Unspeakable Women
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ROBIN PICKERING-IAZZI is author of Politics of the Visible and is associate professor of Italian at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

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Unspeakable Women

Selected Short Stories by Italian Women During Fascism
Robin Pickering-Iazzi

Translated from the Italian and with an Introduction and Afterword by Robin Pickering-Iazzi.

Despite the misogynist ideology of Italian Fascism, and contrary to claims of most postwar literary histories and anthologies, in the 1920s and 1930s, women authors enjoyed wide publication and critical recognition in Italy. From the cultural pages of important Italian newspapers of the period, Robin Pickering-Iazzi chose 16 stories unavailable for over 60 years, including three by Grazia Deledda, the 1926 Nobel Prize winner. All offer evidence of resistance to the self-sacrificing ideal of the “New Woman” of Fascism.

"This impassioning book is a perfect introduction to leading women writers of early twentieth-century Italy. Expertly presented by Pickering-Iazzi and luminously translated, their stories are at once disquieting and pleasurable. Probing the nature of desire and devotion, they veritably entreat the reader to know more about their authors, their other writing, and their lives and times under fascist rule."

—Victoria de Grazia, professor of history, Columbia University and author of How Fascism Ruled Women: Italy, 1922-1945

"Robin Picering-Iazzi has done a unique service in translating these stories and providing as well a compelling historical and social frame from within which to read them. Iazzi describes graphically how 'standards' of style and theme, controlled by political or literary power groups, managed the disappearance of Italian women writers from the canon and from literary history."

—Helen Barolini, editor of The Dream Book: An Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women and author of Umbertina

"Pickering-Iazzi has expertly chosen to anthologize stories which exemplify narrative innovations by women. She educates us to a different kind of experimental writing. The women the anthology restores to us, its authors and their characters (from the early woman movie-goer, to the sturdy country mom, the delirious stenographer, and the first woman to descry sexual harassment even), are here to stay. Congratulations on this wonderful volume."

—Keala Jewell, associate professor of Italian, Dartmouth College