The Feminist Encyclopedia of Italian Literature

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The female writers, on the other hand, either have identified themselves as feminists or have been absorbed, to various degrees of awareness, by relations between the sexes and by the problems connected with them. All authors are listed alphabetically by their family name. The only exceptions are Dante Alighieri, who is better known under his first name, and Moderata Fonte, whose express wish was to appear in print only under her pseudonym.

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In the entries for authors, a brief presentation of their total output generally precedes a feminist discussion. Other entries in this volume analyze disciplines, schools of thought, and trends in criticism that influenced the shaping of a feminist perspective, such as Aristotelianism, deconstruction, feminism, Marx- ism, new historicism, Platonism, and psychoanalysis.

Other subjects, like cicis- beismo, questione della lingua, and weak thought, are considered here for the first time in relation to feminist positions. The volume also considers feminist literary criticism of Italian literature as it has developed in Canada, England, Ireland, Italy, and the United States.

Lit- erary and theatrical genres, including opera, are discussed in several entries, which explain how they originated, why they were important in Italian literature, and which ones were especially cultivated by women.

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Themes, ideas, and issues that have figured prominently in the lives as well as in the imagination of women—for example, abortion, female bonding, dis- ease, dress, food, incest, tradition, and work—are also discussed, because they loomed large in the social context of the relations between the sexes and of literature. There are social types and stereotypes of women, showing how they were categorized and constrained throughout history and how they are repre- sented in writing: actress, comare, courtesan, enchantress, mulier sancta, learned woman, nun, saint, shepherdess.

Those who wish to know how ho- moeroticism, homosexuality, and lesbianism have been represented in Italian literature will turn to the relative entries and to the discussions on cross-dressing and hermaphrodites. Entries vary in length and internal organization according to their relevance to feminist studies and to the interest shown by feminist scholars. They are all signed, with the exception of those written by the editor. A certain amount of overlapping has been allowed, in order to offer a large contextual coverage as well as a variety of viewpoints.

In each entry, the discussion was planned to offer a general presentation of the subject and a critical exposition of the works written on it from a feminist perspective. A short selected bibliography is ap- pended to almost all entries; the works are presented in chronological sequence in order to give an idea of the precedence of, and the possible relationship between the studies done on the subject. To indicate that an author or topic is dealt with in another entry, an asterisk has been placed after it.

Many entries are provided with cross-references identifying contiguous subjects that are dis- cussed elsewhere. In both chambers of the Italian parliament passed Law , which liberalized abortion. Abortion was a pivotal issue to the feminist move- ment, which insisted that the right to choose was critical to social acceptance of women as adult human beings and moral agents. Behind this idealized picture, however, lurked a reality shaped by humiliating out-of-wedlock births, unsafe illegal abor- tions, and, in some extreme cases, infanticide. Abortion, particularly while the political battles for its legalization were es- calating, was depicted by prominent women authors.

The decriminalization of abortion, thus, was the culmination of a series of successful campaigns for a divorce legislation , the revocation of the ban against advertising contra- ception , a legislation for working mothers and nursery schools , the institution of equality between the sexes , the establishment of family planning clinics , and equal pay for equal work When in the midst of bitter political debates a bill legalizing abortion was passed in , the Christian Democratic Party petitioned with the right for a referendum to repeal Law , and fostered a climate of intense hostility toward the feminist move- ment by appealing to the cultural and ideological hold of Catholicism and fam- ily-related values.

Two referenda were held in May The one sponsored by the feminist movement and the Radical Party, introducing free abortion on demand, was defeated by 88 percent of the votes; the Catholic antiabortion motion, however, was also defeated by 67 percent vote a larger outpouring of support than that obtained by the pro-divorce coalition in the referendum. Law did not meet all the demands of the feminist movement, which had pressed for free and state-subsidized abortion for all women.

The decision to carry out an abortion was formally left to the doctor, and the woman had to be at least eighteen years old and seek to terminate her pregnancy within the first trimester. Patrizia Cicogna and Teresa de Lauretis. Italian Feminist Thought: A Reader. Oxford, U.

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Zygmut G. New York: St. Activism: Nineteenth Century. Indeed, at Naples in March she hired a steamboat to transport herself and a corps of two hundred volunteers to Genova, to swell the Milan insurrection. Just months later, she wrote an analysis of the same events in a series of articles run by the Revue des deux mondes, published in Paris. She con- cedes that only the armed forces and the magistracy should remain closed to women. In Io e il mio lettore , the liberal journalist Donna Paola pseudonym of Paola Baron- chelli Grosson, born denounces the constriction of women by the Catholic catechism, the banality of indissoluble marriage, and the grotesqueness of sex legalized by monogamy.

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Many of these voices of early activism were collected in a rash of new journals—Un comitato di donne, La donna italiana, La donna, La donna e la famiglia, and La missione della donna—and they were strengthened by the translation of foreign women writers—notably Elizabeth Barrett, Harriet Bee- cher Stowe, and George Sand. Its part in the popular uprising in Milan in May led to her arrest, together with Filippo Turati, Leonida Bissolati, and the Catholic leader, Davide Albertario, editor of Osservatore cattolico.

Bibliography: Anna Kuliscioff: in memoria. Io e il mio elettore. Propositi e spropositi di una futura deputata. Lanciano: Carabba, ; Bortolotti, F. Alle origini del movimento femminile in Italia: — Torino: Einaudi, ; Bel- gioioso, Cristina di.

About the Book :

Il a Milano e a Venezia. Con uno scritto sulla con- dizione delle donne. Milan: Feltrinelli, ; Cataluccio, Franco. Gianni Grana.

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Milan: Marzorati, Activism: Twentieth Century. Since the beginning of the feminist move- ment in the latter part of the nineteenth century, Italian feminists have promoted group activism to produce change in the social, literary, and political realms.

The Italian Resistance against the German occupation — , in which approximately fifty-five thousand women participated, is often considered to be the prototype for the type of activism with mass mobilization and militant action promoting change in the social, political, and literary areas that characterized the movements of feminists, workers, and students in the s and s.

The newly formed groups overwhelmingly rejected emancipationist philosophies that strove to win equality in a masculine society, thus forcing women to harmonize work and family to their detriment. Although it is sometimes objected that Italian feminist theory and practice has shifted toward more private interests, Italian feminists continue to remain active in the political domain.

Women hold more than 35 percent of the positions in the Communist Party. Bibliography: Ergas, Yasmine.

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Liberazione della donna: Feminism in Italy. Middletown, Conn. Actress: Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries. The founding of profes- sional theater toward the middle of the century gave actresses social standing, legal recognition, earnings, and a place on stage. Eight men signed the first known contract for a professional company in Padua in In six per- sons, including a woman named Lucretia of Siena, formed a similar acting company. Audience enthusiasm for actresses ran high, and women soon headed companies or joined them as prima or seconda donna or serva also servetta.

These companies were professional i.

Encyclopedia of Feminist Literature

Playing an innamorata, the prima donna first lady commanded a repertory of witty conceits and solemn pronouncements on love, invented by her or learned from tradition. Audiences praised both what she said and how well she recited her part. Rivalries between highly celebrated prime donne encouraged audience enthusiasm. In — a Roman actress called Flaminia brought her troupe to Mantua, where she performed in a comedy with Pantalone and in the tragedy of Dido changed into a tragicomedy.

Competing performances by Vincenza Armani divided the town into followers of one prima donna or the other; a year later Armani died of poisoning. Scandal, travel, and the distur- bances actresses incited encouraged society to view them as little better than courtesans. Yet, despite their low social prestige, many actresses pursued careers offering personal and economic independence.

The erudite Isabella Canali Andreini, distinguished poet and faithful wife of the comic actor Francesco Andreini, enhanced the respectability of her profes- sion. Since a number of professional actresses were also skilled musicians and singers, they performed in both kinds of theater. There was only one serva in a company. Her stage language was generally Tuscan.

The later maidservant matches in wit and resourcefulness, flirts with, and dresses like the male Arlecchino; she is the servetta who changes her character on demand.