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Title: Humanity, hybridism and liminality in Tommaso Landolfi (1939-1950)
Author: Roccella, Paola
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 5778
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis analyzes the three texts forming the so-called „Fantastic trilogy‟ by Tommaso Landolfi: La pietra lunare (1939), Racconto d’autunno (1947) and Cancroregina (1950), in the light of the cultural and historical environment in which they were produced. I argue that these novellas incorporate and obliquely problematize specific tensions of the period running from Racial Laws (1938) and the Pact of Steel (1939) to post-war reconstruction. Building on recent scholarship on the subversive role of the Fantastic, the study provides a more comprehensive view of Landolfi‟s early production and challenges accepted views on his Fantastic as exclusively ironical, intellectual and free-play. This thesis also investigates the sources through which Landolfi delineates this oblique form of socio-political critique. Whereas scholarship in the past has widely recognized that Landolfi draws inspiration from nineteenth-century French, Russian and German classics in the genre of Gothic and Fantastic fiction, this contribution draws attention to the way Landolfi negotiates this traditional repertoire through input from both Italy‟s „high‟ literary tradition (Dante, Leopardi, Manzoni, D‟Annunzio), Italian folklore and other non-literary sources (i.e. occultism and psychiatry). This thesis considers Landolfi‟s work from fresh angles, applying recent Anglophone theoretical frameworks (including theories on post-humanism, on the subversive role of the Fantastic and political readings of Gothic fiction) to his writing and probing his portrayals of dynamics and tensions that continue to challenge us today. Additionally, it makes use of the anthropological notion of „liminality‟ to underline the intrinsic thematic, textual and narrative ambiguity of the three novellas. I claim that the texts‟ liminality – involving slippery entities, settings, situations and narrative modalities that do not fit any precise category – voices the cultural and political instability of the decade under analysis. The study makes a deeper, and more nuanced, contribution to the literature on Landolfi, reflecting upon the author‟s strategies for problematizing contemporary historical and cultural issues by means of a fiction only apparently detached from reality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DG Italy ; PQ Romance literatures