Female Freedom and The Neapolitan Novels

Hypatia 37 (1):111-135 (2022)
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Part 1 of this essay began to develop a philosophical interpretation of The Neapolitan Novels by grounding a vision of the work's moral psychology in the tradition of Italian difference feminism, particularly as it is expressed in the texts of the influential Milan Women's Bookstore Collective. Part 2 advances the interpretive argument by presenting a more detailed literary analysis of the character of Lila Cerullo. After motivating the interest of various aspects of her symbolization by connecting them to important motifs in feminist philosophy and literature, I present evidence of Lila's special status in the work, and the puzzles this status raises. I advance a reading of Lila as a brilliant woman capable of playing the superior role in a hierarchical relationship of entrustment—and of The Neapolitan Novels as a sympathetic yet critical exploration of the viability of such relationships and their connection to female friendship and female freedom. In support of this reading, I give an account of Lila's strange condition of smarginatura, the import of her perplexing earthquake speech in which this condition is explicitly addressed, and Elena Greco's troubling reactions.



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Sam Shpall
University of Sydney

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References found in this work

The Sovereignty of Good.Iris Murdoch - 1971 - Religious Studies 8 (2):180-181.
Shame and Necessity.Bernard Williams - 1993 - Apeiron 27 (1):45-76.
The Ethics of Metaphor.Rachel Elizabeth Fraser - 2018 - Ethics 128 (4):728-755.

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