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Italian Female Epistemologies beyond 'The Scene of the Crime'

  • Author(s): Elwell, Leslie
  • Advisor(s): Spackman, Barbara
  • et al.
Abstract

The crime genre, more familiarly referred to in Italian as the giallo, thrives in Italy and finds it origins in the late nineteenth-century popular novel or romanzo d'appendice. This dissertation groups together four twentieth and twenty-first century Italian novels written by women that elicit the crime genre only to then short-circuit it. Rather than placing them within the revisionist subgenre `Feminist crime fiction,' I suggest that these novels are radical in that they stage their own withdrawal from a gendered structure of knowledge inhabited and engendered by the crime novel: an epistemology that leaves them unthought. Indeed, these novels must leave the genre behind in order to pursue the construction of a female site of knowledge and the possibility of a female knower. In creating space for alternate, experimental discourses, these narratives rethink the relation between epistemology and gender, epistemology and narrative, epistemology and the body, and epistemology and the maternal by returning to, and rewriting, stories of origin so as to begin again and know differently.

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