editorial Board:The Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library, University of Toronto Press, 2006-  
Member, Faculty Council, 2006-  
Member, Shoah Foundation Research Committee "Resisting Genocide" funded by USC College 20/20 research team, 2010-2011   
Member, USC College Personnel Committee for Promotions, 2010-2011   
Member, Advisory Board: Modern Language Association Executive Council, PMLA Advisory Committee, 2007-2010  
Member, Selection Committee for Funds in Undergraduate Innovative Teaching Award, Spring 2010   
Chair, MLA Publication Committee: Texts and Translations Series Editorial Board, 2004-2005   

Review Panels

ACLS Early Career Fellowship Program, Dissertation Completion Fellowship of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 2006-2008  

Other Service to the University

Lectures for Center for the Excellence in Teaching "Publishing in Humanities Journals" January 2010 , 2010-2011   
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