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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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"Gli ho sparato negli occhi": Gender Conflict and Homicide in Alba de Céspedes's Dalla parte di lei and Natalia Ginzburg's È stato così: Sandra Carletti 153

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"Gii ho sparato negli occhi": Gender Conflict and Homicide in Alba de Cespedes's Dalla parte di lei and Natalia Ginzburg's E stato cosi Sandra Carletti Two women, two marriages, two homicides. Both E stato cosi (1947) and Dalla parte di lei (1949) are memoirs-stories of solitude and of the desire to talk about oneself. Yet they are also pieces of an intricate mosaic and include the stories of a great many other women. In these novels, perhaps more consciously in de Cespedes's, there is an attempt to go beyond a specific case in order to embrace a more comprehensive issue: the common destiny of being a woman. Alessandra, protagonist of de Cespedes's Dalla parte di lei, perceives the lack of communication in her marriage as a "wall" growing thicker and taller between herself and her spouse. While staring, night after night, at the shoulders of her sleeping husband, she feels oppressed by a situation which is not just only hers, but is shared by women all over the world: nell'appartamento di sopra, in quello contiguo, ... in tutte le case di Roma, in tutte le case del mondo, vedevo le donne sveglie nel buio, dietro l'inva- licabile muro delle spalle maschili. Parlavamo lingue diverse, rna tutte tentavamo invano di far udire le stesse parole: nulla poteva attraversare l'incrollabile difesa di quelle spalle. Bisognava rassegnarsi ad essere sole dietro il muro; e stringerci tra noi, sorreggerci, formare un grumo di sofferenza e di attesa. Era il solo conforto che ci fosse consentito,...

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