The Phoenix speaks : the reclamation of socio-political engagement in the works of Leonardo Sciascia and Antonio Tabucchi, 1975-2005
This thesis represents the first comparative study of Leonardo Sciascia and Antonio Tabucchi. It examines their literary engagement with socio-political concerns in a climate coloured by the scepticism and uncertainty of postmodernism and post-structuralism. This thesis seeks to counter current literary criticism, which suggests that engagement in Tabucchi's writing is confined to certain key texts, and to' instead show that committed writing underpins all of his work, including texts currently held to deal solely with literary concerns. Previous research asserts that Sciascia's work aims to engage with society, often employing the anachronistic term impegno to describe his writing. This thesis seeks to examine the ways in which Sciascia's engagement counters the political and literary challenges which led to the collapse of impegno by the 1970s. The thesis is structured in five parts. Part one charts the course of committed writing from the post-war era to its problematization during the 1950s and 1960s. It examines the relevance of Sciascia, Tabucchi, and the importance of 1975 as a starting point for this study. It goes on to explore direct engagement with specific events in their writing, and their employment of fictional lenses to factual writing. Part two examines ways in which the writers use the representation of geographical, historical and border spaces to engage with society. Part three considers ways in which Sciascia and Tabucchi view notions of uncertain truths and the inability of language to fully communicate ideas, as means of strengthening, rather than undermining, engagement. Part four investigates ways in which intertextuality, another barrier to engagement, is used by the two writers to dialogue with society as well as with literature. Part five studies the value with which Sciascia and Tabucchi imbue literature, as compared to journalism, and assesses the extent to which they view literature as a valid means of engagement.