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Title: Construction and disruption : an analysis of the thematic contribution of extraordinary children and animals in the works by Paola Masino and Anna Maria Ortese
Author: Tondello, Elisabetta
ISNI:       0000 0004 2726 0726
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis sets out to examine the thematic function of extraordinary children and animals (characters who possess a metamorphic nature, magical traits or supernatural powers) in the works of two Italian women writers of the twentieth century, Paola Masino and Anna Maria Ortese. Drawing on a range of theoretical and critical works (on the literary representation of childhood and the animal world, on women writers, on the fantastic), I argue that these characters, thanks to their Otherness, have both a constructive as well as disruptive function. On the one hand, they enable the authors to construct and develop themes, arguments, statements of poetics and references to other works and, on the other hand, they allow them to 'disrupt', challenge and unmask a society trapped in its perbenismo and dehumanising rules and ideals. Carrying out a literary reading in a historical context, the thesis explores thematic areas, such as the victimisation of weaker beings, the portrayal of a reality not perceivable by the senses, the conflicting relationship between mankind and nature and the hidden truths of modern society. The thesis will also highlight how these characters contribute to the building of a thick web of intertextual references, unconscious or voluntary echoes to other literary and artistic works, as well as of the folkloric tradition. Despite a rediscovery of Masino's writing, previous critical studies have not focused on the representation of childhood or the animal world. The more consistent critical apparatus on Ortese's oeuvre has also not looked at the contribution of extraordinary children and animals as a category, examining them individually and in isolation. This thesis is the first study to look at the two authors' extraordinary children and animals as an instrumental cohort of characters to build on themes, convey criticism and create a dialogical dimension with other works.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PQ Romance literatures