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Distributed for Seagull Books

This Body That Inhabits Me

Edited by Lea Melandri
With an Afterword by Lea Melandri
Translated by Richard Braude
A collection of essays on the mysteries of the body from one of Italy’s leading postwar communist intellectuals.

Politician, translator, and journalist Rossana Rossanda was the most important female left-wing intellectual in post-war Italy. Central to the Italian Communist Party’s cultural wing during the 1950s and ’60s, she left an indelible mark on the life of the mind. The essays in this volume, however, bring together Rossanda’s reflections on the body—how it ages, how it is gendered, what it means to examine one’s own body. The product of a decades-long dialogue with the Italian women’s movement (above all with Lea Melandri, a vital feminist writer who provides an afterword to the current volume), these essays represent an honest and raw meeting between communist and feminist thought. Ranging from reflections on her own hands through to Chinese cinema, from figures such as the Russian cross-dressing soldier Nadezhda Durova to the Jacobin revolutionary Theroigne de Mericourt, here we see Rossanda’s fierce intellect and extraordinary breadth of knowledge applied to the body as a central question of human experience.

120 pages | 5 x 8 1/2

The Italian List

Gender and Sexuality


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Table of Contents

1. Self-Defence of a Political I
2. A Hussar Called Hope
3. Théroigne de Méricourt: Neither Commoner nor Lady
4. Depth and History
5. On the Threshold of Mystery
6. Raise the Red Lantern
7. This Body that Inhabits Me
Afterword: Friendship, a Calming Deposit of the Self

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