Rossana Rossanda

Rossana Rossanda is a regular contributor to Il Manifesto and New Left Review. She is the author of numerous books, including Brigate rosse, Una storia italiana.


  • Women in Translation: A Celebratory Reading List!

    August is Women in Translation Month! Publishers and booksellers are backing a campaign started by women translators to celebrate the work of the few women writers who make it into English translation—depressing figures show that only around a quarter of English translations are female-authored books.

    The campaign originally started as an effort to highlight translated fiction, but Verso's #WITMonth reading list celebrates our publications by women who are leading thinkers and writers in non-fiction fields, ranging from journalism in Turkey and Mexico, to psychoanalysis, feminism, political theory and literary and film studies!

    (Anabel Hernández, awarded the 2012 Golden Pen of Freedom for her courageous investigative journalism about Mexico's drug cartels and corruption.)

    Samuel Beckett: Anatomy of a Literary Revolution by Pascale Casanova. Translated by Gregory Elliott 

    In a radical new reading of Samuel Beckett, Pascale Casanova argues that Beckett's reputation rests on a pervasive misreading of his oeuvre, which neglects entirely the literary revolution he instigated. Reintroducing the historical into the heart of this body of work, Casanova provides an arresting portrait of Beckett as radically subversive—doing for writing what Kandinsky did for art—and in the process presents the key to some of the most profound enigmas of Beckett's writing. 

    Discovery of the World: A Political Awakening in the Shadow of Mussolini by Luciana Castellina. Translated by Patrick Camiller

    Luciana Castellina is one of Italy's most prominent left intellectuals and a cofounder of the newspaper il manifesto. In this coming-of-age memoir, based on her diaries, she recounts her political awakening as a teenage girl in Fascist Italy—where she used to play tennis with Mussolini's daughter—and the subsequent downfall of the regime. Discovery of the World is about war, anti-Semitism, anti-fascism, resistance, the belief in social justice, the craving for experience, travel, political rallies, cinema, French intellectuals and FIAT workers, international diplomacy and friendship. All this is built on an intricate web made of reason and affection, of rational questioning and ironic self-narration as well as of profound nostalgia, disappointment and discovery.

    My Grandmother: An Armenian-Turkish Memoir by Fethiye Cetin. Translated by Maureen Freely

    A passionate memoir of the author’s discovery of her grandmother’s true identity. Growing up in the small town of Maden in Turkey, Fethiye Çetin knew her grandmother as a happy and respected Muslim housewife called Seher. Only decades later did she discover the truth. Her grandmother’s name was not Seher but Heranus. She was born a Christian Armenian. Most of the men in her village had been slaughtered in 1915. A Turkish gendarme had stolen her from her mother and adopted her. Çetin’s family history tied her directly to the terrible origins of modern Turkey and the organized denial of its Ottoman past as the shared home of many faiths and ways of life. A deeply affecting memoir, My Grandmother is also a step towards another kind of Turkey, one that is finally at peace with its past.

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  • "Nothing is inevitable": An interview with Rossana Rossanda of Il Manifesto

    Rossana Rossanda, communist, feminist and editor of Il Manifesto until 2012, gives an interview on the history of the circle of the publication in the second of the two-part series of interviews by George Souvlis. Rossanda reflects on the historical trajectory of the PCI in Italy, the relevance of Gramsci’s theoretical scrutiny of the worker’s movement post WW1, and the events which led to the split of Il Manifesto’s main circle. This interview was originally published in LeftEast.

    First of all, let me apologize for my delay in answering, due to my health state and to a number of difficulties related to Italian politics. Your questions would require me to answer with full essays to each of them. In the course of recent years, I have tried to answer such questions in my books and articles. There is a methodological issue we should agree upon to reach an understanding; otherwise many of my answers would seem to not address in depth the questions you are posing. The core matter for me is Marx’s thought, which was only partly incorporated by European communist parties, including the PCI. I will now send you my latest reflections, which are about to be published, in order to continue our dialogue.

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  • Pietro Ingrao: a life of struggle (March 30, 1915 – September 27, 2015)

    Pietro Ingrao, a hugely influential figure in Italian Communism, died yesterday, Sunday, 27th of September 2015, aged 100. A look back at his life reveals many of the debates in the post-war European left, as well as Ingrao's own commitment to a Marxism that was both uncompromising and dynamic.

    Joining the Italian Communist Party (CPI) during the Second World War, Ingrao took up arms as an anti-fascist "Partisan". In the following decades, he represented the Marxist left of the PCI, clashing several times with the Party leadership as the latter adopted increasingly reformist positions. 

    On Ingrao's hundredth birthday, long-time collaborator and ally Rossana Rossandra reflected on his life and contributions to the PCI. Read her full speech here.

    Another "Ingraian", Luciana Castellina, expands on the internal battles within the PCI, and Ingrao's attempts not only to "democratise the Party", but to develop its theoretical positions in light of developments within contemporary capitalism.

    Lucio Magri's The Tailor of Ulm assesses the rise and fall of the PCI and Ingrao's role in the tensions within the party. 

    Rossana Rossandra's The Comrade from Milan reflects on a life of radical activism - one that she often shared with Ingrao. 

    Antonio Negri'Books for Burning provides further context of the class struggles in post-war Italy that he, Ingrao and others participated in.

    The New Old World by Perry Anderson analyses another major development in this period - namely, the foundation and evolution of the European Union. 

    Finally, Luciana Castellina's Discovery of the World gives an intimate, personal account of political awakening in fascist Italy. 

    For more on Italian Communism, explore the #ItalianCommunism archive on the Verso blog.