A generation of Italian authors dedicated their lives, their works, and their voices to the primary driving force behind twentieth-century narratives of World War II. Renata Viganò was an active member of the Italian Resistance during World War II, and, like many of her male counterparts, she depicted the actions of the brave people who contributed to and participated in the partisan movement. Unlike her counterparts, however, Viganò vividly portrayed the experiences of women, notably women on the front line, in her posthumously published Matrimonio in brigata, here translated for the first time in English as Partisan Wedding.
"If it had not been for them, the women . . . who got used to `men's business,' . . . the partisan army would have lost a vital, necessary force." The women in Partisan Wedding joined the struggle for many reasons; some for their husbands, others for their fathers, brothers, or sons; some for a sense of justice and the desire to do what was right. Whatever the cause, Viganò demonstrates that women maintained the ability to nurture and to care, to preserve their female qualities in the face of war.
Because of her own role as a partisan, the stories in Partisan Wedding are based on Viganò's personal experiences. Two stories in the collection are specifically autobiographical: "Acquitted" and "My Resistance." Relating her own plight to find her husband, a partisan commander, after his sudden arrest, "Acquitted" aptly conveys Viganò's struggle to maintain her strength in the face of complete helplessness. "My Resistance" is a personal account of her own experiences during the war and the women she met along the way.
Partisan Wedding is an invaluable contribution to the literature of the Second World War, completing the picture of those involved in the struggle for freedom. Viganò's remarkable prose, equally beautiful and terrible in its description of the minute details of human suffering and sacrifice, opens a window to a world that has rarely been seen, and a world not easily forgotten.