Malocchio is a superstition we find especially in the Mediterranean and Near Eastern countries, since ancient times. Horse shoes are among the most common instruments to keep the evil eye at bay. In Naples, the idea of malocchio or bad luck-bringing, jettatura, was strengthened in the 18th century when Andrea De Jorio, an archaeologist who was believe to be a jinx, arrived at the court of Ferdinand the Second. The king worried about him and died the day after his arrival.
The origin of the evil eye can be traced back at least three thousand years to the region of Sumer in Mesopotamia, but probably has much older origins. In Sicily, houses were purified with salt put in sachets inside closets or in little mounds along their perimeter, or at least at its corners.
The origin of malocchio can be traced as far back as years ago. The use of herbs against malocchio could be found also in Ancient Rome where basil was used while in Cyprus, even today, olive leaves are burnt. In Sardinia, malocchio is fought with the use of a peculiar piece of jewelry called so kokku or sabegia, depending on the area. It is made with a stone - usually obsidian, but coral and onyx are also common - set between two silver decorations.
When the decorations fall off, it means the stone is saturated with bad energy and it must be changed with a new and pure one. This jewel was usually gifted by mothers, godmothers and grandmothers to brides or pregnant women, and it was worn near the heart or, in case of pregnancy, near the belly to protect the unborn child. Malocchio is so much part of Italian culture that a comedy film was made in with Lino Banfi and Johnny Dorelli. Entitled Occhio, Malocchio, Prezzemolo e Finocchio eye, evil eye, parsley and fennel , it makes fun of superstitions.
But malocchio is not only a superstition, but a big business. According to statistics, the commerce surrounding superstitions and evil magic is worth billions. In Italy, Codacons tells us, there are over This is a quest for help that makes no difference among age, class or sex. Forty percent are between the ages of 35 and 55, ten percent are teenagers. In reality, costs are always much higher and it is common knowledge that some people have been fooled into paying hundreds of thousands of euros to so called witches and wizards.
Some also add the symbol of horns, made with pointed index and pinky fingers. But the best method of all is just to laugh and walk away! Come state? Un italiano ha paura della gelosia e che la persona di fronte possa guardarlo male, con occhio malvagio, con malocchio. La credenza nel malocchio fu portata ad Est, fino in India, da Alessandro Magno, a sud e a nord dall'Impero romano. Le fortune di una persona, il lavoro, i bambini dotati possono tutti diventare buoni motivi per scatenare l'invidia e il desiderio altrui: il malocchio potrebbe essere definito come il lato negativo della seduzione.
Esistono molti strumenti e metodi che usano amuleti contro il malocchio: corna, ferri di cavallo, aglio, peperoncini piccanti o il lancio del sale dietro la schiena. In Sicilia, le case venivano purificate con sale messo in bustine all'interno di armadi o in piccoli tumuli lungo il loro perimetro, o almeno ai suoi angoli. London and New York: Routledge. Benjamin, J. Bollas, C. London: Free Association Books. Butler, J. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Chodorow, N. The Reproduction of Mothering: psychoanalysis and the sociology of gender.
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Winnicott, D. Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena. Playing and Reality. Dacia Maraini has created a body of work that questions the mechanisms of oppression and manipulation at play within the economy of a heterosexual regime. Following this line of enquiry, in this article I will be looking at the question of female sexuality as tackled in three works by Dacia Maraini: Donna in Guerra , Storia di Piera and Lettere a Marina I shall posit that, although at odds with the gender roles patriarchal society would expect them to fulfil, the female characters portrayed in these texts do not seem willing to embrace an exclusive sexuality either.
An acute observer of and an active participant in Italian reality, Dacia Maraini has created a body of work that gives an insightful account of the plight of women through different epochs. Namely, they are gender scripts which, being passed down from generation to generation, women are called to constantly re-enact. Ever since the publication, in , of her influential Gender Trouble , issues of gender, sexuality and performance have always been central in the work of Butler, whose main goal is the destabilisation of the traditional notion of the subject, aimed at exposing its performative nature.
Following this line of enquiry, in this article I will be looking at the question of female sexuality in three works by Dacia Maraini written between the mids and the beginning of the following decade: Donna in guerra , Storia di Piera and Lettere a Marina My analysis will highlight the subversion of the socially prescribed gender roles allotted to women within a male-defined perspective. Wittig starts from the assumption that lesbians are not women. In order to be a woman, in her view, one ought to have a relationship of dependence with men.
Thus, the category of women as we understand it is but a product of the straight heterosexual mind Wittig, In this sentence, the ontological roots of gender identity are called into question. Similarly, in the works which constitute the object of the present study, normative gendered codes are subverted and disrupted; after all, the deconstruction of heterosexual hegemony is for Maraini first and foremost a political strategy, a tool to which she resorts in order to extricate her female characters from a rigid patriarchal frame.
Current criticism on the novels under consideration has focussed primarily on the theme of female identity, most notably in the analysis of Donna in guerra, Tamburry, ; Cavallaro, , or the mother-daughter bond Dagnino, , a bond that has also been read as transcending biological motherhood thus proving to be instrumental in the carving out of a space, for women, within patriarchy Picchietti, Not a great deal of criticism has been produced that scrutinises the treatment of gender relations in Maraini. I shall do so by engaging in an exploration of the sexualities as depicted in her texts in order to assess their potential for subverting the heterosexual norms of patriarchy.
In her relationship with Giacinto, the two characters re-enact, emblematically, the archetypal wife-husband hierarchy. Drawing on Derrida, Butler advocates deconstruction as a tool for recognising the mechanisms of exclusion of the phallocentric system that lead to how the female subject is constructed as such. Vannina is what the system expects her to be. Ho lavato i piatti. Ho sgrassato le pentole. It is only thanks to the bond that she develops with emblematic female figures, that the protagonist can reconnect to a female experience and find the strength to embark on the road towards self-awareness.
With the island laundress Giottina and her friend Tota, Vannina replays the mother-daughter bond. With a taste for gossip and scabrous stories, the two matrons return Vannina back to the pre-symbolic semiotic sphere. And indeed, the erotically charged language that Tota and Giottina create, at times seems to be a non-language.
Dense with symbolism, it both attracts and repels Vannina who, through these symbolic mothers, is nevertheless initiated into female complicity. For Wittig there is no such thing as being a woman, or a man, as the category of sex has been created as a consequence of patriarchal oppression and has then become an alibi for social, economic, psychological differences between two artificially constituted sexes.
Eventually, the two women will find themselves in love with each other. It may be hard to resist the temptation of seeing in Suna the image of the advocate feminist. She is an active member of a Marxist movement, on whose behalf she conducts a survey of the exploitation of female workers in the South of Italy and it is she who awakens Vannina from her state of passivity and subservience to her husband. And yet, upon closer examination, some inconsistencies in her character will soon come to the fore. The reader will discover that she is no less dependent on her father than Vannina is on Giacinto, although for different reasons.
This is a position with which Butler herself concurs, at least inasmuch as the performative character of the same is concerned Kirby, , p. Not only does Vannina disentangle herself from a patriarchal net of expectations and impositions, but also, on more than one occasion, she herself displays a sexuality that goes against sexual norms. Undoubtedly the most emblematic character in the novel, the latter epitomises non-conformity to the Law of the Symbolic order, the primordial forces of nature against culture, against patriarchal society and the influence it exerts upon women.
As the Greek myth goes, when her daughter Persephone is abducted and taken to the underworld, Demeter, upon whom the fruitfulness of the earth depends, renounces her divine functions to look for her, thus bringing about winter. Even more relevant to our analysis is the revision of the myth by Italian philosopher of sexual difference Adriana Cavarero in her ground-breaking work In Spite of Plato Marginalisation and electroshock therapy is the exacted price for subverting the norm.
Through the voices of Homer and Pavese, Ibsen, Plato and popular comedy, the story reexamines one of the foundational myths of mediterranean culture, revealing hidden aspects of western identity therein. What does Circe have to do with the Sirens? What does the Red Sea have to do with the painter Piero della Francesca? Through storytelling and theater's mimetic game, the actress suggests another perception of history and time and insinuates that our "civilization" has forgotten the immense value of diversity and "the Other" on the road of progress.
A myth is not an invented story, a false notion; it is a different kind of knowledge, another way of telling history. The Odyssey tells us that Circe, the seductive sorceress with long hair and a soft voice, received the companions of Ulysses among droves of wild beasts, in her palace on an island outside of time and space, deceiving them with her incantations and transforming them into pigs.