Addressing the Letter: Italian Women Writers' Epistolary Fiction
Published: August 2020© 2010
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 224 Pages
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
224 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Women writers of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italy reinvigorated the modern epistolary novel through their re-fashioning of the genre as a tool for examining women's roles and experiences. Addressing the Letter argues that many epistolary novels purposely tie narrative structure to thematic content, creating in the process powerful texts that reflect and challenge literary and socio-cultural norms.
Through the lens of the genre, Laura A. Salsini considers how the works of authors including the Marchesa Colombi, Sibilla Aleramo, Gianna Manzini, Natalia Ginzburg, and Oriana Fallaci highlight such issues as love, the loss of ideals, lack of communication and connection, and feminist ideology. She also analyses what may be the first woman-authored Italian example of epistolary fiction: Orintia Romagnuoli Sacrati's Lettere di Giulia Willet (1818). In their reworking of the epistolary narrative form, Italian women writers challenged dominant assumptions about female behaviours, roles, relationships, and sexuality in modern Italy.
1. Love Letters
2. Literary Responses
3. Making Connections
4. Addressing Women
‘In this fascinating book Salsini shows the multiple ways in which Italian women writers challenged social and literary conventions “to find a voice, a sense of identity, and to create an alternative to the male constructed national cannon”. This is the first study to systematically analyze the crossroads of genre and content of this cohort of Italian women writers.’ Sonia Cancian, Quaderni D’Italianistica vol 31:02:10
‘Thoughtful and engaging book… The open form of the letter novel and the strategic transformation of an apparently regressive genre leave space for the reader actively to engage both in the construction of a narrative and in the critique of the societies in which women live.’Sharon Wood, Modern Language Review, vol 108:04:2013
'Addressing the Letter is a timely and original project. By analyzing and contextualizing the work of major nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italian writers within the wider production of European epistolary fiction, Laura Salsini demonstrates the significant role played by this genre in Italian literature.' Gabriella Romani, Department of Modern Languages, Seton Hall University