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Beyond the Family Romance

Beyond the Family Romance: The Legend of Pascoli

  • Book Info
    Beyond the Family Romance
    Book Description:

    Beyond the Family Romanceexplores parallels between Pascoli's work and such writers as Tarchetti, Boito, Poe, and Invernizio.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8406-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction: Nesting Instincts
    (pp. 3-23)

    The myth of Orpheus, as recounted in Ovid’sMetamorphoses, warns against the temptations of looking back. As the beloved Eurydice slips ‘back into the depths,’ we are reminded of the dangers of nostalgia and the consequences of turning our gaze from the path ahead to the path behind. Yet such a backward turn and, more precisely, a desire to retrace and examine origins, defines the projects of both Giovanni Pascoli and Sigmund Freud. Both these turn-of-century writers attempt to lay hold of – to define and depict – an originating moment that, like Eurydice, proves to be slippery, intangible, and, in many...

  5. 1 Foreshadowing: The Scapigliati and Psychoanalysis
    (pp. 24-56)

    The literature of thescapigliatura– an artistic movement in northern Italy that was productive during the 1860s and 1870s – has been one of the less recognized and less critically treated bodies of literature in the Italian tradition. This group of writers, christened by Cletto Arrighi in the preface to his novelLa scapigliatura e il 6 febbraio, included Arrigo Boito, his brother Camillo, Emilio Praga, and Igino Ugo Tarchetti.¹ Dissatisfied with the developing capitalism of the parliamentary monarchy, thescapigliatiself-consciously resisted and opposed themselves to the dominant bourgeois values of the industrializing north.² Much of the criticism that has...

  6. 2 Returning: The Poemi conviviali and the Uncanny
    (pp. 57-82)

    In addition to his nine volumes of Italian poetry, his prize-winning Latin poetry, and his critical essays, most notably on Dante and Leopardi, Pascoli also translated much poetry, both from the classics (such as passages fromThe IliadandThe Odyssey) and from modern poets such as Tennyson, Shelley, and Hugo. The Italian rendering of ‘We Are Seven,’ the beginning of which is reproduced above, is the only translation from William Wordsworth’s poetry that Pascoli undertook. Pascoli’s choice of this particular poem to translate seems motivated not by the fact that it was Wordsworth’s best-known piece but by its strong...

  7. 3 Positioning Pascoli in the Fin de Siècle: The Case of Infanticide
    (pp. 83-106)

    In the first chapter, I explored the ways in which thescapigliaturawriters often bring two divergent epistemological perspectives into direct confrontation with each other. Typically, these writers deploy an uncanny image (the bleeding neck of the black bishop), moment (the discovery of the fetus in the cadaver’s womb), or character (Fosca) as an expression of the ‘real’ that uncouples both competing perspectives and escapes comprehension by either mode of discourse. The positivism of anatomists and other scientists and the heightened romanticism of artists and poets were inscribed in the literature of thescapigliati, given voice through their central characters,...

  8. 4 Envisioning Childhood: Memory, Desire, Pietas, and Play
    (pp. 107-134)

    Composed roughly at the same time, Giovanni Pascoli’s essayIl fanciullino(The Little Boy,published in 1903) and Sigmund Freud’sThree Essays on the Theory of Sexuality(1905, with revised and expanded editions appearing through 1924) seem to have little in common other than their dates of composition and the importance attributed to them as fundamental, programmatic statements of their respective authors.¹ The first offers reflections on poetics, the second proposes a theory of sexuality. Reading each with the other in mind, however, discloses fundamental concerns common to both authors. While significantly diverging on the issue of eroticism, Freud and...

  9. 5 Remembering the Golden Age
    (pp. 135-158)

    In ‘L’era nuova’ (1899) andFuture of an Illusion(1927–8),¹ as the titles indicate, Pascoli and Freud adopt a kind of prophetic stance, contemplating the future course of civilization. In particular, they consider the relationship between faith and science, characterizing religious faith as an ‘illusion’ and modern science as its foil.² Both writers posit their own discourse (poetry, psychoanalysis) as the bearer of a sober ‘truth,’ in contrast to the comforting illusions offered by religion. In so doing, both Pascoli and Freud construct a temporal scheme of revelation or demystification that unfolds both phylogenetically (from primitive illusions to modern...

  10. Conclusion: Reading beyond the Family Romance
    (pp. 159-160)

    The goal of moving ‘beyond’ the family romance alludes to the methodological path undertaken in this study, which aimed to engage psychoanalysis in a way not limited to the classical model of applied psychoanalytic literary criticism. That is, the study proposes a structural and comparative approach that examines the significance of Pascoli’s work beyond its role as either evidence or symptom of his personal family relationships. Pascoli’s exceptional life story, from the tragic losses of his youth to the unusual living arrangement with his sisters, clearly had a deeply formative impact on every level of his psyche and his writing....

  11. Notes
    (pp. 161-190)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 191-198)
  13. Index
    (pp. 199-203)