martedì 17 gennaio 2017

Mara Mattoscio: Nadine Gordimer (Merope n. 65 - pp. 87-107)

Mara Mattoscio
Threatening Objects, Confined Spaces. Phenomenology of Race and Gender in Nadine Gordimer’s Short Stories and their Filmic Adaptations

Abstract — In taking the body as the first locus of subjectivity and intentionality, 20th-century phenomenology specifically focused on its motility, and in particular on its ability to approach, grasp, and appropriate the objects around it — an ability that for Maurice Merleau-Ponty ensures “our power of dilating our being-in-the-world, or changing our existence by appropriating fresh new instruments”. However, such a successful perspective raises a number of questions when it comes to bodies whose motility is amputated by race, gender, and class discrimination. When we look at contexts where the partition of space and the unequal circulation of objects is institutionalized, as in apartheid South Africa, how does a subject’s understanding of the world change? Examining two short stories by Nadine Gordimer and their filmic adaptations through the lenses of Iris Marion Young’s and Sara Ahmed’s feminist and anti-racist critiques of Merleau-Ponty, this paper aims at showing a pervasive ‘phenomenology of negation’ at play in literary and cinematic accounts of women’s lived experiences under apartheid.

Keywords: Nadine Gordimer, Iris Marion Young, Sara Ahmed, phenomenology, apartheid

Federica Di Addezio: Samuel Beckett (Merope n. 65 - pp. 71-86)

Federica Di Addezio
I corpi e le parole di Samuel Beckett:
Francis Bacon e Alberto Giacometti

Abstract — The main focus of this paper is the relationship between Beckett’s novels and plays with two of the most important artists of the nineteenth century: Alberto Giacometti and Francis Bacon. Beckett’s dialogue with Giacometti and Bacon is characterised by a peculiar representation of the human body which is seen by no means in its entirety, but as something that has already lost, or is about to lose, its human dimension to be reduced either to a spectralised form (in Giacometti’s drawings and sculptures) or to a formless disgusting mass of flesh (in Bacon’s works). It is difficult to say to what extent Beckett was influenced by these “revolutionary” artists, but it is evident that he shared with them a common feeling founded on the idea of the human body as a place of grotesque impefections as well as on the disintegration of a traditional view of humanity and its destiny.

Keywords: Samuel Beckett, Francis Bacon, Alberto Giacometti, human body, mutilation, imperfection

Francesca Mastracci: Hostipitality and Marginality in Conrad (Merope n. 65 - pp. 57-70)

Francesca Mastracci 
Hostipitality and Marginality 
in Joseph Conrad’s Autobiographical Writings 

Abstract — The aim of this paper is to interpret Joseph Conrad’s autobiographical writings using the notion of ‘hostipitality’, first introduced by the French philosopher Jaques Derrida in his 1999 essay “Hostipitalité” to refer to the disturbing etymological proximity between the words ‘hospitality’ and ‘hostility’. I intend to retrace in The Mirror of the Sea, A Personal Record and Notes on Life and Letters the complexities engendered by Conrad’s attempts to react through these texts to the condition of marginality he experienced in life. Starting from Conrad’s definition of himself as something more than a homo duplex, this paper argues that the construction of the author’s identity is based on the desire of being free from any bound, and how this inevitably led him to experience a sentiment of marginality. Finally, adopted by both the community of seamen and the community of writers, he never really felt at home anywhere, always considering himself a “foreign host”. The sense of socio-cultural marginality Conrad experienced in life, and that emerges throughout his texts is to be considered the actual essence that contributed to the definition of himself as a ‘transnational’ writer, feeding his sense of Identity with displacement and lack of belonging. 

Keywords: Joseph Conrad, autobiography, hostipitality, transnational, exile

Tania Zulli: Conrad and Nadine Gordimer (Merope n. 65 - pp. 41-56)

Tania Zulli
‘To Hear, to See, to Pray’:
Language, Intertextuality, and the Transnational
in the Works of Joseph Conrad and Nadine Gordimer

Abstract — In Nadine Gordimer’s opinion, the questions raised in Conrad’s first novels possess universal qualities that are not only illustrated throughout the whole career of the author, but are also characteristic of a great part of twentieth-century literature. While shedding light on the timelessness of Conrad’s work, Gordimer is implicitly giving voice to her more general conviction that novels do not exist in isolation. They are, instead, mutually dependent and influence each other, regardless of spatial and chronological distance. Mindful of these premises, my paper will compare two narratives by Conrad (“Amy Foster” and Almayer’s Folly) with Gordimer’s The Pickup, by considering the presence of specific common themes — namely, the landscape, language, and religion. Conrad’s descriptive impressionism matches Gordimer’s highly visual and audible settings, while the question of language — a traditional theme of migration narratives — is introduced in connection to ‘higher forms of communication’ in both texts. The analysis concentrates on the aesthetic construction of these three associated thematic clusters and on their social and ethical implications.

Keywords: language, aesthetics, intertextuality, transnational fiction, Nadine Gordimer, Joseph Conrad

Francesco Marroni: Ai confini del romanzo vittoriano (Merope n. 65 - pp. 27-40)

Francesco Marroni
“Plunging into the Abyss”:
ai confini del romanzo vittoriano

Abstract — From a cultural point of view, one of the most important aspects of the Victorian novel is its representation of change intended also as an epistemological crisis and revolution in terms of the perception of the real. By the second half of the century, in fact, the idea of an organic society is drastically unsettled while the changing landscape is perceived as a body whose limbs convey no longer a sense of unity and continuity. But, although George Eliot is well aware of such a radical socioeconomic transformation, she is ready to subscribe to a world-view in which a hypothesis of national wholeness and organic growth is postulated. This is explicitly voiced by Felix Holt in the Address to the Working Men. The same attitude does not apply to Thomas Hardy whose novels are deeply ingrained in a Weltanschauung in which there is no room for an organic view of society. His narrative, partly mirroring a modernist sensibility, is more clearly connected to a perception of reality as a fragmented body for which no possibility of recovering the lost totality and order is envisaged. In this sense Hardy’s poetics is closer to Conrad’s conception of the novelistic form, even though for the latter “the rescued fragment” has still many stories to reveal.

Keywords: The Victorian novel, change, fragmentation, wholeness, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy

Gloria Lauri-Lucente: Ovid’s Apollo and Daphne (Merope n. 65 - pp. 5-26)

Gloria Lauri-Lucente
Pursuit, Flight, and Frigidity
in Ovid’s Myth of Apollo  and Daphne

Abstract — The Ovidian story of Apollo and Daphne is read in the light of absence and desire: absence linked with sexual frustration; desire linked with aspiration which is found everywhere but never fulfilled except, perhaps, in the allegorical ideal of poetic triumph. Although the spark that ignites this first erotic myth of the Metamorphoses on the unattainability of love is attributable to Cupid’s dart and to his malicious envy, the depth of the symbolic import of the wound inflicted upon Daphne must not be underestimated. Daphne’s flight is not simply a flight from Apollo but from the very name of a lover, or “nomen amantis”, in a flight not from one male but from every male. Thus construed, the “eternal” virginity granted to Daphne by her father Peneus can be read as a “pathology” which could mean not just the end of sexual and social relations but rather, the end of sexuality and of society itself, if taken to its extremes.

Keywords: Ovid, Apollo, Daphne, metamorphoses, pursuit, flight, pathological virginity, poetic fame