Matilde Serao: La mano tagliata [The Severed Hand]

(848 words)

La mano tagliata [The Severed Hand] is one of Matilde Serao’s late Gothic novels. A best-seller in its time, it has been largely ignored, or treated as an embarrassment, by critics until very recently when it became the subject of feminist investigation. The novel, in fact, revels in its Gothic style, calling attention to it beginning with the title: as Freud noted in his 1919 essay “The Uncanny”, a hand cut off at the wrist is a peculiarly disturbing entity. The narrative itself exhibits a plethora of uncanny features distinctive of the Gothic novel: doppelgängers proliferate, the occult arts are more important than in any other of Serao’s novels, and the male character M…

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Fanning, Ursula. "La mano tagliata". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 July 2010
[, accessed 30 June 2015.]