Fabrizia Ramondino was born in 1936 in Naples. She lived in Majorca (1936-44), France (1948-50), Germany (1954-56), Milan and Rome (1957-60), and travelled to many other places (China, Quebec, Australia, Sahara). She then lived in Naples until she moved to Itri (Lazio) in the wake of the 1980 earthquake.
In Naples she did voluntary work as a teacher at the Associazione Risveglio Napoli, a lay association which offered free classes for children and adults from the Neapolitan lower classes (1960-67). At the same time she obtained a degree in languages from the Istituto Universitario Orientale and had a daughter (1966). Between the birth of her daughter and 1984, she taught French in state schools. During the 1970s, she played an important role as a social and political activist with the Centro di Coordinamento Campano, a small organisation of the new left which worked primarily with the urban unemployed and poor agricultural labourers. The latter experience was recorded in her first publication: Napoli. I disoccupati organizzati. I protagonisti raccontano (1977, new edition:1998).
Her first novel, Althénopis, followed in 1981, and was translated into German (Arche), French (Flammarion), Spanish (Alfaguara) and English (Carcanet Press). During the 1980s she wrote for various newspapers, and especially Il Mattino. Her novel Un giorno e mezzo (1989) was inspired by her social and political activism in Naples in the late 1960s. She collaborated with Mario Martone on the script of the film Morte di un matematico napoletano (1992), which was published by Ubulibri in the same year. Her collaboration with Martone continued with her play Terremoto con madre e figlia, inspired by the 1980 earthquake, which he directed in 1994.
As the titles of her books demonstrate, place and travel are most important to Ramondino’s work, which moves incessantly between Naples, Italy, Europe and beyond.
She died in Gaeta in June 2008, the day before the publication of her novel La Via.
She was awarded the literary prizes Premio Napoli, Premio Settembrini (Mestre), Elsa Morante. Isola di Procida, Grinzane-Cavour, Civiltà del Mare-S. Felice al Circeo, Leonardo Sciascia–Grotte.
Compiled by Adalgisa Giorgio (Bath)
(a cura di) Napoli. I disoccupati organizzati. I protagonisti raccontano (Milan: Feltrinelli, 1977) [Nuova edizione: Ci dicevano analfabeti. Il movimento dei disoccupati napoletani degli anni ’70 (Lecce: Argo, 1998)
Althénopis (Turin: Einaudi, 1981; 1995)
Storie di patio (Turin: Einaudi, 1983)
Taccuino Tedesco (Milan: La Tartaruga, 1987; Rome: Nottetempo, 2010)
Un giorno e mezzo (Turin: Einaudi, 1988; 2001)
[with A.F. Müller] Dadapolis. Caleidoscopio napoletano (Turin: Einaudi, 1989) [Transl. Neapel … Da fiel kein Traum herab…Da fiel mir Leben zu... (Zurich/Hamburg: Arche, 1988)
Star di casa (Milano: Garzanti, 1991)
[with M. Martone] Morte di un matematico napoletano (Milano: Ubulibri, 1992)
Terremoto con madre e figlia (Genoa: Il Melangolo, 1994)
In viaggio (Turin: Einaudi, 1995)
Polisario. Un’astronave dimenticata nel deserto (Rome: Gamberetti Editrice, 1997)
L’isola dei bambini (Milan, E/O, 1998)
L’isola riflessa (Turin, Einaudi, 1998)
Passaggio a Trieste (Turin: Einaudi, 2000)
[with Rossana Rossanda] Bagnoli: lo smantellamento dell’Italsider [photographs byVera Maone] (Milan: Mazzotta, 2000)
Guerra di infanzia e di Spagna (Turin: Einaudi, 2001)
Il libro dei sogni (Naples: L’ancora del mediterraneo, 2002)
Per un sentiero chiaro (Turin: Einaudi, 2004)
Il calore (Rome: Nottetempo, 2004)
[with Renate Siebert and Assunta Signorelli] In direzione ostinata e contraria [photographs by Ugo Panella] (Naples: ironti, 2008)
‘In treno /Napoli’ in In viaggio. Passaggi letterari su ferro e gomma by Braucci et al (Naples: Colonnese, 2008, pp. 89-94)
La Via T(Turin: Einaudi, 2008)
Compiled by Adalgisa Giorgio (Bath)
Alfonzetti, Beatrice: ‘Guerra d'infanzia e di Spagna’ (L'illuminista, 2001, n. 4-5, pp. 319-28 [numero dedicato alla Narrativa italiana d'oggi])
— : ‘Dalla villa al terremoto. Magia e poesia in Fabrizia Ramondino’ in Granteatro. Omaggio a Franca Angelini eds. B. Alfonzetti, D. Quarta. M. Saulini (Rome: Bulzoni, 2002, pp. 403-18)
— : ‘La scrittrice. Le sue sfide, i suoi sogni, il suo disagio’ (Il Manifesto, 25 giugno 2008)
— : ‘L'isola dei sogni perduti’ (Il Mattino, 4 dicembre 2008)
— : Fabrizia Ramondino, scrittrice del disagio, in Il turbamento e la scrittura. Convegno. Lucca 5-6 dicembre 2008 (Rome: Donzelli, at press)
Benedetti, Laura, ‘Struggling with the Mother’, in The Tigress in the Snow: Motherhood and Literature in 20th-century Italy (Toronto, Buffalo and London: University of Toronto Press, 2007, pp. 94-113 [pp. 102-104 on Althénopis])
Burns, Jennifer: ‘Fabrizia Ramondino: The Politics of Identity’ in Fragments of Impegno: Interpretations of Commitment in Contemporary Italian Narrative, 1980-2000 (Leeds: Northern Universities Press, 2001, pp. 81-98)
Fanning, Ursula: ‘Mother in the Text, Mothering the Text: Francesca Sanvitale and Fabrizia Ramondino’ (The Italianist, No. 14, 1994, pp. 204-17)
Farnetti, Monica: ‘Fabrizia Ramondino a Trieste’ in Tutte signore di mio gusto (Milan: La Tartaruga, 2008, pp. 250-59)
Giorgio, Adalgisa: ‘A Feminist Family Romance: Mother, Daughter and Female Genealogy in Fabrizia Ramondino’s Althénopis’ (The Italianist, No. 11, 1991, pp. 128-49)
— : ‘Narrazione come denuncia: Atti narrativi di donna ne “La signora di Son Batle” ’ in Les femmes écrivains en Italie aux XIXe et XXe siècles [Abridged version in Italian of ‘Narrative as Verbal Performance’] (Aix-en-Provence: Université de Provence, 1993, pp. 251-57)
— : ‘Narrative as Verbal Performance: Énonciation and Énoncé in Fabrizia Ramondino’s “La signora di Son Batle” ’(Italian Studies, Vol. 48, 1993, pp. 86-106)
— : ‘Conversazione con Fabrizia Ramondino, 8 maggio 1994’, in Culture and Society in Southern Italy: Past and Present eds. Adalgisa Giorgio and Anna Bull (The Italianist, 1994, pp. 26-36 [Supplement])
— : ‘Narrativa napoletana e napoletanità’ in Culture and Society in Southern Italy: Past and Present eds. Adalgisa Giorgio and Anna Bull (The Italianist, 1994, pp. 37-52)
— : ‘Moving across Boundaries: Identity and Difference in the Work of Fabrizia Ramondino’ (The Italianist, No. 18, 1998, pp. 170-86)
— : ‘Miseria e ricchezza del materno. La passione per la madre nella narrativa italiana contemporanea delle donne’, in Trame parentali. Trame letterarie ed. Maria del Sapio Garbero [Italian version of the ‘The Passion for the Mother: Conflicts and Idealizations in Contemporary Italian Narrative by Women’] (Naples: Liguori, 2000, pp. 105-21)
— : ‘The Passion for the Mother: Conflicts and Idealizations in Contemporary Italian Narrative by Women’ in Writing Mothers and Daughters: Renegotiating the Mother in Western European Narratives by Women ed. Adalgisa Giorgio (Oxford: Berghahn, 2002, pp. 119-54 [Includes one section on Althénopis]).
— : ‘Da Napoli all’Europa al villaggio globale. Identità, spazio e tempo nell’opera di Fabrizia Ramondino’ in Le esperienze e le correnti culturali europee del Novecento in Italia e in Ungheria eds. Ilona Fried and Arianna Carta (Budapest: Eötvös Lorand University (ELTE) BTK, 2003, pp. 227-52)
— : ‘From Naples to Europe to the Global Village. Identity, Time and Space in Fabrizia Ramondino’s L’isola riflessa (1998)’ (The Italianist, No. 25, n. 1, 2005, pp. 72-96 [English version, revised and more focused of the the essay published in Hungary above])
— : ‘Mutazioni del lavoro, comunità e pensiero meridiano: Antonio Pascale e Fabrizia Ramondino’ (Narrativa, Letteratura e Industria, No. 31, 2009)
Lazzaro-Weis, Carol: ‘From Margins to Mainstream: Feminism and Fictional Modes in Italian Women’s Writing 1068-1990’ (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993, pp. 112-15 [on Althénopis])
Lucamante, Stefania: ‘Teatro di guerra. On History and Fathers’ in Under Arturo’s Stars: The Cultural Legacies of Elsa Morante eds. Stefania Lucamante and Sharon Wood (West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 2006, pp. 221-256)
Marotti, Maria Ornella: ‘Filial Discourses: Feminism and Femininity in Italian Women’s Autobiography’ in Feminine Feminists: Cultural Practices in Italy ed. Giovanna Miceli Jeffries (Minneapolis and London, University of Minnesota Press, 1994, pp. 65-86 [on Althénopis pp.80-83])
— : ‘Ethnic Matriarchy: Fabrizia Ramondino’s Neapolitan World’, in Italian Women Writers from the Renaissance to the Present: Revising the Canon ed. Maria Ornella Marotti (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996, pp. 173-85)
Polezzi, Loredana: 'Non solo colonie: l’“Africa” raccontata da scrittrici italiane contemporanee’ / ‘Non solo colonie: “Africa” in The Work of Contemporary Italian Women Writers eds. Jennifer Burns and Loredana Polezzi (Isernia: Cosmo Iannone Editore [Borderlines: Migrazioni e identità nel Novecento], 2003, pp. 107-123 and pp. 309-321)
Ritter-Santini, Lea: Postfazione, Fabrizia Ramondino, Althénopis. Kosmos einer Kindheit [Transl. Maja Pflug] (Zurich: Arche, 1986)
Usher, Jonathan: ‘Fabrizia Ramondino: The Muse of Memory’ in The New Italian Novel eds. Lino Pertile and Zygmunt Baranski (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1993 pp. 166-83)
Wilson, Rita: ‘Personal Histories: Fabrizia Ramondino’ in Speculative Identities: Contemporary Italian Women’s Narratives (Leeds: Northern Universities Press, 2000, pp. 83-98)
— : ‘Refashioning the South: Fabrizia Ramondino’s Narrative Spaces’ (Spunti e ricerche [Supplement: Essays in Modern Italian and French Literature. In Recollection of Tom O’Neill, 2004, pp. 117-133])
Wood, Sharon: Italian Women’s Writing 1860-1994 (London: Athlone Press, 1995, pp. 245-53 [Chapter 13 on mothers and sons and])
Zancan, Marina: ‘Madri e figlie’, in Firmato donna. Scritture, scrittrici ed. Maria Rosa Cutrufelli (Milan: Longanesi, 1988, pp. 77-84)
Compiled by Adalgisa Giorgio (Bath)and Eliana Maestri (Bath/Oxford)
‘Non sto quindi a Napoli sicura di casa – né d'altra parte in altri paesi e città – come se appartenessi a una minoranza etnica dispersa e remota’
[Fabrizia Ramondino, Star di casa, 1991]
A Conference in Memory of Fabrizia Ramondino (1936-2008)
On 15 and 16 January 2010 at the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, London
Organised by Adalgisa Giorgio (Bath) with Eliana Maestri (Bath/Oxford)
Under the auspices of the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing at the IGRS and the Department of European Studies and Modern Languages, University of Bath
Sponsored by the Department of European Studies and Modern Languages, University of Bath, the Society for Italian Studies, and the Association for the Study of Modern Italy
The death of Fabrizia Ramondino in June 2008 deprived Italy of one of its most interesting writers and of a sharp observer and commentator of the cultural and political changes Italy has undergone in the past fifty years.
After an intense experience of social commitment and political militancy in Naples in the 1970s, Fabrizia Ramondino devoted herself to writing and has left a varied corpus of works which includes and crosses the boundaries between poetry, novels, plays, travelogues, memoirs, confession, self-reflection, anthropological, cultural and linguistic comment.
Between the publication of her first and last novels, Althenópis (1981) and La Via (2008), Ramondino continued to probe the question of identity and its foundations in language, family, class, history, geography and the environment. Gender remained an important focus of her work throughout her career. The conference will include a session of Readings from Fabrizia Ramondino’s published and unpublished work, with the participation of the author’s daughter. This session is funded by the John Coffin Trust Fund.