martedì 12 gennaio 2016

Maria Giovanna Petrillo: «Jean-Philippe Toussaint» (Merope n. 63 - pp.87-108)

Maria Giovanna Petrillo 
La città italiana nell’opera di Jean-Philippe Toussaint

Abstract — From Malot’s to Benjamin’s Paris, through Dickens’ London up to  Calvin’s invisible cities  or the long-debated Ballard’s “Ultimate  City”, the city has taken on, within the all-time literary landscape,  a crucial importance for the novel’s framework, becoming “un lieu  scénique” intended as a space, latu sensu, of the “modern” linguistic  and literary geography, “hyperbole de la grande opposition dialectique  culture versus nature”. Within these dynamics, the Italian city has  enchanted, with its unusual and unique details, French and Francophone  writers that, starting from Stendhal and George Sand, have  fictionalized it in cameos with recognizable features in works in  which, as pointed out by Jean -Yves Tadié “la carte de la ville  organise la narration; l’éclatement de la mégapole la multiplie la  pulverize”. On the contrary, as this paper will attempt to show, the  Italian city in Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s work is presented to the  reader in two ways: on the one hand, in the first part of his literary  production, as a city “sans qualities”, a “non-lieux” where “rien ne  bouge” and in which the non-personality of the first person narrator  sees his reflection in a narcissistic Lacanian mirror game; on the  other hand, in the second part of his literary production, the Italian city is a kind of topical landmark, milestone, implying both a  narrative turning point and a substantial change in the first person  narrator’s personality.

Keywords: city, Italy, first-person narrator, stillness, sea

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