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Pleasure of Writing

Critical Essays on Dacia Maraini

edited by Rodica Diaconescu-Blumenfeld and Ada Testaferri

Publication Year: 2000

One of contemporary Italy's best-known writers, Dacia Maraini has often been a figure of controversy as author and as cultural critic. Though she is recipient of numerous literary awards, Maraini's work has not received the sustained critical attention commensurable with its stature. Working and creating "dalla parte delle donne" (on the side of women), she had been effectively excluded from the Italian critical canon. The Pleasure of Writing is opened with Maraini's own analysis of women's writing. There follow 14 essays by an international group of Italianists, utilizing a wide spectrum of interpretive perspectives, form semiotics to psychoanalysis, to treat the full range of Maraini's production as novelist, playwright, poet, and filmmaker.

Published by: Purdue University Press

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Editors' Preface

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pp. vii-viii

Dacia Maraini is one of contemporary Italy's best-known writers. An active participant in the dialogue concerning the status of women, she has never wavered in her position. Her struggles on behalf of women have made her a figure of controversy as author and as cultural critic. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-

The editors wish to thank, above all, Dacia Maraini. Thanks are also due to Lucia Lermond for both financial and editorial support and to the Vassar College Research Committee for its generous contributions toward the preparation and the publication of this work ...

Part 1 Preliminaries

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Introduction

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pp. 3-20

Dacia Maraini is a controversial figure. She is controversial in the context of Catholic Italy, and even that of the Italian left, where women had been secondary, then fought for emancipation, then for sexual difference, and are now being reabsorbed in a "postfeminist" complacency. While Maraini does not, normatively,

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Reflections on the Logical and Illogical Bodies of My Sexual Compatriots

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pp. 21-38

I am in the countryside. In a house without a telephone. Five kilometers away from the nearest village. On a hill called Cava del Bruciore.1 In fact, there is" something burning: a fragrance of dry grasses, the crackling of air so taut that it seems about to splinter and crumble. ...

Part 2 Demythicizing Genre: Issues of Representation and Language

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De-tecting Voci;

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pp. 41-60

The novel La vacanza (1962; The Holiday) marked Dacia Maraini's official debut on the literary stage. She was greeted as a writer of promise and a disciple of neorealism partly because of Alberto Moravia's pronouncement in his introduction to the novel: "Dunque tu sei una scrittrice realista" ...

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Spatialized Gender and the Poetry of Dacia Maraini

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pp. 61-76

In his Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard conducts a formal analysis of the aesthetics of spatial signifiers. He prefers to deal with what he refers to as "topophilia" or "images of felicitous space" and defers the task of examining the negative orapocalyptic dimension of the topic. He argues in favor of the interpretability of ...

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pp. 77-100

There is a general consensus that Dacia Maraini's early literary production, including both her poetry and her novels from 1962 to 1974, represents one ofthe most original expressions ofItalian feminist literature.1 In a profile introducing the author to the general public in the 1976 anthology Donne in poesia (Women poets), ...

Part 3 Poetics and Practices of Liberation

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Symbolic Mediation and Female Community in Dacia Maraini's Fiction

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pp. 103-120

In her project for women's liberation, Dacia Maraini looks beyond the entrenched family structure to give primary space in women's lives to female friendships.1 Historically, friendships between women have been culturally devalued and relegated to separate "female" spheres. But as Maraini shows in her works ...

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Variations on a Theme: Violence against Women in the Writings of Dacia Maraini

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pp. 121-134

Dacia Maraini has been socially very active in the fight for new laws to protect women as well as for a reduction of violence and pornography in the media. All her books explicitly denounce the constant abuse of women and the violent crimes committed against them. This essay investigates how Maraini's mode of ...

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Dacia Maraini's "Barricade Theater"

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pp. 135-146

The decade of the 1970s was a period of intense struggle and remarkable success for the Italian women's movement. As Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum recalls, it achieved such changes as the divorce law (established in 1970 and confirmed in 1974), protective legislation for working mothers, equal. family rights, equal pay, ...

Part 4 Historiographies

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A memoria: Charting a Cultural Map for Women's Transition from Preistoria to Storia

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pp. 149-164

The stichomythic lines exchanged by Maria and Pietro at the inception of Dacia Maraini's A memoria (1967; By heart) immediately introduce the reader into a fictional world ruled by contradiction, alienation and, most of all, forgetfulness.1 Maria, who soon thereafter comes to be identified as the diarist, ...

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La lunga vita di Marianna Ucr

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pp. 165-178

In his introduction to Tropics of Discourse (1978), Hayden White writes: "When we make sense of such problematical topics as human nature, culture, society, and history . .. our discourse always tends to slip away from our data towards the structures of consciousness with which we are trying to grasp them" (1). ...

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Vocal Marginality: Dacia Maraini's Veronica Franco

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pp. 179-192

In Veronica, meretrice e scrittora (1992; Veronica, prostitute and female writer), Dacia Maraini presents her readers with her fictional interpretation of the Venetian poet and courtesan Veronica Franco (1546-91). Maraini does not intend to give us a depiction of Franco that is "true" to history, but rather "Un viaggio ...

Part 5 Reclaiming the Body in the Construction of Subjectivity

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Body as Will: Incarnate Voice in Dacia Maraini

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pp. 195-214

So tenderly sings Manila, the prostitute mother, at the close of Dacia Maraini's 1978 play Dialogo di una prostituta con un suo cliente (Dialogue between a Prostitute and Her Client), an apotropaic incantation that can only strike its hearers as image of ultimate violence: the seeling up of the eye, mouth, and ...

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Remembering What the Closed Eye Sees: Some Notes on Dacia Maraini's Postmodem Oresteia

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pp. 215-231

Whether one believes, as Simone de Beauvoir did, that the Oresteia is the mythical rendering of the patriarchal takeover, Aeschylus's trilogy remains a fascinating and disturbing document of what the Greeks were grappling with philosophically during the period of the so-called "birth of tragedy" in the fifth century B.C. ...

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Revolution in the Laundry

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pp. 232-245

In the early part of Dacia Maraini's novel Donna in guerra (Woman at War)1 the heroine, Vannina, travels with her husband from the everyday social reality in Rome to an island holiday somewhere off the coast of Naples. On this island she makes new friends and eventually decides to spend time in Naples ...

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Toward a Poor Feminist Cinema: The Experimental Films of Dacia Maraini

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pp. 246-264

Though Dacia Maraini is known primarily as a writer, she has produced a small body of work in film, most of which was completed during the 1970s. Maraini's directorial debut was the 1970 feature-length adaptation of Alberto Moravia's novel L'amore coniugale (Conjugal love). This film, which met with neither ...

Contributors

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pp. 265-268

Index

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pp. 269-277


E-ISBN-13: 9781612490915
E-ISBN-10: 1612490913
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557531971
Print-ISBN-10: 1557531978

Page Count: 287
Publication Year: 2000

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