Elusive subjects: biography as gendered metafiction
This is an innovative, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary reflection on the nature of women's biographical writing. In discussing how a number of writers from Italy, the United States and Australia rescue, or reinterpret, forgotten and excluded notable women from the past, Scarparo presents a controversial theory of biography based on metafictional dialogues between biographers as self-declared writers of fiction and their biographical subjects. The author eloquently places biography at the centre of a reflection on the relationship between history and fiction, and questions the notion of historical truth by looking at specific examples in which history turns into fiction, and fiction becomes history. In her discussion of these examples, Scarparo links the general issue of women's history-intended as the act of revising, recuperating, or simply writing it as History-to a specific narrative strategy that she calls gendered metafiction. Elusive Subjects offers a perceptive discussion of the varying degrees to which writers such as Banti, Bellonci, Daitch and Modjeska render their presence as story-tellers visible. In so doing, Scarparo questions the concealment that the writing of history and biography have traditionally involved, and discusses feminist biography as gendered metafiction.
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Artemisia Gentileschi and Anna Banti
Isabella dEste and Maria Bellonci
Lucienne Crozier and Susan Daitch
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Agostino Tassi Anna Banti Annella argues Artemisia Gentileschi artist Banti's Artemisia becomes Bellonci Bellonci's Isabella Borgia celebrated challenge character claims Daitch daughter diary discussion documents Elsa Morante emphasised evidence exceptional woman fact February Revolution Federico Felisatti female feminine feminism feminist biography feminist historian Francesco Francesco Gonzaga Garrard gender genre Gonzaga Greer historical novel historiographic metafiction historiography history and fiction Holofernes husband Hutcheon identification imagination interpretation invent Isabella d'Este Italian Jane's Lalage Lalage's lives lost manuscript Lucienne Crozier Lucienne's Lucienne's story Lucrezia Lucrezia Borgia Mantua Maria Bellonci memory Merlet's metafiction Modjeska mother narrative narrator Nonetheless notebook Orazio Gentileschi painter painting past political Poppy Poppy's portrait present question rape reader realised records recounts reflect relationship remember Renaissance representation Rinascimento privato role silence Stael Strega Prize struggle Tassi tell tion translation truth voice Willa and Jane women women's history Woolf