In this issue:
C. Assoni — T. Austenfeld — R. Barsky — F. Baucia — F. Bellini — B. Belloni — L. Bignotti — E. Bolchi — S. Carini — S. Cigada — M. Corradini — F. Crippa — C. Foppa Pedretti — G. Grata — F. Locatelli — F. Lonati — R. Marseglia — L. Mor — P. Nardi — D. Pagani — R. Pignataro — P. Ponti — F. Rognoni — S. Rosso — B. Saglietti — G. Segato — D. Vago — M. Verna
The Lord of The Rings is not a book for children or a fantasy saga based on pure escape, but it’s an epic tale about surviving to the ugliness of modern life. In On Fairy-Stories, Tolkien explains his concept of ‘escape’: a vital impulse to ‘sub-creation’, a saving moment for every human being; its final product is the creation of a different world, shaped on Beauty, and placed in a mythical and eternal time. According to Tolkien, fantasy has three main functions: recovery, escape and consolation, intertwined in an indissoluble way. This refreshing fantasy allows men to escape from the prison of a life restricted by lies, meaningless formalities and influences. And through it, men can once again look to reality with freshness, seeing it without any present mark in a mythical air; escape starts a process that finds its fulfilment into the ‘eucatastrophe’, that is not only the simple ‘happy ending’ of fairy-stories, but is an echo of the Evangelium in the real world.
The creative potential inherent in the dual meaning of the verbs ‘to flee/to fly’, denoting both escape and movement through air, is illustrated in foundational American narratives of flight – in the forms of escape, abandonment, and thwarted departure – with notable gender variations. Barbara Kingsolver’s 2012 novel Flight Behavior recapitulates this tradition even while extending it to the discourse of global climate change.
At the center of D.H. Lawrence’s enormous corpus of poetry, short stories, novels, and literary criticism is Lady Chatterley’s Lover, one of a long line of censored classics described in a recent work as Dirt for Art Sake. Despite the popularity of Lawrence’s writings, however, and the notoriety he gained from legal proceedings initiated against him in the name of censorship, few critics have situated his literary and cultural quest as regards his intense intellectual engagement with contemporary counter-culture in Germany and in Switzerland and many, perhaps as a consequence, deride or shun his more bawdy work. In this paper, I will argue that examples of contemporary counterculture, and in particular his engagement with ideas emanating from the anarchist, bohemian, nudist, sun-worshipping, vegetarian, artistic colony at Monte Verità, were key catalysts for the dialogic and carnivalesque qualities of works such as Sun and Lady Chatterley’s Lover. This talk will trace the historical and ideological tentacles that connect Lawrence’s work to contemporary counter-culture, and then conclude by linking his approach to the writings of M.M. Bakhtin, whose corpus reads like a ‘how-to’ manual for readers willing to truly engage Lawrence’s bawdy, earthy, dialogic writing.
This paper presents two different kinds of relationship between the concepts of ‘flight’ and ‘temporality’, which are resumed by two nabokovean sentences. We can call the first one ‘flight out of time’: this kind of relationship reveals a sceptical attitude towards the real existence of time, an attitude shared by writers (Borges) and philosophers (McTaggart). The second one can be called ‘flight in time’: according to Nabokov, temporality is at the heart of art and literature, and so it’s impossible to realize a true ‘escape’ from time. In this sense, the real aim of the good artist should be the flight in the pure medium of time, namely in the ‘texture’ (different from the ‘text’, the ‘content’, of time) of the temporal dimension.
The paper deals with the significance of the rocking chair in Samuel Beckett’s novel Murphy, considered as an item of Beckett’s ‘geometrical symbolism’. I claim that the shape of the rocking chair can be interpreted in connection to Beckett’s interest in irrational numbers used as a means to explain his characters’ relation with the world. Moreover, I hint at how, under this light, the rocking chair can be related to another typical Beckettian prop, the bicycle, and show how the complementary symbolism of these two objects may serve as a paradigm for a typology of Beckett’s characters.
This article analyzes a fragment (ff. 37v-39r) of the Aljamiado manuscript n. 774 that belongs to the National Library in Paris. The study aims to reflect on the value of the document as a historical evidence of the flight to the East of some members of the Hispano-Muslim community, and to think about the considerable significance that the aljamiado-morisco production has in the Spanish literature of the 16th and 17th centuries.
The present article illustrates the presence and the evolution of the escape theme in the poetry of the late-baroque author Johann Christian Günther (1695-1723). This topic is to be found in the frequent lexical references to life’s fleeting nature that characterize Guenther’s early lyrics as well as in his late production, when he often mentions his desire to flee from a world, which is unable to receive his poetical message and, at the same time, from the declining Baroque conventions.
When The Stone Gods begins, an escape seems the only possibility to survive a planet, incredibly similar to ours, that is going to die. But this escape will be useless, because the new arrival, the new hope, will reveal to be our present, Planet Earth, that at the end of the novel is in such a bad condition to offer, once again, escape as the only alternative. In Winterson’s novel, escape is a concept widely analyzed in different ways: escape from society, escape from the socially accepted ‘normality’, from cultural cages and, last but not least, escape from a dying out planet.
The article analyses the relationship between archive and history in two Centro American novels: El material humano by Rodrigo Rey Rosa and Insensatez by Horacio Castellanos Moya. The analysis clarifies how the search for collective identity into the archive appears to both protagonists as an escape from a present considered violent and chaotic but also as an escape from a tyrannical and silenced past that is still oppressing them. The escape is indeed frustrated by fear and paranoia deriving from the impossibility of revisiting and knowing the past in total freedom.
In his last treatise, Descartes defines human passions a problematic topic in his system. From a theoretical point of view, the human being is formed by an immaterial and a material substance, completely independent from each other. Nonetheless, passions surprisingly involve both reason and body in a joint experience. Flight is an example Descartes often refers to in order to explain that man should be able, thanks to a hard training comparable to dog training, to resist any passion. But this not always the case. Furthermore, the instinct to flee may be regarded as an element of every passion. That is why it may also be considered as a hint to the deepest orientation towards good of any human action.
Even though the Sirens’ song poses a deadly threat to whoever listens to it, it is also paralleled to knowledge and poetry itself. The present study examines the Homeric archetype and its rewriting in Giovanni Pascoli’s Ultimo viaggio (in Poemi conviviali, 1904), with a view to illustrating how in the former case the Sirens are a danger to steer clear of, while in the latter they are the ultimate goal of Ulysses’ quest for identity and the absolute – yet, this time the Sirens are silent and elusive.
Within Alicia Giménez-Bartlett’s novel, Donde nadie te encuentre, the desire to escape follows two different directions. Teresa Pla Meseguer flies away from a society incapable of accepting her diversity. At the same time, the other characters of the novel experience a gradual process of estrangement from the ideals of Francisco Franco’s Spain. The aim of this work is to reread the text according to this point of view, underlining how the author deals with the theme of the flight as a way to project oneself towards a new vital dimension that all the characters seem to desire.
Rafael Trujillo is known as one of the most vicious and ruthless dictators to have afflicted Latin America. His regime, which for thirty-one years oppressed Dominican people, came to an end on the day of his assassination, the 30th of May of 1961. In 2000, Mario Vargas Llosa published La Fiesta del Chivo, a novel that recounts the last fifteen days of the Dominican despot. The protagonist of the work, Urania, is the daughter of Agustín Cabral, one of the senators of Trujillo. After more than thirty years in the United States, she returns to Santo Domingo. Through her story we learn of the barbaric violence and bitter betrayal that led her to flee from an indelible and incurable sorrow, which will mark her existence. This paper aims at analyzing how Urania’s escapes are, at different times, both a separation and a rapprochement with her life and origins in the constant search for truth.
The essay deals with Montale’s reading of Rimbaud. It carries out a comparative analysis of two narrative long poems written by the authors in their youth: Mediterraneo (1925) and Bateau ivre (1883). Both poems deal with the relationship between the poet and the sea and represent the sea as an allegory of language and of poetry. They have a similar structure, that of a Bildungsroman, but their endings are opposite. There are in Mediterraneo several allusions to the Bateau ivre suggesting that Montale is refusing and going beyond the idea of man and of poetry which underpins Symbolism.
Since the very beginning, Henri Michaux’s poetry has investigated the topic of being, namely its definition, its extent and its boundaries, through the instrument of writing. According to the poet’s vision, human being is “multiple, complexe et d’ailleurs fuyant”; as a consequence, poetry, whose main objective is “questionner, ausculter, approcher le problème de l’être” (Passages), cannot but witness this protean and elusive tendency. Therefore, in the context of a poetic production focused on the theme of the escape, the self, “[qui] est et se voudrait ailleurs, essentiellement autre”, shall overflow its physical and linguistic boundaries, dissolving into many “lignes de fuite”/ “convergence lines” (Deleuze-Guattari), which represent the real issue treated in Michaux’s poetry. As we hope to demonstrate by the analysis of some pages of Plume, La Vie dans les plis, Face aux verrous, the escape and moving of the self, including its body and identity, are not the result of arbitrary imaginative work, but the most suitable poetic strategy allowing the reader to grasp the real objective of art, that is to say the inexhaustible longing for self-understanding, as well as understanding of others.
Escape is one of the narrative and stylistic elements on which noir fiction – one of the distinctive genres of 20th century American literature – is based. My paper focuses on an example of modern and atypical noir fiction, a virtually unknown novel written by Sol Yurick and titled The Warriors, whose film adaptation, paradoxically enough, has come to further obscure it. The novel, treading the same path as authors like David Goodis and Dorothy Hughes, centres around an escape (both physical and metaphorical), but it departs from standard practice in the characteristics, motives and meanings that the escape assumes over the course of narration. These peculiar characteristics are the subject of my paper.
This paper aims to highlight the various ‘escapes’ marking the various moments of Oedipus’ mythological story as it arises in Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. T x hough Laius has pierced his son’s feet in order to prevent him from escaping, Oedipus arrives in Corinth; after he discovering that he is not Polybus’ real child, he resumes his escape and arrives in Thebes, his true homeland. Here, he will see the truth and flee into exile. Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex stages this Theban stay of Oedipus, closed between two parallel escapes.
In January 1946 the German writer Marie Luise Kaschnitz published the essay Von der Schuld (On Guilt) on the journal Die Wandlung (The Change). In this essay, several months after the end of the war, she replies to the charges made against the German people of having allowed the Nazi to drag the whole world into the Second World War. Kaschnitz’s essay is a neglected document of the still unfinished debate around the guilt of those Germans who did not take position against Adolf Hitler. The text does not merely serve as evidence for accusing or acquitting the writer and those who, like her, called themselves cowards for not having spoken against the regime; it rather allows for the understanding of the causes of the Innere Emigration, a phenomenon caused by the paralyzing power of the regime of terror that hindered for most people the opportunity to flee, including towards their own conscience.
This essay deals with the theoretical treatment of slave narratives written by women through an overview of the recent critical debate on this topic. It then considers two texts, Harriet Jacob’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself f published in 1861 and Toni Morrison’s Beloved published in 1987, both exemplary texts respectively of the autobiographical writing by slave women and of the ‘neo-slave narrative’, contemporary novels where the historical phenomenon of slavery still deeply influences contemporary society. Neo-slave narratives profoundly differ from slave narratives being the former fictional renditions and the latter autobiographical accounts of supposedly true events. Their differences notwithstanding, neo-slave narratives testify to the unending vitality of one of the first and most influential traditions in African American literature and culture, and to the centrality that the history and the memory of slavery still have in molding the United States.
In The yiddish policemen’s union, Michael Chabon imagines a world without Israel, where Jewish people have established a state in Alaska; Aharon Appelfeld in his last novel The boy who wanted to sleep, faces the theme of settling in a new homeland; Philip Roth, in a beautifully absurd book, tells about his alter ego who arrives in Jerusalem to promote a diaspora project, which consists in forcing Jewish people to leave Palestine. Eshkol Nevo, one of the most authentic voices of new Jewish fiction, in a kind of epic story, Neuland, dreams about a tiny Jewish City of the sun in South America: “My characters are trapped in the same way that their own country is trapped. Going away sets them free”. An analysis of how poetic creation is able to celebrate what could have been if things would have had the strength to go differently.
My contribution arises from the attempt to analyse some of the most significant novels of the Spanish post-war, since the 1940s until the 1960s-‘70s. In particular, I analyze the ‘escape’ of the ‘self ’ from the narration. The works studied are: La familia de Pascual Duarte and La Colmena by Camilo José Cela, El camino by Miguel Delibes, andVolverás a Región by Juan Benet.The first of the novels in question is marked by the presence of a strong and pervasive Yo, Pascual’s narration represents the roundness of the autobiography. The ‘escape’, the breakup till the total rupture of the narrative pact between author and reader, becomes a reality with a novel of the next decade, El camino, in which an omniscient narrator filters the autobiographical experience through the eyes of children. The next step is the infinite multiplication of the representation of the self in a mosaic repetition of narrative voices and characters in La Colmena. The escape of the ego reaches the full realization with the novel Volverás a Región that stigmatizes the total anonymity of narration given by an omniscient narrator who, breaking the rules of the traditional narrative, introduces the reader in an undefined space where the ‘I’ floats and reveals what the characters say and feel but confusing names and events to prove the condition of ruin of human existence.
In Le Avventure di Pinocchio, three episodes deserve special attention, for they open and close the puppet’s story: the flight from his father at the beginning of the book (chapter III), the flight from the murderers, which ends the part published in 1881 in the “Giornale per i bambini” (chapters XIV-XV) and, finally, the flight from the Shark, which marks the end of the final version of the work, published in 1883 by Paggi (chapters XXXV-XXXVI). The analysis has enabled to point out how the relationship reason-instinct marks an evolution in Pinocchio’s modes of flight, leaving unaltered, however, the fundamental structure. The mechanism of both endings is organized according to a closed form, that, having death as a starting point and as an outcome, poses itself as an alternative to the character growing up.
The essay is a survey of the works of Alessandro Spina (1927-2013), undoubtly the most important postcolonial Italian novelist, emphasizing his lifelong ‘dialogue’ with Joseph Conrad’s works. The theme of ‘flight’ or ‘escape’, present everywhere in the novels (and in the lives) of both authors, is a leitmotif of the article. Almost paradoxically, Conrad’s best known structural feature (his use of the character-narrator) is shown to be more recognizable in those novels of Spina’s that take place in Italy, among the upper bourgeoisie, than those belonging to his ‘African cycle’.
As it is well known, the escape motif is typical of American fiction, but acquires a clear and formulaic centrality in the Western genre. However, particularly after WWII, this apparently conservative genre, has produced some narratives in which the ideology of the American Dream is radically questioned. This short essay highlights the revisionistic move of some Western novelists such as Elmore Leonard, Charles Portis and others, who followed their example.
The pianist Glenn Gould quit the concert stage at the peak of his career (1964). At the same time he composed So you want to write a fugue?, for four-part chorus of mixed voices with strings (or piano) accompaniment, a sort of ironic hyperbole that makes fun of ‘classical’ western music. Then Gould invented ‘contrapuntal radio’ in which independent voices are intertwined without any thematic elaboration. In 1967 the ‘docudrama’ The Idea of North opened The Solitude Trilogy. Gould, hidden behind radio editing, transfigured his personal escape in radio art. Using the writings of Gould, some of which have never been translated into Italian, the discussion of So you want to write a fugue? and The Idea of North, I would like to clarify how the escape from the world of Gould has been refined through the fugue and counterpoint.
This paper investigates two kinds of desertions represented in two war novels: Carlo Montella’s I parenti del Sud and Tim O’Brien’s Going After Cacciato. I claim that the desertions described in these novels are directly linked with the specific war that is the backdrop of the book. The hero of I parenti del sud, still confused by Fascist ideology, deserts and runs away to a relative’s house in order to clear his head. Instead, in Going After Cacciato the protagonist’s desertion seems to have the same grotesque and bizarre traits of the background conflict: The Vietnam War.
Proust has always asserted that salon conversation is incompatible with the noiseless shrine where a writer devotes himself to literature. Nonetheless, the more Proust confines himself in his cork-lined room to escape the transient voices of the world, the more ‘orality’ emerges from his writing as the equivalent not of ‘voice’, but rather of ‘accent’. In this paper I investigate this paradox by examining the episode concerning Bergotte’s voice, which seems so eccentric to the narrator.
Everyone knows that Proust’s Recherche is the history of an artistic vocation, the history of a quest of truth. Truth, however, is not easily found and hides itself away. The novel’s hero hides himself, he flees during three thousand pages to avoid facing his artistic mission. This article aims to analyse this flight and it is structured in three parts: the flight of friendship, the flight of love and the flight from literature, Marcel’s final attempt to indulge in divertissement, wasting the true time of beauty for urbane life. Only when sorrow and mourning lead him to the obscurity of the self, can the novel’s hero take upon himself his artistic duty. In effect, if Albertine is the Fugitive, if it is she who physically disappears, it is Marcel who keeps on fleeing in his uninterrupted ‘fugue’, in the double meaning of ‘flight’ and of “a contrapuntal composition in which a short melody or phrase is introduced by one part and successively taken up by others and developed by interweaving the parts”. This last meaning is only possible in the night of sorrow and in the desert of absence.
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