Nineteenth-Century Italian Women Writers and the Woman Question focuses on the literary, journalistic and epistolary production of Italian woman writer Neera, pseudonym for Anna Radius Zuccari, one of the most prolific and successful women writers of late nineteenth-century Italy. This study proposes to bring Neera out of the shadows of literary marginality to which she has long been confined by analyzing her contribution to literary and cultural debates as testimony to the pivotal role she played in the creation of a female literary voice within the Italian fin-de-siècle context. Drawing from the Anglo-American feminist critical tradition; modern Italian feminist theory on the maternal order and sexual difference; and a close reading of Neera’s literary, theoretical and epistolary writings this volume examines Neera’s work from a three-pronged perspective: as promoter of a maternal order in contrast to the existent paternal order, as one of few women writers to participate actively in Italy’s verismo movement and as epistolary correspondent of leading representatives within fin-de-siècle Italian literary and journalistic circles. Nineteenth-Century Italian Women Writers and the Woman Question represents the first monographic volume in English dedicated exclusively to this important Italian woman writer, repositioning her within the Italian literary landscape and canon.
Table of Contents
Separate Spheres in Fin-de-Siècle Italy
Women Writers and Male Critics
Chapter I Growing up Female in Fin-De-Siècle Italy
Writing Personal Experiences and Vocation
Women Writers and Pseudonyms: Between Private and Public Spheres…..
Fin-de-Siècle Italian Women Writers and Their Literary Mothers, Daughters and Sisters
Neera’s "Two Faces"
Chapter II From Daughter to Mother in Neera’s Work
Neera’s Daughters: Addio!, Il castigo, Il marito dell’amica, La Regaldina, Teresa, Lydia and L’indomani
Motherhood and the Maternal in Neera’s Theoretical Production
Neera’s Mothers: L’amuleto, La vecchia casa, Il romanzo della fortuna and Duello d’anime
Chapter III Neera the Verist Woman Writer
Naturalism and Verismo
Neera and the Veristi: Public and Private Exchanges on Verismo
Teresa, a Verist Novel
Neera’s Post-Verismo Production: Symbolism and Benedetto Croce
Chapter IV Letter Writing: A Tool of the Trade for Italian Women Writers
Letter Writing: A Communicative Tool in Fin-de-Siècle Italy
Exchanges with Literary Father Figures
Defending Poetic Ideals
The Maternal in Neera’s Epistolary Exchanges
Understanding and Solidarity between Women Writers
Catherine Ramsey-Portolano is Associate Professor and Director of Italian Studies and Modern Languages at The American University of Rome in Rome, Italy, where she teaches courses on Italian language, culture, literature and film. She has completed a BA (The University of Tennessee-Knoxville), MA (The University of Wisconsin-Madison), Laurea (LUMSA University-Rome) and PhD (University of Chicago), all in Italian Literature. Her books include Performing Bodies: Female Illness in Italian Literature and Cinema (1860-1920), The Future of Italian Teaching: Media, New Technologies and Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives and Rethinking Neera.