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Creative Entanglements

Creative Entanglements: Gadda and the Baroque

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  • Book Info
    Creative Entanglements
    Book Description:

    This groundbreaking study of Gadda?s narrative form identifies Gadda?s complex ?baroque? style as not merely an aesthetic conceit, but an expression of modern alienation and of loss, grief, and the need for solitude in the face of a fragmented reality.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7358-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. 1 Gadda and the Baroque
    (pp. 3-19)

    An obsession with knots; a penchant for extravagant verbal chemistry and intricate style; a desire to distort and pervert; a philosophical intelligence that seeks out obscure correspondences; a fascination with labyrinthine narrative structures, fragmentation, unpredictability, and obscurity – these are the characteristic features of Gadda′s art that, from early on in his literary career, earned him the classification ′baroque,′ a designation he vigorously defended against all pejorative associations, not the least being false and grotesque pedantry and, what amounts to the same, an excessive concern for artifice and ingeniousness. Gadda′s defence of style, which serves both to ward off potential...

  5. 2 Baroque Solitude: Disillusion and the Ruins of War
    (pp. 20-42)

    Is there a real moment in time when the world collapses into fragments and the agony begins? Gadda has often cited the problems of his childhood, mainly his family′s uncertain financial status, as the principal cause of his malaise, and criticism advisedly has traced, with relative success, the many images of torment and trauma present in his work to their autobiographical matrix. Attempts to penetrate Gadda′s inner world by means of psychoanalysis have produced some compelling readings, but also, inevitably, several difficulties, among which the attempt to find a ground for Gadda′s distinctive manner of writing is dominant. This chapter...

  6. 3 Creative Bodies: Theory and Practice of the Grotesque
    (pp. 43-73)

    Italian prose fiction in the early twentieth century, like the modernist currents in the rest of Europe, was characterized by its belief in the novel as an ideal vehicle for the exploration of individual subjectivity. The conception of the self that informed the works of all the major writers of the period, however different its modes of identification and transmission, placed the human subject (the protagonist as embodiment of the consciousness of the author) at centre stage, where it was made to command constant attention. There it bore the burden of being represented as a subject ′in crisis′ in order...

  7. 4 A Baroque Ethics
    (pp. 74-95)

    Emilio Manzotti has remarked thatLa cognizione del dolorecharts an itinerary that consists of the subject′s gradual acquisition in equal measure ofconoscenza and dolore. The novel may be read, on his view, as a search for the ontological foundation of a single life, seen as the life of every-man.¹ In this respect,La cognizionehas no doubt all the qualities of the modern epic, for which Joyce′sUlyssesis the prototype. One is even tempted to recall Dante′s journey in Hell, so eventful is the road travelled by the novel′s protagonist and so grotesque are the representations we...

  8. 5 A Baroque Mystery
    (pp. 96-116)

    In contrast toLa cognizione del dolore, Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulanahas at its centre not the individual, autobiographical subject whose force can be measured by its neurotic intelligence and by the strength of its obsessions, but rather a city: Rome, capital of Italy and seat of the Fascist government and law.¹ At the same time, the form and conventions of detective fiction adopted (and parodied) by Gadda provide a means for both the amplification and the objectification of the nameless referent at the basis ofLa cognizione. In this sense,Quer pasticciaccioextends and formalizes the thematic...

  9. Appendix: Gadda and Fascism
    (pp. 117-134)
  10. Notes
    (pp. 135-144)
  11. References
    (pp. 145-148)
  12. Index
    (pp. 149-151)