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Questo romanzo di Sibilla Aleramo è del 1906. La sua immediata fortuna in Italia e nei paesi in cui fu tradotto segnalò una nuova scrittrice, che in seguito avrebbe fornito altre prove di valore. Ma soprattutto esso richiamò l'attenzione per il suo tema: si tratta infatti di uno dei primi libri femministi apparsi da noi. Lo riproponiamo certi che questa narrazione autobiog Questo romanzo di Sibilla Aleramo è del 1906. La sua immediata fortuna in Italia e nei paesi in cui fu tradotto segnalò una nuova scrittrice, che in seguito avrebbe fornito altre prove di valore. Ma soprattutto esso richiamò l'attenzione per il suo tema: si tratta infatti di uno dei primi libri femministi apparsi da noi. Lo riproponiamo certi che questa narrazione autobiografica rimanga una testimonianza esemplare e attualissima sulla condizione femminile.


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Questo romanzo di Sibilla Aleramo è del 1906. La sua immediata fortuna in Italia e nei paesi in cui fu tradotto segnalò una nuova scrittrice, che in seguito avrebbe fornito altre prove di valore. Ma soprattutto esso richiamò l'attenzione per il suo tema: si tratta infatti di uno dei primi libri femministi apparsi da noi. Lo riproponiamo certi che questa narrazione autobiog Questo romanzo di Sibilla Aleramo è del 1906. La sua immediata fortuna in Italia e nei paesi in cui fu tradotto segnalò una nuova scrittrice, che in seguito avrebbe fornito altre prove di valore. Ma soprattutto esso richiamò l'attenzione per il suo tema: si tratta infatti di uno dei primi libri femministi apparsi da noi. Lo riproponiamo certi che questa narrazione autobiografica rimanga una testimonianza esemplare e attualissima sulla condizione femminile.

30 review for Una donna

  1. 4 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    But I sometimes tormented myself by thinking of the book that needed to be written; a book about love and sorrow that would be both harrowing and inspirational, relentless and compassionate; that would show for the first time what it was really like to be a woman now, and that for the first time would inspire in those unhappy brothers of ours, men, both remorse for the past and desire for a better future. In lots of ways this book is dispiritingly familiar: what makes it extraordinary is the But I sometimes tormented myself by thinking of the book that needed to be written; a book about love and sorrow that would be both harrowing and inspirational, relentless and compassionate; that would show for the first time what it was really like to be a woman now, and that for the first time would inspire in those unhappy brothers of ours, men, both remorse for the past and desire for a better future. In lots of ways this book is dispiritingly familiar: what makes it extraordinary is the fact that it was published in 1906 - yes, that isn't a typo, 1906! In a form that we might term autofiction today, Aleramo's unnamed narrator tells of her childhood; her unsatisfactory marriage at the age of 15 (view spoiler)[it's not completely clear whether her future husband rapes her but there's certainly, at the minimum, assault and so she's coerced into marriage to safeguard her 'honour' (hide spoiler)] , everyday violence and abuse, till she finds her escape through writing for a feminist journal. But things are complicated by motherhood and Aleramo is at her most shocking, for the time, when she questions whether the conventions of self-sacrificing mothers are really good for anyone - still a controversial topic today, how much more so in Catholic Italy at the start of the twentieth century? This reminded me strongly of Plath's The Bell Jar written over 50 years later (see, that's what I mean about dispiriting...) and it also preempts some aspects of de Beauvoir's The Second Sex especially in the ways it discusses the cultural pressures which mould and construct women (to paraphrase de Beauvoir, women are not born but made). Intimate, personal, bold and fierce, written (and translated) in fluid prose, this is a revelation that so many of today's feminist concerns were already on the agenda in 1906. Many thanks to Penguin for an ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lana Reads

    Before I begin, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Giorgia for reading it with me. After taking weeks to finish, it's a bit hard to rate this one for me. On one hand, I respect the hell out of the author for writing about the abuse by her husband in 1906 and about the struggle with finding a place in the casually misogynistic world of those times. As one of the first feminists in Italy, she did a fine job. On the other hand, I would absolutely appreciate a less melodramatic and artificially compli Before I begin, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Giorgia for reading it with me. After taking weeks to finish, it's a bit hard to rate this one for me. On one hand, I respect the hell out of the author for writing about the abuse by her husband in 1906 and about the struggle with finding a place in the casually misogynistic world of those times. As one of the first feminists in Italy, she did a fine job. On the other hand, I would absolutely appreciate a less melodramatic and artificially complicated language, and maybe more reflective approach. While working in a magazine in Rome, the author complained about flowery and "horrible" female imitations of male writing - and then she wrote this book, full of exclamation marks and triple dots... This quote though: Why do we idealize self-sacrifice in mothers? Where does this inhuman self-immolation come from? It has been passed down from mother to daughter for centuries. It had produced a monstrous causal chain. As women we all become aware at some point of how much our mothers have done for us, and with this knowledge comes remorse for the person who brought us into the world - for not having adequately compensated for the damage she did to herself in doing the best for us. And so we lavish on our own children all that we failed to give our mothers; denying ourselves and offering a new example of mortification, of self-annihilation. - was seriously the best part of the whole book and I'm just sad it took 208 of 236 pages to get there.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Giorgia ~ Reads

    Buddy read with Lana (thanks for indulging my long, drawn-out conclusions), otherwise I wouldn't have finished this. I'm not in the mood to write a proper review. All I'm gonna say is that maybe, at the time, this was a revolutionary piece of writing but reading it now, it felt like an exercise in melodrama. I didn't feel bad towards the female lead, I felt bad towards women from that time period who did not have any sort of privilege and were stuck in impossible situations forever. The writing Buddy read with Lana (thanks for indulging my long, drawn-out conclusions), otherwise I wouldn't have finished this. I'm not in the mood to write a proper review. All I'm gonna say is that maybe, at the time, this was a revolutionary piece of writing but reading it now, it felt like an exercise in melodrama. I didn't feel bad towards the female lead, I felt bad towards women from that time period who did not have any sort of privilege and were stuck in impossible situations forever. The writing was convoluted and invited pity. And the overall sentiment was very "woe is me".. Look how I thrived against the odds, take note and remember my plight. There were some good ideas here and there but mostly they were swallowed up by theatrics which were more frequent.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    This book is incredible. It's known as Genesis in the Bible of feminism, and yet is apparently not widely known in the United States. This was written in 1906 by an Italian woman who had to choose between her little boy and freedom from a husband who raped her and beat her. It's such a reminder of what feminists have done to ensure women now have rights – the right to divorce cruel men and the right to have custody of their children. But this book is also amazing because, despite being written i This book is incredible. It's known as Genesis in the Bible of feminism, and yet is apparently not widely known in the United States. This was written in 1906 by an Italian woman who had to choose between her little boy and freedom from a husband who raped her and beat her. It's such a reminder of what feminists have done to ensure women now have rights – the right to divorce cruel men and the right to have custody of their children. But this book is also amazing because, despite being written in 1906, she candidly discusses the taboo issues of rape, affairs, venereal disease and divorce. An author today would have seemed very brave to write this book – but to write it in 1906 is astonishing. Thank you to Sibilla Aleramo for her strength and courage to tell her story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle Dubois

    "Time and space seemed to me to be fluid, carrying me on their stream; I was the Wandering Humanity, the aimless Humanity, yet inflamed with ideal: the Humanity enslaved by some laws and yet driven by a rebellious will to break them down, to make an existence free from them ..." "In front of my eyes, remained only the beauty of this human effort that stood itself erect in the infinity of the world. A show that the soul jealously welcomed and harbored. This was not the great revelation: that was t "Time and space seemed to me to be fluid, carrying me on their stream; I was the Wandering Humanity, the aimless Humanity, yet inflamed with ideal: the Humanity enslaved by some laws and yet driven by a rebellious will to break them down, to make an existence free from them ..." "In front of my eyes, remained only the beauty of this human effort that stood itself erect in the infinity of the world. A show that the soul jealously welcomed and harbored. This was not the great revelation: that was the underground work of the germs which already have the presentiment of the heat of the sun, and fear its perfect splendor, while desiring it." "And I wrote for an hour, for two hours, I do not know. The words flowed, serious, almost solemn: I managed to define my psychological state, I asked my suffering if it could be fruitful (...). It was the only time in my life that I wished to find Faith in a Divine Will, and I waited for it with my hands joined. And in this invocation there was all the despair of a mind feeling weak, exhausted, at the very moment when it sees a long way to go ... (...). My tears flowed, abundant, liberating. Blessed! Blessed! Finally, I accepted in myself the hard duty of walking alone, of struggling alone, of bringing to light all that rose in me stronger, more pure, more beautiful. At last I blushed my useless remorse, my long, sterile suffering, the disaffection in which I had left my mind as if I had hated it. Finally, I tasted the flavor of life..." But Sibilla Aleramo has a child whom she loves and who loves her. And love will make her a slave chained by and to her husband. Should she follow the example of all these women, "bloody symbols of the vanity of sacrifice, terrible examples of the punishment that falls on every conscience that denies itself. Was not I one of them? The reasoning and the intimate assurance were not enough for me. I had continued to belong to a man whom I despised and who did not love me: in front of others I wore the mask of the satisfied wife, legitimizing in a certain way this ignoble slavery, parising to the skies a monstrous lie. For my son, not to run the risk of being deprived of my son. And now, the last cowardice that has defeated so many women, I thought of death as a liberation: I resigned myself to leave my son so I could die: I did not have the courage to lose him so I could live." What choice will Sibilla Aleramo make? You can read Wikipedia! Oh no! Don’t do that! Please don’t do that! You would miss the most powerful, the sweetest, the deepest, the touchiest, the greatest story. You would miss an understanding of women and of the world that would be missing in your life. You would miss out on a woman's life that explains the lives of women. Never has a book touched me as much as this one. I recognize the course of life of Sibilla Aleramo, a mother, a human being who decided, against men, against her society, even against women and against her own mother’s feelings, to live. Sibilla Aleramo, a mother, a woman, a human being, very human. Gabrielle Dubois©

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Howdle

    Aleramo composed this autobiographical novel as a gift to her child, her hope, after a fateful marriage had emptied life. It is an exemplary piece of Feminist writing in which Aleramo fulfils her purpose. Milton delighted in spelling woman as "woeman" because she was woe to man. In A Woman Aleramo turns the tables and shows how man has been woe to womankind. She traces her life through her powerful relationship to her father, then through a destructive marriage, to the point where she has to put Aleramo composed this autobiographical novel as a gift to her child, her hope, after a fateful marriage had emptied life. It is an exemplary piece of Feminist writing in which Aleramo fulfils her purpose. Milton delighted in spelling woman as "woeman" because she was woe to man. In A Woman Aleramo turns the tables and shows how man has been woe to womankind. She traces her life through her powerful relationship to her father, then through a destructive marriage, to the point where she has to put herself first and save herself; and make no further sacrifices to men. The novel is free of all awkward theoretical terms: its attack on patriarchy is told entirely through narrative. This, like Smart's By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, is a work that exposes all of its nerves. Compelling from start to finish.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Jane

    See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits Sibilla Aleramo is widely acclaimed as Italy's first feminist author with her autobiographical novel, A Woman, being, I think, her best known work so when I spotted this new Penguin English language publication I knew I had to read the book, if only for its historical significance. Happily, I felt that the writing had aged well. I was strongly reminded of Caroline Norton's real-life battle (to gain access to her children after finally leaving See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits Sibilla Aleramo is widely acclaimed as Italy's first feminist author with her autobiographical novel, A Woman, being, I think, her best known work so when I spotted this new Penguin English language publication I knew I had to read the book, if only for its historical significance. Happily, I felt that the writing had aged well. I was strongly reminded of Caroline Norton's real-life battle (to gain access to her children after finally leaving her marriage) some seventy years earlier in 1830s England, which I learned about through reading Roaring Girls by Holly Kyte and Difficult Women by Helen Lewis. It's both amazing and depressing to realise that A Woman was first published 114 years ago - amazing that I am able to read and relate to Aleramo's words after such a long time has passed; depressing that there are still women trapped in identical situations today. In A Woman, our narrator marries in ignorance at sixteen having convinced herself that the man who raped her must have done so for love and, now that he has 'made her a woman' she is obliged to stay with him. Caught between a cultural tradition that teaches women should be satisfied with just home, children and church, and subject to her controlling husband's increasingly frequent paranoia and violence, the Woman (who is really still emotionally a child herself) withdraws into herself. She shows clear signs of what we would recognise today as PTSD and depression, which grow worse as she is forcibly confined to one room in her house, a situation eerily similar to that in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper although at least here the Woman does have her infant son in whom to confide and the decor is pleasing. A Woman veers between descriptions of daily life and philosophical musings on the role and purpose of women, both of which I found interesting, however these aspects are padded out with a lot of self-centered woe-is-me introspection that soon became just a little tiresome. I do appreciate that rushing depressed people is not remotely helpful, and A Woman accurately portrays her fluctuating descent into a very dark mental place. Unfortunately, for this heartless reviewer anyway, too much repetitive detail doesn't make for good fiction. There is a long section in the middle where the Woman reflects on her predicament and the penny drops that she is reliving her mother's life (her mother has been driven to an asylum by this point). She yo-yos between desperately needing to grasp intellectual independence for her own sanity while being equally desperate not to abandon her young son. Because, of course, she cannot legally rescue both herself and her child. He is his father's property and the father stakes personal pride far above his son's emotional well-being. I am glad to have had this opportunity to read A Woman. I believe it is an important part of the feminist canon and should easily be as well known as The Yellow Wallpaper or The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Aleramo's questioning the assumption that marriage and, especially, motherhood should so take over women's lives that they have nothing left of themselves is still an extremely relevant and vital discussion today. A Woman does show its age in its style, but I appreciated how this novel simultaneously shows how far women have advanced and how much is still unchanged from this snapshot of life over a century ago.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ty

    This tale (based on the author's real life) of a young woman from Marche forced into a shotgun wedding after a rape gripped my heart and didn't let it go until well after I was done reading it. It go into the heartwrentching choice that no one should have to make: stay in an abusive relationship or leave your child behind. Her tale was so tragedically common that she correctly named the book A Woman not The or This Woman. This book if often, correctly, considered the genesis of italian feminist l This tale (based on the author's real life) of a young woman from Marche forced into a shotgun wedding after a rape gripped my heart and didn't let it go until well after I was done reading it. It go into the heartwrentching choice that no one should have to make: stay in an abusive relationship or leave your child behind. Her tale was so tragedically common that she correctly named the book A Woman not The or This Woman. This book if often, correctly, considered the genesis of italian feminist literature.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Robson

    It is really hard to credit this book was written over a 100 years ago. The style is so fluent and relatively modern and it is only with the circumstances of the nameless main character that we are reminded of the times she is living in and her fight to have a life of her own. We have won a lot of battles since then but there is still the battle of juggling all the balls. Here is an example of the timeless writing style and the drive the narrative has. “Then once again it was summer. I was fiftee It is really hard to credit this book was written over a 100 years ago. The style is so fluent and relatively modern and it is only with the circumstances of the nameless main character that we are reminded of the times she is living in and her fight to have a life of her own. We have won a lot of battles since then but there is still the battle of juggling all the balls. Here is an example of the timeless writing style and the drive the narrative has. “Then once again it was summer. I was fifteen. Another colony of bathers arrived. They met each day on the beach, inviting us to join in their games. Everyone was curious about me; men of all ages watched me wherever I went. I day-dreamed, first about one boy, delicate and teasing, then another, still pubescent with a strong agile body and curly hair, reminding me of bronzes I had seen in museums. But none of them made my heart beat faster or inspired me to flirt with them.” This is an interesting book by an amazing woman who I believe was ahead of her time. Here are the twists and turns of a woman trying to make sense of her life and from there working towards doing something worthwhile with it; living with an impossible controlling man, trying to be a good mother and still keeping her intellectual abilities and fighting all the time for her own sense of worth. No wonder I enjoyed it. Been there done that but not in Italy unfortunately. Recommended to all women battling for their own space in the sun.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Juliana

    My review: https://theblankgarden.com/2019/08/23... My review: https://theblankgarden.com/2019/08/23...

  11. 5 out of 5

    thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)

    This book is astounding, so far ahead of its time, it’s almost unbelievable it was written at the turn of the last century m I am in complete awe. Such original feminist writing that still resonates today which is both wonderful but also a touch sad, but overall just inspiring. It isn’t an easy read, but important books shouldn’t be, if you want change it shouldn’t be easy, but it’s worthwhile. A painstaking and raw look at women, their lives and rights, or in this case one woman but it transcen This book is astounding, so far ahead of its time, it’s almost unbelievable it was written at the turn of the last century m I am in complete awe. Such original feminist writing that still resonates today which is both wonderful but also a touch sad, but overall just inspiring. It isn’t an easy read, but important books shouldn’t be, if you want change it shouldn’t be easy, but it’s worthwhile. A painstaking and raw look at women, their lives and rights, or in this case one woman but it transcends so many of us. Just astounding, this will stay with me for life and I’m glad I had the honour of reading this. Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Daw

    I probably need to think and ponder on this a bit more. But first impressions are that it was a difficult read - paralyzing, stupefying etc but that was probably more a function of the character's state of mind/situation. I probably need to think and ponder on this a bit more. But first impressions are that it was a difficult read - paralyzing, stupefying etc but that was probably more a function of the character's state of mind/situation.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tonislava

    "The words flowed,serious, almost solemn: I was seeing how productive my sadness could be, I was proving that I could listen to my own strange intellectual turmoil, like a foretaste of some distant future flowering." A Woman by Sibilla Aleramo is a lyrical, drowned out cry for acknowledgement of women's suffering in Italy during the 20th century. The tenacity with which Aleramo writes and captures her experience is spellbinding, leading us further into her story that unfolds; we see her as a youn "The words flowed,serious, almost solemn: I was seeing how productive my sadness could be, I was proving that I could listen to my own strange intellectual turmoil, like a foretaste of some distant future flowering." A Woman by Sibilla Aleramo is a lyrical, drowned out cry for acknowledgement of women's suffering in Italy during the 20th century. The tenacity with which Aleramo writes and captures her experience is spellbinding, leading us further into her story that unfolds; we see her as a young and carefree girl who one day looses all of her innocence and sense of self as she is married off at the age of 16. Her struggle only intensifies as she discovers that her husband sees her as nothing more or less than an object, one for which he abuses and condemns, taking out his own existential frustrations. Aleramo is considered Italy's first feminist and I am not surprised. Her work carries the torch of the beaten and forgotten women who didn't have the chance, the consciousness, the opportunity, the voice, to let the world know the injustice through which they lived through as women. I found myself furiously underlining her thoughts and she poses questions not only relating to inequality and injustice but that address the universal consciousness of patriarchy: "Women and men: agglomerated together together and yet isolated, incapable of helping each other! Was this humanity?" "Another very Italian paradox was the almost mystical feeling that Italian men have for their mothers, despite their almost total lack of respect for all other women." But perhaps the most excruciating aspect of her memoir is her relationship with her son and role as a mother. "When my son's life was in danger, why had I thought so naturally of my own death? Did I not exist independently of him, did I not have other equally important obligations, besides the joyful one of caring for him?" "Why do we idealize self-sacrifice in mothers? Where does this inhuman idea of maternal self-immolation come from?... We lavish on our children all that we failed to give our mothers; denying ourselves and offering a new example of mortification, of self-annihilation." Through this book she seeks a chilling reconciliation, one day for her son to hear his mother's struggle and understand what his mom was attempting to do, free herself from the shackles of society's restraints and break the chain of forgotten and mistreated women. Although this book is a memoir, where inevitably we tend to glorify our lives, Aleramo does nothing of the sort. This memoir is stained with her blood and tears-defeats and conquers as she struggles to defend her own sense of self against the world. I was nothing short of captivated, moved and provoked to think deeper about my privileged place in society thanks to women like Aleramo. Entire book review here: https://medium.com/bibliothecabotanic...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Katie Silverio

    I started reading this book for Italian class two years ago. Got halfway in, then got distracted. I picked it up after my Italian had vastly deteriorated, which was a severe handicap because Aleramo tends to write in a formal style with sentences that go on for so long that by the end of the sentence you've forgotten the beginning... Grammatical difficulties aside, it's a bit dramatic for my taste--I can't really fault her for that, she's trying to make a case and is thus forced to be as emphati I started reading this book for Italian class two years ago. Got halfway in, then got distracted. I picked it up after my Italian had vastly deteriorated, which was a severe handicap because Aleramo tends to write in a formal style with sentences that go on for so long that by the end of the sentence you've forgotten the beginning... Grammatical difficulties aside, it's a bit dramatic for my taste--I can't really fault her for that, she's trying to make a case and is thus forced to be as emphatic as possible--but it is really irritating to have the narrator bursting into tears every other chapter and referring to nearly every paper cut as a major turning point in her life. I am very glad that I can say I have read it, in the past tense, and am curious to learn more about Aleramo as a person (and her homosexual affairs...;-) ) but man, if I'm reading more of her, I'm doing it in English.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie

    a very personal account of what it is like to be an italian woman during the fin de siecle. During this political and socio-economic climate, you have a woman writing a book exploring feminism. This book is also a justifcation for leaving her rapist husband and adoring son to have a life to live. The following passage best summarizes her dilemma in terms of a woman being a 'human individual:' 'but how could she possibly become an individual if her parents handed her over, ignorant, weak, and imm a very personal account of what it is like to be an italian woman during the fin de siecle. During this political and socio-economic climate, you have a woman writing a book exploring feminism. This book is also a justifcation for leaving her rapist husband and adoring son to have a life to live. The following passage best summarizes her dilemma in terms of a woman being a 'human individual:' 'but how could she possibly become an individual if her parents handed her over, ignorant, weak, and immature, to a man unable to accept her as an equal, a man who treated her like a piece of property....' An important book still relevant to our times.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tommie

    Well first, if you like Elena Ferrante you'll like this. It deals with many of the same themes, although its from more than a century ago. However, let's talk about the introduction to this book (the 1980 edition). This book which details with a woman consenting to marry her rapist and being repeatedly abused by him and not having the legal recourse to seek a separation or husband. Does the introduction discuss legal climates in Italy following the book? Or more than a brief mention of how she c Well first, if you like Elena Ferrante you'll like this. It deals with many of the same themes, although its from more than a century ago. However, let's talk about the introduction to this book (the 1980 edition). This book which details with a woman consenting to marry her rapist and being repeatedly abused by him and not having the legal recourse to seek a separation or husband. Does the introduction discuss legal climates in Italy following the book? Or more than a brief mention of how she colluded with Mussolini in order to make a wage? Or any other interesting aspect of this groundbreaking feminist? Oh no, it is about 95% about men she dated.

  17. 5 out of 5

    kate

    a woman so trampled down by Italian patriarchical society that she wants to die....inspired by books and ideas, she finds the strength to leave her family even though it is incredibly painful. Finding her sense of self, losing her shame and self-loathing, she is a courageous creature. I really liked this novel.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This was written about a century ago and you wouldn't be able to tell. Aleramo's writing style is smooth and flows wonderfully, the only problem being through translation (I read a much earlier edition through Google books). This is a true feminist book that I believe should be read by many more women around the world, I'm glad I got the chance to read it even if it was for school. This was written about a century ago and you wouldn't be able to tell. Aleramo's writing style is smooth and flows wonderfully, the only problem being through translation (I read a much earlier edition through Google books). This is a true feminist book that I believe should be read by many more women around the world, I'm glad I got the chance to read it even if it was for school.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Giulia

    Sibilla wasn't only a great italian writer but also a great woman. She didn't make simple decisions, on the contrary she fought alone against prejudices and a wrong society. She renounced to her role of mother to adfirm a role that went before: the role of woman. Sibilla wasn't only a great italian writer but also a great woman. She didn't make simple decisions, on the contrary she fought alone against prejudices and a wrong society. She renounced to her role of mother to adfirm a role that went before: the role of woman.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie

    I read this as part of my studies and will probably do my exam on it, but having said that I thoroughly enjoyed it. What an eye-opener!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    It was difficult for me to relate to this woman. I enjoyed the part when she was in Rome the most.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    a beautiful portrait of a great lady!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cintia Cristina

    Provoking. Touching. A time classic that can easily relate to today's society. Every woman should read this book. Provoking. Touching. A time classic that can easily relate to today's society. Every woman should read this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    A book that has stayed with since first reading it years ago.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kelly D.

    DNF @ 40 pages While I found the history behind the author and her work interesting, I wasn't as impressed with the work itself. DNF @ 40 pages While I found the history behind the author and her work interesting, I wasn't as impressed with the work itself.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Maia

    Good. Gripping but hits a plot stagnation for a long time. Fascinating insight into that time.

  27. 5 out of 5

    La Bovaryste

    “And as for woman, a slave until now, she was completely 𝘶𝘯𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘯, and all the presumptuous psychologising of novelists and moralists only demonstrated the inconsistent foundations of their arbitrary constructions. Man could not know himself fully without his other half; isolated in life with his pleasures and pains, he stupidly renounced woman’s spontaneous, open affection, which alone would make him appreciate how splendid the world really was. Weak or strong, he would always be imperfect. In a “And as for woman, a slave until now, she was completely 𝘶𝘯𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘯, and all the presumptuous psychologising of novelists and moralists only demonstrated the inconsistent foundations of their arbitrary constructions. Man could not know himself fully without his other half; isolated in life with his pleasures and pains, he stupidly renounced woman’s spontaneous, open affection, which alone would make him appreciate how splendid the world really was. Weak or strong, he would always be imperfect. In a different way both sexes were to be pitied.” 𝓢𝓲𝓫𝓲𝓵𝓵𝓪 𝓐𝓵𝓮𝓻𝓪𝓶𝓸, 𝓐 𝓦𝓸𝓶𝓪𝓷 To talk about this splendid classic of feminist literature I have chosen a quote that can show the involvement of men, in the aforementioned cause, already in the eyes of a woman at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Not as her opponents, but as allies and therefore complementary to the ultimate goal of a harmonious and 𝘧𝘢𝘪𝘳 existence for both sexes. Unfortunately, Sibilla Aleramo, 𝘯𝘰𝘮 𝘥𝘦 𝘱𝘭𝘶𝘮𝘦 of Marta Felicina Faccio, had to fight alone for her right to freedom. ‘A Woman’ was her first novel, entirely autobiographical, the portrait of a girl who aspired to something more than what her mother could achieve in her life, which soon made her suffer from depression. A girl who aspired to personal fulfillment and who ended up paying dearly for her wishes. Raped in her father’s factory, where she proudly worked as an accountant, she is forced by conventions to marry her rapist, who will never stop beating her over the years. The arrival of a child is for Sibilla, at the same time, a glimmer of joy in an existence that has become unbearable and the ultimate prison. With the intellectual growth comes, soon and encouraged by the magazines that begin to publish her work, the literary ambitions and the growing interest in the nascent feminist movement. Sibilla feels that she can abandon that house and the town that signed her death sentence, that she can support herself, that she can achieve the desired emancipation. But the law is not on her side, it never has been: the choice, in a world that is able to perceive women only as wives and mothers, is between her freedom and her beloved child. "𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘢𝘸 𝘴𝘢𝘪𝘥 𝘐 𝘥𝘪𝘥 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘦𝘹𝘪𝘴𝘵. 𝘐 𝘥𝘪𝘥 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘦𝘹𝘪𝘴𝘵 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘦𝘱𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘧𝘳𝘢𝘶𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘦, 𝘮𝘺 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴, 𝘮𝘺 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬, 𝘮𝘺 𝘴𝘰𝘯”. The fact that it was a rereading didn't make the book's content any less heartbreaking, and the fact that it was written more than a century ago didn't make it, at times, any less up to date. A classic that will forever remain a favourite for me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    I managed 100 pages. And though I was well over halfway, just couldn't face any more. This is an autobiographical work of 1906, regarded as some of the earliest feminist literature. Daughter of a middle class Italian family, Aleramo is the bright daughter of a loving father and slightly strange mother. I had high hopes at this stage! After a young man at her workplace - her social inferior -with whom she's enjoyed a flirtation, one day manages to Have his Wicked Way, we have a certain empathy with I managed 100 pages. And though I was well over halfway, just couldn't face any more. This is an autobiographical work of 1906, regarded as some of the earliest feminist literature. Daughter of a middle class Italian family, Aleramo is the bright daughter of a loving father and slightly strange mother. I had high hopes at this stage! After a young man at her workplace - her social inferior -with whom she's enjoyed a flirtation, one day manages to Have his Wicked Way, we have a certain empathy with her. Perhaps somewhat less when, in opposition to her father, she nonetheless marries the cad. Aleramo's work suffers, I think, not from the fact she makes errors in judgement along the way, but through her endless criticism of everybody else. Her meanderings into her frame of mind, her moods, are all very much tinged by the rotten things those around her are doing. I didn't seem to see ANY delving into her OWN course of action - and since this wasnt written till she was 30, I might have expected a little more self awareness. Thus although one in no way supports her husband throwing her to the ground and keeping her under a kind of house arrest after she arranges an (ultimately fruitless) assignation with another man in his absence....one doesn't put ALL the blame on him. Aleramo seems to. When Mummy 's increasingly erratic behaviour lead her to ultimately be placed in an asylum, (and her actions, as described by her loving daughter, certainly seem to justify it), Aleramo seems to have no patience with Daddy's life now revolving around his new mistress. Page after page of wittering on the iniquities of her life; her awakening social conscience, her taking up writing (encouraged by the husband, who has also by now engaged domestic help for her. I kept thinking that compared to many at the time, her life wasn't UNREMITTINGLY bleak. She had a child she loved, a rewarding career; the doctor down the street provides a romantic frisson for her... Her fulminations on her mother's cruel comittal to a mental hospital don't translate into "I'll let her live with me." Ms Aleramo, if she was around today, would, I suspect, be a loudly virtue-signalling social justice warrior, drawing attention constantly to the failings of the rest of mankind. Couldn't stand to read another page!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Grace Jagger

    ‘A Woman’ is an emotional autobiographical piece, originally published over a century ago this novel is considered the first piece of Italian feminist literature. This story is full of tragedy and heartache. When she’s a young girl her mother attempts suicide and is subsequently incarcerated for dementia. After suffering the absence of her mother, she discovers her father is having an affair with a younger woman and so she loses both her parents. The story also tackles the issues of rape and dom ‘A Woman’ is an emotional autobiographical piece, originally published over a century ago this novel is considered the first piece of Italian feminist literature. This story is full of tragedy and heartache. When she’s a young girl her mother attempts suicide and is subsequently incarcerated for dementia. After suffering the absence of her mother, she discovers her father is having an affair with a younger woman and so she loses both her parents. The story also tackles the issues of rape and domestic violence as well as Aleramo’s struggle with motherhood. The author talks about landscapes in the most beautiful ways, conjuring up the most pleasant images of Italy. This starkly contrasts with the ugly violence that she experiences within the walls of her home. The themes in this book feel so modern, it’s easy to forget this was published in 1906. I thought this translation was very well done, I saw people saying the original Italian text was very formal and I think the translators managed to capture the same formality in the English. However, the formal tone doesn’t detract from it being a very readable piece. I read the formal tone as the narrator trying to distance herself from the horrors she was writing about which made it a far more emotional read for me. This is a piece of work I haven’t heard of before although I’ve seen that it’s very popular in Italy. I think it’s a thought-provoking, emotive read and one that more people should discover. ✨Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the eARC ✨

  30. 4 out of 5

    L A

    Thanks to Penguin Press UK and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review. Hmmm...how does one summarise a book such as this? I guess by saying it is VERY Italian. The book is an autobiographical account of the life of the Italian writer Sibilla Aleramo and follows the early part of her life and career at the beginning of the 20th century. If you've read Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels I don't think you could fail to notice that Ferrante's writing style was clearly Thanks to Penguin Press UK and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review. Hmmm...how does one summarise a book such as this? I guess by saying it is VERY Italian. The book is an autobiographical account of the life of the Italian writer Sibilla Aleramo and follows the early part of her life and career at the beginning of the 20th century. If you've read Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels I don't think you could fail to notice that Ferrante's writing style was clearly influenced by Aleramo. The book had quite a similar "voice" and a dreamy quality often found in works by Italian writers. I saw a lot of similarities between Sibilla and the character of Lenu from the Neapolitan novels and am curious as to whether aspects of her character were directly inspired by Aleramo. It's a very character driven account and if you need breakneck action then this definitely isn't the book for you. As well as being a reflection on early 20th century feminism and motherhood, the book also explores some deep issues including sexual and domestic violence. What stuck out in particular for me was how startlingly modern this book was considering the time in which it was written. Aleramo was clearly a remarkable woman, forced to make some incredibly tough choices under the societal restrictions in which she lived. Despite the gulf of time which separates modern readers from Aleramo, many of her experiences will resonate with modern women today.

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