Women at war: Eva Kuhn Amendola (Magamal)--interventionist, futurist, fascist.
Before the First World War, women who openly associated with Italian Futurism tended either to be outsiders of some sort, like Valentine de Saint-Point and Mina Loy, or women who, due to their personal life stories and cosmopolitan upbringing, were not conditioned by the normative bourgeois codes of feminine behavior prevalent in Italy and much of Europe at the time. The Lithuanian-born Eva Kuhn Amendola (1880-1961), on whom my discussion will be focused, was a deeply non-conformist woman and a multilingual, cosmopolitan intellectual who became an Italian citizen through her marriage with Giovanni Amendola. The couple met in Rome in 1903, when Kuhn was still a student. She was a creative writer, essayist and literary translator. There are many gaps and missing links in the story of Kuhn's life and futurist activities. What we have left are basically, as is often the case with female artists, writers and intellectuals until after World War Two, fragments and traces--a kind of "ruined map." (1) Yet the texts and documents available allow us to see that her experience, including the difficult, deeply conflicted relationship with her husband, is an example of how Futurism before, during and immediately after the Great War, set some intellectual women's imagination on fire, becoming for them a form of radical existential, aesthetic and then socio-political practice. (2)
Kuhn became directly involved with Futurism around 1912, when she lived next door to the great futurist artist Giacomo Balla in Rome's Via Paisiello, and met, among other protagonists of the futurist movement, Umberto Boccioni and the leader of Futurism himself, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. Her futurist pen name, Magamal, was inspired by a male character in F. T. Marinetti's 1909-1910 novel, Mafarka le futuriste (published first in French and almost immediately thereafter in Italian translation as Mafarka il futurista). (3) Magamal in the novel is Mafarka's beautiful, androgynous younger brother, whose accidental death deeply saddens the protagonist, who adored him, and makes him more determined than ever to go on his allegorical quest to create a semi-mechanical and "posthuman" son, who will be invincible. Kuhn became a personal friend of Marinetti and eventually she joined the circle of female writers who contributed to the futurist wartime journal L'Italia Futurista (1916-1918), where she published the free-word poem "Velocita" in 1916. In the years of the First World War, Kuhn became, like most futurists, an ardent interventionist, and a political activist who in the war's extended, turbulent aftermath supported the Futurist Party and the early Fascist movement. Her "Appello futurista al popolo d'Italia" appeared in the journal Roma futurista in August 1919. During the war, Kuhn was also active on the home front in the assistance to casualties and disabled veterans, and thus became a member of what has been called Italy's "other army." (4)
Although excluded for the most part from the main business of fighting, women in Italy, as elsewhere in Europe, had a primary role in the war effort. Indeed, as historians have increasingly come to recognize, the war effort could not have been sustained without them, and they were very much involved in the conflict. Unlike other belligerent nations, in Italy there was no state-sponsored welfare and even no rationing cards before 1917, so it was civilian initiative--for the most part organized and conducted by women--that provided aid and kept society functioning. Women became full partners in the war, as their time, commitment, work and support proved crucial to Italy's mobilization. As madrine di guerra, their letter writing and manufacture of comfort items as well as necessary objects for the men on the front lines proved critical to maintain and boost morale, especially after the devastating defeat at Caporetto. Women learned new skills, worked outside the home in factories and other sites in the public sphere more than ever before, replacing men in several capacities, and taking on unprecedented responsibilities for the duration of the war. The very definition of femininity, female roles and individual identity began to change and expand. Women emerged as capable and even indispensable citizens and fighters in "the other army," and the demand for suffrage thus appeared increasingly justified, while the traditional cultural and political paradigms sanctioning female inferiority were revealed to be outdated and no longer viable.
The mobilization of women in which she partook made Kuhn all the more convinced that political militancy was necessary for women like her, along with cultural emancipation. After the war, towards the end of 1918, Kuhn was active in the local branch (Fascio) of the Futurist Party in Rome. In the 1919 general elections, Kuhn campaigned for Marinetti's and Mussolini's party as a member of the coalition Fasci di Combattimento. At the time, the party had a left-wing and republican, anti-monarchy agenda; it fully supported female suffrage and equal wages for men and women, as well as land reform and workers' rights to strike and unionize. No other party leadership at the time actively encouraged women to participate. Soon, however, as Marinetti and Mussolini temporarily parted ways in 1919 (after losing the elections), and Fascism veered towards the right, Kuhn moved away from Fascism towards more anarchic, left-wing positions. Her political militancy coincided with a pattern of "sexual misconduct" and stubborn rejection of bourgeois conformity. For all these things, as we shall see, she paid dearly. Kuhn lived and struggled in that particularly chaotic and violent postwar phase of conflict--the biennio rosso--when arditismo, Futurism, Fascism, socialism, anarchism and feminism alternately converged and mingled or fought each other, in an atmosphere of high hopes for impending revolution and radical social change, followed by bitter disillusionment. She is an example of the risks involved in daring to be a female Futurist and imagining a radically different way of being a woman in modern Italy, and her life demonstrates how World War One interventionist fervor both radicalized and endangered Futurist women. She may be seen, in fact, as the most radical embodiment of the embattled and contradictory position of intellectual women, female activists, and avant-gardists during and immediately after the Great War, when the conflict itself generated new opportunities and roles for women across social classes even as it sowed the seeds of the Fascist regime's backlash against women and feminism that followed after 1922. In this article, I trace Eva Kuhn Amendola's path from her formative years and her experience as an emigree to her relationship with her husband and her involvement with Futurism, interventionism and wartime activities on the homefront. I discuss her literary contributions to L'Italia futurista during the war, and her subsequent involvement in the Futurist-Fascist campaign, which was followed by a period of extended confinement and eventually surveillance by the Fascist regime. My discussion looks at Eva Kuhn Amendola as a unique individual and in the wider context of women's changing positions during the First World War, especially in the context of other female intellectuals and Futurist women and of the Futurist destabilization of traditional gender roles.
2. The Heroic Optimism of a Cosmopolitan Intellectual: A Ruined Map
Eva Oscarovna Kuhn was born in 1880 in Vilnius of an educated family, and spoke both Russian and German at home (only the rural class at the time still spoke Lithuanian after the radical Russification campaign undertaken by the T sar in the early 19th century). Her mother, whose native language was German, had studied in a Moscow college for young women from the upper classes, and cared deeply about the education of her four daughters, whom she treated as equals of her three sons. The father, who attended university in Dorpat (Tartu, Estonia), taught in a technical school but was passionate about literature, the arts, music and philosophy. Although he died when Eva was only thirteen, she inherited his interest for Schopenhauer, whom she later translated, and for symbolist and modernist poetry. The family was related to the novelist and radical thinker Leo Tolstoy, whose theories advocating non-violent socialism, non-orthodox and anti-institutional Christianity (he was even excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church), land reform, simple agricultural labor, and ascetic vegetarianism (based on ethical grounds) influenced Eva, who became a vegetarian herself. Moreover, Tolstoy's categorical rejection of the state and property fitted into a general anarchist pattern that also influenced her.
She was confirmed in the Lithuanian Waldensian church when she was seventeen, but although she respected the Waldensian traditional values of austerity, she was only nominally religious, according to Spini (309-10). (5) A native speaker of Russian and German, she later learned English, Italian, and French. After the Tsar closed the university at Vilnius in order to put an end to student nationalist demonstrations there, Eva was allowed by her family to go abroad. She was able to study in London when she was only seventeen by giving Russian and German lessons, and on her return to Vilnius she worked for three years as an English and German language teacher in girls' schools. Eager to expand her horizons and flee from the traditional roles still assigned to women in Russian and Lithuanian society, she moved to Zurich, where she studied anthropology, comparative literature, and art history at the university, and started writing critical essays on philosophy, including an essay on Schopenhauer's optimism, which was later published. She argued that Schopenhauer's pessimism is paradoxical in that it coexists with a heroic optimism based on the acceptance of suffering in the phenomenal world as only the first step in a quest for liberation from sorrow and pain, in which compassion and the arts play a key role. (6)
Kuhn herself may be seen as an embodiment of this suffering and heroic optimism. Given the prejudices at the time against intellectual women, writing these philosophical essays was indeed an arduous and daring task for a woman, although Zurich, at the time, had one of the few universities in Europe that welcomed women and was open to foreign female students, especially those coming from the provinces of the Russian Empire and from religious minorities. Kuhn's beloved Schopenhauer himself was a misogynist who believed in the natural passivity and mental inferiority of women, whom he also thought to be child-like and incapable of either authentic esthetic judgment or moral responsibility, and thus not human in a full sense. This prejudice was widely shared in Italy by, among others, Benedetto Croce as well as the entire La Voce circle. Indeed, the bias against women was so rampant and ingrained in the second half of the 19th century and through the first half of the 20th century that for women to seek to become intellectuals meant to engage in a real struggle, a figurative war of sorts that deployed the pen in lieu of the sword, and often involved being at war even against oneself.
Self-conflict and self-loathing, and a difficult relationship with one's own gender, characterize the plight of intellectual women such as Kuhn at the beginning of the 20th century, and were at the root of some of these women's profound psychic discomfort and suffering, often diagnosed as hysteria, neurasthenia or other kinds of mental illness. Some, like Sibilla Aleramo and the Futurists Valentine de Saint-Point and Enif Robert, among others, attempted to resolve the conflict by fashioning versions of the myth of the individual superiority and androgyny, or hermaphroditism, of exceptional women, construed as being endowed with "masculine" traits and capacities. (7) But even this imaginary solution was deeply unsatisfactory in that it obstructed both the possibility of self-acceptance as a woman and of a non-elitist type of feminism. The war, however, brought a degree of optimism and a sense that women as a group were finally being recognized as fully human, political subjects as well as equal citizens.
Initially at least, her family background and the education she received allowed Kuhn to thrive. Kuhn's essay on Henry David Thoreau and his "religion of nature" won her a monetary award that allowed her to fulfill her dream of going to Italy. In Rome, where she rented a room with another young woman, she planned to learn Italian and complete a degree in comparative literature. She became a frequenter of Caffe Greco, the most important literary cafe in Rome and a haunt of intellectuals (Schopenhauer himself had been a habitue in his day), and she also began attending the gatherings of the Roman Theosophical Society. It was at one of the society's meetings in 1903 that she met and became involved with Giovanni Amendola, who was at the time secretary of the society's library, a hub of many cultural initiatives. The two married in 1907. Kuhn is indeed usually remembered only as the wife of Giovanni Amendola, a political leader and journalist and one of the most celebrated heroes of the early Italian anti-Fascist movement, and as the mother of Giorgio Amendola, one of the principal communist leaders of post-World War Two Italy. Yet she was anything but a banal or exemplary wife and mother. Her published interventions as a Futurist are few, though a number of her unpublished Futurist poems and essays are held in the Marinetti archives at the Getty center and elsewhere, along with letters. There is, furthermore, evidence that she wrote a novel entitled Eva la futurista that was never published, and whose manuscript has been lost. Conspicuous traces remain, however, mostly in between the lines of her husband and son's stories, of her early adherence to Futurism and then Fascism. Even her own memoir, Vita con Giovanni Amendola, is made up mostly of letters to and from her husband. Unfinished and composed when she was already in her seventies, the volume was completed and edited by their son Giorgio, and it is largely not her story, but her husband's. Thus far Eva Kuhn Amendola has indeed been a shadowy figure, often a mere footnote in accounts of Futurism and in intellectual women's history. Reading between the lines and in the margins of existing texts, and tracing a path among the fragments of the ruined map we have left, may help chart the course of Kuhn's trajectory from a feminist perspective, opening up new viewpoints on the significance of her experience as well as that of other women.
3. "A bear who keeps you in chains": Scenes from a Marriage Giovanni Amendola, around whom so much of Eva Kuhn's life rotates, was born in Naples in 1882. He came from a petty bourgeois, large and rather poor family from the province of Salerno. His father, who had been a garibaldino, was a carabiniere, a member of the state military police. Giovanni Amendola was a contemporary of Marinetti and, like Marinetti, he was a patriot and abhorred Giolitti--at least initially--as well as socialism. Unlike Marinetti, however, Amendola disliked any kind of extremism and he eventually became a representative of the more conservative wing of the Liberal party, which in his mind embodied the best traits of the old, elitist and conservative liberal state. He supported the Libyan war of 1911-12, chiefly as a means of building the moral character of the Italians, though in 1922 he was minister of the colonies in Luigi Facta's cabinet. From 1912, he worked in Rome as a correspondent for the newspaper Il resto del Carlino. After earning his laurea in philosophy, he became briefly a professor in Pisa, and wrote for Il Leonardo and then La Voce, becoming, shortly before the war, a journalist for Il Corriere della sera. In March 1915, he was drafted and served as lieutenant in a field artillery regiment. Stationed in Padova, he was involved in combat on the Isonzo River, even earning a bronze medal. The experience of combat helped reverse some of his earlier positions, and he became anti-nationalist, though he retained his patriotic idealism. In 1916, he became bureau chief for the Corriere della sera in Rome, renounced his academic aspirations and turned to politics. Elected to parliament in 1919 in the district of Salerno for the conservative Democrazia Liberale party, he served as the undersecretary of finance for the Nitti government. As minister of colonies under Facta, he initiated the "reconquest" of Lybia, which had been largely lost during the Arab uprising of 1914-15. Soon after the March on Rome in 1922, he founded the anti-Fascist newspaper Il Mondo. He officially denounced the Fascists on several occasions, and became one of the principal opponents of Mussolini in the early 1920s, although he hoped eventually to defuse Fascist violence and antidemocratic practices by integrating the Fascists into the government.
Initially, Giovanni Amendola and Eva Kuhn shared their passion for Schopenhauer and Theosophy, though Kuhn seems to have had reservations about Theosophy from early on, and she especially disliked its spiritual leader, Annie Besant, who claimed to be a clairvoyant (Vita 46). Kuhn was instrumental in Giovanni's disillusionment with the more questionable, esoteric and corrupt aspects of Theosophy that led to his abandoning the society in 1905, though even in his more advanced philosophical studies he retained the theosophical propensity for moral self-discipline, and the desire to experience the spiritual aspects of the universe and of philosophical abstraction on an intensely personal level. When Kuhn was asked to present her essay on Schopenhauer as a lecture for the Theosophical Society in Rome, Giovanni helped her translate into Italian a passage from the Parerga and Paralipomena, but she soon became a skilled translator herself and indeed supported herself by doing translations and giving private lessons. She also provided translations into English of articles from the Italian press to a correspondent for a British newspaper. Kuhn's and Amendola's romance did not meet with their respective families' approval. As Giorgio Amendola writes in his 1976 memoir, Una scelta di vita, she appeared to her husband's petty-bourgeois southern family as "devastatrice, l'intrusa, la straniera" (7). Not only was Eva (nicknamed "la russa") a foreign woman two years older than Giovanni, but she seemed excessively free and autonomous even to her fiance, who became increasingly punitive and controlling, "a bear who keeps you in chains," as Eva ironically stated in one of her letters (Vita 42).
Eva and Giovanni were forced to separate, and Eva was summarily diagnosed as mentally ill, a victim (like the fictional Madame Bovary in Flaubert's novel and indeed many Victorian and early 20th-century non-fictional women) of mysterious so-called "cerebral fevers," or, more likely (by the standards of contemporary medicine), perhaps meningitis, a stroke, or a viral infection that damaged her nervous system. For a whole year Eva was in the hands of doctors and psychiatrists before she was taken back to Vilnius by her mother, and forbidden to communicate with Giovanni. This emotionally wrenching experience contributed to her fragility, periods of depression, headaches, mental exhaustion and, apparently, nervous breakdowns, to which she seems to have been periodically subject. This led to her being diagnosed as suffering from an unspecified mental illness, followed by a series of extended confinements in psychiatric institutions. In Vita con Giovanni Amendola, however, Kuhn seems to dispute having suffered from mental illness, attributing her condition instead to other, physiological and genetic causes: "Avevo ereditato da mia madre la tendenza a fortissime emicranie con congestioni cerebrali. Anche in seguito, verso i quarant'anni ebbi di nuovo una grave malattia cerebrale, dovuta a cattiva circolazione; essa mi costrinse per lungo tempo in una casa di salute" (75). In the early 20th century, commitment to mental institutions was still not an uncommon way, in Italy and elsewhere in Europe, to discipline and control non-conformist and sexually free women, reputed to be morally or socially inadequate, deviant or otherwise not "normal." Women's hospitalization for mental illness,--often labeled vaguely only as "melancholy" and used coercively as a form of social and political control--increased considerably during the Great War and in the postwar period, almost as much as men's. (8) After the Second World War, however, Kuhn was never again hospitalized. In fact, she won a position as Professor of English at the University of Rome and worked uninterruptedly until her death in 1961 as a prolific literary translator. (9)
During her captivity in Vilnius, Kuhn started outlining "La pazzia e la riforma del manicomio," an indictment of the coercion, violence, debilitating drugs and repressive methods used against the mentally ill, which she completed later, between 1913 and 1916. Like many of Kuhn's other works, it remained unpublished. In this essay, she effectively argued in favor of a kind of modern psychotherapy as well as the use of play, dance, music and theater for therapeutic purposes. (10) When she emerged from the institution in 1905, Kuhn was able immediately to find work as a German-language teacher in Vilnius, and was allowed to resume correspondence with Giovanni, who wrote his letters to her in French. Giovanni eventually joined Eva in Vilnius, but, before being allowed to become officially engaged, they had to accept religious instruction by a Waldensian pastor in Vilnius. The couple spent time traveling and studying philosophy and psychology in Germany, supporting themselves with private lessons. Finally, after Giovanni won the competition for a position as secretary in the Ministry of Fine Arts, they were allowed to marry, in the Waldensian Church in Rome, though Giovanni's father granted his permission only in return for a substantial monthly contribution to be paid to him by his son, even after the couple moved from the parents' flat to their own place in Rome's Via del Babuino.
Giorgio, the first son and future communist leader, was born in November 1907, while Ada--who would later became a medical doctor--was born in 1910 after the couple moved to Florence, where Giovanni directed the Biblioteca Filosofica and completed his laurea in philosophy. It was at this time that the first conflicts arose, though the couple eventually had two more children: Antonio, born in 1916, and Pietro in 1918. Eva, who in 1907 had published in Italia moderna an essay on the theory of language pedagogy, "Il nuovo metodo intuitivo dell'insegnamento delle lingue moderne," had won an English teaching position in a scuola normale femminile and a translation job for the Istituto Internazionale di Agricoltura, through which she earned twice as much as her husband (Vita 82). She was thus a precursor of the new, controversial type of "masculinized" working woman that was shortly to emerge during the Great War.
In Florence, around 1910, Giorgio and Eva Kuhn were members of the La voce circle, and friends of the Papinis and the Prezzolinis. Eva was, in Papini's words, "donna di appassionato spirito, coltissima, che aveva scritto, o stava scrivendo, uno studio assai originale sull'Ottimismo di Schopenhauer" (921). This was indeed unusual for Papini, who among the men of the group was probably the one who held the most profoundly misogynist views of women (whom he considered worthy of being only either sexual objects or obedient wives and mothers), and particular contempt for female intellectuals. (11) The success of the treatise Sex and Character by the Austrian Otto Weininger, which was well known and admired in the La Voce circle even before its publication in Italian translation in 1912, contributed to reinforce and popularize a vision of woman as essentially inferior in every way, and even as not fully human. (12) Yet Papini hired Kuhn to translate Schopenhauer, while Prezzolini gave her a contract to translate a collection of Dostoevsky's stories for the La Voce editions (it was published in 1913). She did this work to contribute financially while also taking care of the household and the children, as the family budget did not allow for any domestic help. (Only later, in Rome, were they able to hire a part-time maid paid by the hour.) Giovanni, who was working on his thesis on Kant and other projects--including a monthly about religion as the basis of philosophy called L'Anima, coedited with Papini in 1911-12--used the only heated room in the house as his studio, yet complained about Eva's inadequacy as a housewife (Amendola, Scelta 8). In 1912, Eva was able to publish an essay on Henry George, an egalitarian economist and advocate of land reform and uniformly higher taxation of the rich to be used for social needs, who was a favorite of Tolstoy's. She received high praise for it and encouragement by Gaetano Salvemini, and later even by Marinetti. In 1919, Marinetti used an updated version of her essay, which appeared in Roma futurista, to draft the political and economic program for Democrazia Futurista. However, he referred to the author as "Il futurista Magamal"; in other words, as a male rather than a female Futurist. (13)
Working inside and outside the home, Kuhn suffered more than ever from the weight of her double burden, a condition that she shared with many workingclass women. She felt thwarted in her intellectual and creative ambitions as well as torn between the life of the mind and the financial and domestic duties of home and family. Although they shared many philosophical interests, Kuhn and her husband soon began to think quite differently. While Giovanni, who was known among the vociani for his "profound moral seriousness" and as "the only man among us" (qtd. in Adamson 129), developed a commitment to an ethics of spiritual and religious discipline and moralism, his wife would soon turn to Futurism. In 1911, Amendola had written that "the rationality of the good is just this harmony and this cohesion of the human person, held in place by the will and thus raised above the chaos of the animal life to the order and clarity of the self' (quoted in Adamson 129). At just about the same time, on the other hand, Marinetti and the Futurists were arguing almost precisely the opposite, espousing a new notion of the self as multiple, dynamic and contradictory, calling for a heightened sense of the real based on the materiality of the body and of perception in all its chaotic complexity, and the dissolution of the traditional metaphysical categories of order and rationality, as well as the bourgeois family and bourgeois morality.
4. Becoming a Futurist in Pre-War Rome:
A Path to Gender Insubordination and Literary Creation By the time the Amendolas moved back to Rome in August 1912, in the midst of patriotic exultation over Italy's "victory" in the war against the Ottoman Empire in Libya and the Dodecanese--a war that was in some ways in the eyes of many Italians a prelude to the Great War--the city was about to become the most important center for Futurism in Italy. Not only did they live (from 1912 until 1917, after which they moved to Via Porta Pinciana) on the same street as Balla, but the Cappa family also lived nearby, including the family's siblings Arturo and Alberto Cappa and their sister Benedetta. The mother, Amelia Cipollina, was, like Kuhn, raised as a Waldensian. The father, Innocenzo Cappa, was to suffer from severe shell shock during the war and die shortly thereafter. (Benedetta would write about this tragic experience in her first Futurist novel, Le forze umane). Around 1919 Arturo, who spoke Russian and worked as an envoy of the Italian government in the Soviet Union, where he was sent to study and report about "The Bolsheviks", would become a supporter of the left-wing Futurists in Turin, and an associate of Antonio Gramsci and his Ordine nuovo, as well as co-founder in 1921 of the Communist party in Liguria and co-editor of the journal Bandiera rossa. Alberto, on the other hand, would become co-founder of the Futurist political Fascio in Rome, in which Kuhn would also be involved, and co-editor of the journal Roma futurista, to which Kuhn contributed. Their sister Benedetta, a student of Balla's, would become a major Futurist artist as well as writer; around 1919 she became Marinetti's lover and, from 1923, his wife. The painter Rougena Zatkova, who was like Kuhn an emigree, (14) was also a student of Balla's studio II Convento during the war years, along with her friend Benedetta. The Futurist poet Luciano Folgore and the painter Enrico Prampolini were also active in Rome at the time, along with the Bragaglia brothers (Anton Giulio Bragaglia's Fotodinamismo Futurista was published in Rome in 1913). The Futurist Caffe Gropo in via del Tritone was not far from Via Paisiello, along with the Galleria Sprovieri. The Sprovieri was an important venue for Futurist art, concerts, performances and other activities, often one or two every week, especially from 1913 to 1914. The notorious "Funerali del critico passatista Benedetto Croce" took place there in April 1914. The Teatro Costanzi hosted in the foyer Futurist performances and art exhibitions, including Boccioni's in 1913. Eva attended such Futurist gatherings and events, and in 1913, after a reading by Marinetti, Altomare, Cangiullo, Folgore and other Futurists, Marinetti was invited to dinner at the Amendolas'. (15)
By the end of 1914 Futurist activities in Rome became mainly interventionist demonstrations, agitations that Giovanni Amendola decried from the pages of Il Corriere della sera as "disordini provocati dai futuristi." The famous Futurist "vestito antineutrale bianco rosso e verde," created by Balla, was worn by Cangiullo and other Futurists, apparently causing a riot. In February and then April 1915 in Rome, Marinetti was detained during another interventionist demonstration at the University of Rome. In the April demonstration, along with Marinetti, Balla, Settimelli, and Bruno Corra, Mussolini was also arrested.
In Una scelta di vita, Giorgio Amendola gives us a candid but somewhat resentful portrait of his mother and of the unconventional life of the Amendola family in Rome before the First World War, when Eva became a Futurist and an interventionist:
Che la mia famiglia fosse diversa dalle altre non c'era da dubitarne. Anzitutto perche c'era mia madre, che era una straniera--russa, dicevano--nata a Vilno in Lituania, allora provincia dell'impero russo. Mia madre aveva i suoi lavori, i suoi amici, la sua corrispondenza personale. Usciva tutti i giorni e trascurava le faccende domestiche, affidate alle donne di servizio, per lo piu a ore, che si succedevano rapidamente. Avevo gia la sensazione che la mia famiglia fosse diversa non solo da quella dei miei ordinari parenti, nelle quali le donne se ne stavano a casa, ma anche da quelle delle famiglie degli amici, tutte meno disordinate della nostra. (8)
A sense of chaos and disorder, and the hateful feeling of being "different" are associated by Giorgio in his memories of when he was a boy with his mother's unconventionality, and her failure to fulfill her duties as mother and housewife. Eva Kuhn continued to work assiduously as a translator (both literary and commercial) to alleviate the family's financial difficulties. At the same time, much to her husband's dislike, she opened the family house to her international circle of bohemian friends, writers and artists with "loud manners and clothing." There is, however, in the son's recollection, also a positive sense of the exhilarating freedom and unusual opportunities that his mother's non-conformist life afforded him. She took him often with her when he was a boy to visit their neighbor Balla and his family (Luce Balla, who also became an artist, was the same age as Giorgio) in his studio, which Giorgio remembers as a fabulous, multicolored and lively environment constantly full of visitors. The colors of Balla's paintings (between 1912 and 1914, Balla was doing some of his most innovative abstract work) remained in the child's memory as particularly vivid and pleasurable to look at. Eva also took her son--much to the dismay of her husband's family--to coffee houses, to the theater, to Futurist art shows and even to some of the serate futuriste, including a particularly rowdy one at the Salone Margherita, which Amendola remembers resembling a New Year's Eve party, except that tomatoes were thrown instead of confetti. Giorgio also remembered vividly the days of pro-war turmoil and the maggio radioso, the joyous interventionist demonstrations to which his mother took him, when together they witnessed, among other activities, the famous oration by Gabriele D'Annunzio from a Via Veneto hotel balcony that shortly preceded Italy's declaration of war against Austria-Hungary.
As a Futurist and a nationalist, Eva would later also became a supporter of D'Annunzio's conquest of Fiume in 1919 (Amendola, Scelta 39-40). Although Marinetti had started out with a vehemently anti-D'Annunzio platform, he and D'Annunzio eventually bonded over the so-called "vittoria mutilata" question, and the conquest of Fiume. Kuhn had an exchange of letters with D'Annunzio about Fiume, contributing to strengthen the alliance between Futurism and the poeta-eroe during the initial, heady days of the Reggenza del Carnaro. (16) Giovanni Amendola was instead decidedly anti-D'Annunzio and deeply despised both the amoral "Vate" and his fans. Giovanni was accused by the ultra-nationalists of being a rinunciatario because he allegedly capitulated to the "vittoria mutilata," becoming a supporter of Nitti (for whose lists he ran in the 1919 elections).
Interventionist passion and support for early Fascism were not limited to Futurist women, but were widespread among intellectual women with different backgrounds: for example, socialist feminists such as Teresa Labriola (the first Italian female lawyer admitted to the bar, and the daughter of the Marxist thinker Antonio Labriola) and Maria Rygier. Labriola was an ardent interventionist and the founder of the first Patriotic League for Women. She believed that women needed to be active participants in the war effort, and that the war would finally bring women onto the national stage, involving them in the construction of "the new Italy." (17) Rygier, an emigree born in Krakow, was a socialist journalist and revolutionary, and then an anarchist agitator. She converted from an anti-war stand to interventionism in 1914, and worked with Mussolini in the interventionist campaign undertaken by Mussolini's radical left-wing newspaper II Popolo d 'Italia. She believed that the war could be converted into socialist revolution. As a union supporter and a syndicalist, in 1914 she was eventually arrested and jailed for a time. On January 24, 1915 she took part and even spoke publicly at the great interventionist demonstration of the Fasci d'Azione Rivoluzionaria promoted by Mussolini and De Ambris. Both these women, like Kuhn, are examples of embattled personalities who, during the Great War, fought in their own way and developed radically different models of female behavior and action.
As cultural historians have shown, women through the Great War emerged rather suddenly onto the public scene. They displayed--along with the more traditional female traits of endurance, courage, self-sacrifice and maternal care evident in their aid and public assistance work--the skills and concentration required of labor in factories and other demanding physical occupations, as well as certain "masculine" strengths and qualities of conviction, belligerency and pugnaciousness that tended to undermine, or even invert, traditional gender differences. (18) Men, on the other hand, made vulnerable and often hysterical by the devastating violence of war, (19) and often (at least in the public imagination), displaced by women in their capacity as bread winners or heads of the family, felt emasculated. (20) The many disabled and mutilated veterans, made deaf, mute or
Although some moderate feminists did emphasize the maternal nature of women's work during the war, arguing that women were naturally suited for organizing charity aid for other women and children, and for caring for the male troops as nurses and loving madrine di guerra, the spectrum of female behavior had undeniably expanded, with important consequences also for morality and sexual conduct. Their emergence into the public sphere, and social as well as cultural and political interaction outside the home and the family, led to a loosening of the moral code, while the maternal function was no longer perceived as the only basis for normal female sexuality. Indeed, as early as 1912, during the Libyan campaign that first witnessed the rise of female patriotism in Italy and of nationalist support for war by women, Valentine de Saint-Point's "Manifesto della donna futurista" (1912) and then the "Manifesto futurista della lussuria" (1913) pointed to the power of the female libido as being equal to that of man, and a source of strength rather than shame. Valentine envisioned women as warriors equal to and potentially braver than men. (21) The Futurist indictment of bourgeois morality, and of the subjection and disciplining of women through marriage, along with the traditional roles of spiritual virgin, angel of the hearth, and their polar opposite, the deadly femme fatale, was the element that most attracted women to Futurism during the war. As early as 1911, Marinetti's agenda included the legalization of divorce and the abolition of marriage, and was in favor of free love. His political program included female emancipation and suffrage, albeit mostly in the interest of dismantling the existing political order.
Giovanni Amendola and his wife did not exactly have an open marriage, but he had for a time a relationship with the writer and feminist Sibilla Aleramo, while Eva, in 1913 and through 1914, had an intense affair and intellectual exchange with the writer Giovanni Boine, who was seven years younger than she and was a member of the La Voce circle and a collaborator of Papini and Amendola in L'anima (he died from tuberculosis in 1917). The story of the affair may be gathered from the surviving letters exchanged by the lovers, and the carteggio between Boine and Emilio Cecchi. Although not a Futurist, Boine shared the Futurists' (especially Boccioni's) interest in the philosophy of Bergson, and was fascinated by Walt Whitman's poetic vision of cosmic chaos. In fact, Whitman was one of the few "predecessors" acknowledged by Marinetti and the Futurists (Marinetti, Teoria 305). With Eva Kuhn, and indeed with Giovanni Amendola, Boine had in common an intense concern for the spiritual, and for the exploration of the interconnectedness of spiritual and material things. This spiritual, or rather spiritualist, bent was also prevalent among some of the Futurists, and later in particular among women, for example the Futurists Maria Ginanni, Rosa Rosa and Irma Valeria of the Italia Futurista circle, and Benedetta, as well as Balla and Anton Giulio Bragaglia (the photographer, film maker and avant-garde impresario), all of whom developed a strong interest in Theosophy and the occult. (22) While Giovanni Amendola was interested in integrating spirituality with philosophy and Kantian metaphysics, Boine's spirituality was more traditionally religious. The bewildering simultaneity of modern life that excited the Futurists was a source of angst for the young Boine, who increasingly swerved in the direction of an anti-modernist Catholic mysticism, accompanied by an obsession with the notion of sin and by a good deal of misogyny, typical of the La Voce circle.
The story of Eva Kuhn's adventurous journey by train to meet her lover in Genoa in the summer of 1914, which she later synthetically evoked in her free-word Futurist poem "Velocita," reads like a chapter from Benedetta's later Futurist novel, Astra e il sottomarino (1935) and is suffused with the elan of Benedetta's, Boccioni's, Balla's and many other Futurists' paintings of trains rushing through the night, and of the (then still) erotic frisson of crowded train stations, with lovers or loved ones bidding farewell to each other among a mass of anonymous bystanders. (23) During the train journey, Eva had a change of heart, and instead of stopping at the Genoa train station, she went on to Turin, where she met another friend to whom she could confide her agitation and indecision. As Giorgio Amendola comments dryly, "E una storia che indica il clima appassionato nel quale mia madre viveva e che dava allora alla vita della famiglia un tono agitato" (Scelta 22). He finally attributes the affair, like his father did, to his mother's mental instability. Yet the surviving correspondence indicates that what worried and upset Kuhn was Boine's possessiveness, his intolerable jealousy, and his insistence that Eva must leave her husband and children in order to be his alone forever (Paolino 95-97). This sexual possessiveness was certainly in contrast with the philosophy of Futurism, with which Kuhn increasingly sympathized. The correspondence also shows that there had indeed been a growing conflict with her husband, and Eva was in fact thinking of breaking up the marriage, though divorce was impossible in Italy at the time, and women who "abandoned the conjugal roof" were punishable by law, had no right to keep or even see their children, and could even be arrested. Married women had in fact very few rights and were usually their husband's wards, needing the "marital authorization" to undertake any public act. A husband could legally demand separation on grounds of adultery, but he himself could not be challenged unless he flagrantly and publicly maintained a concubine for an extended time. After the affair when Eva's apparent intentions were discovered in the fall of 1914, Eva was committed to a mental institution until she appeared to have regained her sanity and self-control. Giovanni demanded that Boine return the incriminating letters and other compromising documents about the break-up between him and his wife. He eventually had the opportunity to have a man-to-man reconciliation with Boine, whose friend and spiritual kin he was, having been close to him in La Voce and L'anima's circles. In commenting on his father's reconciliation with Boine, which was made possible through the mediation of their common friend Emilio Cecchi, Giorgio's tone is one of gratified acknowledgment of men's ability to transcend the messy affairs of the heart and of the body into which women tend to drag them. But beyond this apparently harmless masculine complacency, a more disquieting picture emerges of the cost that women like Eva Kuhn had to pay for daring to live like Futurists. The "agitated tone" that Eva gave to the family life and her sexual misconduct were interpreted as symptoms of a mental disorder--hysteria, neurosis, or both. This disciplining and restraining after Eva's "crises" happened repeatedly, but then, Giorgio writes, Eva "tornava e mi sembrava piu sana e piu bella che mai" (Scelta 21).
It was in 1914, shortly before the war, that Eva Kuhn had in fact "taken the leap" from what I have called "existential Futurism" to a Futurist aesthetic practice. Presumably both contributed to alienate her from her husband and to make her appear mentally unbalanced. The symbolic gender insubordination implicit in Eva Kuhn's adoption of the name of a male Futurist hero, Magamal, which she used to sign her poem "Velocita," is only heightened by the provocative gender ambiguity of the character itself. In the homosocial, and implicitly incestuous and homosexual, transgressive gender economy of Mafarka (however deliberately provocative), Magamal is a feminized figure, whose body and gaze take on some of the seductive features of the feline femme fatale of the fin-desiecle.
Era Magamal, il suo fratello adorato, che correva a lui. Era il guerriero adolescente il cui corpo di caucciu balzava impetuoso, vivace e carezzevole a un tempo, nella fiamma volante della polvere sollevata [...]. Egli era quasi nudo, poiche aveva gettata indietro la pelle d'onagro che una cintura di rame stringeva sulla snellezza dei fianchi. Una volonta febbrile faceva vibrare tutte le sue membra sottili che avevano a volta a volta, grazie femminee e sussulti di belva in agguato. "Ebbene, Magamal? [...] Sono tornate le spie? [...] E le hai interrogate?" gli domando Mafarka abbracciandolo. "Vuoi interrogarle tu stesso?" replico il giovanetto abbassando lentamente le lunghe ciglia sui suoi grandi occhi di lama, cerchiati d'un'ombra azzurrognola.
The powerful killer gaze under the seductive eyelashes and the eyes encircled by a blue shadow are the somatic marks of the femme fatale in fin-de-siecle iconography, an iconography that Marinetti parodically appropriated and turned inside out by attributing the same features to his young hero. In taking on the name of Magamal and becoming a Ml-fledged Futurist, Eva Kuhn symbolically changed gender position and allied herself with the male Futurists. However, it is significant that she should have associated herself with the ambiguous and androgynous Magamal who, although endowed with indomitable will, speed, and agility, also retained a high degree of feminine vulnerability. (24)
According to a letter sent to the Futurist writer Paolo Buzzi, dated Rome, April 29, 1915 (which was eventually published as part of the introductory material to a later edition of his 1915 novel L'ellissi e la spirale), in the spring of 1914 while her husband was away, Kuhn wrote, over a period of only about fortyeight hours and using a Futurist synthetic style with words-in-freedom, a novel entitled Eva la futurista. She sent the manuscript immediately to Marinetti for publication in the journal Poesia but, to her great disappointment, Marinetti returned it without any comment. The letter indicates that it was an autobiographical novel based on the motions of her own psyche ("la dinamica della mia psiche"), presumably a kind of stream of consciousness (Buzzi xxi-xxii). In it, and through the enormous concentration and effort involved in composing it, Kuhn felt she achieved an "altezza mai raggiunta di virilita." The word "virilita" refers, as is often the case with Futurist writers and artists (be they men or women), not just to masculinity, but to traits that include especially strength, willpower and courage. Although the manuscript is lost (Kuhn confesses in her letter that she destroyed it herself in anger and anguish over Marinetti's rejection), the letter is an important document of Kuhn's interest not only in Futurist writing, but also in the question of gender. Like other Futurist women, notably Valentine de Saint-Point, Enif Robert and Rosa Rosa, and later men (for example, Fillia), Kuhn was interested in the metamorphosis of gender, and especially in the notion of achieving, through an effort of the mind and will, a kind of virile femininity. It is not surprising that in 1914 Marinetti, who at the time was involved with Mina Loy, rejected such a work. After his initial enthusiasm for Valentine de Saint-Point, he was rather taken aback by her attempt to destroy and overcome the difference between male and female. Mina Loy also proved to be insubordinate and unreliable as a fellow Futurist, and although Futurism was a revelation and highly formative for her as a poet, she soon moved away and wrote some hilarious spoofs about the Futurist homo-social sexual politics. (25) Only after women emerged as patriotic Futurists in 1915 and 1916 did Marinetti begin to look more positively on them as worthy interlocutors and even fellow avant-gardists.
Kuhn was, however, undeterred by both Marinetti's rejection of her novel and her husband's strong dislike of her Futurist endeavors. In the same confidential letter to Buzzi, Kuhn announced that she was preparing several Futurist works, including a synthetic play about Marinetti, a second synthetic play entitled "La donna di tutti e di nessuno" (to present a model for the new Futurist woman), and even an essay on Futurist love. None of these texts planned by Kuhn has surfaced, and it is not known at present whether they were lost, destroyed or even ever written. Kuhn asked Buzzi to discuss these works only with other fellow Futurists, including Carra, Boccioni, Pratella and Russolo, but not to mention them to anyone else who might come in contact with her husband: "a nessun altro--non mi dovete tradire--se mio marito lo sapra, mi rinchiudera" (Buzzi, xxi-xxii). Not only did Kuhn have to write in secret for fear of being placed once again in an institution by her husband, but she also felt increasingly imprisoned and embattled, unable to extricate herself from the demands placed on her. In the same letter to Buzzi she wrote: "Non posso avere raffiche di creazione nella prigione in cui mi trovo coi pensieri del menage, dei bimbi, del guadagno, della societa." The use of the word "raffiche" (blasts) reveals how much she saw her Futurist creative acts as bellicose and explosive and in opposition to both her role in the private sphere and her duty as a bread winner in the public sphere, a duty which before the war had been almost exclusively male, at least among the middle classes. Nonetheless, during the war the embattled Eva/Magamal continued to write as a Futurist, if mostly in secret.
Giovanni and Eva, albeit for different reasons, were both interventionists, and took active part in the demonstrations that led to Italy's entrance into the war. Eva supported the war from the Futurist, aestheticizing and quasi-anarchical revolutionary perspective as (in Marinetti's phrase) "the world's only hygiene." In other words, she no longer believed in Tolstoyan pacifism, and embraced instead the notion that war, in spite of its horrifying violence, could bring about authentic change, even an unleashing of liberating madness and chaos, wiping out outmoded systems of thought and reactionary social structures. (26) Kuhn also shared with other Futurists, including Marinetti, a boundless love for Italy, a kind of italianismo made all the more passionate by the fact that Italy was her adopted country. She, like her fellow Futurists, expected a modern "new" and rejuvenated Italy to be born from the war. For her husband Giovanni, instead, the war was a matter of testing the national unity and the moral fabric of the Italian people. He saw the discipline required by war and fighting as a kind of ascetic practice, a struggle against one's own baser and instinctual nature.
Even as she took part in the irredentist and interventionist demonstrations, Eva grew very concerned about her family in Vilnius, as Lithuania in 1915 was occupied by Germany (Vilnius capitulated to the Germans in September 1915). The Germans exploited the country for the war effort through agricultural requisitions and forced labor. Her parents and most of the family fled to Petrograd (half a million people fled or were evacuated from Lithuania at the time, with great suffering and destruction), returning to Vilnius only after the October Revolution. Eva, like other Futurists, was initially enthusiastic about the Russian Revolution. However, the experiences of Eva's youngest brother, who was drafted in the Soviet army, and the accounts of the subsequent bloodshed when in 1917 the Bolsheviks attacked Lithuania from the East to prevent its independence and spread instead global proletarian revolution, made her and her whole family strongly anti-Soviet. (27) After Soviet occupation in 1920, the city of Vilnius was eventually forcibly annexed by Poland. While he praised the Russian Revolution for overthrowing the Tsarist regime, Marinetti took a decidedly anti-Bolshevik stand, though other Futurists, for example Mario Carli, did not share his views. In 1920, in "Il nostro Bolscevismo," Carli even envisioned a united front of all revolutionary parties and groups. For Marinetti, the leveling ideology of Bolshevism, its internationalist agenda, the notion of a world defined by social classes rather than individual achievement, its--in his view--hypocritical position against the war, and its tendency toward mass social regimentation, were all antithetical to the Futurist passion for patriotic warfare on behalf of the Italian "race," the values of individual genius and achievement (regardless of class), and the anarchic impulse towards absolute freedom, boundless imagination and individual esthetic expression. (28) Eva, who saw Italianness as a spiritual and cultural rather than biological or racial category, came, however, to share Marinetti's libertarian and anarchic views and his belief in individual excellence and daring, innovative esthetic expression--extended to all aspects of life, including work and even war--as the highest, most sublime achievement of the Italian genius.
5. Kuhn and L'Italia Futurista: Cutting Loose
In the heady days of the interventionist demonstrations in 1914 and 1915, Marinetti appeared more often in the Amendolas' home (Amendola, Scelta 25). Eva got even closer to the Futurists then, and her friendship (following probably an affair) with Marinetti, (29) was to be one of the most enduring in the history of Futurist male-female relationships. Some of her unpublished, secret Futurist manuscripts from the war years are preserved in the Marinetti papers at the Getty Center. (30) Nevertheless, during the war there seems to have been a reconciliation of sorts between husband and wife. Their third child, Antonio, was apparently conceived when Eva visited Giovanni in Padua, where he was stationed, and was born in 1916.
The year 1916 was also the year in which the new Futurist journal L'Italia futurista was first published; the inaugural issue appeared on June 1, with editorials about the war by Emilio Settimelli and Marinetti, artwork by Boccioni and others, free-word visual poems and a prose poem by Maria Ginanni, the first in the group of women who over the next two years would become contributors. Ginanni was also co-editor and on occasion, with all the male Futurists at the front, acted as editor in chief. (31) The first issue also included an excerpt from Bruno Corra's avant-garde and proto-surrealist novel Sam Dunn e morto. Kuhn, using her Futurist pseudonym Magamal, reviewed the novel in highly positive terms in an article published on September 9, 1917.
With its expressive use of typefaces, white spaces, typographical characters, mathematical signs (+, -, X, =), numbers, telegraphic and syntactically unconnected noun phrases, and verbs in the infinitive, Magamal's poem "Velocita. Parole in liberta" was fairly typical of the Futurist practice of words-in-freedom inaugurated by Marinetti around 1912. (32) Yet "Velocita" is also a fascinating document of Eva Kuhn's appropriation from a woman's point of view of the Futurist aesthetic of speed, which Marinetti had turned into a modern "religion" with a manifesto, "La nuova religione della velocita," first published in the inaugural issue of L'Italia futurista. Dedicated to Giacomo Balla ("A Giacomo Balla velocissimo") with, as an opening epigraph, two lines taken from a lecture by Boccioni--"Moto esterno ... /Moto interno ..." ("External motion ... /Internal motion ...)--and a quote from Marinetti incorporated in it--"Senso del divino" (parole di F. T. Marinetti)--, Kuhn's poem is nevertheless a celebration of the sense of female independence triggered by Futurism.
The poem is divided into two parts. The first is about the typically Futurist theme of moving quickly through space, the exhilaration of speed, and the psychological resonances and mental effects of this experience; the second deals with speed and rapidity as a kind of existential condition, a rhythm of being that involves the ability to radically change and transform oneself. The first part of the poem celebrates the experience of a woman traveling alone by train who seemingly leaves behind the constraints and concerns of her daily life: "Staccarsi, staccarsi--ne angoscia, ne pensieri." This cutting loose generates a sense of physical excitement expressed in the typically Futurist language of an electrifying, energizing heightening of perception. Although cut loose from any familiar context in the artificial isolation of train travel, the traveler experiences the journey as an intensification of life: "Vita X 100." This intensification in turn takes on autoerotic dimensions. In her ability to be and think by herself, in the "lavorio febbrile" of the mind triggered by the experience of speed, the traveler feels an increasing sensual pleasure ("Volutta crescente"). The traveler's brain (again in an exquisitely Futurist analogy) is like a telegraph sending messages to itself in a crescendo of desire ("Desiderio erotico") and in a final eruption of pleasure: "Fiamme: eruzione del vulcano" (Bello Minciacchi, Spirale 158).
The Futurist articulation of sexual with intellectual pleasure takes on a particularly ironic significance in this female-authored poem, given the cultural assumptions in early twentieth-century Italy regarding both women's intellect and women's sexuality. Women were widely assumed in fact to be incapable of reflective thinking, the very activity wittily alluded to in Magamal's image of her brain as a telegraph sending messages to itself. The only intellectual activity women were generally acknowledged to be able to perform was a second-rate elaboration of men's conceptual work. Here, however, Magamal ironizes the very notion of reflective thought, and replaces it with the Futurist concept of "quick thinking," a form of intellectual illumination and intuitive knowledge that resembles the all-too-reviled "female intuition." Both Marinetti and Boccioni valorized quick, instantaneous intuition, a concept that they borrowed in part from Bergson, and, like Bergson himself, attempted to divest it of any feminine connotations, (33) while Magamal mischievously and humorously does the opposite.
Even more subversive is Magamal's affirmation of female autoeroticism; not only does she represent herself as intellectually, but also erotically, self-sufficient. Indeed, the erotic charge that leads to her jouissance is directly the product of her own intellectual charge. This surprising image not only runs counter to prevalent notions of women being less sexually charged than men, less sensual and less passionate because their bodies are entirely programmed towards reproduction; it also ironically undermines the "official" Futurist sexual ethos (still evident in Marinetti's own 1917 Come si seducono le donne), according to which the only female pleasure comes from being possessed and penetrated by man.
The second part of the poem is more analytical and less telegraphic, and it clarifies the existential and psychological value of the Futurist aesthetic of speed for the author:
"Velocita interna: superare crisi dopo crisi velocemente con equilibrio matematico. Trasformare lava rovente in ghiaccio. Giungere vertice e giu di nuovo precipitarsi nell'abisso--volontariamente e come un fulmine. Ora lampi feroci, ira IRA--ora serenita glaciale. Rinnovarsi in un attimo. Distruggersi. Creare in un batter d'occhio un universo. Ritirarsi dal tumulto della vita in un deserto glaciale e poi in un attimo balzare fuori sulla piazza rumorosa, tuffarsi nel vortice, godere, GODERE. A volonta mutare velocemente il ritmo interno: ora torrente feroce, ora un largo fiume--calmo e maestoso.
Direttissimo sempre pronto per fuggire la stasi, i chiari di luna! Velocita interna--sei MIA! sempre. dovunque. Sono Dio!"
Radically opposed to the image of woman as static, peaceful, home-bound, a-sensual, and tied by the conservative rhythms of human reproduction, Magamal's poem is not only irreverent and iconoclastic in its depiction of female empowerment; it also gathers up the image of a woman with a radical will and power to change. The series of verbs in the infinitive which form the structure of the poem--"staccarsi, spedire, superare, trasformare, rinnovarsi, distruggersi, creare, ritirarsi, tuffarsi, godere, mutare, fuggire"--tells a tale of escape, liberation and metamorphosis. Unlike the patriarchal culture that interpreted her restlessness and desire for change as a form of hysteria and a nervous disorder, Futurism provided a language to articulate and legitimate both. The new female freedom fomented by Futurism accentuated woman's ability to "go out," and to move freely, as well as her freedom to choose to be alone with herself or to plunge into the crowd of the modern city and to take part in the movement of the masses --a freedom celebrated in particular by Rosa Rosa's Futurist-feminist wartime novel, Una donna con tre anime (1918). (34) Thus mobilized, woman's desire could become radicalized in political as well as sexual and existential terms.
In writing her review article on Sam Dunn e morto, Magamal used a masculine, rather than feminine first-person pronoun. She was particularly interested in the overcoming of traditional gender difference and the development of a new, post-gender "cosmic" individual--a strong theme in Corra's work, even though its tone is profoundly ironic and irreverent (closer to Palazzeschi's surreal and playful L'Uomo di fumo in some ways than to Marinetti). It was in the context of this review article, where she also speaks in highly positive terms of Mafarka il futurista (though she is critical of Zang Tumb Tuum for its excessive opaqueness) and emphasizes her enthusiasm for the ongoing war, that she took the opportunity to disassociate herself from Theosophy altogether. This position may not have been welcome by some of the journal's editors and contributors (for example the influential Maria Ginanni, as well as Irma Valeria), who were instead deeply into Theosophy, spiritualism and the occult. Kuhn wrote about Theosophy that it was "rancida e trapassata." And she added, "la concezione futurista non ha nulla in comune ne con la magia ne con l'occultismo--odio e disprezzo tutta questa roba--sono cose 'passatiste.'" (35)
In this same article, Kuhn refers candidly to her year-long confinement, thirteen years earlier, in a mental institution, and although she does not mention her experience of being locked up again in 1914, she denounces the previous one as "uno sbaglio," an error and an injustice committed against her.
6. From Mobilization on the Homefront to Roma futurista and arditismo While Giovanni was at the front, Eva was also deeply involved in assistance to the casualties, including shell-shocked, mutilated and disabled veterans. She worked first with soldiers who had been rendered deaf and mute by shell shock. Instead of keeping the disabled isolated and shut away (shell-shocked soldiers were in fact often subjected to strong and painful electric charges and other forms of aggressive or coercive therapy with which Eva was all too familiar), she was able instead to gain authorization to take them out walking, and even to the theater. She had considerable success. For example, as Giorgio reports, one evening at the Salone Margherita a Sicilian soldier, after seeing on stage an actress who resembled his fiancee, became agitated and loudly called out her name, becoming once again able to speak. While assisting blind veterans, Kuhn became so enthused with her mission that she left everything else behind and moved to Frascati's Villa Aldobrandini, where the assistance center was located. She is therefore an example of how the commitment of "the other army" to aid and assistance during the war took women well beyond the traditional maternal role in the household, and helped make their wartime contribution to the fight truly invaluable.
Kuhn was also a faithful wartime correspondent who wrote regularly to her husband at the front, (36) though she also, at the same time, in typical "simultaneous" Futurist fashion, corresponded with Marinetti. The Futurist leader, while he was a soldier, also exchanged letters with several other women, including the Futurists Irma Valeria and Enif Robert. The latter became the author of the wartime novel Un ventre di donna, co-signed by Marinetti, whose letters to her are included in the novel, while she was also involved in a relationship with him. As we can gather from Marinetti's wartime Taccuini, and as confirmed by historian and biographer Gino Agnese in Una vita esplosiva, Marinetti in 1917, when Giovanni Amendola came to visit him in the hospital where he was recovering from a wound, took care swiftly to hide under the mattress a letter signed Magamal (Agnese 186; Marinetti, Taccuini 69). While the wartime letters exchanged by soldiers with their madrine di guerra were usually chaste, and served the purpose of boosting the soldiers' morale and keep them fighting, letters sometimes also became erotic objects in the highly libidinal atmosphere that paradoxically developed among soldiers, at least occasionally, in opposition and in desperate contrast to the overwhelming spectacle of death and destruction of human flesh and the pervasive sense of precariousness. Marinetti's wartime Taccuini are an eloquent testimony in this regard, as is the only partly ironic "seduction manual" that he composed during the war, Come si seducono le donne. The book became an instant bestseller among the troops and was reprinted several times, generating a heated debate among men and women on the pages of L'Italia futurista, including feminist interventions and critiques by Rosa Rosa and even Enif Robert. In Come si seducono le donne, Marinetti wrote among other things, "La guerra creando in tutto e tutti il senso del provvisorio, dell'instabile e del perituro, distrugge nella donna il pudore, la parola data e la invita al pronto rinnovamento del cuore e dei sensi [...]. Ogni combattente deve, per bilanciare il tradimento inevitabile, imbastire almeno sei relazioni epistolari [...]. Una signorina che si rispetta ha almeno tre fidanzati in tempo di guerra" (67-68). He called for an end to emotions and old-fashioned attitudes like jealousy and possessiveness in relationships. At the same time, he urged the mobilization of women on the frontlines and in the trenches: "Si, un milione di donne almeno in trincea!" (149). Among the women of L'Italia futurista, only Enif Robert expressed explicitly the desire to fight at the front, and the regret of not being allowed to do so because she was a woman, though this was not an uncommon sentiment among middleclass and intellectual women. Some, like Elma Vercelloni, even called for mandatory mobilization of women and the establishment of an official female army. (37) In actuality, even if they did not take up arms, thousands of Italian women "saw action" at the front as nurses, carriers and in other capacities. They risked their lives, were taken prisoners, suffered from violent attacks and displayed bravery comparable to the male fighters. (38) Among the Futurist women on the home front, Maria Ginanni was especially active in composing editorials and commentaries about the war in L'Italia futurista that sought to boost morale at the front and women's support of the war.
After the war, Eva Kuhn became actively involved with the branch of the upcoming Futurist Party in Rome (the Roman fascio was founded in early 1918) and thus witnessed the fusion of Futurism with Arditism, (39) even taking on a new--and, for women, especially unusual--role as public speaker in a political context. (40) She then collaborated with Roma futurista, the left-wing, explicitly subversive and anti-bourgeois Futurist journal (1918-1920), financed initially by Marinetti, which was the organ of the Futurist Party, while her husband won the elections and became a member of the anti-socialist and anti-Fascist moderate cabinet led by Nitti.
In its first year of life, Roma futurista, edited by Marinetti, Carli and Settimelli, aimed to fuse the political and the aesthetic aspects of the avant-garde and to transform the energy, frustrations and discontent left by the war, especially among the young veteran arditi, into a veritable revolution. By this time, Futurism had already gone through the experience of L'Italia futurista, where Magamal's poem appeared, had witnessed the affirmation of several Futurist female artists and writers during the war, and had developed a more positive attitude towards women as both creators and political and social subjects. While it privileged the young male ardito as the icon of the Futurist revolution, Roma futurista at least on paper assigned an equal role to women, supported feminism, and actively sought women's involvement in the movement. As oppressed subjects who would have profited from the overthrow of the pre-war political and cultural status quo, women were considered at the time by Futurism to be potential revolutionaries, and were invited to become militants. (41) The Futurist Party had a decidedly idiosyncratic feminist agenda. Its utopian and populist program not only called for the extension of suffrage to women, but also for divorce and for the abolition of women's legal subjection to men. (Most Italian feminists, on the other hand, as Sibilla Aleramo had pointed out in 1910, were decidedly opposed to divorce.) The Futurist Party went so far as to call for the end of marriage as a legal institution and its gradual replacement by free unions between sexual partners, calling at the same time for the state to replace the senescent patriarchal family in the rearing and education of children (Marinetti, "Manifesto del partito futurista italiano" 1918, 154-55). This program was perhaps too radical even for most Futurist women, and only a few answered the appeal, including Mina Della Pergola, Fanny Dini and Anna Questa Bonfandini, who was in favor of forming a group of female ardite to fight for emancipation, (42) and Elda Norchi (Futurluce). Norchi wrote in her eloquent summation of the female experience of war and call for suffrage, composed jointly with Mario Scaparro, entitled "Il voto alle donne": "La guerra e stata la principale forza motrice del progresso femminile. Il sesso debole ha saputo esser forte. E dalle case dove regnavano donne-bambole sono balzate fuori (chiusi i capelli sulla nuca e sostituiti quando occorreva i calzoni alle gonne) le donneoperaie, donne tranviere, donne-carrettiere, donne-spazzine, donne-infermiere, donne-contadine, donne-ferroviere, donne-impiegate."
Yet the atmosphere for women had changed compared to the war years. There was a degree of anxiety and marked resentment among veterans and men in general about "liberated" women who did not return to their pre-war roles in the private sphere. The widespread resurfacing of family imagery in the press expressed a longing, by men in particular to return to the comfort of domestic life, and the embrace of their wives at home. (43) At the same time, there was a campaign to send working women back home in order to allow male veterans to take their place. It was, effectively, a backlash of sorts. Although the Sacchi law of 1919 nominally abolished the "marital authorization," it did not revoke "paternal power," the legal superiority of the man in the family. The notion of a female suffrage was entertained on the basis of women's wartime contributions to the nation, and although the bill initially passed the Chamber of Deputies in September 1919, it was never ratified. (44) According to one of the anti-woman myths that developed and spread even before the war ended, women on the home front had an easy life, and abandoned domesticity only to indulge in wasteful frivolities and luxury, thus threatening to destroy the Italian family. (45) Women thus effectively came under attack, and there was increasingly a tendency to retrench, reverting to older positions and returning to a biologically based view of maternity as woman's only natural and only truly patriotic role. The Almanacco della donna italiana from 1920 contributed to spread this view, as did the bestselling L'anima della donna by Gina Lombroso (1921).
Eva Kuhn, still under the name of Magamal, published an "Appello futurista al popolo d'Italia" in Roma futurista in the August 24th 1919 issue, explicitly using the colorful and lyrical language of arditismo, and presenting herself as a militant. Yet there is no violence in her appeal, only vehemence, and a highly poetic, heartfelt expression of patriotism, as well as a utopian, idealistic vision of benevolent agricultural colonialism in Africa. (46) The text resonates once again with echoes from Tolstoy's mysticism of the earth, his passion for agricultural labor and peasant work. There is also no specific appeal to all Italian women to become militant suffragists or revolutionaries, nor does Kuhn succumb to the new regressive tendency to recast women as merely and mainly mothers. Here instead she naturally envisions women and men together, as full-fledged "Italiani." Kuhn asks women, realistically perhaps, and even at this point defensively (considering the cultural and political evolution of postwar Italy, and in light of the ongoing backlash), to welcome back the returning soldiers and, after so much fighting, to enjoy the modest luxury of peace itself, and of being able to love their men, and at the same time, of having the opportunity once again to read, study, write and "sing." Yet she also sees them able to return and finally to enjoy more feminine arts such as weaving and the cultivation of exquisite, yet frugal beauty through the applied and decorative arts. (47) These were, in fact, some of the arts in which Futurist women, such as Rosetta Depero, Luce Balla, and Alma Fidora among others, excelled and were allowed to practice in their still largely patriarchal households. Kuhn herself had her own original ideas about how to manufacture tactile tables as esthetic objects, based on the principles of Futurist tactilism. Tactilism was an interest that she shared with Benedetta, as well as Marinetti, and that for her was rooted in the experience of working with blind war veterans. (48) Yet Kuhn never actually got to enjoy the peace and develop the creativity she envisioned in her 1919 "Appello."
7. From the Futurist-Fascist Campaign to Confinement and Surveillance
Several women, along with Eva Kuhn, were involved in the Futurist Fasci in Rome; those revolutionary political cells would shortly become associated with Fascism, but were then still a decidedly left-wing movement. In 1919, the Futurist and the Fascist Fasci converged and formed an alliance for the upcoming general election. In 1919, in order to be closer to where the action was, Kuhn appears to have initiated a move of the family from Rome to a town near Milan, Porto Ceresio (Cerchia 4). Giovanni worked at the time for Il Corriere della sera; therefore the move to Milan was fully justified.
As Giorgio Amendola tells us in his memoir, during the Futurist-Fascist electoral campaign in which she took an active role, his mother came into contact with a group of working-class anarchists first in Milan and then in Rome, and struck up an involved and sympathetic conversation with some of them, which evolved into a fertile intellectual exchange and a long-lasting friendship (Scelta 43). (49) To Giorgio, anarchism and Fascism appear irreconcilable, and in hindsight he interprets this "strange episode" as evidence of his mother's "mental and political confusion," even though he goes on to admit that the political web which in 1919 connected Futurism to Fascism, socialism, and anarchy, was quite complex and bewildering in and of itself (Scelta 43). The clear-cut distinction between a communist left and a Fascist right which emerged from around 1923 24 was still quite untenable, to say the least, in the post-World War One period and the early 1920s. For in those years Futurism was at least as close to anarchism as it was to Fascism, and Fascism itself had a strong anarchical component.
After the defeat of the joint Futurist-Fascist list in the November 1919 election, Marinetti was arrested along with Mussolini. Giorgio remembers with shame being taken by his mother to the prison of San Vittore (the same in which he would later be briefly imprisoned as a communist by the Fascists in 1932, during a momentary return to Italy from his exile in France) to visit Marinetti and Mussolini (the latter was released almost immediately, while Marinetti was detained for three weeks), to whom she brought books and food, although her husband Giovanni had been elected to the parliament and had taken his place in Nitti's cabinet. What Giorgio Amendola fails to mention in his memoir, however, is that he was probably allowed by Mussolini to escape to France only through the intervention of Marinetti, who had never forgotten his mother's generosity during his imprisonment. Marinetti, who in 1920 disassociated himself officially from Fascism, chiefly because of Mussolini's refusal to embrace his vehemently anti-clerical program, would never again be actively involved in politics, but in the 1930s he enjoyed Mussolini's guarded respect, and in turn he supported the Duce, although he was leery of many of his policies.
As inauspicious as Eva Kuhn's militancy and her initial support for the Futurist-Fascist movement may seem in light of the later history of Fascism and of Fascism's oppressive and discriminatory policies towards women, in 1919 Fascism signified something quite different. It expressed, as we have seen, a yearning on the part of intellectual women such as Eva Kuhn for radical cultural, social, and political change. This yearning was deeply frustrated by what was to follow. Giorgio Amendola in his memoir remembers that in 1920-1922, when he was still a teenager, he would go with his mother to the Casa D'Arte Bragaglia in via Condotti (where the Bragaglias had their photography studio) and then Bragaglia's Teatro degli Avignonesi, one of the most lively centers not only for Futurist art, cinema and theater but also for other international avant-garde exhibits and performances, including Dadaist and surrealist works. Yet, in October 1921, Kuhn was admitted to a psychiatric clinic near Naples, and then moved to another clinic in Viterbo. In 1922, during a trip home to Vilnius, Kuhn was devastated by the stories she was told of the brutality of the Bolsheviks and the Red Army, and the persecutions to which her family was subjected (Scelta 56). We are told by her son that, on her return to Italy, where meanwhile the Fascists had seized power and the Amendola family home in Porta Pinciana had become a target for Fascist squads, Kuhn, suffering from depression and exhaustion, was again confined to yet another mental clinic, this time in Rome. (50)
On his father's instruction, Giorgio went to visit her periodically. Unbeknownst to Eva, Giovanni Amendola was the victim of a retaliatory beating by a Fascist squad in 1923, and again in 1925, which made his poor health deteriorate even more. He eventually fled to France, where he died in April 1926.
Eva emerged from the clinic only in 1934, after more than ten years spent there, having seen her husband one last time in 1925 when, as she recounts, he visited her briefly for Christmas, bringing her roses and sweets. During her internment, the children were cared for and helped by friends of the family, especially Luigi Albertini. Her daughter Ada, who had finished her medical studies and was now officially a physician, finally came to free her "from the hands of the psychiatrists" (Kuhn, Vita 447). Only then did she learn of her husband's death and was able to read his last letter, written in February, in which, in a brief paragraph addressed to her, he said:
"Aggiungo solo poche parole per mia moglie. Avrei dovuto cominciare da lei: purtroppo le sue condizioni mentali non consentono che questo documento sia consegnato a lei. Chiedo perdono a mia moglie di tutti i miei torti e di tutte le mie mancanze: sono consapevole di non aver reso la sua vita felice, e vorrei poter ricominciare per riparare. A lei perdono ogni amarezza dovuta del resto, non alla natura buona e onesta, ma all'infelice sistema nervoso. Di lei ricordo soltanto il grande amore di cui porto il debito nell'eternita."
Kuhn also learned then of her son Giorgio's arrest by the Fascists in 1932, which was followed by his deportation to the island of Ponza, where she was able to visit him in 1935. (Giorgio was freed only in 1937, after which he fled to France, subsequently fighting in the Resistance until the fall of Mussolini). Under Fascist rule, while Marinetti and most of the later Futurists embraced the regime, to which they delegated all political initiatives, Kuhn, although granted some occasional and often humiliating work as a translator by the Fascist Ministry of Culture, was not allowed to teach in Italy, though she was able to find a teaching position as a Lecturer in Italian at the University of Vilnius from 1935 until 1937. She was closely watched and placed under surveillance by the Fascist police and by Fascist informers, and followed even during her trips and extended stays in Vilnius. She was portrayed with suspicion and disdain as an immoral woman, perverted and mentally ill, and, at one point in 1937, due to her "foreigness,"--in an atmosphere of increasing anti-Semitism--she was even suspected of being secretly Jewish (Paolino 106-07). She was once again committed to a mental institution in 1939 for a few months. Only after the fall of Fascism and the end of World War Two was Eva Kuhn Amendola--an exceptional individual but in many ways also a woman who embodied the contradictions and the embattled position of intellectual and avant-garde women in Italy in the early 20th century --finally no longer a woman at war.
University of California, Los Angeles
Adamson, Walter. Avant-Garde Florence: From Modernism to Fascism. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1993.
Agnese, Gino. Marinetti. Una vita esplosiva. Milano: Camunia Editrice, 1990.
Amendola, Giorgio. Una scelta di vita. Milano: Rizzoli, 1976.
Amendola, Giovanni. "Nuovi disordini all'Universita di Roma provocati dai futuristi." Il Corriere della Sera. December 12, 1914.
Bello Minciacchi, Cecilia. Scrittrici della prima avanguardia. Concezioni, caratteri e testimonianze del femminile nel Futurismo. Firenze: Le Lettere, 2012.
--, ed. Spirale di dolcezza + serpe di fascino. Scrittrici futuriste: antologia. Napoli: Bibliopolis, 2007.
Belzer, Allison Scardino. Women and the Great War. Femininity under Fire in Italy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
Boine, Giovanni. Carteggio II: Giovanni Boine-Emilio Cecchi (1911-1917). Ed. M. Marchione and S. E. Scalia. Roma: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1983.
Bruno, Giuliana. Streetwalking on a Ruined Map. Cultural Theory and the City Films of Elvira Notari. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1993.
Burliuk, David, Alexander Kruchenykh, et al. "A Slap in the Face of Public Taste." Russian Futurism Through its Manifestoes, 1912-1928. Ed. Anna Lawton. Trans. Anna Lawton and Herbert Eagle. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1988. 51-52.
Buzzi, Paolo. L'ellissi e la spirale: film + parole in liberta. Ed. Luciano Caruso. Firenze, SPES, 1990.
Carli, Mario. "Il nostro bolscevismo." La testa di ferro. February 15, 1920.
Carpi, Giancarlo, ed. Futuriste. Letteratura. Arte. Vita. Roma: Castelvecchi, 2009.
Cavaglion, Alberto. Otto Weininger in Italia. Roma: Carucci, 1982.
Cerchia, Giovanni. Giorgio Amendola, un comunista nazionale, dall 'infanzia alla guerra partigiana (1907-1945). Cosenza: Rubettino editore, 2004.
Cigliana, Simona. Futurismo esoterico. Contributi per una storia dell 'irrazionale tra Otto e Novecento. Roma: La Fenice Edizioni, 1996.
Curli, Barbara. Italiane al lavoro 1914-1920. Venezia: Marsilio, 1998.
De Giorgio, Michela. "Dalla 'donna nuova' alla donna della 'nuova' Italia." La grande guerra: Esperienza, memoria immagini. Ed. Diego Leoni and Camillo Zadra. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1986. 307-29.
De Saint-Point, Valentine. "Manifesto della donna futurista. " Seguito da "Manifesto futurista della lussuria, " "Il teatro della donna, " "Il mio esordio coreografico, " "La Metacoria." Ed. Jean-Paul Morel. Genova: Il Melangolo, 2006.
Di Cori, Paola. "Il doppio sguardo. Visibilita dei generi sessuali nella rappresentazione fotografica (1908-1918)." Leoni and Zadra 765-800.
Di Leo, Donatella. "Eva Amendola Kuhn (Magamal: A Futurist of Lithuanian Extraction)." International Yearbook of Futurism Studies 5 (2015): 297-326.
Futurluce (Elda Norchi), and Mario Scaparro, "Il voto alle donne." Roma futurista, March 30, 1919.
Garretto, Elda, Stegano Garzonio and Bianca Sulpasso. "Eva Amendola Kuhn." Russi in Italia. Dizionario htttp://www. russinitalia.it
Gibelli, Antonio. "L'esperienza di guerra. Fonti medico-psichiatriche e antropologiche." Leoni and Zadra 49-73.
Guidi, Laura. "Un nazionalismo declinato al femminile, 1914-1918." Vivere la guerra. Percorsi biografici e ruoli di genere tra Risorgimento e primo conflitto mondiale. Ed. Laura Guidi. Napoli: Clio Press, 2007. 93-118.
Kuhn Amendola, Eva [Magamal]. "Appello futurista al popolo d'Italia." Roma futurista, August 24, 1919.
--. "Henry George e il movimento dei riformatori fondiari." Nuova antologia di lettere, scienze e arti, 163 (1913): 275-87.
--. "Il nuovo metodo intuitivo nell'insegnamento delle lingue moderne." Italia moderna. 1907.
--"L'ottimismo di Schopenhauer." Coenobium 6 (1907): 84-92.
--[Magamal]. "Polemiche sul tattilismo," Cronache di attualita 5.5 (May 1921): 57.
--. "La riforma fondiaria di Henry George." Roma futurista. August 10, 1919. Rpt. in Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Democrazia futurista: dinamismo politico. Milano: Facchi, 1919. 66-69.
--[Magamal]. "Sam Dunn e morto. " L'Italia Futurista 2:28 (September 9, 2016): 3. Rpt. in Carpi 189-92.
--[Magamal]. "Velocita. Parole in liberta" L'Italia futurista 1:10 (November 15, 1916): 3.
--. Vita con Giovanni Amendola (Epistolario 1903-1926). Firenze: Parenti, 1960.
Le Doeuff, Michele. The Sex of Knowing. Trans. Kethryn Hamer and Lorraine Coder. New York: Routledge, 2003.
Leoni, Diego, and Camillo Zadra, eds. La grande guerra: Esperienza, memoria, immagini. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1986.
Lo Valvo, Oreste. La guerra e i nuovi destini della donna. Palermo: Trimarchi, 1918.
Marinetti, F[ilippo] T[ommaso]. "Al di la del comunismo." (1920). Teoria e invenzione futurista. 470-88.
--. Come si seducono le donne. Preface Bruno Corra and Settimelli. (1917). Rocca San Casciano: Stabilimento Tipografico Cappa, 1918.
--. Democrazia futurista. Dinamismo politico. Milano: Facchi, 1919.
--. Mafarka il futurista. Trans. Decio Cinti. Milano: Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia, 1910.
--."Manifesto del partito futurista italiano." (1918). Teoria e invenzione futurista 153-58.
--. "La nuova religione della velocita. Manifesto futurista," L'Italia futurista. June 1, 1916. Rpt. in Marinetti, Teoria e invenzione futurista 111-118.
--. Taccuini 1915-1921. Ed. Alberto Bertoni. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1987.
--. Teoria e invenzione futurista. Ed. Luciano De Maria. Milano: Mondadori, 1968.
Molinari, Augusta. "Autobiografie e vite di donne in manicomio nel primo Nocevento." Donne e ruoli femminili nell'Italia della Grande Guerra. Milano: Selene Edizioni, 2008. 111-58.
--. Una patria per le donne. La mobilitazione femminile nella Grande Guerra. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2014.
Nozzoli, Anna. "La Voce e le donne." LesFemmes-ecrivains en Italie (1870-1920) Ordres et Libertes. Chroniques Italiennes 39-40 (1994): 207-22.
Paolella, Francesco. "'Solo un'immensa fonte di dolore.' Appunti per una ricerca sulle donne in manicomio durante la Grande Guerra." E-Review Rivista degli Istituti Storici dell'Emilia Romagna in Rete 2 (2014). http://e-review.it/paolella-solo-un-immensafonte-di-dolore
Paolino, Antonietta G. "Eva Kuhn Amendola: ovvero l'insostenibile tragicita del vivere." La famiglia Amendola. Una scelta di vita per l'Italia. Ed. Giovanni Cerchia. Torino: Cerabone/Fondazione Giorgio Amendola/Associazione Carlo Levi, 2011. 91-116.
Papini, Giovanni. Autoritratti e ritratti. Milano: Mondadori, 1962.
Questa Bonfandini, Anna. "Le donne e il Futurismo." Roma futurista, February 9, 1919.
Rainey, Lawrence, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman, eds. Futurism: An Anthology. New Haven: Yale UP, 2009.
Re, Lucia. "Maria Ginanni vs. F. T. Marinetti: Women, Speed, and War in Futurist Italy." Annali d'Italianistica 27 (2009). A Century of Futurism: 1909-2009: 103-24.
--. "Mina Loy and the Quest for a Futurist Feminist Woman." Futurist Imperfect. Italian Futurism between Tradition and Modernity. Special issue of The European Legacy 14.7 (December 2009): 799-819.
--. "Passion and Sexual Difference: The Gendering of Writing in 19th-Century Italian Culture." Making and Remaking Italy: The Cultivation of National Identity Around the Risorgimento. Ed. Albert Ascoli and Krystina Von Hennenberg. Oxford: Berg, 2001. 155-200.
--. "Rosa Rosa and the Question of Gender in Wartime Futurism." Italian Futurism, 1909-1944: Reconstructing the Universe. Ed. Vivien Greene. New York: Guggenheim Museum Publications, 2014. 184-86.
--. "Rosa Rosa's Futurist Feminist Novel A Woman with Three Souls: A Critical Introduction." Italian Futures. Ed. Albert Ascoli and Randy Starn, California Italian Studies 2.1 (2011): http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/7k625747: 1-14.
--. "Valentine de Saint-Point, Ricciotto Canudo, F. T. Marinetti: Eroticism, Violence and Feminism from Prewar Paris to Colonial Cairo." Quaderni d'Italianistica 24.2 (Fall 2003): 37-69.
Re, Lucia with Dominic Siracusa, trans. "Rosa Rosa's A Woman with Three Souls in English Translation." Notes by Lucia Re. Italian Futures. Ed. Albert Ascoli and Randy Starn. California Italian Studies 2.1 (2011): http://www.escholarship. org/uc/item/7k625747: 15-40.
Robert, Enif (Signora Robert), and Marinetti. Un ventre di donna. Romanzo futurista. Milano : Facchi, 1919.
Rosa, Rosa. Una donna con tre anime. Romanzo futurista. (1918). Ed. Claudia Salaris. Roma: Edizioni delle donne, 1981.
Salaris, Claudia. Alla festa della rivoluzione. Artisti e libertari con D'Annunzio a Fiume Bologna: Il Mulino, 2002.
--. "Le donne futuriste nel periodo tra guerra e dopoguerra." Leoni and Zadra 291-305.
--. "Incontri con le futuriste." L'arte delle donne nell'Italia del Novecento. Ed. Laura Iamurri and Sabrina Spinazze. Roma: Meltemi, 2001. 59-66.
--. Luciano Folgore e le avanguardie. Con lettere e inediti futuristi. Scandicci: La Nuova Italia, 1997.
--. Marinetti. Arte e vita futurista. Roma: Editori Riuniti, 1997.
--. Marinetti editore. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1990.
Schiavon, Emma. Interventiste nella Grande Guerra. Assistenza, propaganda, lotta per i diritti a Milano e in Italia (1911-1919). Milano: Mondadori, 2015.
--. "The Women's Suffrage Campaign in Italy in 1919." Aftermaths of War: Movements and Female Activists, 1918-1923. Ed. Ingrid Sharp and Matthew Stibbe. Leiden: Brill, 2001. 49-68.
Schopenhauer, Arthur. Introduzione alla filosofia e scritti vari. Trans. Eva Kuhn Amendola. Introd. and notes Francesco Cafaro. Appendix by Kuhn Amendola. "L'ottimismo trascendentale di Arturo Schopenhauer." Torino: Paravia, 1960.
--. Sul mestiere dello scrittore e sullo stile. Trans. Eva Kuhn Amendola. Ed. Giorgio Colli. Torino: Boringhieri, 1993.
Serri, Mirella. "La futurista. Eva Kuhn Amendola." Marta Boneschi, Paola Cioni, Elena Doni, Claudia Galimberti, Lia Levi, Maria Serena Palieri, Cristiana di San Marzano, Francesca Sancin, Mirella Serri, Federica Tagliaventi, Simona Tagliaventi. Donne nella Grande Guerra. Introd. Dacia Maraini. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2014. 149-73.
Settimelli, Emilio. "Il Futurismo e la donna." Roma futurista, Sept. 30, 1918
Spini, Giorgio. Italia liberale e protestanti. Torino: Claudiana, 2002.
Vercelloni, Elma. Perche la coscrizione femminile deve essere obbligatoria. Roma: Carlo Colombo, 1918.
--. Piccola orchestra. Novelle. Roma, Maglione e Strini, 1924.
(1) I take the notion of a "ruined map" from Bruno's Streetwalking on a Ruined Map.
(2) For a brief biographical profile, see Paolino, "Eva Kuhn Amendola: ovvero l'insostenibile tragicita del vivere." On Eva Kuhn Amendola and Futurism during the Great War, see also the article (designed for a wider, non-scholarly audience) by Serri. The entries by Garretto, Garzonio and Sulpasso and the article by Di Leo are also useful and informative. Di Leo includes a bibliography of all of Kuhn's known published works and translations.
(3) The novel was originally published in French by Sansot. The frontispiece has the date 1909 on it, but on the cover the date is 1910.
(4) The notion of women as members of what was effectively Italy's "other army" is discussed in detail by Belzer. In addition to Belzer, see especially Molinari, Una patria per le donne. Until the mid-1990s, feminist scholarship on women and the Great War in Italy was more focused on the pacifist and anti-war sentiments prevalent among peasant and working-class women, thus presenting a partial and somewhat skewed image of the role of Italian women in the conflict. For a discussion of this scholarship, see Molinari, Patria.
(5) Also, Waldensians were a minority in Lithuania and in Vilnius, which had a largely Catholic population. Vilnius also had a sizeable Jewish community (about 45% of the city's population) that was almost entirely wiped out during the Holocaust and the Second World War.
(6) I refer to Kuhn's essay, "L'ottimismo di Schopenhauer," in Coenobium, which was also republished with a slightly different title as an appendix to Schopenhauer, Introduzione alla filosofia e scritti vari.
(7) I discuss this phenomenon, especially with reference to Sibilla Aleramo and Matilde Serao, in Re, "Passion and Sexual Difference."
(8) Among the scholarly studies on this subject, see Molinari, "Autobiografie" and Paolella. Although confinement in mental institutions was reserved mostly for lower- and working-class women, Molinari shows that educated women, too, were likely to be committed, usually by their families, who deemed them morally and socially inadequate.
(9) In addition to many works by Dostoevsky, Kuhn translated works by Maxim Gorky and by the symbolist Lithuanian poet Jurgis Baltrusaitis. She also translated into Italian the important modernist and communist novel Christ in Concrete (1939) by the Italian-American Pietro Di Donato, published in 1941 as Cristo fra i muratori, though the translator's name appeared in print only in post-World War Two editions (1961; 1973). Recently it has been suggested that Kuhn may have worked on the translation jointly with the anti-Fascist Bruno Maffi, whose name could not appear, or even that Maffi might have been the real translator. Kuhn translated also several works by Schopenhauer, including a volume containing his reflections on linguistic differences and the inevitable unreliability of translation, Sul mestiere dello scrittore e sullo stile. There is, however, no study to date of Kuhn as a translator and of the significance of her work of cultural mediation. For a bibliography of Kuhn's translations, see Di Leo.
(10) A handwritten version, sixty pages in length signed Magamal, is among the Marinetti papers at the Getty Institute. This essay is discussed by Salaris in "Incontri."
(11) On Papini's misogyny and that of the intellectuals around La voce, see Nozzoli.
(12) On the success and influence of Weininger's work in Italy, see Cavaglion.
(13) "La riforma fondiaria di Henry George" takes up the entire chapter 20 of Marinetti's Democrazia Futurista: Dinamismo Politico, also in Teoria e invenzione futurista, 426-31.
(14) A native of Prague and married to a Russian diplomat, Zatkova, like Kuhn, had settled in Italy at the beginning of the century. From 1919 until her death from tubercolosis in 1923, she was involved in a romantic relationship with Arturo Cappa. Like Kuhn, Zatkova, using the pseudonym Madame X, became a contributor to both Roma futurista and Cronache di attualita.
(15) The episode is reported by Salaris in Luciano Folgore e le avanguardie 95.
(16) A number of letters by Kuhn to D'Annunzio dating from 1919 to 1921 are held in the archive of Il Vittoriale degli Italiani. On the alliance between Marinetti and D'Annunzio and the osmosis between Dannunzianism and Futurism during the Fiume invasion see Salaris, Alla festa della rivoluzione.
(17) These and other women are discussed in De Giorgio The phenomenon of female nationalism and interventismo and the debate with women pacifists are discussed by Guidi, who stresses the racialist dimension of women's nationalism as a new phenomenon connected to World War One; however, the origins of racialized nationalism among women may be traced back at least to the Libyan war of 1911. Schiavon offers an overview of the connection between feminism and interventismo in Interventiste nella Grande Guerra.
(18) While this wartime phenomenon has been well documented in other countries, with regard to Italy the theme of the blurring of gender lines during the war has only recently emerged, especially through the work of historians Paola Di Cori and Augusta Molinari.
(19) On male hysteria during the Great War in Italy, see Gibelli.
(20) On the gender trouble generated by war, see Curli and Di Cori. blind by the war, often felt reduced to the level of helpless children.
(21) The 1912 and 1913 manifestoes by de Saint-Point (the first being an "answer to Marinetti" and a critique of his misogyny) were launched and distributed as flyers simultaneously in Paris and Milan. De Siant-Point, however, who worked for the Red Cross in Paris, became decidedly anti-war by 1916, when she left for Spain along with several artists who refused to serve in the military. On her conflicted vision of warfare, see Re, "Valentine de Saint-Point." English translations by Laura Wittman of the two manifestoes and other texts by Valentine are available in Rainey, Poggi and Wittman, Futurism.
(22) A useful account of the Futurists' interest in the occult may be found in Cigliana.
(23) The train as locus eroticus is a motif, albeit a distinctly comic one, also in Marinetti's later Come si seducono le donne.
(24) Magamal's vulnerability is associated with a form of female "moodiness" and hysteria in the novel. His brother Mafarka tells him (32): "Oh! lo so, che sei coraggioso! Ma ho in orrore questa tua ridicola sensibilita femminea che ti lancia talvolta in folli esaltazioni e ti schiaccia, poco dopo, sotto debolezze infantili [...] Ascoltami bene! codeste gaiezze subitanee e codeste inesplicabili tristezze, bisogna abolirle, oggi! [...] Ad onta di tutti gli sforzi della tua volonta, il tuo corpo e rimasto tenero e fragile come un corpo succoso di fanciulla. I tuoi occhi, fatti pei baci, non sono, come i miei, spauracchi per gli uccellacci di malaugurio; ma bisogna indurirli, questi occhi, e armarli di artigli come i miei!"
(25) I discuss the importance of Futurism for Mina Loy even after she was no longer involved directly in the movement in Re, "Mina Loy and the Quest for a Futurist Feminist Woman."
(26) After all, David Burliuk and the Russian Futurists too, in the 1912 manifesto "A Slap in the Face of Public Taste" had urged "throw[ing] Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky et al. overboard from the ship of modernity" (51).
(27) The new Lithuanian government established itself in Vilnius in 1918, but the Bolsheviks invaded Lithuania and Soviet forces moved into the city in early 1919, followed only a few months later by the Polish forces, which drove the Red Army out but were not welcome by the Lithuanians. In the summer of 1920, the Red Army reoccupied Vilnius. Despite the attempted mediation of the League of Nations, and the convocation of Lithuania's Constituent Assembly in 1920, Vilnius remained a disputed city in the early 1920s and the site of violent and devastating clashes and confrontations. In February 1922, despite vigorous Lithuanian protests, the city and surrounding area were annexed by Poland. During World War Two, Vilnius was once again seized first by Germany and then by the Soviet army, and incorporated into the Soviet Union until 1990, when after the collapse of the USSR it became the capital of the Independent Republic of Lithuania, recognized by the Soviet Union only in 1991, after additional clashes. As Giorgio Amendola discovered when he went to V ilnius in 1971, no trace of the family was left there as all of Eva Kuhn's family members were displaced or had emigrated from Vilnius to Canada, Russia, and other parts of the world.
(28) These views are expressed in detail by Marinetti in Al di la del comuniSmo (1920).
(29) Salaris, Marinetti. Arte e vita futurista 175-77. Amendola in Scelta also observes that Marinetti had taken a very central role ("un grande posto") in his mother's life at the time (26).
(30) They include the poem "Il guerriero che torna" (1917) and "Il canto d'amore della donna cosmica" (1918) as well as essays and letters addressed to Marinetti and signed Magamal.
(31) I discuss Ginanni and some of the other women of L'Italia futurista in Re, "Maria Ginanni vs. F. T. Marinetti: Women, Speed, and War in Futurist Italy."
(32) The poem is reproduced in the anthology of women Futurists edited by Bello Minciacchi, Spirale 158.
(33) Le Doeuff points out that Bergson foregrounds intuition when "feminine intuition" is a "full-blown lexical item," as well as a mode of cognition associated with femininity, yet he in no way intends to rehabilitate the intellectual worth of women (16-17).
(34) The novel was first reprinted in 1919 and more recently in 1981 (along with additional texts, including articles Rosa published in L 'Italia futurista). In English it is available as "Rosa Rosa's A Woman with Three Souls in English translation." See also Re, "Rosa Rosa's Futurist Feminist Novel A Woman with Three Souls: A Critical Introduction." I discuss this novel in relation to other Futurist works and gender issues related to war in Re, "Rosa Rosa and the Question of Gender in Wartime Futurism."
(35) This review article has been reprinted in Carpi 189-92.
(36) However, her wartime letters to her husband have apparently not been preserved.
(37) Vercelloni's speech was originally delivered on behalf of the Comitato Armate Femminili at the Teatro Argentina in Rome on March 3, 1918, and then published. Vercelloni, who sympathized with the Futurist movement, was also the author of a volume of short stories, Piccola orchestra (1924), each of which is dedicated to a Futurist artist or writer.
(38) Belzer (103-04) elaborates on this reality, previously unacknowledged or underestimated by historians who adhered to the myth that war was primarily a "male business."
(39) Arditi (from the verb ardire, to dare) was the name adopted by the Royal Italian Army storm troops during the Great War. Their exploits on the battlefield were exemplary and they gained fame in Italian military history. There was great mutual admiration between Futurists and Arditi, and some Arditi, like Carli and Settimelli, were also Futurists. The Arditi were demobilized by 1920 but many kept their weapons and joined forces with the Futurists and the early Fascists. The name Arditi was also used in 1919-20 by the Italian occupiers of Fiume. On the Futurist Party and the fusion of Futurism and Arditism, see BerghausFuturism 104-33.
(40) Although we do not know what she spoke about, F. T. Marinetti mentions Eva Kuhn Amendola as a speaker at a meeting of the new party then being formed in Rome on December 16, 1918 in his Taccuini (397).
(41) In an article entitled "Il Futurismo e la donna," published in the front page of Roma futurista Sept. 30, 1918, Settimelli once again reiterated that the Futurist "disprezzo" was not against woman, but against the old conception of woman ("contro una concezione della donna e non contro la donna"). He went on, emphasizing how the war had contributed to bring women's value and capacities to the forefront and to everyone's attention: "La guerra ha dato la sensazione delle capacita femminili rispetto alla nazione. E sara per la guerra che potra costituirsi in Italia un femminismo vasto e bene organizzato. Noi futuristi, nemici di tutte le prigioni, siamo propugnatori dell'uguaglianza di diritti per gli uomini e le donne."
(42) Questa Bonfandini, "Le donne e il Futurismo." Discussions of the evolution of Futurist women's positions in the postwar period may be found in Salaris, "Le donne futuriste" and Bello Minciacchi, Scrittrici della prima avanguardia 140-72.
(43) This phenomenon is discussed by Belzer 160-61.
(44) Schiavon provides an overview of the feminist struggle for suffrage in the immediate postwar period in "The Women's Suffrage Campaign in Italy in 1919," pointing out that "the European-wide postwar gender backlash affected Italian society in the most extreme manner" (51).
(45) For example, in Lo Valvo, La Guerra e i nuovi destini della donna, discussed by Belzer, 162-63.
(46) The appello reads in part as follows: "Lavoratori e guerrieri della patria--unitevi!/ Parassiti d'Italia, vergognatevi!/ Non e l'ora questa per l'ozio, per gli sfarzi, per lussi sfrenati./ Arditi dello spirito, che arda calma e forte la Fiamma vostra./ Militanti spirituali, all'opera./ L'unico distintivo nostro: lo sguardo sereno il sorriso sulle labra e la mano tesa coll'amore a colui che arde e lavora./ L'unica arma nostra: la fiamma d'amore per il nostro popolo vittorioso ed il nostro verbo lucido: la nostra religione dell'Eroismo quotidiano e della gioia eterna./ L'unica divisa nostra: ardere! lavorare! superare! perche la Patria nostra sia grande e ricca e che dia al mondo la Luce potente. [...] Arditi nelle vostre mani sta la grandezza d'Italia. Tendete lo sguardo e la mano d'aiuto all'Africa che ci chiama [...]. Andate, lavorate la terra sorgente divina di ricchezze senza fondo."
(47) "Donne d'Italia! Date vera gioia agli eroi guerrieri che tornano. Siate / grate per la grande vittoria!/ Tessete la tela linda da' colori vivi e belli!/ Ornatevi di perle veneziane: sono piu belle dell'oro e dell'argento di / cui ha bisogno la Patria!/ Preparate profumi oleosi squisiti: e ricca di fiori la terra d'Italia!/ Raccogliete aranci, fragole, fiori./ Cantate la gioia eterna, amate e studiate i grandi immortali! Italiani--Eroi--Titani! Lavoratori silenziosi e forti!/ Gia spunta l'alba della Nuova Italia./ Che dira al mondo la Nuova Parola
(48) As may be gathered from Magamal, "Polemiche sul tattilismo."
(49) Salaris reports the discovery of a 1919 exchange of letters between Kuhn and the anarchist Vincenzo Bianchini, in which, among other things, Kuhn described her ideas for a reform of the mental care system and argued the need to eliminate the current system of prison-like asylums for the mentally ill. Bianchini invited her to collaborate in the anarchist journal L'umanita nuova (Marinetti editore 119)
(50) According to Giorgio (Scelta 80), it was the Villa Giuseppina on Via Nomentana. It was a "casa di salute per malattie nervose e della psiche" run by a Catholic congregation of nuns, under the supervision of Prof. Antonio Mendicini.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2015|
|Previous Article:||Annie vivanti e la grande guerra: stupro, aborto e redenzione in Vae Victis!|
|Next Article:||From Marinetti's L'alcova d'acciaio to Giani Stuparich's Ritorneranno: gender, nationalism, technology and the italian great war.|