Journal of Romance Studies

‘What’s hell? Palermo without any cake shops’: re-examining oppression in Dacia Maraini’s Palermo

Journal of Romance Studies (2007), 7, (1), 79–94.

Abstract

This article considers Dacia Maraini’s troubled relationship with Palermo, the city of her childhood, examining how the author attempts to come to terms with her contradictory emotions regarding its treatment of women and the violence inherent in its society. I argue that Maraini equates Palermo with violence and sees the city as a male-dominated space that is hostile to women. The article looks in particular at Maraini’s novel La lunga vita di Marianna Ucrìa (1990) and autobiography Bagheria (1993), which see the author revisit her homeland in a bid to reconcile her beliefs on female liberation with her childhood memories of Palermo’s intensely patriarchal society.

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Manson, Christina Siggers