Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Politics of the Visible

Writing Women, Culture, and Fascism

1997
Author:

Robin Pickering-Iazzi

Book Default Image

Reading works by women of the Italian fascist period, Pickering-Iazzi shows how they used writing to refute stereotypes that were imposed on them by the fascist regime and continue to be accepted and perpetuated into our day.

Reading works by women of the Italian fascist period, Pickering-Iazzi shows how they used writing to refute stereotypes that were imposed on them by the fascist regime and continue to be accepted and perpetuated into our day.

Politics of the Visible produces not only a provocative rewriting of Italian literary history, but also advances a forceful argument against the notion that the gendered interpellations of the fascist regime were greeted with a resounding ‘si!’

Barbara Spackman, New York University

In fascist Italy between the wars, a woman was generally an exemplary wife and mother or else. The “or else,” mostly forgotten or overlooked in accounts of femininity under fascism, is what concerns Robin Pickering-Iazzi. Reading works by women of the period, Pickering-Iazzi shows how they refuted stereotypes that were imposed on them by the fascist regime and continue to be accepted and perpetuated into our day. Politics of the Visible thus supplies a missing chapter of modern Italian history even as it questions our present-day assumptions about the social, cultural, and canonical makeup of interwar Italy.

The writers Pickering-Iazzi considers comprise both the popular and the critically acclaimed, including the illustrious Grazia Deledda (winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1926), Ada Negri, Sibilla Aleramo, Alba De Céspedes, Paola Drigo, Maria Goretti, and Antonia Pozzi. She situates their work-short stories, romance novels, autobiographies, neorealist novels, poetry, and avant-garde writings-not only within the context of fascist discourse but also within that of intellectuals and artists who did not keep to the fascist line. This allows her to offer closely observed and often surprising accounts of texts written by women under fascism and at the same time to explore the politics implicit and explicit in these texts.

In each case, Pickering-Iazzi examines specific issues of gender and genre-notions of women and the nation, rural life, the metropolis, technology, consumer culture, and modern forms of femininity and masculinity-that lead to broader theoretical problems. These include questions of modernism, the historical avant-garde, neorealism, and the politics of aesthetics.


Book Default Image

Robin Pickering-Iazzi is associate professor of Italian at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She is the editor of Mothers of Invention: Women, Fascism, and Culture (Minnesota, 1995).

Book Default Image

Politics of the Visible produces not only a provocative rewriting of Italian literary history, but also advances a forceful argument against the notion that the gendered interpellations of the fascist regime were greeted with a resounding ‘si!’

Barbara Spackman, New York University

Robin Pickering-Iazzi’s book represents an important and, in many ways, ground-breaking addition to the growing body of research on the relationship between Italian women and Fascism. Working through an impressive array of theoretical tools, Pickering-Iazzi’s book draws a sophisticated picture of the interplay between text and context. Altogether an ambitious and thought-provoking study, Politics of the Visible will be of great value to Italianists and non-Italianists alike.

Italian Studies