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The female voice in Italian narrative of the 1930s

Wintersgill, Susannah Mary; (2004) The female voice in Italian narrative of the 1930s. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis represents a study of Italian female narrative of the 1930s, a period which has been regarded as a hiatus in female literary production in Italy. Focusing on the work of Anna Banti, Maria Bellonci, Fausta Cialente, Alba de Cespedes, Gianna Manzini, Paola Masino, Elsa Morante, and Anna Maria Ortese, I site their early literary production in the political, social, and cultural context of 1930s' Italy and reveal how these writers not only created models of female subjectivity which challenged the dominant representations of femininity but also how they came to be regarded as a vital new force in Italian narrative at a time when the Fascist regime was at the height of its power. The thesis is composed of two parts. The first part, which uses a historical and bibliographical approach, discusses the reception of women writers by the critics, the public, and the regime; the second part, which draws on socio-historical research into women's lives, explores their search for self-identity as both women and writers. The first chapter examines how women's writing moved from a position of marginalisation to one of increased respect within the literary establishment during the thirties. The second chapter analyses the complex relationship between women writers and the regime, whose ambiguous status as a supporter of female culture yet symbol of patriarchal repression elicited both allegiance and dissent in the female literary community. In chapter three, I discuss the dominant models of womanhood from the period and show how women used the power of writing to rebel against these artificial images of femininity. Finally, in chapter four, I examine the influence of foreign literature on female narrative, contrasting the impact of the modernist aesthetic of Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield with the influence of American realism on young male writers.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The female voice in Italian narrative of the 1930s
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10108443
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