La violenza femminile nella letteratura degli anni settanta. Dacia Maraini e Angela Carter

  • Elena Fammartino
  • Beatrice Manetti


A conservative interpretation of gender sees women as peaceful and apolitical, historically unrelated to war. It has also been said that violent women disrupt feminist images of liberated women as capable and equal, but not prone to men’s mistakes, excess, or violence. Apparently, women are not supposed to be violent; this is one tenet on which various understandings of gender seem to converge.
In contrast with this perspective, the Seventies have seen women acting violently on both public and private field. On one hand, women were strongly engaged with a fire baptism that was stirred up by some left extremist fringes. On the other hand, they were deeply involved with an emancipation path, where violence was eventually used as a mean to affirm their will, desire and authority in love affairs.
The present research deals with political and domestic violence acted by women, and its literary representations in the work of two authors: Dacia Maraini and Angela Carter. These women writers show a new perspective on female subject, without censoring or denying the chance of aggressive behaviours. Dacia Maraini tells violence with a poetic vocation to denounce social ills, and to encourage women to fight against their destiny. On the other hand, with a taste for gothic atmospheres, Angela Carter depicts surreal worlds, where all the rules can be subverted.
With their peculiar and original gazes above the topic, both the authors agree in the intent of reversing a stereotyped discourse on women’s violence, calling the female subject into question. If women’s violence has always fell outside of ideal-typical understandings of what it means to be a woman – so that violent women have fallen into historical categorization of ‘bad’ women – Dacia Maraini and Angela Carter do not accept this premise. Their work cooperates to redefine an imagery that allows the female horror, which has been denied, misunderstood and misrepresented for a long time. Above all, they acknowledge women’s agency in every sphere of life, bringing back violence to a dimension of choice and awareness. Through the analysis of Dacia Maraini and Angela Carter’s work, the female subject is freed from restrictive cultural stereotypes, gaining new integrity and authenticity. The acceptance of women’s violence returns women their historic responsibilities, restores truth and consistency to gender differences, and lays the foundations of a reciprocity that brings social equity and political and personal freedom.

Keywords: women, violence, Seventies, Maraini, Carter.
Parole chiave: donne, violenza, anni settanta, Maraini, Carter