Leggendaria 91

“Tender Warriors. Tales by a Generation”

68 pages + “For a Pink New Deal” a 36 pages supplement



About 30 young women speak of themselves in our “Tema”: representatives of a generation which is due to live in a very “precarious world” as far as we consider work, love, motherhood. And they are real “Tender Warriors”, as the title of a recent collection of essays edited by the young philosopher Federica Giardini call them speaking of the special kind of “force” characterizing the new generations of women. They are strong and fragile at the same time, self-conscious and somehow shy, nomads and flexible in surfing the economic and ideological crisis in which we all live. Their writings explore how they cope with the difficulties of finding a stable job, the desire of being mothers, politics and feminism, the relationship with older generations of women – real or symbolic mothers who “made” feminism and are still there – men and other women. They organize themselves in “collettivi” or find their way to new way of being; they travel, move, return home. The use Internet, are bloggers of all kinds. And they ask many questions to the adults, first of all pretending not to be considered eternal kids.

The second part of the magazine offers an omage to Christa Wolf, the German writer author of  Cassandra, who died last december. And in PRIMOPIANO we discuss three important books: by Julie Otzuka, Michela Marzano and Valeria Parrella.One of our art critics visited the Milan exibition on life and works by Artemisia Gentileschi and a significant omage to Georgia O’Keefe in Rome. Plenty of book reviews are in Letture and Ultimi Arrivi while Top5 presents our choise of the best-to-read, alternative to the lists of the best-sellers.

To begin 2012 in the best way, we offer our readers a consistent Supplement (36 pages) titled “For a Pink New Deal”.We produce it together with in.genere.it, the reference website for women experts in economics, finance, welfare and other related matter. Perhaps their language is not too familiar for leggendaria’s readers fond of literature, but it opens an entire new world: speaking of pensions’s reform, market, welfare, enployment and above all how to deal with the present econimic crisis – in Italy people and newspapers seem now obsessed by “spread”, “rating”, “sovereing debt” “default” and so on – they demonstrate that really nothing is neutral,that everything can and must be considered a gendered matter, that there is not one single, inevitable “recipe” for economic depression. Just read and try!

The beginning of the year also means it’s time to renew your subscription, make a “legendary” gift to family and friends, recommend Leggendaria to your colleagues and acquaintances, so here goes our new Subscription Campaign: supporters will receive a gift with 4 of our “quadernini” (notebooks). Go to www.leggendaria.it

Leggendaria 90

72 pages, 10 euros

“Readers&Women Characters”


Here comes the last issue of Leggendaria for 2011. We offer reflections, testimonies, reviews that will help focus on a rich and complex issue, with our legendary passion for women readers and the in-depth analysis of women characters, in their long and profitable relationship.

The magazine opens with articles dedicated to women in politics. Regine di spade, calls them political scientist Mariella Gramaglia in her Apertura piece that, as a popular referendum on the electoral rules is approaching, counts Italian representatives in both chambers of Italian Parliament: the 7% share of 1948 has risen to 21% in 2008: Women in parliament have tripled, but is there any significant difference depending on electoral systems?

Philosopher Simona Marino writes on the recent administrative elections in Naples in her article A Napoli la quota resta lontana, while Laura Savinelli examines Liberia and its leaders in Un Nobel per mama Ellen.

But let’s leave politics and enter the subject of the cover: Women readers & characters.

As to women readers, in the Tema section Edda Melon’s review Nadia Setti’s book on the passion of reading in Percorsi e soste di una lettrice. An other piece informs us that in the last year readers in Italy increased by one million. 40% are men and 53% women. The best-selling book of the year was by a woman. These and other data accompany the article by Anna Maria Crispino’s Qualcosa che si fa in due, stating that, between author and reader, as well as between reader and the female character, the relationship is reciprocal. The remark is confirmed shortly thereafter by Elvira Seminara’s contribution in Quella voce di Coscienza.

We’re led from women readers to women characters by Antonella Viale’s Donne Elfo e ragazze lupo a catalogue of female figures in fantasy, while real women are portrayed in Non è un paese per donne, a collection of twelve short stories by twelve women authors. The book is reviewed by Silvia Neonato in her  Libere donne d’Italia.

Last november Genoa hosted the national conference of the Italian Society of Women in  Literatures (SIL) named Io sono molte. L’invenzione delle personagge; Nadia Setti offers an excerpt from her report of the event, entitled Personagge ritrovate, in costruzione impreviste. The subject of the Sil conference, developed by Bia Sarasini’s opening contribution in her Da dove vengono e dove vanno le personagge, suggests it is definitely worth continuing to examine women characters’ origins and future destinations.

Particularly rich in this issue of our Leggendaria is the A/margine section: conferences, cinema, theater, summer schools are just some of the excellent initiatives carried out in recent months, highlighting a great vitality in the world of women and its surroundings, despite the current crisis.

Primopiano opens with a memory of late Agota Kristóf; the section comes with plenty of  insights and suggestions.

As the Christmas celebrations get closer, let us not forget gifts. There’s plenty of gift ideas and book recommendations for all ages, in our Letture and Top Five pages.

The end of the year also means it’s time to renew your subscription, make a “legendary” gift to family and friends, recommend Leggendaria to your colleagues and acquaintances, so here goes our new Subscription Campaign (page 70): supporters will receive a gift with 4 of our “quadernini” (notebooks).

Happy holidays! See you in 2012


Leggendaria n.89

56+XX pages, 10 euros


+ Special Supplement “The care of living”


L’autunno che verrà, is the opening of a short section of Leggendaria nr. 89 devoted to Italian politics and some recent events, such as the local elections, the May referendum, the national women’s meetings in L’Aquila and· Siena, up to the national CGIL strike. The scenario is appropriate to stop and think about what is happening to us and we do it with an editorial by Anna Maria Crispino, a review of the last July Siena meeting – promoted by “Se non ora quando” written by a young scholar who was there, and with a piece on the new municipality of Milan, by Manuela Cartosio. On L’Aquila after the earthquake and “Terre-mutate” you will find our two usual pages of information and commentary.

On a different note, the Tema of this issue, edited by Matilde Passa, gives space to cultural and exquisitely strong passions: MéloDrammatiche, i.e. melodramatic women figures. Those heroines of the nineteenth century opera that have profoundly marked our collective imagination and popular culture, even more than women in writing, since Italy was a country of little reading but a lot of singing!

Figures of a “romance”” often bordering on disease – even lethal to women dying for love – these figures imposed themselves both on the stage and into our hearts thanks to their untamed personalities. From Madame Bovary to Pretty woman, in her article Matilde Passa reviews a list of “melodramatic” characters· and devotes a few lines to the biography of Puccini in La sindrome pucciniana; while her Anime senza Tempo refers to a conversation with actress Franca Valeri. Profumo di Parigi is Carmen Alessi’s article on a book by Emilio Sala entitled Il· valzer della camelie and of course we could not miss a page dedicated to Carmen in Serena Guerracino’s Carmen: pelle nera, voci bianche; Serena also gives some previews of her upcoming book, Donne di passioni. Orchestra women conductor and composers are in the frame, too.

Off to less dramatic issues in Primopiano, that provides some positive head-scratching and makes us wonder what good is studying Greek and Latin? Years after leaving high school courses, let’s try to answer this question with Martha Nussbaum in Mariella Gramaglia’s article Non per profitto, where she suggests one should not even neglect Sanskrit, since humanities illuminate doubt and discussion. In her view, it is thanks to the lessons of a Harvard professor of moral philosophy that today in India and China students also discuss topics such as abortion and the free market.

There is always plenty of book reviews – see Letture, Primopiano e Ultimi arrivi – but this issue of Leggendaria also hosts an article “on” books: volumes that smell of paper, clutter the shelves, and gather dust. And that do not feel threatened by e-books. We suggest you to enjoy this read together with articles from the bookseller Cristina Biassoni, Ornella Cioni and Monica Luongo. The first two enrich the column La mia libreria, while the third, Un ebook per amico, can be found in A margine. Those who cast doubt on cost and convenience should think again.

Among the Top five curated by Nadia Tarantini La vergogna e la fortuna sounds particularly intriguing, with its collection of stories written by Roma and collected by Bianca Stancanelli: finally a book by – not on – Roma.

Back to politics, eventually, in the Special Supplement «La cura del vivere» (The care for Life) – which we attach to this issue and which contains the document prepared by the “Gruppo femministe del mercoledì” of Rome, with some insights on the key points of the proposed discussion and a review of preliminary interventions: we hope the Speciale will be used at meetings, assemblies, and further initiatives across Italy.


Leggendaria will co-ordinate the program of initiatives of the magazines stand at Umbrialibri 2011, in Terni and Perugia in the first two weekends of November, and will later join the Convegno Nazionale della Sil (Società Italiana delle Letterate) in Genoa from 18th to 20th November. This means we’ll have many opportunities to meet with our “legendary” readers: We look forward to meeting you soon!


Leggendaria n. 88

68 pages, 8 euros

“Genealogie letterarie e tradizione”


Summer has come, after the results of local elections and referendums, bringing a different political and cultural climate in Italy. The media called it “awakening”, but we would like to humbly remind them that some had never been asleep. And they won’t during this summer holiday either: historians, philosophers, literati women are attending their residential summer schools and seminars throughout Italy between June and September (see our News), and many young women have prepared for the big national meeting “Se non ora quando?” (If not now, when?, quoting Primo Levi) in Siena, July 9 and 10. We’ll tell you about it in our next issue.

Meanwhile, we open n. 88 with our narration of another intensive, emotional and political event: “The Days of May” in L’Aquila, in initial the Terre-Mutate pages. Over a cople of year after the earthquake, Elena Bianchi’s photos accompany the review on the events attended also by numerous associations from Foggia, Siena, Rome, Milan.

As reading is our passion, and, as Monica Farnetti writes, “Literature is our politics, our world and our love“, you will find a large number of reviews in Letture, Primopiano and Ultimi arrivi, as well as in our TopFive, this time signed by Giovanna Pezzuoli.

Who decides which authors are going to be celebrated in anthologies and why they contain few women writers is the theme of this Speciale, devoted to literary genealogies and tradition with contributions by Anna Maria Crispino, Maria Antonietta Saracino, Anna Scacchi, Daniela Daniele, Alessandra Riccio, Susanna Scrivo, Laura Fortini, Antonella Anedda and Monica Farnetti.

The theme is also an hook to follow a series of studies designed to find alternative models. A genealogy of women writers to trace back. A route to follow for those wishing to set forth on a reading path that starts from Sappho and takes to Virginia Woolf. And beyond, touching on writers yet to be discovered or rediscovered, as the Japanese author of the first novel in history, or as the Nobel prize Grazia Deledda. Because, as Anna Maria Crispino remarks, not only women have been considered exceptions.

L’esclusione non ci restituisce la realtà del mondo – exclusion does not gives us the reality of the world, Alessandra Riccio’s article, illustrates that also regional men writers were excluded from the literary canon. Then you have to find ancestors, so to speak. And you can do it via illustrations, too, as Nadia Magnabosco’s, that recall childhood from the very cover.

As retracing literary genealogies is almost a digging operation, “Cartografie della memoria,” as defined by Maria Antonietta Saracino, as well as in Grandi passione critiche by Daniela Daniele, in Archeologie femministe and Antologie femminili, both by Anna Sacco, the reader will find a valuable bibliography, ranging from Manga to the limba of Sardinia to South American tradition, there is something for all tastes.

This Leggendaria issue is certainly to keep, then, both for its literary suggestions and for its theoretical elaboration, which might start from La carta da parati gialla, to name the feminist story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman that came out four decades ago and is now a must in U.S. studies.

Go to a bookshop before leaving for your holidays, or even if you’re staying in the city: bookshops are magical, precious places, and very different from intrusive book-supermarkets; they also cater to independent publishers and live on and for curious, intelligent readers. We recommend one in every Leggendaria issue, and this time it is Libreria Koob, a Roman bookshop, presented in the words of the young writer Chiara Mezzalama.

Enjoy your summer and your reading – see you in Septembe

Leggendaria n. 87

74 pages, 10 euros

“Women who made Italy”


·After uniting Italy, as the saying goes, Italians were to be “made”, too. And who could do it, if not Italian women? A century and a half after the unification of Italy, Leggendaria devotes an entire issue to women educators, teachers, women of letters, pedagogists, mothers, nannies, and, of course, writers of the time. Indeed, the flourishing of publications on the relationship between women and the Italian Risorgimento, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy was a surprise for many.

Back in 1870 educating women was considered “dangerous”, because it distracted them from their natural tasks, such as the care of home and family. The Kingdom of Italy, anyhow, – for better or for worse – as Luciana Di Mauro and Carmela Covato write in “Educate a educare” – that opens this special issue of Leggendaria – opened the doors of schools to women who were at the time 90% illiterate. But if in 1911 things were very different and the number of women teachers was far higher than that of men teachers, this was also due to the fact that women were paid less, and believed to be more prone to submission and therefore morally more reliable. Since then, the gap has widened to the point that in elementary school male teachers are now only 2%.

Anita Garibaldi on horseback leads us to the article by Bia Sarasini: “Le donne nel canone risorgimentale”: the review of a book by Alberto Mario Banti on national stereotypes and their sources, when women were considered “angels of the hearth”, a myth also created to deny that sex tourism in Italy was also among the highlights of the Grand Tours.

Conversely, in the Italian iconography women were especially mothers: loyal, devoted, and patient. An image created to set aside the heroines who really helped to build Italy, from Anita Garibaldi to Cristina Trivulzio Belgioioso, Jessie White Mario, and many more: those who chose to open fire, instead of guarding the hearth.

And what is the outcome of decades of mystification of the image of women? The “mammismo”, as explained by Marina D’Amelia, author of “La mamma”, interviewed by Luciana Di Mauro. The term was invented by Corrado Alvaro over half a century ago for a phenomenon that, perhaps, still goes beyond modern big babies.

Were they really anti-heroic by definition, these mothers and teachers of Risorgimento? They sure can convey powerful messages still today. Some might even do that… jumping out of a trunk. That’s how a niece, Elena Frontali, learned about her grandmother, whose correspondence was a key to access the woman’s silence and to understand it enveloped the failure of both a professional project and a life. This and more we are told in “Le sfide di Elena Raffalovich”, by Mario Alighiero Manacorda. Raffalovich was the wife the Italian philologist Domenico Comparetti, and a follower of pedagogist Adolf Pick; she pioneered the Fröbel method in Italy, and managed to open a kindergarten in Venice in 1874, (later closed by local authorities). It is a simple story, but for which the author expresses the strong personal elements of the project: They were all in that nursery, the challenges of Elena Raffalovich, to quote the title of the article.

As Galimberti’s article “La lunga marcia della cittadinanza” shows us, the march for citizenship was long. And, in Italy, it was undertaken by the very people who fought for the unification of the Nation. Until when, fortunately, the history of women also became successful. Martina Piperno, in her article on Jewish women in the Italian Risorgimento, reminds us of Sarina Nathan’s success and emphasizes the role of Jewish women of the time, also explaining how they were more emancipated than their Catholic counterparts.

No doubt the women protagonists of this issue of Leggendaria would have joined Terre-mutate in L’Aquila. In “Una casa dopo il terremoto” Bia Sarasini updates us on what is going on in the Abruzzo chief town, where a house has been occupied and renamed “Casa della donna” on the occasion of a recent twp-days meeting of seminars and discussions (promoted by Leggendaria together with the associations of L’Aquila women. The same house is at the centre of “Lottare è questo riprendersi del cuore”, the article on the meeting by Lidia Campagnano.

In the Incontri section Daniela Matronola and Anna Maria Crispino interview the poet Gabriella Sica and editor Francesca Varotto, respectively, while in the opening of Primopiano Titti Danese turns the spotlight on the successful “Trilogia degli occhiali”, a work by outstanding playwriter Emma Dante on the invisible people we meet every day, struck by poverty, old age, pain; the play is successfully touring many Italian cities.

Under 15, the section for young readers opens with a review of a new edition of a tale by Andersen translated and edited by Danish-italian writer Maria Giacobbe. Beyond this article, and two books of fairy tales to be read aloud, we also find a review that is, rather, a real piece of news: Manifestolibri has launched a series for children where Andrea Colombo presents the palaces of politics, and Ugo Mattei with his “L’acqua e i beni comuni” offers “politburo” issues with illustrations.

The issue closes with an already eagerly awaited appointment: the Top five, where Silvia Neonato compares an official and a personal list of favourite reads. If you don’t know what books to take on holiday, or on which of the two rankings to rely, we anticipate that Silvia’s list does not include either Mazzantini or Pope Ratzinger. Enjoy your summer reading!


Leggendaria n. 86

74 pages, 10 euros

“I want to work. And do it my way.”


«I did it my way», sang Frank Sinatra back in 1968. And that’s precisely the decade we are looking into. “The way” is about work for women and girls of the 60’s and 70’s, then fighting for their rights and starting new ways of living, and – indeed – of working.

«I want to work. And do it my way» is the title we chose for Leggendaria nr. 86, because today work is again very much a central issue for women. This issue looks into the work we have and that seems to swallow up our daily lives; the work we don’t have and we miss. Jobs that make us despair, precarious temporary jobs, and jobs that happily tie in with our passions or the meaning of our life. We discuss these issues with Bia Sarasini, Roberta Carlini, Maria Rosaria La Morgia, Ivana Rinaldi, Giovanna Pezzuoli, Matilde Passa, Silvia Neonato and Nadia Tarantini.

Some questions and discussions are enshrined in the Speciale section, which – centred as it is on the «Autobiografia di una generazione» (Autobiography of a Generation) – is very special indeed: Today the girls’ generation of the seventies is “reinventing middle age”, and we explore how they’re doing it. Leggendaria reports on a research· promoted by the Libera Università dell’Autobiografia in Anghiari (LUA) – an association that promotes autobiography as personal development – asking over 100 “old girls” to telle their stories. From Arco in Trentino to Palermo in Sicily, the fresco of over 900 stories of 125 women involved, includes various topics, ranging from the definition of love, motherhood, work, public life, power relations and hopes for the future.

In the first part of the dossier, Lucia Portis and Susanna Ronconi, national coordinators of the project, explain the method and reasons: With their article «900 fogli. Scritture per il presente», the two authors go beyond scientific illustration; the title in itself indicates that the goal is far beyond composing a memorial. Excerpts, fragments, aphorisms, are juxtaposed with pictures of feet, necks, eyes, backs. They are part of the photographic project Femminile, Plurale (Jacobelli ed.) designed and developed by Simona Filippini with funding from the Commissione delle Elette e dell’Assessorato alle politiche culturali della Provincia di Roma (Political Culture Department of the Province of Rome).

In her article «Voglio lavorare, ma a modo mio»· (I want to work, but do it my way) Bia Sarasini gives us an actual quantitative picture, indicating the percentage of occupied population, by sector, by type of contract, by gender. One finds that women have changed considerably in recent years, often without the media and their models keeping pace with the process.

Among these “new” women, Silvia Neonato presents us the story of Sara from the FAI to her family’s butcher company – «Sara dal FAI alla macelleria», while Nadia Tarantini recounts the joys and troubles of a teacher hunting for training internships for her students. These emblematic stories – so to say – give faces to the scientific data and case studies, thus completing the picture of a world that’s changing. In her «Eravamo ragazze di fabbrica» – memories of factory workers – Ivana Rinaldi gives us a further testimony of how today’s girls differ from their grandmothers, albeit their rights are not much more visible or palpable in the current situation.

Let us close with some good news, then: The foundation, in Milan, of Agora, “a present blog”, as defined by Giovanna Pezzuoli., i.e. a meeting place where job changes take the floor. A new place where girls meet and tell their stories, even if they are to young for historical Feminist experiences; through the theme of work they manage to communicate with other women who did live the experience.

And speaking of past experiences, we eventually remember two dear writers who have left us: Stefania Caracci and Michèle Causse. In the Incontri section we meet Thrity Umrigar and Susan Vreeland to discuss their latest books.

A wide selection of books is reviewed in the Primopiano, Letture, Ultimi Arrivi e Under/15 sections; and we are proud to present you two new sections devoted to books: the first is «La mia libreria» (My Library), that was suggested by our readers and that will feed on our readers’ writings, which means we look forward to your suggestions! The second is a ranking: the «Top Five» of our favourite books, compared with that of best-sellers.

Finally, as we’re approaching the May 7th and 8th event in L’aquila, in the Terre-Mutate pages you will find all relevant information on how to join and participate.

Read with us and join us in L’Aquila!