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Gendered Contexts

New Perspectives in Italian Cultural Studies

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Edited By 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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Italian Fathers and Eritrean Daughters: Women without Nationality: Graziella Parati 189

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Italian Fathers and Eritrean Daughters: Women without Nationality Graziella Parati Italian colonialism rarely appears as a main topic in contemporary litera- ture. Kept at the margins of our history, very little is known about the role of the colonizers and the natives in those colonies, like Eritrea, that remained Italian for a long time. Erminia Dell'Oro recently published two novels in which she looks at Eritrea both as the place where she spent her childhood and as a country oppressed by its identity as "colony." In As mara addio ( 1988), the autobiographical and the fictional are inter- twined in a narrative that explores the personal and the public events in Eritrea and bring to the reader's attention the problematic construction of a post-colonial narrative written by a "white" author who belonged to the privileged "white colony" within the colony. 1 In L'abbandono (1991), Dell'Oro attempts to resolve the apparently irreconcilable dichotomy between her racial-cultural identity as a white person and her anti-coloni- alism and anti-racism by adopting the natives as protagonists of her book. 2 Both Asmara addio and L 'abbandono contain the narratives of women's lives and their private and public roles within a colonial space. Asmara addio is the narrative of a white woman's life in Eritrea. The novel has autobiographical undertones as the protagonist, Milena, is an Italian who lives in Eritrea until her late teens and whose grandparents left Italy in the last decade of the nineteenth century. The story takes place in Asmara, where Milena...

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