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Title: Writing for freedom : body, identity and power in Goliarda Sapienza's narrative
Author: Bazzoni, Maria Alberica
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 5789
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores the theme of freedom in Goliarda Sapienza's narrative, focusing in particular on three works: Lettera aperta (1967), L'arte della gioia (1998, posthumous) and Io, Jean Gabin (2010, posthumous). The analysis concentrates on the interplay between body and power in processes of identity formation; the main aspects taken into consideration are gender, sexuality and political ideology, with specific attention to the power involved in human relationships. This thesis comprises four chapters. The first three develop a close textual analysis of individual works, each one progressing from the exploration of the internal composition of the self to the analysis of identity in its interpersonal and socio-political dimension. The fourth chapter engages with a comparative analysis of the same works’ narrative structures, accounting for the role of writing in the evolution of Sapienza’s narrative. I identify the pivotal tension of Sapienza's works in the ideal of freedom, and propose to define her narrative as Epicurean and anarchic, characteristics that place it at the intersection of post-structuralist and Marxist-feminist discourses. Overall, I argue in favour of Sapienza's originality and significance within the context of 20th-century Italian literature. I suggest an affinity between Sapienza's works and the literary legacy of Pirandello and Svevo, as well as certain tenets of postmodern fiction, but also a significant difference, concerning the presence of a tension towards agency and subjectivity, extraneous to the trajectory of the modern and postmodern subject. From a position of marginality and ex-centricity, Sapienza gives voice to a radical aspiration to individual and social transformation, in which writing and literary communication are granted a central role. Her works trace the parable of a strenuous deconstruction of oppressive norms and structures, aimed at retrieving a space of powerful bodily desire, which constitutes the foundation of the process of becoming a subject.
Supervisor: Stellardi, Giuseppe Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature (non-English) ; Italian,Romanian,Rhaeto-Romanic literature ; Italian ; Goliarda Sapienza ; Italian Studies ; Women Writers ; Literary Criticism