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- PublicationTouching on taboos : imagining and reconceptualizing motherhood in some post-'68 Italian women's autobiographical writings(Società italiana per lo studio della modernità letteraria, 2011)This article holds that the theme of the maternal, and of motherhood itself, constitutes a taboo in women’s autobiographical writing of the most feminist period in Italy’s history, immediately after 1968. In the first part, the article underlines the fact that the voices heard in many of these texts are daughterly discourses, not motherly ones (and this is part of a tendency that extends beyond literature to the fields of sociology, history and psychoanalysis). It suggests, too, that the refusal to evoke the maternal in Italian women’s writing is a new phenomenon of the twentieth century, given that the figure of the mother is so important for Italian women writers through the nineteenth century (unlike the situation we find elsewhere in Europe and in the United States). It explains the inherent difficulties in representing the maternal within a feminist context (from a theoretical perspective). In the second section, the article focuses on two writers (Lalla Romano and Lidia Ravera) who confront this taboo of the maternal, investing it with a political dimension, presenting it as problematic and investigating it as a vehicle of self-investigation, of probing the Other within the self, of exploring a diffuse sense of identity. The article proposes, finally, that their work (along with the writings of Gina Lagorio and Clara Sereni) reveals a mode of ‘maternal thinking’, in the sense that this is defined by Sara Ruddick, and that they offer us a new metaphysics, in the manner elaborated by Adriana Cavarero.
- Publication'Pirandello's Islands of the Mind: The Isola-ted Self'This paper has its roots in the title of the 2017 anniversary celebration conference of the Society for Pirandello Studies, ‘Exploring Pirandello’s Islands of the Map and of the Mind’: reflecting on this title I consider that the most island-like structure in Pirandello’s work is probably that of (certain of) his characters. There is a tendency, throughout his oeuvre, in the plays, novels and short stories, for the individual to cast himself (and I use this pronoun deliberately) adrift from others, and to connect with them only sporadically, if often intensely. Pirandello’s characters, like other islands, depend on communication, interaction and negotiation for survival (although, of course, some of them do not survive) and even where they are aware of these dependencies, they often fight against them, metaphorically cutting the moorings of the ships (the other characters) which touch on their individual promontories.