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Resisting Monologue: Alba de Céspedes' Nessuno torna indietro and the Subversion of Paternal Authority

  • Author(s): Eufusia, Lindsay
  • et al.

Through the lens of Foucauldian theories of docile bodies, discursive and discoursing subjectivities, and heterotopias, along with theories of the voice drawn from the film criticism of Michel Chion and Kaja Silverman, this essay examines the ways in which de Céspedes’s novel resists the monologic discourse characteristic of paternalistic authority and the fascist regime. It is argued that, by presenting alternative mother types and corresponding alternative matrilineal genealogies, the protagonists of Nessuno torna indietro subvert traditional paternal authority and cultural conceptions of fathers and mothers, proposing different models of female (pro)creativity and self-determination more in line with women’s individual and varied aspirations. The role and expression of the voice, in multiple modes and registers, and the continual tension toward dialogue and conversation, as opposed to monologue, is central to my analysis and allows for a more multifaceted understanding of discursive and discoursing subjectivities, particularly in relation to conventional gender roles within the family during the fascist period in Italy.

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