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Partisan wedding
Viganò, Renata, 1900-1976.
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Uniform Title:
Matrimonio in brigata. English
Publication Information:
Columbia : University of Missouri Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
233 pages ; 21 cm
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A generation of Italian authors dedicated their lives, their works, and their voices to the primary driving force behind twentieth-century narratives of World War II. Renata Viganò was an active member of the Italian Resistance during World War II, and, like many of her male counterparts, she depicted the actions of the brave people who contributed to and participated in the partisan movement. Unlike her counterparts, however, Viganò vividly portrayed the experiences of women, notably women on the front line, in her posthumously published Matrimonio in brigata, here translated for the first time in English as Partisan Wedding.

"If it had not been for them, the women . . . who got used to `men's business,' . . . the partisan army would have lost a vital, necessary force." The women in Partisan Wedding joined the struggle for many reasons; some for their husbands, others for their fathers, brothers, or sons; some for a sense of justice and the desire to do what was right. Whatever the cause, Viganò demonstrates that women maintained the ability to nurture and to care, to preserve their female qualities in the face of war.

Because of her own role as a partisan, the stories in Partisan Wedding are based on Viganò's personal experiences. Two stories in the collection are specifically autobiographical: "Acquitted" and "My Resistance." Relating her own plight to find her husband, a partisan commander, after his sudden arrest, "Acquitted" aptly conveys Viganò's struggle to maintain her strength in the face of complete helplessness. "My Resistance" is a personal account of her own experiences during the war and the women she met along the way.

Partisan Wedding is an invaluable contribution to the literature of the Second World War, completing the picture of those involved in the struggle for freedom. Viganò's remarkable prose, equally beautiful and terrible in its description of the minute details of human suffering and sacrifice, opens a window to a world that has rarely been seen, and a world not easily forgotten.

Author Notes

Renata Viganò was the author of several books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. She is best known for her novel L'Agnese va a morire, which was adapted for cinema by Giuliano Montaldo in the 1970s.

Suzanne Branciforte is a member of the Foreign Languages Department at the University of Genoa in Italy. She is the author of Parliamo italiano!

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The recent popularity of WWII films like Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line may help promote interest in this Italian writer's work, which remains mostly unknown in the U.S. First published in 1976, the year of Vigan•'s death, the 17 stories and two autobiographical pieces that make up this collection are told from the perspective of anti-Fascist Italian partisans during the war. The title story chronicles a tragically abbreviated love affair, carried on at a partisan safe house. "Peter" highlights the strange associations that war creates: a Russian prisoner-of-war finds refuge with an Italian family while wearing the uniform of his German captors. Many of the stories focus on the role of women in the Resistance. Women could often pass unnoticed as couriers, but, once discovered, their lack of weapons made them especially vulnerable, as in "Wool Socks," in which a seemingly innocent item betrays Tiny, a young partisan on a delivery run. As it did men, the Resistance offered women an opportunity to reinvent themselves. "Nigrein loved her battle name," writes Vigan• in "Trap Shoot." "She had almost forgotten her real name, Adelia, which seemed too bombastic and solemn for her." Though her fiction makes palpable the constant tensions and hazards of partisan life, Vigan•'s Marxist politics, especially in the autobiographical essays, seem dated: `I was not born working class. Therefore, I did not have the great lesson of a hard childhood, of parents who were exhausted by difficult jobs, by daily deprivations." Branciforte's translation is only serviceable, but she provides a useful introduction that chronicles Vigan•'s youth, her experiences in the Resistance and her career as a writer after the war. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Branciforte's choice of Vigan`o was motivated by the desire to make more evident to English-language readers women's participation in the Italian resistance movement of the 1940s, which Vigan`o captured in nuanced and moving tales based on her own experience. Born in Bologna in 1900, Vigan`o is best known in Italy for L'Agnese va a morire (1974), a novel about the war and the resistance, which has never been translated into English. These translations of the short stories begin to redress this oversight, for the tales are strongly related to the novel's dominant theme of women resistance fighters, and they give readers a clear idea of Vigan`o's style. Branciforte's brief introduction provides information on Vigan`o, on the resistance, and on the neorealist prose fiction and films that poured forth during and immediately after the fall of fascism, the turbulent years of resistance fighting, and the establishment of the First Italian Republic. She also includes a concise glossary of terms pertinent to the stories' content. Recommended to general readers as well as specialists, this volume will be a useful addition to collections of Italian fiction in translation. R. West; University of Chicago

Table of Contents

Suzanne Branciforte
Introductionp. 1
Glossaryp. 18
Bibliographyp. 22
Partisan WeddingRenata Vigano
Partisan Weddingp. 27
Peterp. 43
The Portrait of Garibaldip. 56
Campalbop. 70
November 1943p. 75
Death of a Motherp. 84
Red Flagp. 91
The Viaductp. 96
Argelidep. 104
Thin Wallsp. 114
He Knew Germanp. 124
The Big Opportunityp. 132
The House on the Icep. 142
Wool Socksp. 151
The Last Actionp. 160
Trap Shootp. 167
The Commanderp. 176
Acquittedp. 183
My Resistancep. 205