To Be or Not to Be a Mother: Choice, Refusal, Reluctance and Conflict. Motherhood and Female Identity in Italian Literature and Culture

Essere o non essere madre: Scelta, rifiuto, avversione e conflitto. Maternità e identità femminile nella letteratura e cultura italiane

Laura Lazzari
AAUW International Postdoctoral Fellow, Georgetown University,
Affiliated Research Faculty, Franklin University Switzerland

Joy Charnley
Independent Researcher, Glasgow

This volume of intervalla centres on the themes of choice and conflict, refusal and rejection, and analyses how mothers and non-mothers are perceived in Italian society. The nine essays cover a variety of genres (novel, auto-fiction, theatre) and predominantly address how these perceptions are translated into literary form, ranging from the 1940s to the early twenty-first century. They study topics such as the ambivalent feelings and difficult experiences associated with motherhood (doubt, post-natal depression, infanticide, IVF), the impact of motherhood and non-motherhood on female identity, attitudes towards childless/childfree women, the stereotype of the “good mother,” and the ways in which such stereotypes are rejected, challenged or subverted. Major Italian writers, such as Lalla Romano, Paola Masino, Oriana Fallaci, Laudomia Bonanni and Elena Ferrante, are included in these analyses, alongside contemporary “momoirs” and works by Valeria Parrella, Lisa Corva, Eleonora Mazzoni, Cristina Comencini and Grazia Verasani.

Keywords: motherhood, Italian literature, Italian culture, female identity, women’s writing

Parole Chiave: maternità, letteratura italiana, cultura italiana, identità femminile, scrittura delle donne

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