In Praise of Disobedience: Clare of Assisi, A Novel (Other Voices of Italy) (Paperback)

In Praise of Disobedience: Clare of Assisi, A Novel (Other Voices of Italy) By Dacia Maraini, Professor Rudolph Bell (Introduction by), Jane Tylus (Translated by) Cover Image

In Praise of Disobedience: Clare of Assisi, A Novel (Other Voices of Italy) (Paperback)

By Dacia Maraini, Professor Rudolph Bell (Introduction by), Jane Tylus (Translated by)


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An author receives a mysterious e-mail begging her to tell the story of Clare of Assisi, the thirteenth-century Italian saint. At first annoyed by the request, the author begins to research Saint Clare and becomes captivated by her life. We too are transported into the strange and beautiful world of medieval Italy, witnessing the daily rituals of convent life. At the center of that life is Saint Clare, a subversive and compelling figure full of contradictions: a physically disabled woman who travels widely in her imagination, someone unforgivingly harsh to herself yet infinitely generous to the women she supervises, a practitioner of self-abnegation who nevertheless knows her own worth. A visionary who liberated herself from the chains of materialism and patriarchy, Saint Clare here becomes an inspirational figure for a new generation of readers. 

DACIA MARAINI is one of Italy’s most pre-eminent and beloved writers. She has written over thirty plays, as well as such novels as Voci (Voices) and the international bestseller La Lunga Vita di Marianna Ucrìa (The Silent Duchess).  
JANE TYLUS is Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of Italian and Professor of Comparative Literature at Yale University. Her works include a translation of the complete poetry of Gaspara Stampa, the co-edited collection Early Modern Cultures of Translation (with Karen Newman), and the monograph Reclaiming Catherine of Siena, which won the MLA’s Howard Marraro Prize. 

RUDOLPH M. BELL was Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus, Rutgers University. He was the author of The Voices of Gemma Galgani: The Life and Afterlife of a Modern Saint, with Cristina Mazzoni.
Product Details ISBN: 9781978833920
ISBN-10: 197883392X
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication Date: January 13th, 2023
Pages: 218
Language: English
Series: Other Voices of Italy
"This hybrid work–part epistolary novel, part essay, part biography–struck a deep chord in me. Maraini, among the most outspoken and important authors in Italy today, posits a series of connections and disconnections between author and reader, the Middle Ages and modernity, possession and renunciation. Jane Tylus's translation is resonant and immensely readable."
— Jhumpa Lahiri

"The life of Italian saint Clare of Assisi gets a clever feminist reimagining in this biography-cum-epistolary novel by playwright Maraini (Voices)...Creatively structured and thoughtfully executed, this genre-smashing blend of history and fiction is delightfully original."
— Publishers Weekly

"This book is not only about the life of Saint Clare, it is a women’s view of the world, an engaging dialogue between the writer and a mysterious reader, the past and the present, faith and reason, and between the ‘happy’ and ‘unhappy’ bodies. It is a very inspiring read."
— Amara Lakhous

"In her passionate book marked by dreams and ongoing questions, Dacia Maraini delivers a gorgeous portrait of Clare of Assisi, who succeeded in giving life to a revolutionary language and overturning the rules of her time in order to follow one rule, her own."
— Corriere Adriatico

"This intimate and provocative book is the story of an encounter, between a great woman writer who has made words the very instrument with which she can tell a story about reality, and an intelligent, determined woman to whom the use of the word was denied." 
— Enza Cavallaro

"As with Francis, for Clare the profound significance of poverty is that one has the freedom to invent one's own destiny. With this book, in part an exchange of letters with a mysterious interlocutor, in part a diary, Dacia Maraini has added a precious, missing link to her feminist writings, all the more convincing for its distance from any form of philosophical or political abstraction."
— Emanuele Trevi