Dr. Anne Larsen of the Hope College French faculty is co-editor of the "Encyclopedia of Women in the Renaissance: Italy, France, and England," which draws on current historical, literary, art, and medical scholarship from 103 contributors to document the contributions of well-known and lesser-known Renaissance women from Italy, France and England.
Larsen co-edited the volume with Diana Robin, who is a scholar in residence in Classical and Italian literature at Chicago's Newberry Library, and Professor Carole Levin, who is the Willa Cather Professor of History at the University of Nebraska. The reference volume was published in April of this year by ABC-CLIO of Santa Barbara, Calif.; Denver, Colo.; and Oxford, England.
The work provides portraits of famous women such as Catherine of Siena, Christine de Pizan, and Elizabeth I, and those less famous like Elena Lucrezia Cornaro, who was the first woman in history to receive a doctorate, and Louise Boursier, who wrote medical textbooks. It contains as well numerous thematic essays on diverse subjects such as "Marriage"; "Music and Women"; "Printers, the Book Trade, and Women"; "Literary Patronage"; "Hospital Administration and Nursing as Careers for Women"; "The Practice of Pharmacology and Laywomen"; "Music in the Churches and Convents"; and "Religious Reform and Women."
In addition to editing some 50 biographies and essays for the volume, Larsen contributed two entries on Madeleine and Catherine des Roches and Marie de Cotteblanche.
Reviews so far have been positive. One states that the work is "one of those rare reference books that is not only a good source of information but a fascinating read."
The work is one of three book projects that Larsen, who is a professor of French, worked on during a year-and-a-half sabbatical leave during the 2004-05 academic year and fall of 2005. Her first project, "From Mother and Daughter: Poems, Dialogues, and Letters of Les Dames des Roches," published in 2006 by the University of Chicago Press, was funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Research Grant. Her second, for which she was awarded a year-long National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for College Teachers, is a monograph that she is completing on Anna Maria van Schurman (1607-78) and the 17th-century debate on the education of women.
Larsen was supported by another year-long NEH fellowship in 1997-98 to work on her editions of the last two volumes of the complete works of Madeleine and Catherine des Roches, published by Droz in 1998 and 1999. She published the first volume of their collected works in 1993, also by Droz.
Larsen is co-editor of two other books: "Renaissance Women Writers. French Texts/American Contexts," published in 1994 by Wayne State University Press, and "Women Writers in Pre-Revolutionary France: From Marie de France to Elizabeth Vigée-Le Brun," published in 2000 by Garland/Routledge Publishing. She has also published many scholarly articles and book chapters, and more than 50 book reviews.