Touching on taboos : imagining and reconceptualizing motherhood in some post-'68 Italian women's autobiographical writings

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Title: Touching on taboos : imagining and reconceptualizing motherhood in some post-'68 Italian women's autobiographical writings
Authors: Fanning, Ursula
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Date: 2011
Online since: 2011-07-26T13:47:08Z
Abstract: 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.
Funding Details: Not applicable
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Società italiana per lo studio della modernità letteraria
Journal: La Modernità Letteraria
Volume: 4
Start page: 49
End page: 58
Keywords: MotherhoodMaternal
Subject LCSH: Motherhood in literature
Autobiographical fiction, Italian--History and criticism
Women authors, Italian--20th century
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Languages, Cultures and Linguistics Research Collection

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