Abstract: My talk will draw critical attention to Faustina Bon, Romanzo Teatrale Fantastico (1914), a forgotten novel by Haydée, nom de plume of the Jewish writer Ida Finzi (1867-1946). Finzi was one of the most prolific women writers working in Trieste at the beginning of the twentieth century, when Trieste was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The book (winner of the Società degli Autori Prize) is an original and irreverent novel that rewrites the story of Goethe’s Faust, the undisputed emblem of German speaking culture, from a contemporary and feminine perspective and, in so doing, indirectly undermines Otto Weininger’s theories about geniality, Jewishness and femininity.
Bio: Elena Coda, Associate Professor of Italian at Purdue University, received her Ph.D. in Italian Literature at the University of California –Los Angeles in 1998, and is a specialist in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italian literature and comparative literature, with particular interests in Hermetic poetry; modernism and the historical Avant-garde; and the modern and postmodern city in literature. She is the author of Scipio Slataper (Palermo: Palumbo 2007) and co-editor of a comprehensive anthology of late-twentieth-century Italian poetry: The Promised Land: Italian Poetry from 1975 to the present (Los Angeles: Sun and Moon Press, 1999). Together with Ben Lawton she has edited a volume entitled Revisioning Terrorism, a humanistic perspective (forthcoming, Purdue University Press). She is currently working on a monograph on women writing in Trieste at the turn of the XX century. Her work investigates particularly the cultural and literary ramifications of illness, especially when it was viewed as something that escapes normative and well-constructed order, and thus becomes a useful paradigm to investigate not only the double political and social nature of Austrian Italy, but also its ideological and literary uniqueness. In addition to her monograph and edited work, she has published numerous articles, including studies on woman and urban space in Svevo’s Senilità, 19th-century medical culture and Tarchetti’s Fosca, and on the essayistic narrative of Claudio Magris and Gianni Celati.