Even women read Sterne: Neera and the Novelle gaje

Mariella Muscariello


This paper intends to add a significant piece to the jagged history of the “Sterne effect” within XIX and XX century Italian Literature,  by showing - through Neera’s Novelle Gaje(1879) - that humour was not only a male-writing prerogative.

Starting from a very explicit sign of admiration for Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy, which Neera delivered to her own memories Una giovinezza delsecolo XIX, the paper conducts a formal survey of the thirteen short stories included in the collection, with the aim of underlying all the structure, language and content features linked to the humour patterns.

Neera’s short stories are built up in a serpentine structure, which gathers flashbacks, ellipsis, digressions, meta-narrative inserts, calls to the readers, who cooperate for the construction of a very tangle perception of time; Neera’s narrators are “feeling bearers” like Yorick, they are interested in the little things in life and they are always very inclined to their characters. However, while Sterne was laughing at the travel literature strongly spreading in the XVIII century publishing industry, Neera’s target was the abused sentimentalism in the Italian “letteratura rosa”; actually, she emphasizes all fleeting passions and discredits the concrete nature of marriage, which was for Neera along the essential idea of women’s identity, along with the idea of maternity.


Women; Humour, Sterne; Neera; Short stories

Full Text:

PDF (Italiano)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/2220

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-18892

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM

Between Journal is published by the University of Cagliari - Maintenance for this OJS installation is provided by UniCA  Open Journals, hosted by Sistema Bibliotecario di Ateneo.

Between Journal was founded in 2011 with the financial contribution of Fondazione Banco di Sardegna (year 2010-2011).

ISSN 2039-6597

CC-By lockssDOAJ seal SPARC Europe