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University of Delaware Faculty Profiles

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  • Laura Salsini, Professor of Italian

    Professor of Italian
    University of Delaware
    211 Jastak-Burgess Hall
    Newark, DE 19716
    (302) 831-2749


    Laura Salsini is Professor of Italian. Her professional interests include 19th and 20th century Italian literature, with a specialization in female writers, as well as Italian-American film and literature. She teaches language, literature, and culture courses, as well as courses in translation.


    Ph.D., Italian Literature, Indiana University

    M.A., Italian Literature, Indiana University

    B.A., Journalism, Marquette University


    Prof. Salsini's articles have appeared in Italica, Forum Italicum, Quaderni d'italianistica, and Italian Culture, among other periodicals. Her books include Resistance, Heroism, Loss: World War II in Italian Literature and Film (co-edited with Dr. Thomas Cragin, Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2018), Writing and Performing Female Identity in Italian Culture (co-edited with Dr. Virginia Picchietti, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), Addressing the Letter: Italian Women Writers' Epistolary Fiction (University of Toronto Press, 2010), and Gendered Genres: Female Experiences and Narrative Patterns in the Works of Matilde Serao (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1999).


    Resistance, Heroism, Loss: World War II in Italian Literature and Film

    This volume, co-edited with Dr. Thomas Cragin, examines how film and literature have addressed and shaped political, social and cultural imperatives regarding World War II. These articles expand our understanding of the shifting phases in national memory by highlighting significant features of each era's portrayal of the war. Contributions come from scholars working in film genre studies, cultural history, gender studies, Holocaust studies, and the very new fields of emotion studies, shame theory, and environmental studies. 

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    Writing and Performing Female Identity in Italian Culture

    This volume, co-edited with Dr. Virginia Picchietti, investigates the ways in which Italian women writers, filmmakers, and performers have represented female identity across genres from the immediate post-World War II period to the turn of the twenty-first century. Considering genres such as prose, poetry, drama, and film, these essays examine the vision of female agency and self-actualization arising from women artists’ critique of female identity.

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    Addressing the Letter: Italian Women Writers’ Epistolary Fiction

    Women writers of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italy reinvigorated the modern epistolary novel through their re-fashioning of the genre as a tool for examining women’s roles and experiences. Addressing the Letterargues that many epistolary novels purposely tie narrative structure to thematic content, creating in the process powerful texts that reflect and challenge literary and socio-cultural norms.

    Through the lens of the genre, Laura A. Salsini considers how the works of authors including the Marchesa Colombi, Sibilla Aleramo, Gianna Manzini, Natalia Ginzburg, and Oriana Fallaci highlight such issues as love, the loss of ideals, lack of communication and connection, and feminist ideology. She also analyses what may be the first woman-authored Italian example of epistolary fiction: Orintia Romagnuoli Sacrati’s Lettere di Giulia Willet (1818). In their reworking of the epistolary narrative form, Italian women writers challenged dominant assumptions about female behaviours, roles, relationships, and sexuality in modern Italy.

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    Gendered Genres: Female Experiences and Narrative Patterns in the Works of Matilde Serao

    Matilde Serao’s richly detailed narratives created a metamorphical city of women negotiating the social and cultural byways of turn-of-the-century Italy. With each text, Serao (1856-1927) added another stratum to her imaginary metropolis, grounding her works in realistic detail and acute social observation. Over the course of almost thirty novels, more than one hundred short stories, and innumerable newspaper articles, Serao articulated her own vision of female destiny in a society governed by traditional, often restrictive, paradigms of female behavior. This study examines how Serao refashioned traditional genres throughout her long literary career, a narrative strategy that allowed her to focus specifically on the depiction of female experiences.

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    Courses Taught

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  • Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures
  • Jastak-Burgess Hall
  • University of Delaware
  • 30 East Main St.
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-2591