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Title:Uscire dalla casa paterna: An inquiry into the life, literature and times of Maria Messina
Author(s):Toby, Jane
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Musumeci, Antonino
Department / Program:Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
Discipline:Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Modern
Literature, Romance
Women's Studies
Abstract:The writings of Maria Messina, a Sicilian woman writer at the turn of the century, embody a conflictual feminism issuing from conflicts that silenced and immobilized women in the past and created dilemmas for them in their struggle for emancipation. This dissertation looks at origins of gender discrimination as they are reflected in Maria Messina's life, literature and history. The dissertation closely explicates her literature and shows how Maria Messina expressed conflicts within society, the family and the inner person of the woman. Different themes are investigated such as culturally-constructed gender barriers that existed since biblical and ancient times that still obtained at the turn of the century--even within the polemics of emancipation; the link between woman's silencing and the repression of her sexuality (that form in Messina's literature the oppressive space of woman's enclosure); a synchronicty between Messina's writing career, her multiple sclerosis and the drama of her heroines; how fascism paralyzed woman and muted for a moment emancipatory changes she had made. The dissertation looks closely at Messina's Sicilian culture: her roots and literary metaphor; at Messina's life as revealed through her correspondence with Giovanni Verga. Messina's novels grapple with the psychology of being a woman: specifically, a woman within middle-class society of the early 1900's and her writings show the complexities and contradictions that form woman's psyche. Her realistic novels recount societal and familial conflicts as they manifest themselves within the daughter, the wife, the mother. Her work is reevaluated as a unique inquiry into woman's psychology, unusual especially for its time. Her writings hold the same contradictions and confusions displayed in the fight for woman's rights at the turn of the century; the complexity of attitudes surrounding middle-class woman's work, marriage and family structure. This dissertation looks at history and cultural symbolism with woman at the center and in the light of the life and writings of Maria Messina.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Toby, Jane
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9712460
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9712460

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