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Antonia Arslan (born 1938) is an Italian writer and academic of Armenian origins.

Arslan was born in Padua. After graduating in archaeology she became a professor of modern and contemporary Italian literature at the University of Padua and published copious groundbreaking studies, inter alia, on Italian popular women’s fiction and Italian women writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her primary concern as a literary critic is the Italian literary canon, an issue she most recently addressed at the Dana Drake Lecture.

Her most recent publications have focussed on her Armenian heritage. She translated two volumes of Daniel Varujan’s poetry into Italian and edited works on the Armenian genocide and on the experiences of Armenian refugees in Italy.

Her first novel, La masseria delle allodole, was published in 2004 by Rizzoli, and it appeared in English in 2007 as Skylark Farm, translated by Geoffrey Brock and published by Knopf. Drawing on the history of her own recent ancestors[1] it tells of the attempts of the members of an Armenian family caught up in the massacres to escape to Italy and join a relation who had been living there for forty years.[2] It was selected among other things as a finalist for the 2004 Premio Campiello award and was the winner of that year’s Premio Stresa di Narrativa; in 2005 it was awarded the Premio P.E.N.[3] and the Premio Manzoni[1]. It was selected as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. The book has been translated into numerous languages—an English translation by Geoffrey Brock was published as Skylark Farm in 2008—and inspired the Taviani brothers’ 2007 film La Masseria Delle Allodole.

Her second novel, La Strada di Smirne, was published in 2009 by Rizzoli.

References

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