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Gianni Celati

Gianni Celati: The Craft of Everyday Storytelling

  • Book Info
    Gianni Celati
    Book Description:

    The first book-length study in any language of Celati?s entire body of work, this monograph ranges over a broad landscape of critical thought and creative writing.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7533-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Gianni Celati: A Bio-Bibliographical Sketch
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction: Meeting Gianni Celati
    (pp. 3-17)

    From the heyday of the neoavant-garde, in the early and mid-1960s, to the more recent fiction of Umberto Eco, Italo Calvino, and today′s younger generation of writers, Italian fictional modes and critical responses to them have tended to privilege the epistemological underpinnings of narrative prose. As past experimentalism gave way to today′s postmodernism, the widespread ′crisis of reason′ has conditioned both poetics and practice, and current fiction in Italy grapples with the same impossibility of representation and of foundational knowledge that vexes (or inspires) writers elsewhere. The problem of the referent plagued Calvino, for example, especially in his last years,...

  6. 1 Bartleby: Preferring Not To
    (pp. 18-59)

    ′I would prefer not to.′ With these simple words Melville′s Bartleby brings into being a compellingly mysterious world of unexplained motivations, which readers have tried to decipher for more than a century. Translated and commented upon by many of this century′s writers, from Borges and Beckett to Georges Perec and Italo Calvino, ′Bartleby,′ written in the winter of 1852–3 and published in 1856 in the collectionThe Piazza Tales, is a haunting story. It is also, as Celati′s reading of it convincingly and surprisingly argues, deeply funny, ′violently comic,′ to use the words of Deleuze. Critical analyses of the...

  7. 2 The Antimonumental: Redefining Minimalism
    (pp. 60-90)

    Celati disliked having the term ′minimalist′ applied to his writing of the 1980s, for it suggested membership in a literary school or participation in a trend that critics had defined in reference to several different art forms (architecture, music) of the recent past, and had ′reactivated′ in order to describe the works of younger writers who began to publish in the eighties. From Celati′s perspective, therefore, the term could be seen as the result of the typical critical ′endeavor of quickly consulting a code and explaining by means of it,′ rendering it impossible to adhere to ′the taste of the...

  8. 3 The Permeable Gaze
    (pp. 91-137)

    The visual and the verbal: what a long and rocky road these two basic elements of human experience and representation have traveled together. W.J.T. Mitchell reminds us that ′the riddles of language and imagery′ are no closer to a solution now than they were centuries ago: ′The situation is precisely the reverse: language and imagery are no longer what they promised to be for critics and philosophers of the Enlightenment – perfect, transparent media through which reality may be represented to the understanding. For modern criticism, language and imagery have become enigmas, problems to be explained, prison-houses which lock the...

  9. 4 A Family of Voices: Celati′s ′Parents,′ ′Siblings,′ and ′Children′
    (pp. 138-180)

    We first learn that ′we are always mixed up with other people′ from our experiences as members of a family. It is a common reaction, however, to be annoyed or even insulted if we are told that we look or sound much like our parents or our siblings, for this kind of observation seems to imply that we are not uniquely ′ourselves,′ but rather are determined in some fundamental way by our origins, our shared genes, our relations. Celati, on the other hand, not only accepts the idea that we are always replicating elements that come from a wide web...

  10. 5 Celati′s Body Language: Orality, Voice, and the Theater of Ephemeral Mortality
    (pp. 181-220)

    In Nanni Moretti′s 1993 film,Caro Diario(Dear Diary), one of the episodes follows Moretti himself through the maze of medical diagnoses and treatments he must undergo in his attempt to re-find his lost good health. Moretti has appeared as protagonist in the majority of his films, but there is a significant shift in the meaning of his presence inCaro Diario, in which he moves, as Millicent Marcus states, from ′″uomosimbolo″ [man-symbol] whose body stood for the collective body of theEcce Bomboworld′ to his own singular body ′in all its material specificity.′ Moretti now emphasizes the radical...

  11. 6 Africa, Gamuna, and Other Travels: Moving Narratives
    (pp. 221-269)

    Is it sadness that pushes us to travel, or travel that makes us sad? Bruce Chatwin reminds us that ′Pascal, in one of his gloomierpensées, gave it as his opinion that all our miseries stemmed from a single cause: our inability to remain quietly in a room′ (The Songlines; 161). Although travel can bring a joyful sense of freedom from ourselves, it can make us miserable and, like lovemaking, can result in a profound post-voyagetristesse, a ′most humorous sadness,′ that has as much to do with the return to ourselves as to our daily routines. The word ′travel′...

  12. Provisional Conclusions: Venturing into the New Millennium
    (pp. 270-286)

    My own adventure in writing is drawing to its close, and it is now that conclusions are traditionally drawn concerning what it all adds up to. I shall, therefore, dutifully indulge in some summary comments – but only some. For it is the present of Celati′s odyssey that still guides my hand, and it is the unknown future, both of his writing to come and of other critical responses to the many facets of his work, that holds the wonderful possibility of disarranging all I have proposed and that belies anything other than provisional conclusions. This is the blessing (some...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 287-302)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 303-322)
  15. Index
    (pp. 323-340)