martedì 12 luglio 2016

Persida Lazareviæ Di Giacomo: L’etimologia toponomastica (Merope n. 64 - pp. 79-98)

Persida Lazareviæ Di Giacomo
L’etimologia toponomastica anhaltino-servestana secondo Temler

Abstract — The first part of this paper deals with various interpretations (Mickiewicz, Nugent, Kollar, Beckmann, Büsching, etc.) of the etymology of name for Zerbst, a town in the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. In the past, as it was part of the border region together with the neighboring Saxon region around Magdeburg in the west, Zerbst was incorporated into the Gau Ciervisti of the Saxon Eastern March (Marca Geronis). The etymology of the name Zerbst is linked to its Slavic origins. The second part of the paper consists of an analysis of how the Danish Secretary of State, Christian Friedrich Temler (1717-1780) approached the subject. Temler was originally from Zerbst and in his notebook, but even more importantly in his “Illyrian dictionary” (both manuscripts are conserved in the Royal Library in Copenhagen) he offers a set of etymologies related to the toponyms of the Zerbst/Anhalt district, including the very city of Zerbst itself. In so doing, Temler demonstrates the connection between the toponyms of northern and eastern Germany, Poland and the Pomeranian region with the Slavic language spoken in Dalmatia, on the eastern coast of the Adriatic sea.

Keywords: Ch.F. Temler, etymology, Illirian dictionary, Zerbst

Francesca D’Alfonso: “The Dying Animal” (Merope n. 64 - pp. 55-77)

Francesca D’Alfonso
Philip Roth, The Dying Animal e la lezione dei maestri

Abstract — This article analyses The Dying Animal by emphasising the central opposition between Eros and Thanatos, as well as examining the intertextual elements that direct the author’s creative process. In this novel, more than any other of his works, Philip Roth makes use of literary and pictorial references to create an intense and constantly lively dialogism. The importance of these references for the textual organisation of the novel lies in the fact that every writer or artist mentioned has a functional bearing on its narrative structures and themes. Consequently, the paradigm of mortality (Yeats, Kafka, ecc.) is connected to the subject of the nude and flesh in painting. (Modigliani, Spencer, ecc.) which are seen as a metamorphosis that leads to death. In the end, the awareness of human finitude becomes the lesson which the main protagonist, David Kepesh, will learn from the great masters of literature and art.

Keywords: The Dying Animal, Philip Roth, intertextuality, painting, eroticism.

Aldo Marroni, La “persuasione” erotica (Merope n. 64 - pp. 43-54)

Aldo Marroni
La “persuasione” erotica.
Carlo Michelstaedter e il desiderio di “far di se stesso fiamma”

Abstract — The purpose of this essay is to trace the origin of the notion of “persuasion” in connection with the strong passions which possessed Michelstaedter, especially during his brief erotic experience with his chosen muse, Nadia Baraden. The Russian woman was considered by the young philosopher as “persuaded” ante litteram and he attempted to give rise to a singular “lovers community” to raise as an alternative to the “communities of the wicked”. But Nadia’s suicide destroyed all his hopes. Michelstaedter wrote his most important work, La persuasione e la rettoricca, under her influence. With the image of Nadia constantly before him, he would, almost in a spirit of emulation, take his own final and definitive decision.

Keywords: eroticism, “persuasion”, passion, desire, flame.

Renzo D’Agnillo, “The Return of the Native” (Merope n. 64 - pp. 27-41)

Renzo D’Agnillo
High Knowledge Into Empty Minds: Clym Yeobright’s Distracted Didactics in The Return of the Native

Abstract — This article explores the question of education in Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native from the point of view of the didactic aspirations of the novel’s main protagonist, Clym Yeobright. Written before the advent of the Education Act, Hardy’s novel provides an underlying critique of compulsory education of the masses as well as a questioning of the nature of education through the dramatisation of a range of differing attitudes, from the jealous guarding of traditional rural values to the quest for self-betterment and the romantic desire for escape. In spite of the autobiographical features that went into the creation of Clym, Hardy’s avoidance of self-identification with his hero is apparent in his implicit criticism of the pretentiousness of his didactic aims and his representation of his ambivalent character traits. However, an alternative sense resides in the text whereby Clym finally acquires the spiritual awareness and human sympathy he previously lacked through his re-appropriation of the natural values transmitted to him by the natural world of the heath which, in the final analysis, may be considered the real educational force of his life.

Keywords: Hardy, education, didactics, community, humanism

Saviour Catania: “The Bad Sleep Well” (Merope n. 64 - pp. 5-25)

Saviour Catania
The Dreaming Dead: Noirish Spectres of Hamlet in Kurosawa’s The Bad Sleep Well

Abstract — This paper dissects Kurosawa’s The Bad Sleep Well as a Hamlet offshoot in terms of Shakespeare’s metaphysical concern with what Lewis labels “being dead”. For Nishi is Hamlet’s incarnation as Bloom conceives him, “a walking mousetrap” whose avenging dream of Iwabuchi’s (Claudius’) bureaucratic end transmutes him into what Knight calls Shakespeare’s “ambassador of death”. In fact, Nishi dissolves the zaibatsu, or Japanese realm of corrupt business conglomerates, into a sickening insubstantiality that parallels Hamlet’s vision of Nature as “a foul and pestilential contagion of vapours”. Shades of Hamlet, the “chameleon” thriving on stale courtly air, permeate Nishi’s noirish fate — for what Nishi shares with almost all the rest is a cigarette addiction that distils their soul to dissipating smoke. The result is Shakespearean spectral noir. Significantly, when Nishi emerges, wraithlike from the volcanic mist, he embroils the ‘ghost’ of the presumed suicide Wada (Rosencrantz) in his murdered father’s revenge tragedy, thereby transforming him into a phantom of his own phantom-being. For only by appropriating Hamlet’s “antic disposition”, through his exchange of identity with Itakura (Horatio), does Nishi marry Iwabuchi’s daughter Keiko (Ophelia). But Nishi’s is a mousetrap marriage whereby Ophelia, Laertes’ cankered rosebud, manifests in terms of Keiko as a rose of death adorning the ‘murder’ window of her building-shaped wedding cake. Iwabuchi still sleeps well, yet as Richie contends, “the dead sleep best” — for they are spectres of Hamlet’s profound dread: “To die, to sleep; /To sleep, perchance to dream”. Thus the dead Nishi’s dream resurges in Iwabuchi’s grief. Kurosawa’s revisioning of Hamlet corroborates Derrida’s intuition that “a masterpiece moves, by definition, in the manner of a ghost”. For what haunts The Bad Sleep Well is Hamlet’s dreaming dead.

Keywords: Adaptation, Hybridity, Noirism, Fragmentation, Spectrality, Nihilism