Sally’s kiss. Eroticism, lesbianism and feminism in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway
Lesbian eroticism and feminist politics are central elements in Mrs Dalloway. While these have been censored or ignored for decades in Woolf studies in Italy, a large number of readings in the anglophone world have identified the critique of patriarchy and heterosexuality as a social theme in the novel. Woolf uses a series of «coding techniques» to evoke the erotic bond between women, thus making lesbianism an inconspicuous yet central presence in the text.
Keywords: Woolf studies, Lesbian studies, Feminist literary criticism
«S’aimer sans le dégout, ce n’est pas s’aimer»: between the lexicon of eros and the lexicon of hate in Lagarce’s Les Serviteurs and Genet’s Les Bonnes
This study focuses on a linguistic and stylistic comparison between two plays by Jean Genet and Jean-Luc Lagarce. Specifically, the aim is to analyse the erotic lexicon of both Les Bonnes and its rewriting Les Serviteurs, as well as the way in which, by using a precise vocabulary and a specific stylistic construction, the two plays address a recurrent subject in literature: the love-hate relationship between servants and masters. As will emerge from the analysis, the erotic lexicon is closely intertwined with that of murder and death, thus designating a relationship, at once erotic and repulsive, that is based on a physical and spiritual adherence with the other and with oneself.
Keywords: French theatre, Lexicon, Eros
«Ce mélange d’ordure et de poème»: love, body and sexuality in the language of Albertine Sarrazin and Grisélidis Réal
This paper aims to examine the linguistic treatment of the themes of love, body and sexuality in the female imprisonment-and-wandering writings. If the twentieth century is characterized by the rise of texts produced by prison-writers, female criminal-writers occupy a particular position. In fact, labelled as rebels and not as a martyrs, the female outlaws face the threat of delegitimization. In such a context, the themes of love, body and sexuality become instruments of resistance against the imperative of silence. In order to examine the presence and the linguistic treatment of the themes in question, we will explore the works of Albertine Sarrazin (1937-1967) and Grisélidis Réal (1929-2005). We will focus, in particular, on two prison diaries – Le Times. Journal de prison 1959 by Sarrazin, and Suis-je encore vivante? by Réal –, and on two novels – L’astragale (Sarrazin) and Le noir est une couleur (Réal).
Keywords: Language, Eros, Prison
The voice due to her: the amorous aphonia of Margarita Gil Roësset
The essay discusses the “fragments of amorous discourse” left, before committing suicide, by Margarita Gil Roësset, a young avant-garde sculptor, to her beloved Juan Ramón Jiménez. The latter, who should have been the only “reader” of those confessional fragments, instead changed their meaning and addressee forever, by including them as “Marga’s diary” – together with his own “commemorative” texts and those of Zenobia Campubrí – in the tribute volume Marga (2015), edited and published by her great-granddaughter Hernández-Pinzón.
Keywords: Margarita Gil Roësset, Amorous discourse, Juan Ramón Jiménez
René Depestre’s erotic discourse. The case of Éros dans un train chinois
The theme of eroticism in the literary production of René Depestre is a constant that touches almost all of his work. The image of the woman is central in her poems and takes on original meanings. We chose the text Éros dans un train chinois, because it allows us to analyse the theme of erotic discourse. The research particularly deepens the study of the erotic lexicon and the lexical creativity of the author. This study of erotic discourse reveals how the writer’s linguistic choices possess a creative and persuasive force that can change the point of view on erotic writing.
Keywords: Erotic discourse, Erotic language, Depestre
Eros e poesia nel fumetto libanese contemporaneo
Eros and poetry in the contemporary Lebanese comics
During the last decades, the publishing landscape of Arab countries has been enriched by comics collections and graphic novels, intended for an adult audience. These works often share a common interest in the macro-theme of identity, taking into account different subjects, styles and languages. Sometimes, the search for an individual or collective identity passes through the exploration of sexuality, trying to reassess the gender stereotypes in contemporary society. This paper proposes an analysis of the most recent graphic novels created by Barrack Rima and Lena Merhej, that recover from the authoritative tradition of Arabic love poetry (ghazal) a more nuanced language (both verbal and figurative) to represent seduction, desire, and pleasure.
Keywords: Sexuality, Arabic Love Poetry, Lebanese Comic Art
Variations on classic and modern Eros in the poet-translator Salvatore Quasimodo
This contribution focuses on the semantic field of Eros in Quasimodo through a lexical analysis of early works, major poems, translations and letters, considering their prevailing classical roots. The research on the lesser-known youthful manuscripts is particularly pregnant because they suggest more recurring erotic situations than Quasimodo’s main works and there are some significant elements which are intertwined, such as the lyric construction of a flower-woman; the original recurrence of words about body and physical pleasure; and the Mith’s filigree. Another textual level of representation of Eros is proposed in the letters which the Sicilian author writes to Sibilla Aleramo and Maria Cumani, where the love speech is filtered – from a literary point of view – through mythological references also derived from his remarkable experience as a translator of Greek and Latin works.
Keywords: Quasimodo, Eroticism, Classicism
«Nostalgiques poupées»: “uncanny” Eros in fin-de-siècle Literature
The translations of Hoffman’s novels had an unpredictable and instant success in France since their publication in the 1830s. However, in order to understand the role of the mechanical doll Olimpia in the fin-de-siècle erotic imagination, we have to combine the intertextual and intergeneric analysis and the publishing history with the history of industrial manufacturing (with the establishment of Jumeau’s poupéees over German monopoly), of new forms of mass spectacle (especially Grevin Wax Museum) and of new sexual practices. A rapid review of macabre wax figures proposed by some fin-de-siècle authors, such as Rachilde and Jean Lorrain, introduces us in a Baudelerian and Mallarméan universe, in which the artificial prevails over the natural, the word replaces the object and the doll allows to go beyond the barrier of death and lack of meaning.
Keywords: Life-sized dolls, Death, Der Sandmann
Maria Serena Sapegno
The discourses of mystics, witches and false saints between eros and pornography (16th-17th centuries)
This essay examines discourses on female sexuality between the 16th and 17th centuries. Approaching eros as a dimension of self-development, the analysis focuses on mysticism and witchcraft as sexual models. Mysticism and witchcraft, sometimes close, are complementary discourses: if witchcraft embodies abject sexuality, female mysticism may express eros as long as it is directed towards God. Thus the mystic can speak as a subject of desire, while the woman accused of witchcraft cannot: the authorities’ discourse turns her into a pornographic object, incapable of using her own language to express (and recognise) desire. The strength of mysticism, then, lies in a language that resists the rhetoric of authority.
Keywords: Discourse, Witchcraft, Mysticism
Quale modernità per le donne?
Maria Serena Sapegno
What modernity for women?
In the 18th and 19th century in Europe the new novel contributes to the shaping of a different relationship between the sexes and a new if controversial approach to sexuality. In the process women are protagonists of the narrative, recipients and authors in the first person. Their entry onto the scene poses new problems, to the point of questioning their very access to sexuality.
Keywords: Novel, Women, Eros
Personal and political: sex as a feminist laboratory in Ersi Sotiropoulos’ Three festive days in Ioannina
Ersi Sotiropoulos is regarded as «the most advanced representative of feminist issues in Greek fiction prose»; critique demonstrated that in one of her first novels, Η φάρσα (‘The prank’) (1982), Sotiropoulos defies Phallogocentrism with her experimental Écriture feminine. Drawing from Marita Paparussi’s analysis of Sotiropoulos’ 1982 Εορταστικό τριήμερο στα Γιάννενα (‘Three Festive Days in Ioannina’), I offer a reading based on Julia Kristeva’s theory of abjection, and I argue that in this novel Sotiropoulos seems to use the same stylistic and linguistic tools she used in The prank in order to represent a specular subject: the individualization of women within the patriarchal order.
Keywords: Ersi Sotiropoulos, Εορταστικό τριήμερο στα Γιάννενα, Greek feminist literature