Journal of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Split, No.10 December 2017.
Original scientific paper
Leda Rafanelli (1880 – 1971) was a political activist, a poet and a novelist, a scholar of Arabic languages, and an individualist anarchist. She converted to Sufism at a very early age, while she was travelling in Egypt, where she met Luigi Polli, a comrade who introduced her to the Italian anarchist circles in Alexandria; later he became her first husband and co-publisher. Although many individualist anarchists would side in favor of World War I as interventionists, Leda stated her pacifist ideas throughout her long life. She wrote tirelessly, from political pamphlets to children stories, from anti- colonialist novels to biographies and auto-biographies. With Giuseppe Monanni, her second partner, she founded the influential publishing house Casa Editrice Sociale, active from 1907 to 1935. Memorie di una chiromante (The memories of a fortune teller) was published in 2010 thanks to the research conducted by Milva Cappellini and Fiamma Chessa, the director and keeper of the Archive Famiglia Berneri – Aurelio Chessa in Reggio Emilia. Written when Leda had reached her maturity, it is a collective meta-autobiography and an invaluable handbook to practice existence as a political act through the methodology of self narration – which, especially in the case of women’s autobiography, becomes quintessentially political.
Anarchism; autobiography; antifascism; colonialism; feminism; marginality; pacifism; Sufism