Friday 17 August 2018


Two new titles have been added to the series 'Studies in Contemporary Women's Writing'. 

Alberica Bazzoni's Writing for Freedom offers an in-depth analysis of the Sicilian writer Goliard Sapienza's major works, identifying their main themes and central poetics, and extablishing her originality and significance within the context of 20th-century Italian literature. The study, which won the 2015 Peter Lang Young Scholars Competition in Women's Studies, follows Sapienza’s autofictional journey from the painful reconstruction of the self in Lettera aperta [Open Letter] and Il filo di mezzogiorno [Midday Thread], to Modesta’s rebellious adventure in L’arte della gioia, to the playful portrayal of childhood in Io, Jean Gabin [I, Jean Gabin] and, finally, to the representation of prison life and queer desire in L’università di Rebibbia [Rebibbia University] and Le certezze del dubbio [The Certainties of Doubt]. Themes of freedom, the body, nonconformist gender identities and sexuality, autobiography and political commitment are explored in connection to a variety of philosophical discourses, including Marxism, feminism, psychoanalysis and queer theory. From a position of marginality and eccentricity, Sapienza gives voice to a radical aspiration to achieve freedom and social transformation, in which writing and literary communication are conferred a fundamental role.

Anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and troubled relationships with food and bodies have been depicted by writers across a variety of languages and cultures, since before the medicalisation of eating disorders in the late 19th century to the present day. Starvation, Food Obsession and Identity, edited by Petra Bagley, Francesca Calamita and Kathryn Robson, explores the fictional portrayal of these self-destructive yet arguably self-empowering behaviours in contemporary French, German and Italian women’s writing. Covering autobiography, fiction and autofiction, the essays outline different aspects of the cultural encodings of anorexia in Europe today. Contributors analyse how literary texts not only recount but also interrogate wider cultural representations of eating disorders, particularly with regard to concepts of (gender) identity, the body, the relationship with the mother, and the relation between food and words. This volume seeks to draw out the multiple meanings of anorexia as both a rebellion against and conformity to dominant (and gendered) socio-political structures. It explores the ways in which contemporary women’s novels and memoirs both describe and, importantly, also redefine eating disorders in present-day Europe.

Starvation, Food Obsession and Identity. Eating Disorders in Contemporary Women's Writing edited by Petra M. Bagley, Francesca Calamita and Kathryn Robson
ISBN 978-3-0343-2200-3 xii, 292pp (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2018)

Writing for Freedom. Body, Identity and Power in Goliarda Sapienza's Narrative by Alberica Bazzoni
ISBN 978-3-0343-2242-3  xii, 324pp (Oxford : Peter Lang, 2018)