Vol 24 (2018)
The aim of this contribution is to tackle an already highly researched subject by adopting a fairly unprecedented perspective. I would like to concentrate on the representation of Sardinia in one of the most important historical moments for the construction of the image of the island in a modern perspective: the first decades of the twentieth c...entury. I will try to make two apparently distant text types interact: tourist guides and travel reports written by linguists. I will focus on two prototype examples: on one hand the Reisebilder aus Sardinien by Max Leopold Wagner; on the other, the Touring Club Guide dedicated to Sardinia, written by Luigi Vittorio Bertarelli. My intent is to trace the similarities and differences of the two textual typologies in presenting a region at the time universally imagined (and narrated) as different, atypical and in any case "peculiar". In doing so, I will also try to highlight continuity and discontinuity with respect to the nineteenth-century representative methods.
Giovanni Verga’s tale Libertà has often been object of multifaceted – and frequently discording –critical interpretations, being the most common readings those of who saw in it a clear bias for the Italian Risorgimento (despite its violent development), and those who read it as an expression of resilient skepticism by the author... towards the same historic event. Leonardo Sciascia, for example, uses the term “mystification” to describe Verga’s attitude towards Bronte’s insurrection, at a time – 1860 – when Garibaldi was carrying out his well-known Expedition of the Thousand.
The essay goes through all the noteworthy moments of this critical tradition, eventually deducting that it is by no means possible to draw firm assertions about Verga’s political ideology with the sole literary work as a point of reference. It argues instead that the author’s literary eminence must be seen in his outstanding ability to raise such a vast array of multilayered interpretations in the readers.
The paper will actively engage with the contradictions found in Gramsci in an attempt to tease out the elements of emancipation found in his thought, as well as a sub-culture of opposition against Western notions of rationality. Antonio Gramsci’s analysis of the Italian South and of the Southern Italian peasantry in relation to the formation...of a radical politics of emancipation constitutes one of the most salient features of his critique of orthodox Marxism. I argue that for the Italian Marxist theorist, the liberation of the Italian peasantry is not only a project of social, economic and political emancipation. Rather, the peasantry’s emancipation is also seen as a project of cultural liberation, a liberation from the dominant strands of rationalist and positivist Enlightenment thought, which Gramsci saw as encapsulated in Crocean philosophy. For Gramsci, the task of the organic intellectuals is to create an ideational sphere in which the colonized South can potentially articulate and celebrate a culture that has historically been deemed backward and primitive. However, Gramsci’s analyses of the South also contain historicist encrustations, which create a dialectical tension in his theory of politico-cultural emancipation that has never really been solved. I argue that the positivist and progressionist encrustations of Gramsci’s program for the emancipation of the South is an instantiation of a wider, Western, 19th and 20th century intellectual tradition which conflates “progress” as such with emancipation, a tradition that goes beyond the Italian and European context, and that is even paralleled by the model for black emancipation in the American South put forth by a figure as seemingly divergent as, say, W.E. B. Du Bois in the The Souls of Black Folk (1903).
Sardinian contemporary literature and films have recently recovered an extensive heritage of folk myths and legends taken from the oral tradition. Legendary figures, such as accabadoras (female figure who was enabled with the task of easing the sufferings of the dying people), and fantasy creatures, such as cogas, surbiles... (‘vampire witches’), janas (‘fairies, pixies’), and panas (‘the ghosts of women who died in childbirth’) are being revived by writers and film directors with the purpose to bring their memory back to life and share it with a wide audience of readers and spectators.
The analysis of imaginary and legendary creatures in Sardinian contemporary literature cannot overlook orality and its central role in shaping popular imagination over the centuries. Writing has replaced orality, whilst mass media and digital media are getting the upper hand over storytelling as a practice of community and family aggregation, meant to mark the long working hours and scare the children, amongst the most common functions of Sardinian oral storytelling.
The literary corpus includes fairy tales, novels, tales and legends dealing with the Sardinian oral tradition, whilst on the cinematic side I will examine short films, feature films and documentaries made in Sardinia over the last fifteen years.
The term accabadora refers to a woman entrusted with the task of facilitating the passing of the dying people. She killed for pity, called by the families of the patients to relieve their sufferings on their own deathbed. Basically, she practiced a sort of ante litteram euthanasia. But that carried out by the woman was also a necessary action f...or the survival of relatives who, most of the time, did not have the necessary resources to alleviate the sufferings of the kinsmen. Furthermore, in small towns, the doctor was often several days away on horseback. While the accabadora took life away, on the other hand, she gave it back, helping the women of her community to give birth. Everyone in the village knew the activity of these women but all of them were silent. They were convinced that the work of the accabadora was a meritorious work because it took the burden of putting an end to the sufferings of the patient. They implicitly recognized in it a social utility. After outlining the figure of 'sa fèmmina practica', this report analyses some works by Sardinian authors who are interested in it. Above all, we will mention the novel by Michela Murgia, Accabadora (Campiello prize 2010); the film by Enrico Pau, L'accabadora; the novels L’ultima agabbadòra by Sebastiano Depperu and L'agabbadora. La morte invocata by Giovanni Murineddu; the short film Deu ci sia by Gianluca Tarditi, winner of the 2011 Golden Globe at 48th New York Film Festival; Ho visto agire s’accabadora by Dolores Turchi; Eutanasia ante litteram in Sardegna. Sa femmina accabadora by Alessandro Bucarelli and Carlo Lubrano and S’accabadora e la sacralità del femminino of Maria Antonella Arras.
Abstract: L'accabadora, is a Sardinian term deriving from the Spanish word 'acabar' which means to finish or complete. It refers to a female figure in Sardinian popular tradition, 'the last mother', an angel of mercy who assists the terminally ill in leaving the world. In this paper I explore variations of this female...figure in two contemporary films. Enrico Pau's film L'accabadora set in pre- and World War II Sardinia, revolves around a protagonist (Annetta) who is a direct descendant of this Sardinian tradition. The second film, Valerio Golino's Miele, proposes what might be considered a contemporary variant of the Sardinian folk figure. While the tabu subject of euthanasia certainly forms the backdrop to the films, what is foregrounded is the isolation and alienation of the female protagonists who carry out care-giving roles tied to death. Torn between the conviction that the tasks they perform as “last mothers” console or provide final moments of serenity to the dying and an intangible discomfort with their execution of the task, they remain seemingly haunted by their roles, exhibiting an unease that arises from societal discomfort with administering death and a profession that requires that they direct their care to the dying rather than to the living. The representation of the films’ protagonists, their framing and the construction of the journeys they undertake, turn both films into narratives of self-discovery, motivated by encounters with others and otherness, and visually configured by the physical mobility across transformed geo-political landscapes that is central to the films.
This paper takes into account the oneiric issue in Giovanni Boccaccio Decameron, with the aim of defining Boccaccio’s overall “grammar of dreaming”: besides an accurate investigation on Decameron’s sources, which range from classic to Medieval literature, it retraces the narrative constructions of the short-novels with... oneiric subjects, hypothesizing the existence of two main schemes. In the short-tales on a vision (which are the most known), it is almost always replied the scheme of the “tale in the tale”, due to the creation of a imaginary world with its own rules. Meanwhile, in the short tales of deceiving, the dream is useful to trick the naive antagonist, making him believe something unbelievable. In both cases, it has a deep influence on the so-called “statute of reality” (Amedeo Quondam): in the first, there is the invention of a new reality; in the second it is deconstructed instead.
Giulio Cesare Croce (1550-1609) was a polygraph who composed several poetical works that describe the daily life of the Bolognese people. This paper examines Alfabeto de’ giuocatori, a poem dedicated to the theme of the game and of the vices and virtues of the players. The author analyzes the poem and discusses the transmission of th...e text and philological variants. The article is concluded by the critical edition and the commentary (regarding philological, linguistic, lessical and literary aspects).
In my essay, I examine Mario Monicelli’s La Grande Guerra, in order to verify if its comic and anti-heroic perspective really leads to a new concept of WWI. I first retrace the director’s previous filmography, where the characters, genres and patterns which will recur in La Grande Guerra originally take shape. I then recon...struct the movie’s genesis, focusing on the sources the screenwriters refer to: not only WWI movies and memories, such as Kubrick’s Paths of Glory and Lussu’s Un anno sull’Altipiano, but also, quite unexpectedly, La vita militare by De Amicis.
On this basis, I analyse the representation of the war, in its figurative and narrative elements. In many senses, it’s a war seen from the ground, and indeed the scenography and script take inspiration from the soldiers’ pictures of the front and their military songs. In this realistic context, Monicelli develops the plot of two cowardly privates, from a poor, undisciplined background, who ultimately identify with their nation enough to sacrifice themselves for their compatriots.
The purpose of highlighting the unacknowledged war contribution of the mass, however, is somehow contradicted by the army’s image. The comic and anti-heroic aspects, indeed, concern only the low-ranked soldiers, while the Command is represented in a sentimental way. In this respect, Monicelli confirms a rhetoric coming from De Amicis, and later inherited by Fascism: the army as an image of a model society, where North and South, rich and poor, educated and illiterate unite, and where everyone deserves his hierarchical rank.
In late 1933, L'Osservatore Romano fuelled an argument against Il Littoriale, mouthpiece of the Fascist sport policy, about women’s sport: the Vatican Italian-speaking newspaper was against the public women’s athletic meetings, and the “immoral” shorts dressed by the young Italian athletes, such as Ondina Valla, going-...to-be the first Italian woman to win an Olympic gold medal (1936, Berlin). Which was the situation of Italian female sports, at that time? Which was the influence of new women models coming from US? What was considered “immoral” by conservative people in 1933 Italy watching a women’s athletic or swimming meeting? How Hollywood stars could help Ondina and her mates on the road of female emancipation? These are the questions this essay is going to answer, helped by a lot of historical images, useful to reconstruct a whole collective imagination.
Belles infidèles is a French expression highlighting a well-known problem in translating from one language to another. This is true especially in the field of literature and particularly in poetry, where the exterior aspects of the words (for example, the harmony of rhymes, the images, the emotional vibrations, the semantic fields, the polysem...y, and so on) become substantial and hardly translatable. The essay focuses on some bad translations of some selected verses from the obscene poems by a 18th-century Sicilian dialect poet, Domenico Tempio: they clearly show the translators’ intervention, who took many liberties and betrayed the formulation, the sense and the effect of the original texts. The essay proposes some more faithful translations of them.
The aim of this paper is to present the life of Hungarian prisoners of war in the internment camps of L’Aquila, a city situated in the central part of Italy, during and after the Great War. The POWs were first detained in the caserma Castello (Castle barracks), which is a 16th-century fortress where units of the Italian Army were s...tationing as well at that time. This made it possible for the POWs to lead a relatively idyllic life, whose various aspects are examined in the paper, such as nutrition, accommodation, clothing, correspondence, religious life, daily routine and employment. The sources used include archival documents, two memoirs of ex-POWs and newspaper articles. The comfortable life of the POWs was dimmed by the lack of their families and the Homeland, the idleness and certain infectious diseases. From the summer of 1916, the prisoners were employed in agricultural and industrial works outside the prison camp and were hence transferred from the fortress to barracks and unused churches. It is unknown when the last Hungarian POW left L’Aquila, and yet one of them is proven to have been there still in July 1919.
This paper retraces Goliarda Sapienza’s no-fiction production between 1981 and 1988, considering in particular two feminist reviews of that period such as «Quotidiano Donna» and «Minerva: l’altra metà dell’informazione» on which she wrote articles about society, most of them never considered before today. Excluding the topic of the p...rison in her most important novels L’università di Rebibbia (1983) and Le certezze del dubbio (1987), the 80s could be defined as a moment of experience inside and beyond the Italian political context. Her reflections on Feminism authorize an interpretation of her “anomalous” way of thinking. At the end, the need to belong to a group will also open the following season.
recensione a ALESSANDRA DINO, A colloquio con Gaspare Spatuzza. Un racconto di vita, una storia di stragi, Bologna, il Mulino, 2016