Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library

'Neoavanguardia': Italian Experimental Literature and Arts in the 1960s

  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    In examining this often controversial movement,Neoavanguardia's contributors include topics such as critical-theoretical debates, the crisis of literature as defined within the movement, and issues of gender in 1960s Italian art and literature.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9998-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-2)
  3. Literature and the Arts in the 1960s: An Introduction
    (pp. 3-18)

    In October 1963, thirty-four Italian writers, poets, critics, artists, and composers gathered in Palermo and founded the Gruppo 63. This meeting was the official birth of the Italianneoavanguardia, a literary and artistic movement that provoked a cultural turmoil at the time, and contributed to stir the Italian intellectual scene from the stagnant condition that had characterized the cultural discourses and creative practices of the 1950s. There were four subsequent meetings of the group: in Reggio Emilia, 1–3 November 1964; in Palermo, 3–6 September 1965, where discussion was devoted entirely to the experimental novel; in La Spezia, 10...

  4. Part I: The Cultural Debate

    • 1 Subverting Literature: Literary Theory and Critical Discourse in the Italian Neoavanguardia
      (pp. 21-37)

      Critical practice is one of the founding aspects of avant-garde. By refusing the coeval literary modes, avant-garde implicitly questions the validity of these models and assesses them negatively. The historical avant-gardes expressed their criticism of the past in extremely polemical and provocative terms (pars destruens). However, the constructive aspect of their discourse (pars construes) was conveyed through the use of manifestos, the language of which was more creative and poetic rather than rigorously critical. This is hardly mere coincidence. Criticism, understood as an opinion based upon ascertained aesthetical parameters, was not part of the cultural background of the historical avant-gardes....

    • 2 Neoavanguardia and Postmodernism: Oscillations between Innovation and Tradition from 1963 to 2003
      (pp. 38-73)

      The question of whether postmodernism marks the end of any avantgarde transgression and thus the end of modernity is crucial within the context of contemporary Italian fiction, both for Marxist literary critics and for those with a hermeneutic or poststructuralist orientation. If postmodernism is to be intended as a rupture with modernism, the problem is how to deal with it. Does it mark a new epoch or rather a new phase within the history of modernity? The ‘grand narrative’ of the avant-garde, founded on the absolute value of the ‘modern’ and on a linear-progressive concept of history, enters into crisis...

    • 3 Parasurrealism and Technological Utopia: The Project of Malebolge
      (pp. 74-96)

      In this essay I will discussMalebolge, a quarterly journal published in Reggio Emilia from 1964 to 1967. Along with such journals asIl verri,Grammatica, andQuindici,Malebolgewas an essential means for the circulation of texts and ideas of the Italianneoavanguardia.¹ Before dealing directly with specific issues addressed in the magazine, however, I would like to discuss ‘parasurrealism,’ a notion that represented a constitutive critical and theoretical aspect of the project ofMalebolge.

      Literary critic Angelo Guglielmi delineated parasurrealism, although indirectly, in hisVero e falsowith reference toL’oblò(1964), an experimental novel by Adriano Spatola...

  5. Part II: Revisiting Literature

    • 4 The ‘New’ Novel of the Neoavanguardia
      (pp. 99-122)

      As is well known, the establishment of the Gruppo 63, which occurred in 1963, is the formal act that acknowledges the existence of an avantgarde and experimental movement whose origins date back to the times ofIl verri, a journal founded in 1956 by Luciano Anceschi but that found identity and unity in 1961 with the publication of the poetry anthologyI novissimi. The Gruppo 63 began to show signs of disintegration in 1965, but it was only between 1968 and 1969 – coinciding with the explosion of political movements and the reappraisal of the role and the social involvement (‘impegno’)...

    • 5 Revolution in Flatland: Giorgio Manganelli’s Critique of the Avant-garde
      (pp. 123-148)

      A remarkable increase in specialist scholarship over the past decade has done much to reveal the originality and complexity of Giorgio Manganelli’s theoretical reflections on literature.¹ A range of recent critical studies have emphasized Manganelli’s interest in questions such as the social role of literature and the origins of literary creativity, as well as his engagement with a surprisingly large number of theoretical models.² While this has rightly established Manganelli’s fame as one of Italy’s most sophisticated and challenging authors of the late twentieth century, it also seems to have drawn attention away from his initial involvement with the Gruppo...

    • 6 The Poetry of the Neoavanguardia and the Materiality of Language
      (pp. 149-170)

      In its various expressions, the avant-garde embodies the most radical and complex endeavour of twentieth-century art to go beyond the conventional boundaries of language and aesthetic forms. Within the context of literature, it consistently presents itself as an adventure in unchartered territories, searching for new ways to expand the spaces of writing. Its objective is that of reconfiguring the internal spaces of subjectivity and of provoking shifts in the collective frames through which we read the world. In this respect, the avant-garde is rooted in the preoccupation to break with uncomplicated representational notions regarding the relationship between the word and...

    • 7 Language, Gender, and Sexuality in the Neoavanguardia
      (pp. 171-211)
      LUCIA RE

      Like its ‘historical’ predecessor, the Italian neo-avant-garde was essentially male-dominated. Although it is difficult to pinpoint exactly where and when the Italian neo-avant-garde was born, the founding of the journalIl verriby Luciano Anceschi in Milan in 1956 is often cited as its starting point, while the publication in 1961 of the anthologyI novissimi, containing excerpts from the work of Nanni Balestrini, Alfredo Giuliani, Elio Pagliarani, Antonio Porta, and Edoardo Sanguineti, is considered its official birth.¹ The all-male group ofnovissimipoets went on to form the core of the larger Gruppo 63, in which women were a...

    • 8 Giulia Niccolai: A Wide-Angle Portrait
      (pp. 212-230)

      These words, written in an email by Giulia Niccolai on 15 August 2005 in response to questions I had asked her concerning the Italian neo-avant-garde reveal her widely shared belief in the fragility of any avant-garde that arises out of a specific cultural and political milieu in which renewal and change are felt to be necessary. When the goal of transforming the status quo is fulfilled, the impetus toward newness dies until conditions arise that once more push writers and artists of all kinds to ‘make it new’ all over again. There are those today who argue that avant-gardes are...

  6. Part III: Beyond Literature

    • 9 Signs and Designs: Sanguineti and Baj from Laborintus to The Biggest Art-Book in the World
      (pp. 233-253)

      In the aftermath of the physical destruction and moral despair of the Second World War, a period during which Europe experienced a deep and dramatic social crisis, the old Continent witnessed the development of an artistic current known as Art Informel.¹ Although it is difficult to give a univocal definition of this term – due to its manifold and heterogeneous nature – it is nonetheless possible to identify some of its main tenets, including an emphasis on spontaneity and irrationality, a rejection of ‘well-made’ traditional art works, and a refusal of the idea of form (abstract and figurative). As Claudio Spadoni has...

    • 10 Gruppo 63 and Music: A Complex Relationship
      (pp. 254-282)

      The artists and intellectuals of the Italian neo-avant-garde and of the Gruppo 63 in particular were primarily active in the field of literature, in terms of both production and theoretical reflection.¹ Nevertheless, this cultural and aesthetic experience revealed an openness towards and an interest in the entire system of the arts. This essay will attempt to provide an overview, general by force of circumstances and with no claims to comprehensiveness, of the relationship that the Gruppo 63 entertained with music. As we will see, developments in the music world (in both theory and practice) in the 1950s and the 1960s...

    • 11 Superstudio Double-Take: Rescue Operations in the Realms of Architecture
      (pp. 283-320)

      When considering the different and interdisciplinary experimental proposals that shaped the debates and the poetics of the Italian neo-avantgarde in the 1960s, one finds a consistency concerning names and motifs between the publications of the 1960s and the critical re-editions done in the last few years. Among the architects and designers who actively collaborated in publications, colloquia, and meetings of the Italian neo-avant-garde in the 1960s, one of the most influential critical voices is Vittorio Gregotti. An examination of critical theory in the field of architecture in recent years reveals a quite insistent reconsideration of an international neo-avant-garde, yet Vittorio...

  7. Contributors
    (pp. 321-321)