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Palgrave Macmillan

Forging Shoah Memories

Italian Women Writers, Jewish Identity, and the Holocaust

ISBN 9781137382689
Publication Date June 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Italian and Italian American Studies

Though there has been an outpouring in recent decades of historical studies and cultural criticism related to the Holocaust, the experiences of women have too often been marginalized in this research. In particular, women's literary representations and testimonies of the Holocaust have not received their proper due, and while feminist scholarship since the 1970s has gone some way toward addressing this lacuna, there are very few distinctively Italian examples of such writing that have seen publication and garnered scholarly attention. This study fills this gap by deploying a gender-based analysis of Italian women's experiences of living and writing the Shoah, encompassing works from a variety of literary genres set against a complex historical backdrop.

Stefania Lucamente is Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at the Catholic University of America, USA.

1. Women Writing the Shoah
2. Memories, Testimonies
3. Those Who Came Back to Write, or the "Writers out of Necessity": Edith Bruck, 11153, and Liana Millu, 5384
4. The Bambine di Roma: Lia Levi, Rosetta Loy, Giacoma Limentani, and the Myth of Italiani, Brava Gente
5. The World Must Be the Writer's Concern: Elsa Morante's La Storia
6. "Daughters of the Holocaust": Lezioni di tenebra and Jewish Identity according to Helena Janeczek


'There is a remarkable and largely unknown corpus of Italian Holocaust writing by women. Stefania Lucamante's book, the first on the topic in English, is extremely rich and articulate, as insightful in its uses of theory and history as in its intense close readings.' - Robert S. C. Gordon, Serena Professor of Italian, University of Cambridge, UK
"Stefania Lucamante's study is the first to provide a cohesive and coherent analysis of women's narrative outputs concerning persecution, deportation, and genocide in Italy. Forging Shoah Memories composes a rich tapestry of stories and unique reflections which emphasizes the experience of Jewish Italian women, still little known on the international stage, discovering their characteristics and projecting them onto the background of theoretical and methodological problems related to the larger narrative of the Holocaust. Forging Shoah Memories also represents an invaluable contribution to the debate on whether or not to apply the category of gender in the context of Holocaust Studies, a debate that Stefania Lucamante has addressed calmly and firmly, showing with her own work the need to avoid stifling the experience of women within a 'neutral universal.'' - Anna Bravo, Associate Professor of Contemporary History, University of Turin, Italy
"The boundaries between memoir writing and literary writing are thin. Thanks to her choice to write about gender in Holocaust literary studies, Lucamante moves with agility between these two genres. Her trajectory begins with the testimony of the first survivors and moves through Elsa Morante - a wonderful case study. Lucamante's exploration advances an extremely worthy critical alternative to the better known case of Primo Levi's work." - Alberto Cavaglion, Professor of History of Judaism, University of Florence
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