Il Mito E L'llegoria Nella Narrativa Di Paola Masino

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In Italian.

This book is on Paola Masino who wrote prolifically during the Fascist dictatorship. She belonged to the European and international intelligentsia of the time and her work was widely read and reviewed. Her short stories were published in the most prestigious Italian literary magazines and her first novel Monte Ignoso was awarded the 1931 Viareggio Literary Prize.

Paola Masino’s narrative explores the realm of myths, allegories, dreams and hallucinations in order to break down the boundaries between rationality and irrationality and to expose the fundamental contradictions and limitations of reality. Life and death, the alienation and the tragedy of modern man, the changing realities of the traditional nuclear family, as well as the exploration of women self-representation and identity, are the dominant themes in her narrative. Masino’s discourse challenges patriarchal authority and the representation of models of femininity by putting into question the ideology of the woman-mother/caretaker of family and angel of domesticity promoted by the Fascist regime. Masino’s work was never censured by the regime. However, because of her strong experimental writing - from surrealism to magic realism, from the absurd to the grotesque – her narrative was qualified as “defeatist,” and she was personally criticized for “writing like a man.”

Paola Masino’s official literary production stopped shortly after WWII when Massimo Bontempelli, her life companion, fell ill. A well-known member of the Academy of Italy, Bontempelli died in 1960 and Masino dedicated the rest of her life to the publication and organization of his literary legacy. There is no doubt that Masino’s contributions have been overshadowed by Bontempelli’s stature and preeminence. However, Paola Masino is truly an avant-garde writer whose talent, complex style and independent voice fully contribute to the literature of twentieth-century Italy.


“Rozier’s manuscript is a significant critical contribution to Paola Masino’s work and will definitely foster more interest in this 20th century female writer. ... Rozier’s book is extremely well-documented, bibliographically sound and exceptionally clear. Her chronological and thematic excursus of Masino’s works gives the reader an outstanding insight of 20th century literary movements and sheds a new light on the author’s life and on the works analyzed.” - Salvatore Bancheri, Associate Professor of Italian, Department of French, German and Italian, University of Toronto, Toronto

“Louise Rozier has produced a beautiful work that offers a profound critical meditation on the writings of Paola Masino. In Rozier’s account of the Masino’s novel and stories, the issues that are transfigured onto an aesthetic domain have a correlative in the fields of metaphysical and existential reflection. For Rozier, a prime objective of Masino’s writing is that of providing a figuration for both the prismatic nature of the contemporary woman’s condition and the painful absurdity of the human situation in general. By means of a refined analytical approach, Rozier illustrates how insights into dreams and the subconscious, often through the channel of myth and allegory, allow us to understand the manner in which Masino overturns our conventional perception of the real. Masino, Rozier informs us, creates a new hypothesis of the real that pivots on the invention of new ethical values. The result being a renewed comprehension of the essence of lived experience. In Rozier’s mind, what is truly exemplary in Masino is the ability to depict a world that is concrete and objective, yet surreal and hallucinatory. This is consistent with, as Rozier argues, the magical/surreal which permeates throughout all of Masino’s writings.

Rozier’s work is scholarship of the highest category. We are presented with a reading of all of Masino’s writings in accordance to an interpretative strategy that manages to come into contact with the various thematic segments of the works under discussion. Moreover, Rozier offers us a piece of research that communicates in a productive way with the reader. Rozier has made a major contribution to the study of modern Italian literature by enriching our understanding of a writer who is able to create new worlds with new values.” - Paul Colilli (PhD), Laurentian University, Canada

Table of Contents

Prefazione Maria Carla Papini
Nota al testo
Introduzione L’Opera Masiniana nel suo Tempo
Capitolo primo Decadenza della Morte
L’esordio Metafisco
Capitolo secondo Monte Ignoso
La maternità e la Morte
Capitolo terzo Periferia
L’infanzia e la Modernità
Capitolo quarto Racconto Grosso
Il mito e l’Allegoria
Capitolo quinto Nascita e morte della massaia
La Ribellione e il Surrealismo
Capitolo sesto Colloquio di notte
L’Onirico e il Fantastico
Indice dei nomi e delle Tematiche

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