On the Circumvesuviana (poetry); and The vesuvian imaginary: the woman's journey to Naples in three texts (dissertation)

Lucy Dougan

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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“On the Circumvesuviana” is a collection of poems that explores what it is to have been born and raised in Australia without knowledge of an Italian father and a family in Naples. Travelling between “here” and “there,” Australia and Naples, this work necessarily involves a renegotiation of self and place. The poems draw on memory, family stories, objects and myths to articulate both the joy and dislocation of this experience.
The metaphorical relationship between the poems and the critical work is broadly articulated through notions of the hidden or buried, journeys, and narratives of self-reconstruction. Both approaches, the poems and the textual analysis in the exegesis, sit inside a wider tradition of women‟s journeys to Italy read as transformative experiences, and focus specifically on this tradition in relation to Naples.
The exegesis considers women‟s journeys to Naples in Roberto Rossellini‟s film Journey to Italy, Shirley Hazzard‟s novella The Bay of Noon and Mario Martone‟s film L‟amore molesto. It examines how setting can elicit similar stories and comparable sets of representational concerns, tracing intertextual relationships between Rossellini‟s influential film and the other two texts, and locating these journeys inside wider contexts such as the Grand Tour, the motif of the heroine transformed by Italy, the construction of the Italian South as Other, and the long association between Naples and the feminine. It locates and traces a Vesuvian narrative from outsider to insider views that posits the central paradox of Naples as a site of catastrophe and a space that offers each heroine the chance of self-reconstruction. I argue in readings of the three texts that the central female protagonists turn inwards away from the famous panorama of the Bay of Naples to investigate ruined spaces and radical sites of anti-spectacle.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2009


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