California Italian Studies
Bare Life: Space and the Maternal in Laura Pugno’s La ragazza selvaggia
- Author(s): Bjekovic, Nina
- et al.
This study examines Laura Pugno’s engagement with the notion of bare life through the questions of space, primal desire, and maternity in La ragazza selvaggia. Drawing on theories by Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben, the first section of the study investigates how the political acts upon and presides over the biological in the novel's spatial dimensions. This analysis extends to the realm of writing, which constitutes the territorio selvaggio [wild territory] of Pugno’s literary explorations. A Kristevan reading of Dasha and Nina's complicated relationship reveals the biopolitical tensions that underlie it. At the same time, an allegorical analysis of this dynamic considers them as incarnations of the semiotic and the symbolic, which are associated with zoē and bios, respectively. Turning its attention to the corporeal, the study ponders how the selvaggio is expressed through the body and simultaneously challenged by it. This analysis also uncovers the consequences of Agnese and Nina's unrealized reproductive and maternal identities through the Kristevan theory of abjection. Through this theoretical lens, the study demonstrates Pugno's problematization of the maternal and reproductive questions in the novel to argue that La ragazza selvaggia calls for new conceptions of zoē that transcend the patriarchal insistence on women's generative identity in society.