L’isola delle madri assenti: tracce di presenza femminile nella narrativa storica siciliana contemporanea (1990-2007)

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Todesco, Serena
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University College Cork
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The watershed constituted by the historical novels of Leonardo Sciascia (1921- 1989), Vincenzo Consolo (1933-2012) and Andrea Camilleri (born 1925), are starting points for analysing subsequent writings of history in Sicily, particularly those that deal with the hermeneutical function of literature as a means of critically reading official historiography. Nevertheless, whereas ample critical attention has been paid to male writers, whose work is deemed ‘mainstream’, there has been insufficient analysis of the role of female authors in relation to literary representations of Sicilian history. By considering the distinctiveness of the Sicilian literary tradition, the thesis identifies a series of transformations of the genre which have occurred in recent years within the context of feminine writing, and examines the historical narratives of contemporary Sicilian writers Maria Attanasio, Silvana La Spina and Maria Rosa Cutrufelli produced between 1990 and 2007. The study problematizes the lack of critical debate about feminine narratives in Sicily, and places these works in relation to developments in gender and genre theory, focusing particularly on Margherita Ganeri’s studies on the historical genre and the canon. After an introductory chapter which argues the case for examining Sicilian female historical fiction as a distinct literary practice, the subsequent chapters feature textual analyses of each author’s main historical fiction works, supporting the reading of the texts with theoretical readings, including the micro-history of Carlo Ginzburg, the écriture féminine of Hélène Cixous, the abjection theory of Julia Kristeva, the theoretical propositions on “experience” by Joan Wallach Scott and Teresa De Lauretis, and the theory of gender as performance proposed by Judith Butler. The analyses underline the importance of the authors’ distinct feminine perspective over Sicilian history and ultimately suggest that the three writers represent significant examples of a “nomadic writing” to be placed outside the Sicilian male literary tradition.
Women , Sicily , History , Fiction , Gender
Todesco, S. 2012. L’isola delle madri assenti: tracce di presenza femminile nella narrativa storica siciliana contemporanea (1990-2007). PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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