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The Power of Disturbance: Elsa Morante's Aracoeli

Eds. Manuele Gragnolati and Sara Fortuna. Oxford: Legenda, 2009

Jul 2009

Aracoeli (1982) was the last novel written by Elsa Morante (1912-85), one of the most significant Italian writers of the twentieth century. The journey, both geographical and memorial, of a homosexual son in search of his dead mother is a first-person narrative that has puzzled many critics for its darkness and despair. By combining scholars from different disciplines and cultural traditions, "The Power of Disturbance: Elsa Morante's Aracoeli", co-edited by Manuele Gragnolati and Sara Fortuna, re-evaluates the esthetical and theoretical complexity of Morante's novel and argues that it engages with crucial philosophical and epistemological questions in an original and profound way. Contributors explore the manifold tensions staged by the novel in connection with contemporary philosophical discourse (from feminist/queer to political theory to psycho-analysis) and authors (such as Emilio Gadda, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Pedro Almodovar).

"The Power of Disturbance", which emerged from an ICI-Symposium, shows that by creating a 'hallucinatory' representation of the relationship between mother and child, Aracoeli questions the classical distinction between subject and object, and proposes an altogether new and subversive kind of writing.

Oxford: Legenda 2009, 201pp.

Table of Contents, Introduction, Index (750kB)

Review: Adalgisa Giorgio, in: Italian Studies, 66.1 (2011), pp. 144-146.

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