Céspedes “Forbidden Notebook” available at Iranian bookstores

May 20, 2022 - 18:36

TEHRAN – Italian-Cuban feminist Alba de Céspedes’s classic domestic novel “The Forbidden Notebook” (“Quaderno Proibito”) has been published in Persian.

Published by Elmi-Farhangi, the book has been translated by Bahman Farzaneh.

“The Forbidden Notebook” centers the inner life of a dissatisfied housewife living in postwar Rome.
Valeria Cossati never suspected how unhappy she had become with the shabby gentility of her bourgeois life—until she begins to jot down her thoughts and feelings in a little black book she keeps hidden in a closet. 

This new secret activity leads her to scrutinize herself and her life more closely, and she soon realizes that her individuality is being stifled by her devotion and sense of duty toward her husband, daughter, and son. 

As the conflicts between parents and children, husband and wife, and friends and lovers intensify, what goes on behind the Cossatis’ facade of middle-class respectability gradually comes to light, tearing the family’s fragile fabric apart.  
An exquisitely crafted portrayal of domestic life, “The Forbidden Notebook” recognizes the universality of human aspirations.

De Céspedes (1911–1997) was a bestselling writer greatly influenced by the cultural developments that lead to and resulted from World War II. 

In her writing, she instills her female characters with subjectivity. In her work, there is a recurring motif of women judging the rightness or wrongness of their actions. 

In 1935, she was jailed for her anti-fascist activities in Italy. Her novels “Nessuno Torna Indietro” (1938) and “La Fuga” (1940) were also banned. 

In 1943, she was again imprisoned for her assistance with Radio Partigiana in Bari where she was a Resistance radio personality known as Clorinda. 

From June 1952 to late 1958, she wrote an agony column, called “Dalla parte di lei”, in the magazine Epoca. She wrote the screenplay for the Michelangelo Antonioni 1955 film “Le Amiche”.

After the war, she went to live in Paris. Although her books were bestsellers, De Céspedes has been overlooked in recent studies of Italian women writers.

Photo: Front cover of the Persian edition of Alba de Céspedes’s novel “The Forbidden Notebook”.


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