In this Issue:
Leonardo Buonomo | Raffaella Faggionato | Paola A. Nardi | Paola Spinozzi e Marisa Verna | Michela Gardini | Paola Spinozzi | Marisa Verna | Elena Raponi | Julie Crohas Commans | Anthony Ballas | Linda Levitt
Leonardo Buonomo | Beyond the Travelogue: Catharine Maria Sedgwick’s
Plea for Italy in Letters from Abroad to Kindred at Home
Catharine Maria Sedgwick (1789-1867) was arguably the most highly regarded American woman writer of the first half of the nineteenth century. Though deeply invested in the creation of a distinctively national literature, she was also remarkably cosmopolitan in her tastes and interests as testified by her 1841 travelogue Letters from Abroad to Kindred at Home. This article examines the ways in which Sedgwick, while taking her readers on a traditional guided tour of celebrated cities, also tried to make them aware of the effects of foreign occupation and despotism on contemporary Italy.
Keywords: Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Letters from Abroad to Kindred at Home, nineteenthcentury American travel writing, Italian art, Risorgimento
Raffaella Faggionato | Руссоизм и герметические науки в образах некоторых второстепенных героев Л. Н. Толстого
The paper explores the features of some minor characters taken from the works of Leo Tolstoy, all belonging to the lower classes. In previous studies these characters have been interpreted in the light of an ideal harmony inherited from Rousseau’s theories, however the genesis of such a figure as Platon Karataev, in War and Peace, reveals something different. These characters, who often catalyse the protagonists’ “epiphany”, are built on a Rousseauian philosophical background, merged with other lines of thought, namely those coming from the Hermetic tradition.
Keywords: Tolstojan minor characters, Tolstoj and the Hermetic tradition, Tolstoj and Rousseau’s theories, Genesis of Platon Karataev, The philosophical background of Tolstoj
The essay reads Morrison’s Paradise as a celebration of the birth of the United States, reinterpreting some of the founding myths of the United States from a different perspective, an African-American one. Morrison shows the dangers of a mythological construction of the past based on a single domineering perspective that silences possible parallel narrations. At the same time, he reveals the limits and the violence of a reading of the history of the New World in terms of Paradise or, according to the ideology of the Manifest Destiny, of the optimistic interpretation of the ‘conquest of the West’ and the triumphant founding mythology of the Pilgrims Fathers.
Keywords: Toni Morrison, Paradise, African-American Literature, American History, American Founding Myths
Edifici d’autore. Estetiche e ideologie nella narrazione dei monumenti
a cura di Paola Spinozzi e Marisa Verna
Michela Gardini | Il Tempio Malatestiano tra il sacro e il profano: lo sguardo di Joséphin Péladan e Henry de Montherlant
Malatesta Temple emerges from the works of Joséphin Péladan (1858-1915) and of Henry de Montherlant (1896-1972) as a mental place where the authors project their aesthetic ideal without quitting ideological over-determinations. The temple imagined and told, but never seen in reality, constitutes a kind of palimpsest prone to new writings and interpretations. In the image of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, who ordered its construction, it attracts Péladan and Montherlant exactly because they are both charmed by this character as a figure of excess and transgression against the mediocrity of their contemporaries. In their eyes Malatesta seems to summarize in himself the contrasts as well as the Temple contains, by harmonizing, the opposites: the sacred and the profane, paganism and Christianity, the human and the divine. Place of memory, it constitutes a cultural hybrid, emblem of that Renaissance artistic ideal by which both the French writers are inspired. But if Péladan’s celebration of the Renaissance Art finds in the Temple an ideal where each part is in harmony with the whole, Montherlant’s exaltation, instead, attains the aesthetics of fragmentation and of the incomplete by finding in the image of the Temple destroyed the most extreme ending, echo of those tragical bombardments which, between December 1943 and June 1944, hit the building. So this one rises to a polysemic object forming narrations which find in the knowledge combination (literature, philosophy, politics, history, art) its own essence.
Keywords: Malatesta Temple, Joséphin Péladan, Henry de Montherlant, cultural hybrid
Conceived by Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta in 1447, designed by Leon Battista Alberti, decorated by Agostino di Duccio, painted by Piero della Francesca, and left unfinished, the Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini exhibits distinctive marks of multiple intellects which have inspired tales, historical novels, poems, and essays. Writing (about) the Tempio between the second half to the nineteenth century and the present age, Jacob Burckhardt, John Addington Symonds, Charles Yriarte, E.M. Forster, Pasquale Villari, Edward Hutton, Ezra Pound, Aldous Huxley, and Adrian Stokes have generated a network of ekphrases across Europe. Diverse ekphrastic narratives reveal that the architectural building is a conceptual site which generates other conceptual sites, an incubator of aesthetic and ideological interpretations from different historical and cultural contexts.
The verbal renditions of the Tempio show how an architectural and conceptual building can host multiple aesthetic and ideological appropriations which allow us to define its historical role and reveal its characteristics as an intercultural and transnational catalyst.
Keywords: Tempio Malatestiano, ekphrasis, appropriation, aesthetics, British travellers
Marisa Verna | Sigismondo Malatesta, un criminale neoplatonico. Péladan lettore mistico
del Palazzo Malatestiano
This paper aims to tackle the ambiguity of Péladan’s interpretation of the Malatesta Temple of Rimini, the prestige of which is related for him to the faith in the Absolute of Art. In effect, in Példan’s novel Le Vice Suprême, Sigismondo becomes a hero for both his criminal reputation and his artistic prestige. Furthermore, in his theoretical work L’Art Idéaliste et Mystique, Péladan states that Sigismondo was devoted to the perfect religion of Beauty and was, therefore, pure. His Neoplatonic faith, as it is expressed in the artistic masterpieces of the Temple, makes him a priest of the only true Religion of Arts. This apparently linear stance veils in fact an ambivalent ideological attitude, that Péladan shares with the Decadent generation as a whole. Although conservative he was, the French writer was not aware of the consequences of some of his aesthetical statements, that inspired the far-right political movements of the early Twentieth Century’s Europe. The intrinsic ambivalence of ideological interpretation of monuments is, therefore, exemplarily represented by Péladan’s work.
Keywords: Sigismondo Malatesta, Tempio Malatestiano, Joséphin Péladan
Elena Raponi | Monumenti, nazionalismo e letteratura nella Germania bismarckiana
e guglielmina. Theodor Fontane e Felix Dahn
The paper analyzes the literary treatment of the monuments of Bismarckian and Wilhelmine Germany. This was a period in which the enthusiasm for the birth of the Second Reich and the need for moral as well as political unification of the nation led to a proliferation of monuments celebrating significant events and figures in German history. In particular, we examine the novel Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane (1819-1898) and the prose and poetry of Felix Dahn (1834- 1912), in which two types of monuments that were commonly found at the time are portrayed: on the one hand the official monuments of the Hohenzollerns, the expression of a dynastic and pro-government patriotism, and on the other hand the monuments created through spontaneous initiatives, like the many Bismarck Towers or the statues of Arminius, which reflected a radical nationalist patriotism that was ‘anti-establishment’. The paper examines the function and meaning of the two types of monument in the works of Dahn and Fontane and the differences in the attitudes of the two writers, without neglecting cases of ‘missing’ monuments such as the aborted project of a monument to Heinrich Heine.
Keywords: monuments and literature, literature and nationalism, Bismarckian and Wilhelmine Germany, Theodor Fontane, Felix Dahn
Le temple de Borobudur et le torii de Nagasaki sont parmi les innombrables édifices et monuments, célèbres, mythiques ou anonymes, qui illustrent la cartographie romanesque de Philippe Forest. De L’Enfant éternel (1997) à Crue (2016), un inlassable narrateur, père d’une enfant perdue, arpente le monde afin, une fois au pied du mur, d’accéder autrement à la réalité et à l’impossible. L’article recense et définit ces architectures narratives et l’épreuve, au sens multiple du terme, qui en résulte.
The Borobudur Temple and the torii of Nagasaki are among the numerous monuments and buildings that illustrate the cartography of Philippe Forest’s novels. From L’Enfant éternel (1997) to Crue (2016), a tireless narrator, father of a lost child, strides across the world, in order to reach the reality and the impossible by other means, once his back is against the wall. The article makes an inventory and defines the proof, in multiple senses of the term, resulting from this narrative architecture.
Keywords: Philippe Forest, narration, architecture, cartography, proof
This paper employs Mario Gooden’s diagnoses of African American museums, Henri Lefebvre’s critique of monumental architecture, and Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s notion of Signifyin(g) toward the examination of American rap artist Lupe Fiasco’s re-narrativization of architectural space, specifically the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. The Lorraine Motel has since been transformed into the Civil Rights Museum, and poses an architectural and aesthetic problem according to Gooden, who is critical of the spatial strategies implemented at the site, using the museum as an example of what he refers to as the “problem with African American museums,” calling for a re-imagination of monumental spaces paying tribute to the Civil Rights movement and black identity. Fiasco’s lyrical constructions in his songs Brave Heart and Audubon Ballroom, refer generally to architectural space, and particularly to the Lorraine Motel, emphasizing the materiality of the signifier while modulating the meaning of these spaces through metaphor and chiasmus, which Gates Jr. identifies as the unique proclivity belonging to black vernacular. This paper concludes that Fiasco’s lyrical narrative of the Lorraine Motel demonstrates the potential of Signifyin(g) to modulate perception of the static architecture of the site which keeps black identity mired to the past.
Keywords: African American, Henri Lefebvre, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Hip Hop, Mario Gooden
This essay is intended as a conversation: the voices of those who created the Vietnam Veterans Memorial have a story to tell. If language creates reality rather than representing it, then this is an etymological tracing of the Memorial. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial remains a discursive site, where visitors leave remembrances and tell their stories. The many voices and many stories reflect the polysemic nature of the Memorial, as the desire to be inclusive is essential to its design.
Keywords: Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Maya Lin, Jan Scruggs, commemoration
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