Identità ebraica e femminile nella letteratura italiana contemporanea
Sanchez, Nikole Marie
This study aims to analyze the representation of gender and identity in Italian Jewish female narrative of the postwar world. Through an analysis of select works by Clara Sereni and Helena Janeczek it is possible to trace construction of authorial identity through their use of language, the illustration of familial relationships that influenced their attitudes and discourse on food and cooking, and the amalgamation of genres which produces unique literature. Both of these writers have made great contributions to contemporary Italian literature that deserves greater recognition. Their literary texts demonstrate the personal challenges faced by the characters in their daily lives that can represent the obstacles women faced after the Second World War. Sereni, born immediately after the cessation of WWII, demonstrates the possibilities that a determined woman could pursue in a new landscape filled with economic, political, and social changes. Inserting herself in a previously consolidated female literature, Janeczek is able to serve as a literary model for second-generation writers seeking out their place in this changed world.Sereni has contributed significantly to 20th century Italian literature by representing and writing about different aspects of her multifaceted identity. This study focuses on the texts Casalinghitudine (1987) and Il gioco dei regni (1993) as the most indicative of Sereni’s identity construction as she transmits her memories through a feminine lens. Her literature elevates the importance of the domestic feminine sphere to equate the significant historical events of the 20th century represented by the traditionally patriarchal society in which she lives. The work of Janeczek, a second-generation author, has not yet been extensively studied, particularly in a comparative framework. This study focuses on her first three texts that were published in Italian: Lezioni di tenebra (1997), Cibo (2002), and Le rondini di Montecassino (2010). This triptych represents the development of the construction of her identity as a daughter of Holocaust survivors who questions the notion of motherland and mother tongue in the evolving space of the 21st century.
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