Writing home to her mother and father: Fabrizia Ramondino’s Althe?nopis and Clara Sereni’s Casalinghitudine
Within a context of Italian women's literary, intellectual, and feminist thought, the dissertation employs two specific literary texts that transgress generic borders, Clara Sereni's Casalinghitudine (1987) and Fabrizia Ramindino's Althénopis (1988), to elucidate paternal and maternal negotiations as a projected model of writing home. Motivated by feminist trespasses upon and resistances to the "fathered" academic canon, the dissertation provides a third literary example through my renegotiation of the theoretical argument in poetic form. Printed on tracing paper, my poetic text overlays and haunts the dissertation with subjective intersections, poetry, and prose that emerge from my research and that constitutes a significant part of my poetry collections published to date. My academic argument draws upon an interdisciplinary heritage by enlisting the thought of French, Italian, and Anglo/American feminisms alongside Italian cultural, literary, and history studies. Part One locates the mother and the maternal in the context of Western feminist theories, Italian feminist thought, and Italian culture. With close reference to the primary texts, it analyses the implications of the missing mother, the surrogate mother, the uncanny in the mother/daughter relationship, maternal kinesis, maternal thresholds, and maternal junctures in terms of a woman writing home. Part Two considers the ramifications of the father figure in the work of six intellectuals (Simone de Beauvoir, Adrienne Rich, Nancy Chodorow, Julia Kristeva, Hélène Cixous, and Luce Irigaray), in an Italian cultural, historical, legal, political, and literary context, and in the light of Italian feminist approaches to the father. Maintaining close links with the two primary texts, I analyse the missing father, the father as authority, and the manner in which in writing home, writing the father traverses and transgresses thresholds such as the cooking pot, the body, and the written page. With a debt to Rosi Braidotti and Adriana Cavarero, I conclude that in writing home, a woman renegotiates both the maternal and paternal through what I have named the practice of equilibrium writing. For the woman writer, equilibrium writing comprises writing out of her roots, writing as both weaving and unweaving, writing out of kinetic movement in order to write a provisional and subjective centre, and writing conjunctions and coalitions. In an extension of Italian feminist approaches to "authority," I contend that such a textual negotiation of the mother and the father constructs a state of auto/authority for the woman writing.