VIRTUAL IAS Talking Points Seminar: Reading 'Little Women' after the Italian Seventies

10 June 2021, 5:00 pm–6:30 pm

Reading 'Little Women' after the Italian Seventies

The IAS welcomes VRF Dr Olga Campofreda for a talk entitled 'Reading "Little Women" after the Italian Seventies: A study of the influence of second wave feminism on Italian female coming of age novels'. Respondents: Dr Alberica Bazzoni (ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry) and Dr Stefano Rossoni (SELCS, UCL).

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Institute of Advanced Studies

Published in two volumes between 1868 and 1869 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott represents the classic coming of age structure for female characters as developed in 19th century literature. Despite being first introduced as the story of a family, each protagonist is followed in her individual journey toward social recognition, which, for the young March sisters, coincides equally with marriage. From this perspective, girlhood is a precarious and unstable stage of life, all projected towards the achievement of economic (and emotional) stability.

As pointed out by Carol Lazzaro-Weis in her study on the female Bildungsroman (1993), many critics use this literary genre “to defend the representation of women’s experience in writing as a necessary means to fulfill the goal of finding a new female identity.” In Lidia Ravera’s Water the Flowers and Wait for Me (Bagna i fiori e aspettami, Rizzoli, 1986), the Italian writer and feminist attempts a re-writing of Alcott’s classic considering the experiences of the feminist theories of the Seventies, in particular that of entrustment  (“affidamento”), a peculiar kind of female relationship; it is within this bond that the figure of the female mentor/guide works as a symbolic mediation between the female individual and society (De Lauretis 1990).

Starting from an analysis of Lidia Ravera’s novel, Dr Campofreda will discuss the developement of the female Bildungsroman in contemporary Italian literature with a specific look at the effects of second wave feminism on the style and the structure of female coming of age stories by Italian women writers.

Respondents: Dr Alberica Bazzoni (Research Fellow, ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry) and Dr Stefano Rossoni (SELCS, UCL)

All welcome. An event link will be announced on this webpage. Register to attend at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ias-talking-points-seminar-reading-little-women-in-the-italian-seventies-tickets-151175563179.

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About the Speaker

Dr Olga Campofreda

Visiting Research Fellow at Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL

Olga Campofreda gained her PhD in Italian Studies from University College London.  Her thesis focused on the representation of youth as a form of cultural engagement in the writings of Pier Vittorio Tondelli.

More about Dr Olga Campofreda