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Under Arturo's Star

The Cultural Legacies of Elsa Morante

by Stefania Lucamante and Sharon Wood

Publication Year: 2006

Elsa Morante has long been recognized internationally as one of the most significant and innovative writers of twentieth-century Italy; nonetheless, there has to date been no full-length study in English dedicated to her work. This collection of twelve essays offers the first comprehensive evaluation of Morante to appear outside Italy, while taking into account modern critical and theoretical developments.

Published by: Purdue University Press

Title Page

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Stefania Lucamante wishes to thank the Catholic University of America, particularly in the person of Vice Provost for Graduate Studies George E. Garvey, for the generous support and the summer grants, which allowed us to do the work. Sharon Wood thanks the University of Leicester for grants which helped toward travel expenses. ...

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Introduction: Life and Works

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pp. 1-20

Elsa Morante has long been recognized internationally as one of the most significant innovative writers of twentieth-century Italy. Nonetheless, there has to date been no full-length study in English dedicated to her work, and indeed this volume proposes to offer the first comprehensive evaluation of Morante to appear outside Italy. ...

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Strategies of Affabulation in Elsa Morante’s Diario 1938

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pp. 21-44

Elsa Morante’s Diario 19381 was discovered among the author’s private papers and published posthumously in 1989.2 It is a text that even more than a decade after its first publication, continues to pose problems, raise questions, and above all create a certain embarrassment within the Italian literary establishment. ...

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Elsa Morante, Translator of Katherine Mansfield

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pp. 45-66

The year 1948, with the appearance of Menzogna e sortilegio, marks a significant turning point in Morante’s literary trajectory. It is the year when, after decades of fragmented and often ad hoc collaboration with papers and periodicals, to which she contributed articles and short stories, Morante published her ...

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Poetry and Reality in “The Aesthetics of Our Time”

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pp. 67-93

While the critical essays published by Elsa Morante in her lifetime were hardly numerous, they contain, nonetheless, a coherent framework of reflective judgments on aesthetics and on the figurative arts, and demonstrate the same level of clarity, precision, and insight as her writings on literature. ...

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Models of Narrative in Menzogna e sortilegio

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pp. 94-111

While the Marxist critic Gÿorgÿ Lukács heralded Elsa Morante’s first novel, Menzogna e sortilegio (1948), as one of the most important Italian works of the century, many subsequent critics decried it as an outpost of classical realism, a late and overripe fruit of nineteenth-century narrative forms, a work that was out of step, out of time, ...

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House of Liars: The American Translation of Menzogna e sortilegio

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pp. 123-139

Elsa Morante was always intensely private about her work and reticent about her own creative process, frequently declaring her disapproval of critical editions. She firmly believed that once a text was released by its author it became an intangible entity, unalterable in time and, above all, inscrutable in its creative development. ...

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The Morphology of Desire in Elsa Morante’s L’isola di Arturo

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pp. 129-156

It has become almost a cliché to note that when the literary establishment decides to open its ranks to a woman writer, it does so by praising her uniqueness, her absolute originality.1 Thus, Cesare Garboli places Elsa Morante “fuori da ogni tracciato. Estranea a qualsiasi tradizione consacrata del Novecento, la scrittura della Morante non lascia intravedere modelli” ...

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The Maternal Boy: Manuele, or The Last Portrait of Morante’s Androgyny

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pp. 157-187

Elsa Morante’s last novel, Aracoeli,1 has received the least amount of critical attention of all her works.2 Frequently regarded as a parody or palinode, particularly of La Storia but also in more general terms of her entire production prior to Aracoeli, the novel has been defined by Franco Fortini as “definitive,” the ultimate and final work, ...

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A Difficult Legacy: Morante’s Presence in Contemporary Italian Literature

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pp. 188-220

Critical theory on literary influence, as taught in the university lecture theater, would frequently have us believe that the connections between an author and his/her successors are more direct and unproblematic than is, in fact, the case. Indeed, these connections rarely reveal an illuminated and rational transmission of the cultural legacy in question. ...

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Teatro di guerra: Of History and Fathers

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pp. 221-256

This study of Althénopis and Guerra di infanzia e di Spagna, by the Neapolitan writer Fabrizia Ramondino, suggests that Ramondino’s characters, family sagas, and even the evertransient position she assigns to her narrators, could not properly be comprehended without taking into full account the suggestive presence of Elsa Morante’s novels, ...

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Narrative and Essays: The Ethical Commitment of Elsa Morante

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pp. 257-267

In speaking of Elsa Morante, it is difficult to draw a line between her commitment to the foundations of writing and to those of living itself.1 Thinking about life through art, and working through literary problems in a perspective that implied absolute moral responsibility: these two positions are axiomatic in her work, and will brook no deviation or approximation. ...

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Elsa Morante and Pier Paolo Pasolini

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pp. 268-289

This article traces the intense, reciprocal, fertile, and troubled relationship between Elsa Morante and Pier Paolo Pasolini.1 In analyzing the several aspects of Morante’s presence in the work of Pasolini, I have deliberately enmeshed three elements: (1) the level of empirical people, (2) the level of psychic “self-images,” and (3) the level of literary characters. ...

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The “Dragon of Unreality” against the “Dream of a Thing”: On Morante and Pasolini

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pp. 290-310

In reconsidering the extraordinarily nuanced and multiform oeuvre of Elsa Morante in all its variety, I propose to demonstrate the following thesis—that an understanding of the writer is impossible without an understanding, or at least an interpretation, of her concept of “reality.” ...


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pp. 311-314


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pp. 315-322

E-ISBN-13: 9781612490809
E-ISBN-10: 1612490808
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557534071
Print-ISBN-10: 1557534071

Page Count: 332
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: Purdue Studies in Romance Literatures
Series Editor Byline: Patricia Hart

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Subject Headings

  • Morante, Elsa, ca. 1912-1985 -- Criticism and interpretation.
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