sabato 21 gennaio 2012

Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Italian Women Authors and Depictions of Space in Contemporary Fiction

Ancora delle buone notizie... le mie ricerche 'morantiane' vanno bene nel 2012!!!

Italian Women Authors and Depictions of Space in Contemporary Fiction, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 

"The rationale behind the volume is to analyze changes over time, underlining how Italian women authors have conceptualized space and how it shapes or is shaped by their fiction."

  • Deadline for the first draft: June 30th, 2012 
  • Publication: Winter 2012-Spring 2013  

Ecco il mio 'abstract' che è stato accettato!!!!

Italian Memory, Spanish Space: Elsa Morante’s Aracoeli

In her final novel, Aracoeli (1982), Elsa Morante departs from the pattern of her previous novels’ pattern of confined spaces, instead sending her protagonist Manuele on a quest to Francoist Spain to seek his Spanish mother Aracoeli’s birthplace in Andalusia. Manuele moves, in his words, “nella doppia direzione del passato e dello spazio.”1 The novel’s theorization of memory as an occult dimension of space and time, a bodily property that is also oddly cinematic and mechanical, establishes the parameters of Manuele’s voyage to Spain. I find it striking that Morante chooses the final days of Franco’s regime—November 1975—for Manuele’s journey, thereby sending him to the one remaining fascist realm in Europe. Accordingly, I propose that with Aracoeli, Elsa Morante uses space to create a political critique, paralleling Italian and Spanish fascism through Manuele’s voyage—I see General Franco’s regime as a substitute for Mussolini’s. Thus Aracoeli could be considered a “novela del dictador”, to borrow the Latin American generical term, and uses space to explore the legacy of Italian fascism. 
In Aracoeli, Morante reinterprets and replots the iconic spaces of her earlier works—such as the island, the chamber, and the garden—for Manuele’s quest. Frequently appearing in the text and enriching its concepts of “space” are ineffable or otherworldly dimensions such as eternity, Eden, the womb, death, and heaven, dimensions all suggested by the heavenly name “Aracoeli.” This quest is often interrupted by the eruption of Manuele’s nostalgic childhood recollections of fascist Italy, and the appearance of flying, winged, or angelic creatures able to move among such dimensions.    

Intriguingly, in his quest for Aracoeli’s obscure Andalusian village, surrounded by the dry bones of dinosaurs, Manuele yearns to obliterate himself by returning to the womb: an impossible merging of genders, bodies, space, and time. Indeed, space for Manuele always evokes time and is entwined as well with memory, the body, even language; and such an extreme merging of space, corporeality, and time—sometimes labeled with terms evocative of physics such as “event horizon” in the novel—into a quite literally visceral “spacetime” culminates Morante’s repeated construction of novels since her first writings in the 1930s out of the upwelling of her characters’ memories. With Aracoeli Morante culminates as well her increasingly close engagement with Italy’s fascist past, yet in her last novel’s displacement of its protagonist from Italy to Spain, she seems to betray an anxiety concerning Italian history, echoed by Manuele’s desire for oblivion in the womb, which bears further examination as well. 

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