Browsing 2003 / 10 Prospero. Rivista di culture anglo-germaniche by Title
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- Publication'Berlin is a skeleton which aches in the cold': the city as fictional autobiography in Christopher Isherwood's "Goodbye to Berlin"(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Gefter Wondrich, RobertaChristopher Isherwood, in his autobiography "Christopher and his Kind", published in 1976, offers a candid version of his bohemian sojourn in Berlin at the beginning of the 20th Century. The author makes clear that his stay was due more to the satisfaction of his sexual desires and less to the gathering of material for his autobiographical novels "Mr Norris Changes Trains" (1935) and "Goodbye to Berlin" (1939). During Isherwood’s stay, Berlin was in the last throes of the Republic of Weimar and at the centre of a cultural and artistic innovation; it was also a place renowned for its sexual freedom, and that was quite appealing to upper class homosexuals. In Berlin, the author could find both inspiration for his works and a personal freedom he could not find at home. Many other writers of the 30s had chosen Berlin as elective site for expatriation, because it was seen as a locus of history in the making, a city of history. Despite this, Isherwood’s "Goodbye to Berlin" is more a novel of the city than a novel about a city. In it, the shared textuality of the urban and the literary is developed along thematic lines that stem from a basic autobiographical matrix: the city as the elected location for the construction of a personal, sexual and ideological identity; the structural identification between the narrating self (also an authorial projection) and the city as body; and, finally, the city as illusion, artifice and cluster of isolated realities, in its turn related to a problematic caesura between individual and community.
- PublicationLa casa del diavolo: Londra libertina(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Rossi, LucaBetween the Restoration and the first half of the 18th Century, England built its own territorial identity to the detriment of the great explorations that had marked the Tudor era and the reign of the first two Stuart monarchs. English literature does not care anymore for the tales of adventures in foreign and exotic lands, and busies itself with the discovery and the exploration of what is near and familiar. Even in "Gulliver’s Travels" we can see how Gulliver’s amazing adventures in strange countries end with the problematic albeit happy coming back home of the eponymous character. The journey itself stands rather for a trial, as in medieval allegories, than for the desire for adventures, and the ultimate goal is that of coming home and settling down. The essay focuses on the representation of London, in particular through the novel of "Fanny Hill, The Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure" by John Cleland, a controversial novel which mixes ambiguous morality and religious disenchantment, a novel in which the city is background and intricate black soul, inspiration and hypostasis of vice, desired but then avoided destination, conquered and finally re-inhabited place. These are the multiple functions and the stimuli given by the urban space of London in "Fanny Hill".
- PublicationIl castello di Wemmick(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Luciani, Giovanni"Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens was set at the beginning of the 19th Century, a time in which Wordsworth was writing the first version of the "Prelude". "The Prelude" brings an important dichotomy to the fore, that of self and ‘other’, of artist and crowd; this opposition at first parallels but then completely substitutes that of city-countryside. In "Great Expectations", there is no countryside able to safeguard values and identity. Since there is no countryside opposing the city in the dichotomy, the city is left without antagonist and loses its own values and certainties. The essay discusses the episode of "Great Expectations" in which Pip and Wemmick walk from the office in the City to Wemmick’s house in Walworth. The house appears divided and opposed to the centre and to Wemmick’s work in the City. Being defined as a castle, to Wemmick the house becomes a defensive tool against work and the crowd, a place in which he can feel himself although his identity does not seem to be free. Wemmick is a comic character, but he points to an issue regarding the city on which generations of scholars have debated about. It is a problem concerning literature as well. After Dickens, the opposition between artist and crowd remains almost untouched; it is with "Mrs Dalloway" by Virginia Woolf and with the works of some authors of the 30s that the English writer will start to leave behind this antagonism.
- PublicationLa città come fantasmagoria e la nuova mentalità urbana nel "Partonopier und Meliur" di Konrad von Würzburg(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Dallapiazza, MichaelThe urban character of Konrad von Würzburg's work reveals itself in the emphasised privatisation of the emotional life of the characters, which is emancipated from the codified forms of the manorial/feudal ritual and examined in light of the psychological motivations that animate the behaviour of the lovers. The reciprocal tendency of the protagonists is explicitly free from the duties of the chivalric ceremonial, and finds in the domestic space and in the affective structure of marriage a privileged fulfilment. Furthermore, the reference to an equal relationship, evidently far from the conception of marriage that was actually performed by the urban middle class, implies a utopian reference to horizon that is still pre-modern, defensively obscured against the radicality of modernisation phenomena and based on the ideal of a harmonious fusion between the culture of the aristocratic court and that of the middle class of the new cities.
- PublicationLa città come rappresentazione dell'inferno nell'Irlanda medievale del XIV secolo(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Sinisi, LuciaThe Harley MS 913, only relic of the variety of the Anglo-Irish dialects of the Middle Ages, conserves a satirical poem that targets the religious orders and the professional categories living in a fictional town (possibly an Irish one), with the only exception of the upper classes and the peasants. The poem does not even spare the saints, since the first five stanzas are dedicated to a number of holy figures put in what seems a devotional hierarchy. Each stanza starts with “Hail”, echoing both the salute given to the Virgin and the kind of toast used in a tavern. All the attributes used to identify the saints have a strong sexual innuendo, while Mary Magdalene is identified as the mother of Jesus’ illegitimate child, as written in the biblical apocrypha. To the author of the essay, however, the most interesting aspect is not the particular city the poet is describing, but how the writer conceives it as the receptacle of what he believes to be the worst of vices: money accumulation. The poet shows his disgust with the deplorable environmental condition of his city, and walking around it, he complains that what he sees is urbanisation, not hell. This is the poet’s condemnation of the city’s change into a mercantile and bourgeois society.
- PublicationLa città medievale nel "Welscher Gast" del friulano Tommasino di Cerclaria(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Del Zotto, CarlaThe representation of the urban environment in "Welscher Gast" by Tommasino de Cerclaria (beginning of the 13th Century) is permeated by the diffidence towards social, economic and cultural transformations that coincided with the loss of importance of the feudal system. City life is here connoted as subject to instability and irreligiousness, which is in turn related to the diffusion of heresy. The rich iconographic apparatus of the work emphasises these aspects, referring back to the traditional depiction of the civitas dei as anti-model against the corruption that pervades the community of men.
- PublicationLe città utopiche tra immaginazione e storia(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Fortunati, VitaWhen Italo Calvino wrote "Le città invisibili" in 1972, he was aware of the period of transition that urban life was facing. The ‘city’ is a polysemous subject, and since it encompasses issues related with both the man-made environment and the human experience itself, the concept of the city must be examined by using multidisciplinary methodologies. The utopian space is symbolic: it is created through an act of deliberate volition, and each planning starts with the spatial configuration of buildings in order to establish relationships between objects and beings. The utopian political and social frame of mind shapes the topography and the blueprint of the utopian city. The project stems from the mind of the author as a mere speculation, and it is built and made real through textuality: it is a non-place that does not exist outside the text. The essay focuses on two moments in the long history of utopian cities: the relationship between architectural theories on the ideal city and utopia during the Renaissance; and the relationship between normative and legislative utopia (both having the city as their prime expression), and the Arcadian-pastoral utopia (for which the garden and the relation of human beings to nature is essential). In this last case, the author will take into consideration the utopian city of the 19th Century, and look at two architectural schools, the constructivist and the cultural one.
- PublicationDer Vicomte von Valmont und William Lovell: Kriegs- und Überlebensstrategie(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Longo, MaddalenaIn this essay, a parallel reading of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" by Choderlos de Laclos and "William Lovell" by Tieck is carried out. Structural correspondences (both are epistolary novels) are intertwined with the elements of a thematic continuity, linked to the logic of the intrigue. Nevertheless, while in Laclos the seductive strategy that pervades the plot develops according to a linear pattern and finds its accomplishment in the realisation of the erotic desire, in Tieck the fulfilment of the sexual tension is overturned in a nihilistic disenchantment devoid of any possible remedial.
- PublicationDieci anni fa, la scommessa di "Prospero"(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Crivelli, Renzo S.“Prospero” has celebrated its 10th birthday. During its decade-long work, the magazine has developed into a place for research projects and debates in the cultural fields of English and German Studies. The activities of the publication are recalled and the contributors to its prosperity are named, with particular regard to the last conference “La città come testo: scritture della città e città della scrittura”, held in 2003 in Trieste. The articles written for the occasion are published in this issue of “Prospero”.
- PublicationGreat Expectations, "great exhibitions": illusioni e inganni nella Londra vittoriana(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Squeo, AlessandraThe Crystal Palace, built by the architect Joseph Paxton to host the "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nation", was inaugurated on May 1st 1851 at the presence of Queen Victoria and the court. It was a great show, portraying the greatness of the British Empire. The "Great Exhibition" was an incredible example of the spectacularisation of the urban space that had already started at the beginning of the 19th Century. The magnificent and impressive image of the metropolis conveyed a clear ideological message, in a moment where showcases of national pride were increasing because of the difficult times and the political struggles happening in the country. In 1861, Dickens draws his own portrait of London in the novel "Great Expectations" against that same background: a city plagued by conflicts between pretence and reality, truth and lies. In "Great Expectations", London becomes a ‘text’, that is to say a woven fabric, according to the Latin etymology, a plot to be disentangled, and opens itself to continually new and different interpretations.
- PublicationIntroduzione a "La città come testo" : Atti del convegno (Trieste, 3 dicembre 2003)(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Gefter Wondrich, RobertaBackground and mould of a sizeable part of modern literature, the city has often developed into a literary myth. Be it a metropolis like London or Berlin, or a cosmopolitan area in Mitteleuropa like Trieste or Prague, it is possible to consider the city as a semantic space, a representation of a text open to multiple and different interpretations. Literature helps to ‘create’ a city as much as architects do, as Kevin Lynch has stated about Dickens’ London: the writer builds the perception readers have of a place, and the way it is imagined by his/her readers. This can be clearly exemplified by 19th-century literature, in which cities like Paris, London and Vienna were rebuilt like works of art to celebrate their historical achievements, and took their place in the collective unconscious as much as the characters of the most famous novels of the time. In literature, the city becomes then an existential topos: the place in which the world’s complexity is discovered; the interior and mental landscape; the place of modernity with its tensions and difficult appeasement between individuality and community; paysage moralisé and infinite; discordant place of aporias.
- Publication'Liverpool is Where the Heart is'. The Image of the City in the Liverpool Poetry of the Sixties(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Zavagno, MariannaThe Merseysound is the poetic movement that developed in Liverpool in the Sixties, and it represents one of the expressions of a wider Underground literary movement. Its main feature is the emphasis placed on the urban theme and Liverpool’s landscape. For Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten, the three representatives of the Merseysound, Liverpool is a very important cultural and emotional entity that is reflected and narrated through their poetry. The Poets’ link with Liverpool is deeper than the one established between Londoners and the capital city: it is entrenched in pride, loyalty and a sense of belonging inspired by the provincial town itself, like it were their inspiring muse. The Mersey Poets have been called the “metropolitan poets” because of their great concern for Liverpool, almost mirroring the feelings Baudelaire had for 19th-century suburban Paris. The three poets develop an urban imagery that evocates Liverpool’s buildings, citizens and districts as spiritual and structural elements of the city itself. Liverpool becomes a place where reality and surrealism – and even magic – meet. In the essay, examples from the poems by the Mersey Poets’ are examined, poems in which the structural elements of the ‘cityscape’ are evoked.
- PublicationI misteri della città nella narrativa europea del primo Ottocento: un'analisi imagologica(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Meineke, EvaAt the beginning of the 19th Century, European literature depicted the city as a mysterious place, thanks to the transition due to the beginning of the Modern era and the loss of traditional values. The city, which substituted the traditional rural spaces, was a scary place, an unsettling phenomenon that was quite difficult to understand because of its size and complexity. Writers tried to offer an explication to the upheaval of their times by portraying the city as a hidden menace, thus continuing the Gothic novels’ disturbing setting. Gothic literature was widespread in 18th-century Europe, and mystery was an element very popular and appreciated by the audience, hence the emphasis placed on it. On the one hand, authors tried to reassure their readers by mitigating the city’s more sinister aspects, but on the other hand, they used the mystery to entertain and amuse. This double aim can be observed in those images of the city that writers used in their representations. The essay wants to present three categories of images which revolve around this double image of the city, of mystery on the one side and of stable concreteness on the other: the city-labyrinth, the city-woman and the city-monster. The examples are taken from English, French and German literature.
- PublicationNew Findings in Piranesi's "Antiquities of Rome": Urban Archaeologies in John Soane and Thomas De Quincey(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Cuojati, Francesca"Crude Hints Towards an History of My House" was written in 1812 by the London architect John Sloane. The text provides an unexpected setting for a perplexing narrative: the house in progress is envisaged as if in ruins, and commented upon by latter day visitors. The decrepit abode looks mysterious, and the visitors formulate hypotheses regarding its origins and function according to the clues provided. The stairs described in "Crude Hints" are very similar to those created by Giovanni Battista Piranesi in his work "Carceri d’Invenzione", a very popular work among English architects, antiquarians and writers of the time. Even Thomas De Quincey, in his "Confessions of an Opium Eater", features those same stairs and uses them to explain the experience of his 'chiefly architectural' opium dreams. In this essay, the relationship between the plates of prisons by Piranesi and the English culture and literature are examined. In the urban labyrinth of London, always in decadence, demolition and reconstruction, the shaping form, both architectural and textual, merges with dismemberment, ruin and fragmentariness. This, perhaps, is the reason for the success and influence of Piranesi’s engravings, and the ‘modern proposal’ whereby the early 19th-century metropolis tries to clothe in words, images and form its own cultural anxieties, urban and imperial.
- PublicationProspero. Rivista di culture anglo-germaniche. Università di Trieste. Dipartimento di Civiltà Anglo-Germaniche. N° X - MMIII(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Prospero. Rivista di letterature e culture straniere è una rivista annuale a stampa e online ad accesso aperto del Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici dell’Università di Trieste (DiSU), pubblicata dal 1994 presso la casa editrice EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste. È apparsa in precedenza con il complemento di titolo Rivista di letterature e civiltà Anglo-germaniche e, dal 2005 al 2011, con quello di Rivista di Letterature straniere, Comparatistica e Studi culturali. La rivista pubblica contributi originali dedicati alle letterature di lingua inglese, tedesca e francese. Prospero ospita contributi inediti di studiosi italiani e stranieri che pongono il testo letterario e l’analisi testuale al centro di più ampie riflessioni di carattere ermeneutico, filologico e storico-culturale. In particolare, si apre alle convergenze di carattere interdisciplinare e transdisciplinare tra la letteratura e gli altri saperi. Numeri monografici curati da guest editors italiani e stranieri su temi specifici si alternano a numeri miscellanei.
- PublicationSefarditi, marrani e Schlemihle. Sul "Rabbi di Bacherach" di Heinrich Heine(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Foi, Maria CarolinaIn the context of the Restoration, the Sephardic tradition serves as orientation for several sectors of German Judaism; in opposition to the increasing restrictions of the present, it advocates a line of identity that is strongly connoted as secular and cultural. In "Der Rabbi von Bacherach", Heine symbolically represents the tension between different aspects of Judaism and of diaspora, polarising them in the conflict between the spirit of the small community and the disenchantment of the marrano, behind which the eradicated condition of the intellectual is concealed.
- PublicationLo smascheramento del logos e la riabilitazione della phoné nella "Medea" di Christa Wolf(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Falconi, FrancescaBy way of a revival/recovery of the defining traits of Medea prior to the Euripidean codification, Christa Wolf aims at bringing to life a mythopoeic tradition based on pre-rational foundations, and transmitted solely through the oral channel. The supremacy of the vocal tale dissolves the traditional narrative orders and, on an anthropological level, it redefines the necessary conditions for the communication of its sense. By connecting the characterisation of the protagonists to the uniqueness of their voice, the novel restores the reception modalities that are proper to the epic. In this essay, the author gives an account of several forms of vocal expression that stand at the basis of the plot, from the chant to the autobiographical record and the incoherent howl.
- PublicationLo spazio anomico dell'eccesso: la satira urbana nel primo Settecento inglese(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Gregori, FlavioGiorgio Agamben, in "Stato d’eccezione", analyses the ways in which a legal institute affirms the suspension of legality as the only way to preserve law itself. The author of the essay wants to demonstrate how the metropolis, as the new topos of modern Western culture (for English culture, London after the Restoration), represents an image of the place of anomia that emerges in those situations in which the legal suspension of the norm is applied to the (judicial) order, thus dis-applying it. The work by Agamben may help in the reading of this privileged coincidence of city and anomic space in the rites and origin myths of the modern metropolis (here of London), at least for how it appeared to contemporaries during the early 18th Century. In this period, the carnivalesque becomes an essentially urban phenomenon, a phenomenon signalled not only by the increasing number of fairs, festivals and occasions for unrestrained entertainment, but also by the centrality of literary genres which are principally urban, such as satire and the mock-heroic poem. This urban and turbulent literature witnesses the 18th-century fascination with the city’s licentiousness and excesses, so vital and passionate but also dangerous and deadly.
- PublicationLa "svolta" del 1989 nella lingua letteraria tedesco-orientale(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2003)Luttini, RobertaWorks by Hermann Kant, Christoph Hein, Helga Königsdorf, and Helga Schubert are here examined, particularly in consideration of the ambivalent relationships between the devotion to the ideological reasons of socialism, and the critical representation of the restrictions that affected civil life in the GDR. In the aftermath of the German reunification, the reflection on the ongoing social and political transformations produces some paradigm shifts in these author's use of the language; such changes are intended to highlight the potentiality that these texts have in presenting the radicality of these transformations.