Evangelisti, Sivia. Nuns: A History of Convent Life, 1450-1700. New York: Oxford University Press (2007).
Evangelisti’s popular study of nuns’ lives is one of favorite sources for the character Emilia and the reasons she joined a convent in approximately 1565. There are many stories if women who were coerced into a convent during the Medieval and Renaissance periods in Europe, but fewer narratives of why such a choice might be desirable. For fictional Emilia, who was interested in both intellectual and artistic pursuits, it was very desirable. The introduction of this books begins with several reasons a woman might join a convent and choose an enclosed life.
Roest, Bert. Order and Disorder: The Poor Clares between Foundation and Reform.