Category Italian

A Close Encounter with Domenico Starnone

By Andrew Martino Beneath the shadow of the golden dome of the Massachusetts State House on Boston’s Beacon Hill, the Boston Athenaeum sits quietly on a shaded street. To the casual passerby, the building sticks out for its striking architecture in a city increasingly dominated by steel and glass. Inside, some of the most profound […]

“Via Gemito”: Domenico Starnone’s Ur-Text

From the very beginning, readers are confronted with an exhausting tension between father and son, their antithetic visions threatening at every step to converge and become enmeshed into the furious flow of Mimi’s narrative which, despite his alleged commitment to a serene composure, is far from tidy or calming. That prose is, after all, the exhibition of a carefully performed identity, constructed through repetition of linguistic and paralinguistic gestures, reminding us of Butler’s idea that subjects are the effect of signifying practices and social discourse (Butler 1999).

On Bonds and Baggage: Domenico Starnone’s “Ties”

Starnone captures and dissects a vast array of concerns in a slim volume, neatly structured and tightly plotted, yet at the same time open-ended, without definitive answers or solutions. “Ties,” in other words, packs a lot of baggage into a small container while also leaving the container ajar, like Pandora’s box.

Three Stories from Domenico Starnone’s “Fuori Registro”: “The Empty Classroom,” “Once Again,” “Dandelion” 

A few minutes passed, and I felt ill at ease. Then I recited a poem and commented on it, in that loo: “The pensive father with his goatish hair…” 

Degrees of Separation: Jhumpa Lahiri’s Translation of Domenico Starnone’s “Trust”

Starnone’s “Trust” often relies on intertextuality, implicitly suggesting that readers tap into their inner literary database as they navigate this text. The novel, like all forms of literature, does not and cannot exist in a vacuum, devoid of symbiotic interaction with the universal œuvre.

Love, Death, and Language in Starnone’s “Vita mortale e immortale della bambina di Milano”

On the surface, “Vita mortale e immortale della bambina di Milano” (“Mortal and Immortal Life of the Girl from Milan”), Domenico Starnone’s latest literary gem (Einaudi, October 2021), has a deceptively simple plot. It relays the wondrous deeds of a young boy, Mimì (short for Domenico) who has a morbid curiosity towards death and is also the protagonist of three tragicomic love affairs.

On the Language and Style of Domenico Starnone’s Novels

By Chiara De Caprio Translated from Italian by Rebecca Falkoff Considering the novels and short stories of Domenico Starnone from a linguistic perspective means to bring out the double-edged quality and the internal stratification of their linguistic composition. A reasonable pace and feverish emotional sequences intersect in his works. His style alternates between solitary self-reflection, […]

A Neapolitan Grandfather on the Edge: Domenico Starnone’s “Trick”

While the protagonist’s relationship with his beloved, unfaithful wife (and his erotic liaison with Mena) remain on the background, along with Saverio’s jealousy towards Betta, the foreground is taken by the scurvy grandfather and his know-it-all four-year-old grandson.

Often Petty, Definitely Bourgeois: Caterina Bonvicini’s “The Year of Our Love,” Translated from Italian by Antony Shugaar

By Alex Valente Caterina Bonvicini’s The Year of Our Love, translated by Antony Shugaar, is the story of Olivia and Valerio, who meet and grow up together in the same house while belonging to different families and class, who lose each other and find each other again several times, and who maintain a bizarre romantic […]

Mary Magdalene and the Revolutionary Power of Women’s History: Adriana Valerio’s “Mary Magdalene: Women, the Church and the Great Deception,” translated from Italian by Wendy Wheatley

Engaging in dialogue with an Italian feminist tradition that seeks to retrieve the voices and experiences of our female ancestors, Valerio is unwavering in her commitment to unearthing a “female genealogy” which will liberate women from the male-authored tradition that has misrepresented us for millennia.

Revisiting a Retro Radical: Anna Kuliscioff’s “The Monopoly of Man,” Translated from Italian by Lorenzo Chiesa

In 1890, Anna Kuliscioff stood before a packed house at the Philological Circle in Milan and delivered a searing speech on the “woman question.” 131 years later, Lorenzo Chiesa brings us Kuliscioff’s speech from that day, “The Monopoly of Man,” for the first time in English translation.

Turin’s Skies, Women’s Bodies, and Foreign Lands: Marina Jarre’s “Distant Fathers,” Translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein

The centrality of women’s experiences in current Italian fiction has drawn attention to previously neglected works. Although Jarre’s frankness about the body, from childhood to older age, is not shocking after Ferrante, it marked a new contribution to Italian literature in her time.

Natalia Ginzburg

“The Shattered House”: Lynne Sharon Schwartz on Natalia Ginzburg

nstead of by century or by literary movement, writers of fiction might be classified by times of day or slants of light. Tolstoy would fall under the clarity of high noon, Dostoievski  the hysteria of three a.m. Natalia Ginzburg’s pervasive wit and minute details would suggest a morning sensibility, while her repetitions and obsessiveness feel nocturnal. In the end, though, she is crepuscular, like Chekhov.

Natalia Ginzburg

A Short History of “Reintroducing Natalia Ginzburg”

We are stuck in a loop of “reintroducing Natalia Ginzburg.” The current iteration of that loop depends on publishers’ marketing of Ginzburg as a precursor to Elena Ferrante. However, this genealogy arises out of a necessity to sell books; Ginzburg’s relation to her peers—Cesar Pavese, Elsa Morante, Italo Calvino—has far more relevance than the specter of her impact on Ferrante.

Global Perspectives, Trauma, and the Global Novel: Ferrante’s Poetics Between Storytelling, Uncanny Realism and Dissolving Margins

Excerpt from: de Rogatis, Tiziana. “Global Perspectives, Trauma, and the Global Novel: Ferrante’s Poetics between Storytelling, Uncanny Realism, and Dissolving Margins.” MLN 136:1 (2021), 6-9. © 2021 Johns Hopkins University Press.  Reprinted with permission of Johns Hopkins University Press. Read the Introduction to “Elena Ferrante in a Global Context,” the special issue of Modern Language […]