Writing versions of home : Marosia Castaldi’s Per quante vite and the poetics of the visible

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What happens to the object and idea of house/home in a postmodern world of fragmented selves, migrations, uprooting, and generally precarious lives? This article attempts to answer the question though the work of Marosia Castaldi, an author who unrelentingly portrays the loss of home, family, roots, identity and community.
Starting with an account of the literary representation of Italian women’s relationships with the home from the 19th Century to today, I formulate the hypothesis that literary houses reveal critical aspects of the individual’s private world in relation to the social context.
Drawing on an eclectic and original blend of theoretical notions and critical tools such as Bachelard’s poetics of space, Irigaray’s daughterly dereliction and homelessness in the socio-symbolic order, Freud’s ‘screen memories’, the nouveau roman’s poetics of the visible, Joan W. Scott’s category of experience, the Italian feminist philosophers’ female realism, Adrienne Rich’s act of female re-vision, the body of the article brings into relief the coincidence of house and psyche in Castaldi’s 1999 novel Per quante vite, highlighting her protagonist’s spatial dislocation and loss of self and her attempt to overcome this condition by creating alternative homes in the body and in writing.
The article argues that, in focusing on the body’s capacity to generate life and a writing practice that fills books with the matter of life and finds in books templates for life, Castaldi succeeds in realizing the feminist project of creating a new order which can house and represent the fact of sexual difference.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-96
Number of pages20
JournalThe Journal of Romance Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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