Elsa Morante has long
been recognized internationally as one of the most significant and
innovative writers of twentieth-century Italy; nonetheless, there
has to date been no full-length study in English dedicated to her
work. This collection of twelve essays by an international group
of scholars offers the first comprehensive evaluation of Morante
to appear outside Italy, while taking into account modern critical
and theoretical developments.
Morante’s aesthetic and ethics of writing have attracted younger
Italian writers and poets, who see in her an alternative to the
orthodox literary establishment, to the dictates of left-wing cultural
policy, and to the introversions of the avant-garde. While Morante
managed successfully to subvert traditional literary codes without
being identified with any single artistic trend, she also absorbed
the tradition of literature in a production that is unique within
the Italian panorama. Once considered outside the canon, her work
has been reclassified within it in recent years, as this volume
demonstrates. In a literary context dominated by male figures such
as is found in Italy, this legacy is becoming increasingly visible.
While addressing topics grounded in Italian society, such as family,
relationships, sexuality, and geographical dislocation, Morante
deals with themes rarely touched on before, such as homosexuality,
incest, the logic of madness, class struggle, drugs, and finally
ecology. In all these areas, the anachronistic nature of Morante’s
work places her not behind, but ahead of her time.
"...this book will be an indispensable tool to establish
Morante in North American and Anglophone critical discourse as
the major twentieth-century writer that she is."— Serena
Anderlini-D'Onofrio, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
"the first critical study of Morante published outside of
Italy." — Andrea Crawford, "Glamour and Peril,"
in the on-line journal Nextbook (12.01.05
This on-line essay discusses Elsa Morante and refers to Under
For the complete review, cllick
"In this insightful collection of twelve scholarly essays,
the editors offer contemporary theoretical, critical and biographical
studies which combine philological analysis with cross-cultural
and interdisciplinary approaches and confirm the authoritative
status of Morante's oeuvre. In so doing, Lucamante and Wood provide
the first inclusive critical presentation of Morante's works in
English. ... [The book] argues successfully that Morante's work
deserves more scholarly scrutiny, and it reveals the uncompromising
moral and aesthetic values behind an impressive oeuvre. Those
values make Morante one of the writers most read and loved by
Italians. The volume will serve the interests of Morante scholars,
students and anyone interested in this fascinating writer."
—Giovanna De Luca, MLN
For the complete review, see MLN 122.1 (2007): 209-10.
"this solid collection of essays should help to confirm
[Morante's] ranking among the most significant Italian writers
to emerge in the later 20th century.... first substantial English-language
publication on Morante ...a good starting point for anyone interested
in understanding her still considerable importance in Italian
culture or in modern fiction, comparative literature, or women's
studies."—S. Botterill, Choice
For the complete review, see Choice 43.10 (June 2006):
"...Under Arturo's Star provides an enjoyable and insightful glimpse not only into Morante's time and her world, but into the contemporary Italian literary scene, which is why I recommend this book wholeheartedly."—Katja Liimatta-Baroncini, Italica
For the complete review, see Italica (Dec. 2007)
"... un volume destinato a dirigere gli studi morantiani verso le variegate suggestioni teoriche esercitate dal testo letterario; attesta a una magistrale impresa editoriale, una che evita l'ibridismo tematico-formale che spesso differenzia questo tipo di lavoro da queli redatti da mano unica.—Gaetana Marrone, Annali d’italianistica
For the complete review, see Annali d'italianistica 24 (2006): 462-64.
"... il volume riesce a situare Morante, spesso e a torto considerata come "genio isolato," al centro di una serie di contesti culturali e intellettuali mostrando la mescolanza di elementi canonici e innovatori, ortodossi e eterodossi di tale straordinaria opera."— Nadia Setti, Leggendaria
For the complete review, see Leggendaria 68 (Apr. 2008): 39-41.
For more reviews of this book, see
Reference & Research Book News (February 2006):
Stefania Lucamante, The Catholic University of America, Washington,
DC, is the author of Elsa Morante e l’eredità
proustiana, Isabella Santacroce, and numerous articles on the
contemporary Italian novel.
Sharon Wood, the University of Leicester, is the author of
Italian Women’s Writing 1860–1994, coeditor of the
Cambridge History of Women’s Writing in Italy, and
writes extensively on literature in modern Italy.
2006.Vol. 34. x, 322 pp. Paper $43.95