Feminist Duration Reading Group: Lea Melandri, Love and Violence

6 March 2018

Tue 6 Mar, 7.30-9.30pm
SPACE Mare Street
Free & all welcome

The next Feminist Duration Reading Group meeting focuses on the work of Italian feminist Lea Melandri, in a session led by Sara Paiola (Birkbeck School of Law PhD candidate). One of Italy’s most prolific feminist theorists, writers and journalists, Melandri has been active in the feminist movement since the late 1960s. Her main interest lies in the relationship between men and women as defined and confined by patriarchal culture.  Together with psychoanalyst Elvio Fachinelli she founded the magazine/journal L’erba Voglio in 1971, one of the most interesting Italian voices in political-cultural dissent and the anti-authoritarian movement. From 1987 to 1997 Melandri directed the feminist monthly magazine Lapis. In 1987 she co-founded Libera Universita’ delle Donne di Milano, of which she is now the president.  

The event will centre on reading of one chapter (in English) of Melandri’s book Love and Violence: The Vexatious Factors of Civilization. Originally published by Bollati Boringhieri in 2011, the English edition will be published by SUNY Press in January 2019. Love and Violence investigates the origins of male violence towards women, which shows no sign of ending despite years of apparent gender equality. Melandri argues that an unsuspected bond exists between love and hate, between love and violence: man is angry towards the body that gave him life – his mother. He is angry towards the one who cared for him in the first years of his life, who gave him his first sexual solicitations. It is therefore necessary that feminists question what the family has been in earlier centuries, and what it is today. We must question the constraints of dependence it creates, on the changed condition of women, divided between home and work, and on the difficulty that men experience in facing hitherto unknown female freedom.

We will read out loud, together, on the evening. Please bring copies of the reading with you. Download Andrea Hajek (2018) ‘A Room of One’s Own. Feminist Intersections between Space, Women’s Writing and Radical Bookselling in Milan (1968–1986),’ Italian Studies, 73:1, 81-97, DOI: 10.1080/00751634.2018.1414376. For a copy of ‘Loving Mothers,’ Chapter 2 of Melandri’s forthcoming Love and Violence in English, please email feministduration@gmail.com.

Melandri’s other books include Una visceralità indicibile. La pratica dell'inconscio nel movimento delle donne degli anni Settanta, (Fondazione Badaracco, Milano, Franco Angeli, 2000); Le passioni del corpo. La vicenda dei sessi tra origine e storia, (Torino, Bollati Boringhieri, 2001); Come nasce il sogno d'amore, (Torino, Bollati Boringhieri, 2002); L'attualità inattuale di Elvio Fachinelli, a cura di Lea Melandri, (Milano, IPOC, 2014).

The Feminist Duration Reading Group focuses on under-known and under-appreciated feminist texts, movements, groups and struggles from outside the Anglo-American feminist tradition. Started at Goldsmiths, University of London, in March 2015, since July 2015 it has been generously hosted by SPACE, 129 – 131 Mare Street in Hackney.

The group generally meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 7pm and is open to people of all genders. 

If you would like to join the Feminist Duration Reading Group mailing list, or propose a focus for a subsequent session, please write to us at feministduration@gmail.com.