I Belong Only to Myself: The Life and Writings of Leda Rafanelli
by Andrea Pakieser Author
This book follows the life of early Italian feminist, famous anarchist and unyielding pacifist Leda Rafanelli, focusing on the movements and historical context Rafanelli was a part of and using excerpts from her own poems, novels and essays to tell her and her country's story. Rafanelli learned typesetting as a teen in Egypt, where she also converted to both anarchism and Islam before returning to her home country of Italy in her early twenties. She went on to refine and lead her own uniquely social form of individualist anarchism, write scores of novels, short stories, poems, essays and pamphlets, found and run several different publishing companies, and confront both the patriarchy and bourgeois femininity "feminility", a very early form of radical feminism. Eventually she was politically silenced and turned to fortune-telling to get by, but she continued to write, and eventually published some of those final essays and stories. This book focuses on the tumultuous early days of the Italian nation, the evolution and offshoots of the anarchist movement, its interactions with other early movements, the chaos of fascism and the first world war, and Rafanelli's place and influence in that time, country and the anarchist movement. In it, author, biographical researcher and translator Andrea Pakieser deftly weaves excerpts from Rafanelli's own writings, some seen here for the first time in English, with easy informative prose and contextualization. Her writing is knowledgeable and heartfelt, and she immediately draws the reader in with her eloquence, style, and clear enthusiasm for her subject matter.
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