Anna Maria Ortese: Celestial Geographies

Edited by Gian Maria Annovi and Flora Ghezzo
With an Interview with the Author by Dacia Maraini

© 2015

After years of obscurity, Anna Maria Ortese (1914–1998) is emerging as one of the most important Italian authors of the twentieth-century, taking her place alongside such luminaries as Italo Calvino, Primo Levi, and Elsa Morante. Anna Maria Ortese: Celestial Geographies features a selection of essays by established Ortese scholars that trace her remarkable creative trajectory.

Bringing a wide range of critical perspectives to Ortese’s work, the contributors to this collection map the author’s complex textual geography, with its overlapping literary genres, forms, and conceptual categories, and the rhetorical and narrative strategies that pervade Ortese’s many types of writing. The essays are complemented by material translated here for the first time: Ortese’s unpublished letters to her mentor, the writer Massimo Bontempelli; and an extended interview with Ortese by fellow Italian novelist Dacia Maraini.

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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 504 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.6in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP003886

  • PUBLISHED JUN 2015

    From: $71.25

    Regular Price: $95.00

    ISBN 9781442649002
  • PUBLISHED JUL 2015

    From: $71.25

    Regular Price: $95.00

Quick Overview

Anna Maria Ortese: Celestial Geographies features a selection of essays by established Ortese scholars that trace her remarkable creative trajectory.

Anna Maria Ortese: Celestial Geographies

Edited by Gian Maria Annovi and Flora Ghezzo
With an Interview with the Author by Dacia Maraini

© 2015

After years of obscurity, Anna Maria Ortese (1914–1998) is emerging as one of the most important Italian authors of the twentieth-century, taking her place alongside such luminaries as Italo Calvino, Primo Levi, and Elsa Morante. Anna Maria Ortese: Celestial Geographies features a selection of essays by established Ortese scholars that trace her remarkable creative trajectory.

Bringing a wide range of critical perspectives to Ortese’s work, the contributors to this collection map the author’s complex textual geography, with its overlapping literary genres, forms, and conceptual categories, and the rhetorical and narrative strategies that pervade Ortese’s many types of writing. The essays are complemented by material translated here for the first time: Ortese’s unpublished letters to her mentor, the writer Massimo Bontempelli; and an extended interview with Ortese by fellow Italian novelist Dacia Maraini.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 504 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.6in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘For both its depth and breadth, Annovi’s book is a magnificent achievement.’


    Lucia Re
    Forum Italicum vol 51:03:2017

    ‘This sumptuously produced, skillfully edited collection of essays will help bring Ortese’s work to the large audience it undoubtedly deserves…. Highly recommended.’


    S. Botterill
    Choice Magazine vol 53:03:2015

    Anna Maria Ortese will set the standard against which other collections on Ortese will have to measure. The editors have assembled an impressive array of critical essays, containing many brilliant insights and observations that provide the reader with a critical compass with which to navigate Ortese’s complex and vast oeuvre.”


    Daniela La Penna, Italian Studies Programme, University of Reading

    Anna Maria Ortese: Celestial Geographies is an excellent collection of essays that makes a major contribution to the study of an author whose importance in modern Italian literature is increasingly being recognized.”


    Luca Somigli, Department of Italian Studies, University of Toronto
  • Author Information

    Gian Maria Annovi is an assistant professor in the Department of French and Italian at the University of Southern California.

    Flora Ghezzo teaches Italian literature at La Scuola D’Italia in New York City.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction: Anna Maria Ortese and the Red-Footed Angel (Flora Ghezzo)
    PART I: From Naples to Paris (via Jerusalem): Modern Alienation and Utopian Reality
    1. “Clouds in Front of my Eyes”: Ortese’s Poetics of the Gaze in “Un paio di occhiali” and Il mare non bagna Napoli (Lucia Re)
    2. Cities “Paved with Causalties”: Ortese’s Journeys through Urban Modernity (Andrea Baldi)
    3. Biographies of Displacement and the Utopian Imagination: Anna Maria Ortese, Hannah Arendt and the Artist as “Conscious Pariah” (Cristina Della Coletta)
    PART II: Life of a Celestial Body: Making and Unmaking the Self
    4. Epistolary Self-Storytelling: Anna Maria Ortese’s Letters to Massimo Bontempelli (Amelia Moser)
    Four Letters of Anna Maria Ortese to Massimo Bontempelli and a Condolence Letter to Paola Masino
    5. Anna Maria Ortese’s Precocious Early Short Fiction: A Re-reading of Angelici dolori (Luigi Fontanella) 
    6. The Three Lives of Bettina: From Il cappello piumato to Poveri e semplici (and Back) (Beatrice Manetti)
    7. On the Ruins of Time: Toledo and the Autobiography of the Ephemeral (Flora Ghezzo) 
    PART III: Becoming a Beast: Iguanas, Linnets, Lions, and the Geography of the Otherness
    8. Beasts, Goblins, and Other Chameleonic Creatures: Anna Maria Ortese’s “Real Children of the Universe” (Inge Lanslots)
    9. “Call Me My Name”: The Iguana, the Witch, and the Discovery of America (Gian Maria Annovi)
    10. The Flickering Light of Reason: Anna Maria Ortese’s Il cardillo addolorato and a Critique of European Modernity (Gala Rebane)
    11. The Enigmatic Character of Elmina: A Thread in a Vertiginous Web (Margherita Pieracci Harwell)
    12. Alonso, the Poet and the Killer. Ortese’s Eco-logical Reading of Modern Western History (Tatiana Crivelli)
    PART IV: An Uncommon Reader
    13. An “Uncommon Reader”: The Critical Writings of Anna Maria Ortese (Monica Farnetti)
    Appendix: Who Were You? Interview with Anna Maria Ortese (Dacia Maraini)
    Works by Anna Maria Ortese