In this study of 19th- and 20th-century French and Italian women's autobiography, the author illustrates how the protagonists' development unfolds through separation from oppressive social and familial structures. Reading the selected life stories as bildungsromane and drawing on an array of both canonical and noncanonical texts in the various autobiographical subgenres, Marrone concludes that the heroines' movements away from oppressive structures are not limited to particular historical periods but are motivated by historical and cultural circumstances. She thoughtfully traces the reasons why a 19th-century protagonist might leave her country, a turn-of-the century heroine might flee her family, and a modern female character might separate from her mother, carefully examining their motivations and their goals. In telling their stories, she concludes, women writers continually challenge existing autobiographical conventions. Marrone finds that postmodern texts prove that the journey toward selfhood may be an ongoing one, one that unfolds through the creation of multiple life stories.
The author begins her study with a consideration of the tradition of women's autobiography in French and Italian literature of the 19th- and 20th-centuries. Using several examples from various genres, she brings issues of gender oppression, marital abuse, sexuality, and motherhood to the forefront of the discussion. She continues by analyzing the genres of autobiography and bildungsroman—where they overlap and where they diverge, specifically in women's writing. Turning to specific authors and their works, Marrone moves on to an analysis of the writings of Cristina Trivulzio di Belgiojoso, C^D'eleste Mogador, Sibilla Aleramo, Oriana Fallaci, Marie Cardinal, and Annie Ernaux. In examining the works of these writers, the author concludes that women writers continue to attempt to define themselves in their own voices. Marrone finds that postmodern writers participate in innovative experimentation in life writing: hybrid texts, creative auto/biographies, and collective life stories. This clearly written, engaging volume is a pivotal addition to the growing field of literature on autobiography.
Examines French and Italian women's autobiographical writing, including travel writing, autobiographical novels, letters, and diaries, from the 19th and 20th centuries, in an effort to draw broad generalizations about the evolution of women's autobiography.
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Title: Female Journeys, Vol. 180
Author: Claire Marrone
Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
Date Published: June 2000
Table of Contents:
|A Critical Beginning|
|Women Writers, Feminism, and Theories of Autobiography: Debates and Trends|
|Traditions in French and Italian Autobiography: Women Writing within and against the Canon|
|Women's Autobiography as Bildungsroman: Gender and Genre|
|Common Elements and Distinctions between Autobiography and Bildungsroman|
|Pt. I||Leaving the Country|
|1||Cristina Trivulzio di Belgiojoso's Souvenirs dans l'exil: The Journey Home||29|
|2||Belgiojoso's Western Feminism: The Poetics of a Nineteenth-Century Nomad||45|
|3||The Bildung of Celeste Mogador and Lionel de C***: A Sentimental Journey||61|
|4||The Reformed Harlot in Un deuil au bout du monde: Suite des Memoires de Celeste Mogador||77|
|Pt. II||Leaving the Family|
|5||The Turning Point: Sibilla Aleramo's Una donna||91|
|6||Living Freely, Demanding Choice: Oriana Fallaci's Lettera a un bambino mai nato||107|
|Pt. III||Leaving the Mother|
|7||Creativity and Community in Marie Cardinal's Les mots pour de dire||121|
|8||Annie Ernaux's Auto/biographies: Unfinished Stories?||143|
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