Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and the College
Maria Anna Mariani’s work focuses on memory. She examines the “literature of the ‘I’” in all its various forms—from autofiction to the patchy witnessings of survivors. Her book, Sull’autobiografia contemporanea. Nathalie Sarraute, Elias Canetti, Alice Munro, Primo Levi (Carocci, 2012), stresses the paradoxical nature of memory: While swearing its faithfulness to the past, it does nothing but distort. Focusing on this paradox and connecting it to Paul Ricoeur’s theory of mimetic levels, the book offers a theory of the autobiographical genre based on the dialectic between memory and narrative, along with four studies of authors from different national literatures.
Her current research is split into two projects that share a point of intersection. The first is a project on literary genealogies, in which genre theory and textual analysis are intertwined with contributions from philosophy, sociology, and history. Trauma, in its collective and generational dimension, connects this first project to the second one, which concerns the figure of the survivor and the ambiguous discourse of victimhood.
Mariani received her PhD from the Università degli Studi di Siena. Afterwards she taught for four years at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Korea, which fueled her appreciation for the problems of pedagogy and canonization in a global context.