The strength and restlessness of Goliarda Sapienza, a free woman and author


By John

Fundamental questions to be answered and a life full of experiences, even harsh ones, in perpetual dialectic with the father and mother, to define oneself, through the parents: Goliarda Sapienza, a strongly representative figure of our literary contemporaneity, embodied in her controversial personality the anxieties and doubts of an entire generation between the 60s and 70s. Her figure as a woman free from labels and stereotypes, who took to the stage of life and theater with the same spirit of self-discovery, was narrated with great passion in the meeting «Goliarda Sapienza: actress, screenwriter, original writer, woman libera», promoted by the “P.Sgroj-G.Morabito” Delegation of the Italian Association of Classical Culture, in the Aula magna of the Maurolico classical high school in Messina. To illustrate the life, thought and poetics of the writer of Catania origins (daughter of the socialist lawyer Giuseppe Sapienza and the trade unionist Maria Giudice, the first woman to direct the Chamber of Labor of Turin) Professor Carmelita Paradisoteacher of classics and very fine connoisseur of contemporary literature.

It was an articulated and participatory excursus among the talents of a woman who, after her youthful experiences in acting (she trained at the Silvio D'Amico Academy of Dramatic Art in Rome), began writing with novels and autobiographical works – many published posthumously – after his debut in poetry in the 1950s. Compositions that already contained the themes that would constitute the leitmotif of subsequent works, in which we read a woman who seeks new facets to her identity, according to and beyond her maternal model. Declined in a different way, the relationship with the mother and father, the peculiarity of their figures, the powerful landscape of Etna and the sea as metaphors of freedom, and the closeness to their friend Nica, playmate and training companion, will be recurring in his writings.

«The verses written for mother and father constitute the structure within which the two figures, not just recipients, are key to the path of the poet's ancestral return from death to life», explained Professor Paradiso. Therefore part of the difficult process of processing maternal mourning, which also includes the relationship with one's own ego and with other models, parental and otherwise, according to the interpretative paradigm of psychoanalysis.

«His poetics is the daughter of the twentieth century, of the collapse of absolute truths – specified the teacher –, of the irruption of the unconscious into literature and of the influences of psychoanalysis», which Sapienza declines in a completely personal way by writing his first novel, «Open Letter» (1967), in the period par excellence of the anti-novel. While «The Midday Thread» (1969) will represent an account of the psychoanalytic therapy with the Messina doctor Ignazio Majore, interrupted due to a difficult transference with the analyst. With respect to autobiographical works, Sapienza speaks of an «Autobiography of contradictions», aware that reality and life are contradictory and that writing itself is a lie, an attempt to offer a reinvented truth.

«His poetics are based on the continuous dialectical relationship between truth and lie – continued Paradiso – between reality and the magma of the unconscious, between history and human fiction». Equipped with a strong sense of physicality, also due to her acting training, in Goliarda Sapienza body and soul are the inseparable combination in which existence is concentrated, pain as well as the joy of living and therefore the destiny of each human being. And since no one can be exempt from the lies of the unconscious, it is important to use the word to reveal the lie and understand.