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Title:A portrait of the woman artist: Themes and motifs in Anna Banti's fiction
Author(s):Valentini, Daria
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Musumeci, Antonino
Department / Program:Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Romance
Women's Studies
Abstract:Anna Banti is an author who testifies to an enduring commitment to women in the arts. Throughout her extensive body of fiction, women's confining roles are allowed to expand beyond the physical and emotional boundaries of their realities, finding in the "Spirit of creativity" a restless, universal force that contains the essence of art.
The present study identifies recurring themes and motifs in Anna Banti's oeuvre, and as such it is a systematic investigation taking into account the entire body of prose by this author. Only one scholar, Enza Biagini (1978), has offered a comprehensive key to Banti's works, organized according to their genre and chronology. The main reasons why it has been deemed necessary to reconsider the literary production of this author are twofold. First, the monograph by Biagini, albeit an outstanding contribution, does not offer an extensive appraisal of some of the most central themes, especially the treatment of spatial references, and the abundance of motifs relating to madness, sickness, and the female body from a gender-based perspective. Second, the present analysis takes into account Banti's last novel, the autobiographical and largely insightful Un grido lacerante (1981), which had not been published at the time.
The themes and motifs presented here are divided into four major categories--those relating to time, space, the identity, and the self--and together they reconstruct the complex itineraries of the mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives represented in the fiction of Anna Banti. In particular, this thematic apparatus highlights the wider implications of the author's notions of womanhood and the intricate relationship of women to artistic creation. Furthermore, an interpretative key is offered to those works that have not yet been investigated at length, such as Itinerario di Paolina, Sette lune, Le monache canto, Il bastardo, Allarme sul lago, La monaca di Sciangai, Le mosche d'oro, Campi elisi, Noi credevamo, Je vous ecris d'un pays lointain, La camicia bruciata, Da un paese vicino, and Un grido Lacernate.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Valentini, Daria
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9625206
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9625206

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