Wild woman: representations of female 'deviance' in modern and contemporary Italian fiction

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Buckley, Claire
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University College Cork
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This study analyses the cultural and literary representation of female characters labelled “deviant” in Italian fiction. From the cultural context of nineteenth-century Italy up to that of the present day, I consider the figures of the ugly woman, prostitute and female terrorist in selected texts by nine Italian writers in order to map the delineation of such characters over time. Pivotal to my argument is the recognition that such characters pose a challenge to conventional norms, resulting in the female figures being represented as subjugated others who are either placed in marginalised spaces or removed from the narrative through death. In Chapter 1, I interrogate the figure of the ugly woman within the framework of Gilbert and Gubar’s angel/monster dichotomy. Examining Ugo Iginio Tarchetti’s Fosca (1869), Gianna Manzini’s Tempo innamorato (1928) and Margaret Mazzantini’s Non ti muovere (2002), I explore the relationship between the male protagonists and female Other using Julia Kristeva’s theory of abjection. Focusing my attention on the representation of the prostitute, Chapter 2 analyses the notions of the body and contamination in Alberto Moravia’s La romana (1947), Armanda Guiducci’s Due donne da buttare (1976) and Younis Tawfik’s La straniera (1999). Chapter 3 is centred on the relationship between transgression and gender in my examination of the portrayal of women terrorists in texts set during the anni di piombo. Employing feminist criminology and trauma theory, I explore the repercussions of militant life on the characters’ emotional selves and consider the effects of trauma on their relationship to place in Anna Laura Braghetti’s Il prigioniero (1998), Antonella Tavassa La Greca’s La guerra di Nora (2003) and Marco De Franchi’s La carne e il sangue (2008).
Female deviance , Italian fiction
Buckley, C. 2017. Wild woman: representations of female 'deviance' in modern and contemporary Italian fiction. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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