Tigress in the Snow: Motherhood and Literature in Twentieth-Century Italy

Written by Laura Benedetti

© 2009

The Tigress in the Snow explores how literature reacted to, influenced, and shaped the evolving notion of motherhood in twentieth-century Italy.

From the late-nineteenth century rhetorical celebration of the mother as Madonna, to the Fascist regime's demographic campaign and feminist revisions of the maternal role, Laura Benedetti shows how the mother's social status was a site of constant negotiation in Italy during the last century and how this negotiation came to be represented in literature. To illustrate her theme, she stresses both similarities and differences among four generations of women writers, as well as their complex interaction with their male counterparts, and their reactions to changes in Italian society.

The Tigress in the Snow highlights literature's role in the formation of cultural discourses right up to the dawn of the twenty-first century. An intriguing look at the changing nature of motherhood in a country that has always valued the maternal institution, this volume goes further to show how literature investigates, shapes, and envisions social models for the present and future.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.4in x 8.9in
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  • PUBLISHED DEC 2006

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Quick Overview

The Tigress in the Snow explores how literature reacted to, influenced, and shaped the evolving notion of motherhood in twentieth-century Italy.

Tigress in the Snow: Motherhood and Literature in Twentieth-Century Italy

Written by Laura Benedetti

© 2009

The Tigress in the Snow explores how literature reacted to, influenced, and shaped the evolving notion of motherhood in twentieth-century Italy.

From the late-nineteenth century rhetorical celebration of the mother as Madonna, to the Fascist regime's demographic campaign and feminist revisions of the maternal role, Laura Benedetti shows how the mother's social status was a site of constant negotiation in Italy during the last century and how this negotiation came to be represented in literature. To illustrate her theme, she stresses both similarities and differences among four generations of women writers, as well as their complex interaction with their male counterparts, and their reactions to changes in Italian society.

The Tigress in the Snow highlights literature's role in the formation of cultural discourses right up to the dawn of the twenty-first century. An intriguing look at the changing nature of motherhood in a country that has always valued the maternal institution, this volume goes further to show how literature investigates, shapes, and envisions social models for the present and future.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.4in x 8.9in
  • Reviews

    'Benedetti focuses her analysis of motherhood in Italian literature on texts written primarily by women authors ranging from early years of the twentieth century to the late 1990s... the result is a fascinating and perceptive analysis of a theme that is a collective obsession in Italian culture.'
    Rebecca West
    Modern Philology: vol 108:04:2011

    ’Laura Benedetti has written a well-documented and informative study illuminating the importance of motherhood in understanding the ’difference‘ in Italian women's writings as well as the ’difference‘ in Italian feminist theory. She presents a broad and comprehensive picture of the complex interaction between different generations of women writers, their male counterparts, and changes in Italian culture throughout the twentieth century. The Tigress in the Snow delivers insightful literary analyses that will be of great use to students and scholars.‘
    Carol Lazzaro-Weis, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Missouri-Columbia

    'The Tigress in the Snow provides a complete overview of Italian women writers in the twentieth century, as well as individual treatments of particular writers, their major works, and their literary characteristics. It is the first study to deal exclusively with the subject of motherhood and Italian literature, and it does so with a clear understanding of the cultural background out of which the writers dealt with conceived their works. Laura Benedetti's writing is extremely engaging and vivid, and reading her work is not only informative but a real pleasure.'


    Pietro Frassica, Department of French and Italian, Princeton University

    'The Tigress in the Snow provides a complete overview of Italian women writers in the twentieth century, as well as individual treatments of particular writers, their major works, and their literary characteristics. It is the first study to deal exclusively with the subject of motherhood and Italian literature, and it does so with a clear understanding of the cultural background out of which the writers dealt with conceived their works. Laura Benedetti's writing is extremely engaging and vivid, and reading her work is not only informative but a real pleasure.'


    Pietro Frassica, Department of French and Italian, Princeton University
  • Author Information

    Laura Benedetti is the Laura and Gaetano De Sole associate professor in Contemporary Italian Culture at Georgetown University.

  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgments ix


    Introduction 3

    1

    Mothers at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century 12
    The New Mother 12
    From Mother to Daughter: Annie Vivanti's The Devourers 23
    The Mother as Artist: Luigi Pirandello's Suo marito 25
    A Revolution Named Sibilla 28
    Self-Sacrifice and Marian Imagery 32
    The Invisible Working Woman 3 9

    2Resilience and Resistance: The Fascist Years 43
    From Benevolence to Dominance 43
    Literature and the Escape from History 45
    Mothers without a Name and the Search for Women's Identity 47
    Mothers at War 52
    'Like War Is to Men' 58
    Future as a Revised Version of the Past 60
    No Turning Back 67
    3Questioning Motherhood 74
    Slow Changes 74
    The Tigress in the Snow 78
    'Una Maternità Sociale': The Upheaval of the 1970s 84
    Too Close, Too Far: Motherhood as a Dialogue with the Self 89
    4Struggling with the Mother 94
    Through the Daughters' Voices 94
    The Mother and the City 102
    Daughter and Mother 110
    5Mothers without Children 114
    From Flesh to Phantom 114
    The Symbolic Order of the Mother 116
    A World of Mothers 119

    Notes 123


    Works Cited 149


    Index 161

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