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Gendered Contexts

New Perspectives in Italian Cultural Studies

Series:

Laura Benedetti, Julia Hairston and Julia L. Hairston

The application of feminist thought to the study of Italian culture is generating some of the most innovative work in the field today. This volume presents a range of essays which focus on the construction of gender in Italian literature as well as essays in feminist theory. The contributions reflect the current diversity of critical approaches available to those interrogating gender and offer interpretations of prose, poetry, theater, and the visual arts from Boccaccio, Michelangelo, and Galileo to contemporary Italian writers such as Carla Cerati and Dacia Maraini.

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The Narrow Door: Luisa Muraro 7

Extract

The Narrow Door Luisa Muraro Leaving women who speak my language and know me in order to meet women and men from a distant and unknown (or rather, poorly known) land is difficult. 1 Yet it is also a wonderful opportunity for the life of the mind. The two are not unrelated. I have come to tell you of a thought born in a different context from this one. We all know that context participates in the genesis of thought. Yet will I be able to communicate my thought to you faithfully? Are you in a condition to judge it? And will I know how to understand your response? The challenge of universality is to give thought a form that will allow it to be communicated independent of its context. But this is not my task. In fact, I do not believe it is possible to communicate thought independent of context. And I tend to think that the challenge of universality gets resolved, in the end, through power and domination. The relations between the modem West and non-European cultures lead me to think so. My task is another. Although I realize that my words might seem silly to you, I have faith in two things: our being here together and your need for thought. Being together creates an immediate contact (one not mediated by verbal language) that in tum fosters the more sophisticated verbal communication. Your need for thought moreover will lead you, at least I hope, to take something...

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