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A culture defines monsters against what is essentially thought of as human. Creatures such as the harpy, the siren, the witch, and the half-human all threaten to destroy our sense of power and intelligence and usurp our human consciousness. In this way, monster myths actually work to define a culture's definition of what is human. In Monsters in the Italian Literary Imagination, a broad range of scholars examine the monster in Italian culture and its evolution from the medieval period to the twentieth century. Editor Keala Jewell explores how Italian culture juxtaposes the powers of the monster against the human. The essays in this volume engage a wide variety of philological, feminist, and psychoanalytical approaches and examine monstrous figures from the medieval to postmodern periods. They each share a critical interest in how monsters reflect a culture's dominant ideologies.
Anti-Dantism, Metaphysics, Tradition
Since the beginnings of Italian vernacular literature, the nature of the relationship between Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374) and his predecessor Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) has remained an open and endlessly fascinating question of both literary and cultural history. In this volume nine leading scholars of Italian medieval literature and culture address this question involving the two foundational figures of Italian literature. Through their collective reexamination of the question of who and what came between Petrarch and Dante in ideological, historiographical, and rhetorical terms, the authors explore the emergence of an anti-Dantean polemic in Petrarch's work. That stance has largely escaped scrutiny, thanks to a critical tradition that tends to minimize any suggestion of rivalry or incompatibility between them. The authors examine Petrarch's contentious and dismissive attitude toward the literary authority of his illustrious predecessor; the dramatic shift in theological and philosophical context that occurs from Dante to Petrarch; and their respective contributions as initiators of modern literary traditions in the vernacular. Petrarch's substantive ideological dissent from Dante clearly emerges, a dissent that casts in high relief the poets' radically divergent views of the relation between the human and the divine and of humans' capacity to bridge that gap.
Critical Essays on Dacia Maraini
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.
Metamorphoses of Historical Narrative in Modern Italian Fiction
Through an examination of nineteenth- and twentieth-century theoretical work and novels, Della Coletta presents an authoritatively original recasting of the notion of the historical novel. Starting with Alessandro Manzoni's classic essay "On the Historical Novel," she examines the aesthetic and philosophical questions surrounding the genre of historical fiction. Manzoni rejected the historical novel as a flawed combination of two contradictory systems: fiction and history. He also devised a new form of creative historiography that attempts to textualize the historical referent by using narrative techniques traditionally pertaining to the craft of fiction. Della Coletta then demonstrates how Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's The Leopard, Elsa Morante's History: A Novel, and Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose took up Manzoni's legacies, reshaped the genre, and embarked on a discussion of the meaning of writing within a specific literary genre. Transformative and revisionist, these novels overcome Manzoni’s philosophical impasse by arguing that both fiction and history exploit the forms of narrative to lend a comprehensible structure to the historical past. They thus become self-conscious evaluations of the ideological, aesthetic, and epistemological values of their narrative discourses. Della Coletta’s analysis of these novels suggests that genres are ideological units molded by culture and history, and that current ideologies shape the literary representation of the historical past. This innovative case study thus illuminates not just the twentieth-century Italian historical novel but also the function of literary genres as a whole.
Women's Writing in Counter-Reformation Italy
In her award-winning, critically acclaimed Women’s Writing in Italy, 1400–1650, Virginia Cox chronicles the history of women writers in early modern Italy—who they were, what they wrote, where they fit in society, and how their status changed during this period. In this book, Cox examines more closely one particular moment in this history, in many ways the most remarkable for the richness and range of women’s literary output. A widespread critical notion sees Italian women’s writing as a phenomenon specific to the peculiar literary environment of the mid-sixteenth century, and most scholars assume that a reactionary movement such as the Counter-Reformation was unlikely to spur its development. Cox argues otherwise, showing that women’s writing flourished in the period following 1560, reaching beyond the customary "feminine" genres of lyric, poetry, and letters to experiment with pastoral drama, chivalric romance, tragedy, and epic. There were few widely practiced genres in this eclectic phase of Italian literature to which women did not turn their hand. Organized by genre, and including translations of all excerpts from primary texts, this comprehensive and engaging volume provides students and scholars with an invaluable resource as interest in these exceptional writers grows. In addition to familiar, secular works by authors such as Isabella Andreini, Moderata Fonte, and Lucrezia Marinella, Cox also discusses important writings that have largely escaped critical interest, including Fonte’s and Marinella’s vivid religious narratives, an unfinished Amazonian epic by Maddalena Salvetti, and the startlingly fresh autobiographical lyrics of Francesca Turina Bufalini. Juxtaposing religious and secular writings by women and tracing their relationship to the male-authored literature of the period, often surprisingly affirmative in its attitudes toward women, Cox reveals a new and provocative vision of the Italian Counter-Reformation as a period far less uniformly repressive of women than is commonly assumed. Praise for Women’s Writing in Italy, 1400–1650 "Exhaustive and insightful . . . This is an amazing book, a major achievement in the field of women's studies."—Renaissance Quarterly "This is a definitive study and will surely remain so for many years to come."—Choice "Virginia Cox has written a magisterial study of the major trends in women's writing in Renaissance and Counter-Reformation Italy . . . This is indeed an impressive volume and one which deserves to be read and studied. It will change the way we think about women's writing in early modern Italy."—Modern Language Review
Vol. 47 (2006) through current issue
Romance Notes, a journal that accepts articles on any literary, cultural, or linguistic topic dealing with Romance studies, appears three times a year Articles, or “notes” as they are called, can be written in any Romance language and in English and should not exceed 3,000 words. Romance Notes was founded in 1959 by Professor U. T. Holmes, Jr., and is now led by Professor Monica Rector. It has more than fifty annual volumes published as of 2012.
The Cultural Legacies of Elsa Morante
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.
On the Radical Critique of Political Reason
Massimo Cacciari is one of the leading public intellectuals in today's Italy, both as an outstanding philosopher and political thinker and as now three times (and currently) the mayor of Venice. This collection of essays on political topics provides the best introduction in English to his thought to date. The political focus does not, however, prevent these essays from being an introduction to the full range of Cacciari's thought.The present collection includes chapters on Hofmannstahl, Luk\~cs, Benjamin, Nietzsche, Weber, Derrida, Schmitt, Canetti, and Aeschylus. Written between 1978 and 2006, these essays engagingly address the most hidden tradition in European political thought: the Unpolitical. Far from being a refusal of politics, the Unpolitical represents a merciless critique of political reason and a way out of the now impracticable consolations of utopia and harmonious community. Drawing freely from philosophy and literature, The Unpolitical represents a powerful contribution to contemporary political theory.A lucid and engaging Introdcution by Alessandro Carrera sets these essays in the context of Cacciari's work generally and in the broadest context of its historical and geographical backdrop.