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Title: Questions of exile in Dante and Pasolini
Author: Hooper, L. E.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2009
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Exile is central to the work of Dante (1265-1321) and Pasolini (1922-1975); both writers suffered banishment and each presented himself as an outsider. It is often hypothesised that there is a relationship between this exiled status and the innovative approach of these writers to their work. My thesis investigates this proposition. In the Vita nova – written c. 1293-1295, some years before Dante’s banishment in 1302 – I argue that both Dante’s poetic self and his texts are already configured as pilgrims through exile in a Christian tradition stretching back through Gregory and Augustine to Paul. The duality of the exile/pilgrim motif, which expressed both the perpetual estrangement of this world and the eternal hope of spiritual progress in the next, underwrites the libello’s hybrid textuality, allowing it to remain suspended between many of the oppositional binaries of medieval writing – prose and verse, sacred and secular, vernacular and Latin. In my study of Pasolini’s verse tragedies of the late 1960s, I show how Pasolini builds on the estranging nature of the dramatic form to construct a theatre that communicates the author’s sense of boom-era Italians as a people in exile via both formal and thematic means. My reading of the plays shows exile’s necessity in understanding their negotiation between subjectivity and history – the capital issues in Pasolini’s varied career. Finally, I examine the issue of Eden in the Earthly Paradise cantos of Dante’s Comedy (1307-1321), and Pasolini’s novels La divina mimesis (1975), Atti impuri and Amado mio (both c. 1950). These narrative works attach an Edenic quality to the lyric writings with which both men began their careers, and aspire to a place within the boundaries of this Edenic lyric tradition. I conclude that the crossing of boundaries implicit in Dante and Pasolini’s self-presentation as Italian writers in exile allows them to justify breaking new ground artistically whilst still making a powerful statement of civic and cultural belonging.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available