I Belong Only to Myself has 17 ratings and 4 reviews. Lily said: Leda Rafanelli is so dreamy. Rafanelli was an eclectic character, an individualist anarc. I Belong Only to Myself: The Life and Writings of Leda Rafanelli. $ Paperback. Books by Leda Rafanelli. Showing 1 Result Books: Advanced Search. Muslim in Milan: The Orientalism of Leda Rafanelli. Barbara Spackman. Uploaded by. Barbara Spackman. Loading Preview. Sorry, preview is currently.

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She creates her own path for herself, and although it twists and turns, it can only be her path.

Writer, anarchist, publisher and convert to Islam, Leda Rafanelli lived through the rise of fascism in Italy. She was the author of over a dozen novels and founder of one of the most significant libertarian publishing houses in the 19 th century. Born to a modest family in Tuscany, Leda was a talented writer from adolescence.

At 20 years of age after some kind of scandal, she moved to Alexandria in Egypt which had a large Italian expatriate community. She came into contact with the anarchist movement in the region, including writer and poet Giuseppe Ungaretti. At the time, the term propaganda referred to persuasive writing of all sorts, not biased or misleading texts developed to espouse a particular political point of view. Her writings might be best understood as social critiques, stimulated by empathy for the sufferings of common people living under oppressive rule, focusing on the lives of characters who were otherwise ignored — underdogs and outcasts, set in asylums, brothels and jails, in the manner of French author Emile Zola.


She also wrote on the topics of anarchist philosophy and current politics.

It was in Egypt, at 20 years of age, that Leda converted Islam. She favorably considered the Arab cultures she came into contact with, which contrasted with her experiences of a Europe which at the time was undergoing rapid industrialization. She wrote several short stories, mostly for children, set in Northern Africa in order to share her understandings of Arab culture and Islam. She studied the Arabic language in order to read the Quran, and to explore the religion in depth.

In accordance with her respect for Islamic culture, she was vehemently anti-colonial, a view expressed particularly in her novel The Oasiswhich was published under the nom de plume Etienne Gamalier.

File:Leda – Wikimedia Commons

Her first novel was published in and features the adventures of two sisters, and introduces the theme of free love. She took many lovers over her life. Although married to Luigio Polli inshe had a 23 year relationship with Guiseppe Monanni.


With her long-term lover Monanni, she founded a libertarian publishing house which would go through a variety of incarnations due to pressure by the fascists who had seized power in She edited books, magazines and pamphlets which were published sporadically until the beginning of the First World War. She remained in Genoa after his death that same year for the rest of her life. She earned money through fortune-telling and explored her interests in Eastern philosophies, whilst developing a semi-autobiographical history of the Italian anarchist movement in the 20 th century, which was never finished.

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