ed. by Manuele Gragnolati and Sara Fortuna

Oxford: Legenda, 2009

Aracoeli (1982) was the last novel written by Elsa Morante (1912-85), one of the most significant Italian writers of the twentieth century. The journey, both geographical and memorial, of a homosexual son in search of his dead mother is a first-person narrative that has puzzled many critics for its darkness and despair. By combining scholars from different disciplines and cultural traditions, The Power of Disturbance: Elsa Morante’s Aracoeli, co-edited by Manuele Gragnolati and Sara Fortuna, re-evaluates the esthetical and theoretical complexity of Morante’s novel and argues that it engages with crucial philosophical and epistemological questions in an original and profound way. Contributors explore the manifold tensions staged by the novel in connection with contemporary philosophical discourse (from feminist/queer to political theory to psycho-analysis) and authors (such as Emilio Gadda, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Pedro Almodovar).

The Power of Disturbance, which emerged from an ICI-Symposium, shows that by creating a ‘hallucinatory’ representation of the relationship between mother and child, Aracoeli questions the classical distinction between subject and object, and proposes an altogether new and subversive kind of writing.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction – Sara Fortuna and Manuele Gragnolati

Language and (Inter-)Subjectivity

2. Between Affection and Discipline: Exploring Linguistic Tensions from Dante to Aracoeli – Sara Fortuna and Manuele Gragnolati

3  Seeing and Telling: Anamorphosis, Relational Identity, and Other Perspectival Perplexities in Aracoeli – Rebecca West

4  Resisting Paranoia: Poesis and Politics in Aracoeli – Florian Mussgnug


5  ‘The Lover of a Hybrid’: Memory and Fantasy in Aracoeli – Christoph F. E. Holzhey

6  Scene madri: Psychoanalytic Visions from Aracoeli to Volver –  Vittorio Lingiard

7  Baubo — Another and Additional Name of Aracoeli: Morante’s Queer Feminism – Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky


8 Staging the Passion of Aracoeli –  Agnese Grieco

Elsa e gli altri

9  Aracoeli and Gadda’s La cognizione del dolore: Disturbed Sons, Disturbing Mothers – Giuseppe Stellardi

10  Politics and Sexuality in Pasolini’s Petrolio – Francesca Cadel

11  Between Italy and Spain: TheTragedy of History and the Salvific Power of Love in Elsa Morante and María Zambrano – Elisa Martínez Garrido


12  The Womb of Dreams: Cabbalistic Themes and Images in Elsa Morante’s Aracoeli – Sergio Parussa

13  Morante and Weil: The Aporiae of History and the End of the Fairy Tale – Claude Cazalé Bérard

14  Indian Traces: Aracoeli, Pasolini’s L’odore dell’India, and Moravia’s Un’idea dell’India – Mimma Congedo