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Title: Between medicine and spiritualism : the visible and the invisible in Italian literature 1865-1901
Author: Scalessa, Gabriele
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 5576
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis focuses on the revisiting of several scientific theories on the part of Italian authors from 1865-1901, and illustrates how the process of assimilation was the effect of an accommodative process, which resulted in authors reinterpreting these theories in terms of a contrast between a visible and an invisible domain. The first chapter focuses on Arrigo Boito’s ‘Lezione d’anatomia’ and Camillo Boito’s ‘Un corpo’ in order to show how the visible/invisible contrast becomes a hermeneutical grid by which the female body is defined, this body being the field on which medical normativity and the artistic approach meet and come into conflict with each other. The second chapter analyses how the visible-invisible contrast subtends Italian Spiritismo, a discipline that was read in scientific terms and (as in Luigi Capuana’s writings) as a theory concerning artistic – and literary – creation as well. Since the Spiritismo entails a process of ‘feminisation’ of the medium, which characterises both the ‘scientific’ and the ‘artistic’ facet of the discipline, the third chapter investigates the ways in which the female character has been represented as both a physical appearance and an elusive interiority (especially when dealing with the activity of reading) in Italian narrative from Tarchetti’s Fosca to the early twentieth century. As a conclusion, the fourth chapter retraces the formation of the visible-invisible dichotomy as resulting from the assimilation of European science through the analysis of the figure of the physician in Paolo Mantegazza’s Un giorno a Madera, Angelo Camillo De Meis’s Dopo la laurea and Luigi Capuana’s re-writing of his novel Giacinta. Moving from here, this thesis argues that the visible-invisible dichotomy is peculiar to the time span considered, as the twentieth-century will be distinguished by a general distrust towards – and trivialisation of – positivist science.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PQ Romance literatures