Public and Private Spaces in Modern Italian Culture
Edited By Simona Storchi
PART II. GENDERED SPACES AND THE INTERFACE BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE
PART II GENDERED SPACES AND THE INTERFACE BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE 79 CHAPTER 4 From the Drawing Room to the Piazza Anna Kuliscioff, Margherita Sarfatti, and the Salon Tradition in Italy Emily BRAUN Hunter College and Graduate Center, City University of New York Anna Kuliscioff (1855-1925) and Margherita Sarfatti (1880-1961) were two of the most powerful political figures in early twentieth- century Italy. Through their personal histories – the first, an Anarchist turned Socialist, the second, a Socialist turned Fascist – one can plot the ideological trajectories of the Italian left in the generations between unification and the regime. Kuliscioff presided over the rise of organised labour and the fight for female emancipation, while Sarfatti broke ranks with the Partito Socialista Italiano to endorse a right wing, nationalist revision of Marxism. Despite the fact that they could not vote or hold office themselves, their reputations as strategists and proselytisers extended far outside the borders of the peninsula: “there is only one man in Italy and she is a woman”, wrote Arturo Labriola to Friedrich Engels in 1893 apropos of Kuliscioff (Del Bo 489). And Alma Mahler, herself a player on the world stage, referred to Sarfatti in 1928 as the “un- crowned Queen of Italy” (Mahler-Werfel 162). Inevitably, perceptions of these two women’s public personas were bound to their private lives: Kuliscioff as the partner of Andrea Costa and then, for more than twenty-five years, Filippo Turati; and Sarfatti as the consort of Benito Mussolini for almost two decades. Yet it would...
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