- Jewish Identity and the Female Storyteller in Clara Sereni’s Il Gioco dei Regni
- Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues
- Indiana University Press
- Number 30, Fall 5777/2016
- pp. 74-97
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- Additional Information
Anchoring Clara Sereni’s autobiographical novel Il gioco dei regni (The game of kingdoms, 1993) in affidamento, the concept of interdependency and mutual reliance that informed the identity politics of Italian feminists in the 1980s, this paper focuses on the depiction of Sereni’s aunt by marriage, Ada Sereni, in the novel. As Clara develops the bond between her narrated self and Ada in the spirit of affidamento, she infuses our knowledge of the historical Ada with her unique portrayal as a woman who inspires healing and inclusivity across generations. Clara’s bond with Ada allows her to establish for herself a place within the female genealogy of the Sereni family and emerge as an agent of memory for the Serenis and as a Jewish woman who is non-religious and assimilated by destiny and choice. Offering her own adaptations of a hasidic tale and midrashic legends in the opening and closing segments of the novel, Sereni claims for her female voice a place within a line of master Jewish storytellers, a position that assumes the desire and ability to impact the cultures of the multiple communities to which she belongs. The boundaries of these communities are further expanded in Sereni’s preface to the Hebrew translation of her novel (Misḥak hamamlakhot, 1995), where she lays a similar claim for a place within the Israeli lore of the Sereni family.