I've long been interested in the life of Sibilla Aleramo.
Sibilla Aleramo (1876-1960) is one of Italy's most renowned and controversial writers. Her work spanned huge unpheavals in Italian society and is uncompromisingly autobiographical. She mined her rich, tumultuous life - as poet, novelist, essayist, feminist, lover and social and political activist - to explore the meaning of female identity and her struggle to survive in a patriarchal world. Her most famous work, Una donna (A Woman), published in 1906 and subsequently translated into 11 languages, is considered a feminist classic.

Susan Jacobs PHD synopsis

Both Sibilla Aleramo (1876-1960), one of Italy's most renowned and controversial women writers, and autobiography, as a generic minefield for debates on theories of the subject, have received a good deal of critical attention over the past fifteen years. The uncompromisingly autobiographical nature of Sibilla's work has been, at various times, revered and reviled, be it for what she says, or how she says it. My focus is precisely on the different forms she uses to write her self in four texts - a fictional autobiography, lyrical novel, epistolary novel and a diary - and how these construct, modify and deconstruct her self-representations in a continual process of intertextual reading and revising. Yet her texts resist easy classification. While sometimes confirming boundaries of genre and gender, they also constantly call them into question by exposing their limits, their intersection with fictional norms, and their shifting discursive affiliations. Because Sibilla was all her life concerned with gender, and the relationship of femininity to her writing, many aspects of her work appear relevant today. I explore how they anticipate feminist theories on the construction of female subjectivity in a combination of theory and autobiographical practice which highlights the interrelationship of the two. Here Sibilla's focus on the maternal is particularly indicative of this tendency, where it is woven into the generic structures of her texts as well as being an important focus of the autobiographical "story". Furthermore, her texts challenge the notion of self defined by male bias, and present opportunities for critical testing of autobiographical theories themselves by offering not one, but several, works for examination. The full phd is here

Review of Sibilla Aleramo's 'A Woman' by Ann Caesar

From the review "Marriage is the result of seduction, an activity through which, in the tradition of the South, men take possession, claim their brides (Aleramo, 1979:28): Did this man now own me? I have only a vague and depressed memory of my indescribable confusion in the days that followed, but I know that gradually I came to believe he did. Desertion is the only way in which a woman can take back her life. Despite the intrinsic interest of her political articles, the main document Sibilla Aleramo gave to Italian feminism was her novel, A Woman. Having (unlike her contemporary Virginia Woolf, a writer she much admired later in life) no female literary tradition to draw on-she never regretted this-she took as her starting point her own life. Although she drew heavily on the autobiographical-confessional genre developed by the Romantics, she subverted it to her own purpose. The didactic value of personal experience and the authenticity that suffering confers on its subject are two of the features of the genre she adopts (Aleramo, 1979:159): I thought I was a privileged bearer of a new sort of truth, which manifested itself through my suffering. But if this was true I should be able to produce something which others, who suffered like me, would find useful ... Full Review by Ann Caesar (PAYWALLED NOW)