In fascist Italy between the wars, a woman was an exemplary wife and mother or else. The "or else", mostly forgotten or overlooked in accounts of feminity under fascism, is the focus of this study. Reading works by women of the period, the author shows how they refuted stereotypes that were conferred on them by the fascist regime and continue to be accepted and perpetuated into our day. The writers considered comprise both the popular and the critically acclaimed, including Grazia Deledda (winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1926), Ada Negri, Sibilla Aleramo, Alba De Cespedes, Paolo Drigo, Maria Goretti and Antonia Pozzi. Their work - short stories, romance novels, autobiographies, neo-realist novels, poetry, and avant-garde writings - is situated within the context of fascist discourse, but also within that of intellectuals and artists who did not keep to the fascist line. This allows the author to offer closely observed accounts of texts written by women under fascism and at the same time to explore the politics implicit and explicit in these texts.
In each case, specific issues of gender and genre - such as notions of women and the nation, rural life, the metropolis, technology, consumer culture, and modern forms of feminity and masculinity - that lead to broader theoretical problems are addressed. These include questions of modernism, the historical avant-garde, neo-realism, and the politics of aesthetics.
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(234mm x 156mm x 17mm)
University of Minnesota Press
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
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