Reading Little Women after the Italian 1970s: The Influence of Postfeminism on Lidia Ravera’s Reinterpretation of the Classic


  • Olga Campofreda


parole chiave:

Italian Contemporary Literature, Women Writers, Coming-of-age, Postfeminism, Bildungsroman


Published in two volumes between 1868 and 1869, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott follows the classic coming-of-age structure for female characters as developed in nineteenth-century literature. Although the story is first introduced as that of a family, it instead follows each protagonist on their individual journey towards social recognition, which, for the young March sisters, is gained with marriage. From this perspective, girlhood is a transient stage of life, routed towards the achievement of economic (and emotional) stability.
Since its first publication, Alcott’s classic has been widely discussed and subjected to many reinterpretations in literary form, as well as in film and theatrical dramatisation. In this article I focus on the novel Bagna i fiori e aspettami (1986), a rewriting by the Italian author Lidia Ravera composed in the aftermath of the feminist struggles of the seventies. The novel, set in Italy during the eighties, offers the opportunity for the author to integrate the representation of girlhood with the language and images of mass culture. As Carol Lazzaro-Weiss points out in her study on the female Bildungsroman (1993), «women writers are creating new themes and plots and […] they do so by recombining, challenging, and exploiting old structures to their purposes» (18). Bagna i fiori e aspettami offers a good example for studying such literary manipulation. This essay shows how Ravera’s main character anticipates a new idea of femininity which – leaving behind political instances and reflections on gender essentialism – embraces a more individualistic and certainly more problematic approach to female agency influenced by postfeminist discourse (GREER 1999; HOOKS 2000; GAMBLE 2001).




come citare

Campofreda, O. «Reading Little Women After the Italian 1970s: The Influence of Postfeminism on Lidia Ravera’s Reinterpretation of the Classic». Altrelettere, maggio 2022, doi:10.5903/al_uzh-62.