Literary and epistolary figurations of female desire in early post-Unification Italy, 1861-1914

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

From the 1830s onwards, the topos of the sexually desiring woman in Italian tragic opera and imported French novels played a significant role in awakening a certain kind of desire in women in post-Unification Italy. Drawing on female performing artists’ and women writers’ expressions of sexual desire in letters and realist fiction respectively, and adapting aspects of Laura Mulvey’s theory of the gaze directed at women through male identification to articulate a female gaze, by way of female identification, Mitchell argues that these offered spectators new possibilities for the expression of female sexuality and desire: spectators were engaging cognitively and socially in the culture through the scopophilic mode, which was an important component in the identity formation of Italian women in the last decade of the nineteenth century.
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationItalian Sexualities Uncovered, 1789-1914
EditorsValeria P. Babini, Chiara Beccalossi, Lucy Riall
Place of PublicationBasingstoke, Hampshire
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2015

Publication series

NameGender and Sexualities in History
PublisherPalgrave MacMillan

Fingerprint

Italy
Figuration
Unification
Spectator
Women Writers
Awakening
Fiction
Artist
Laura Mulvey
Letters
Female Sexuality
Topos
Sexual
Realist
1830s
Opera
Identity Formation
Novel

Keywords

  • gender
  • gender and sexuality
  • history
  • gender and women's history
  • italian history
  • literature
  • gender studies and women's writing

Cite this

Mitchell, K. (2015). Literary and epistolary figurations of female desire in early post-Unification Italy, 1861-1914. In V. P. Babini, C. Beccalossi, & L. Riall (Eds.), Italian Sexualities Uncovered, 1789-1914 (Gender and Sexualities in History). Basingstoke, Hampshire.
Mitchell, Katharine. / Literary and epistolary figurations of female desire in early post-Unification Italy, 1861-1914. Italian Sexualities Uncovered, 1789-1914. editor / Valeria P. Babini ; Chiara Beccalossi ; Lucy Riall. Basingstoke, Hampshire, 2015. (Gender and Sexualities in History).
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Mitchell, K 2015, Literary and epistolary figurations of female desire in early post-Unification Italy, 1861-1914. in VP Babini, C Beccalossi & L Riall (eds), Italian Sexualities Uncovered, 1789-1914. Gender and Sexualities in History, Basingstoke, Hampshire.

Literary and epistolary figurations of female desire in early post-Unification Italy, 1861-1914. / Mitchell, Katharine.

Italian Sexualities Uncovered, 1789-1914. ed. / Valeria P. Babini; Chiara Beccalossi; Lucy Riall. Basingstoke, Hampshire, 2015. (Gender and Sexualities in History).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Mitchell K. Literary and epistolary figurations of female desire in early post-Unification Italy, 1861-1914. In Babini VP, Beccalossi C, Riall L, editors, Italian Sexualities Uncovered, 1789-1914. Basingstoke, Hampshire. 2015. (Gender and Sexualities in History).