Italy Literature Part 6
According to TIMEDICTIONARY.COM, the trend that could be defined as “denouncing essayism” can be traced back to the same matrix of realistic “experimentalism”, in which the representation of the relationships between institutions and the individual is faced with a clear will to classify inspired by a sort of rationalism of the Enlightenment matrix, as happens in the work of L. Sciascia (The day of the owl ; The council of Egypt ; The context). A separate case is given by the fiction of A. Moravia which in the most recent novels (including La boredom ; Attention ; Me and him ; The interior life) attempts to reconcile stylistic modules typical of the nineteenth-century realism tradition and an updated material that can be referred in various ways to the “phenomenology of the crisis”.
A third strand identifiable in the narrative production of the last fifteen years arises from a further study of the problem of realism, that is, from a “reduction of reality to zero degree” and from its emancipation from the falsification of history, its values and its meanings. Hence the focus of this narrative on the elaboration of adequate means of expression and its articulation in open structures, its ability to find and incorporate heterogeneous materials, starting with the use of language, which must be understood exactly at this level, that is, how material and not in its communicative function. A role of fundamental importance for the emergence and development of this narrative direction, in which the neo-avant-garde occupies a prominent place, was played by CEPasticciaccio (1958), but with The cognition of pain and La Meccanica.
A certain type of “informal realism” is also linked to the exceptional experience of A. Pizzuto who, from a situation of total isolation, moved precisely in the direction of an unhinging of formal institutions and an atomization of the fabric narrative that reaches up to the elaboration, in his most recent works, of a nominal syntax dominated by the abolition of the distinction between noun and verb (Symphony ; Testament ; Scoreboard). And to the informal, albeit reached in very different ways, the last Landolfi (Rien va ; Racconti impossibili ; Des mois) through the obsessive use of dialogue nourished by a deliberately artificial language used as a vehicle for a disintegration of the residual narrative structures. The tools for the implementation of those open structures postulated by the current that can be defined for the convenience of “informal realism”, are found to varying degrees in the use of the procedures of logical and linguistic deconstruction typical of dreams, psychic “abnormalities” or marginalization (think for all of the fiction by G. Celati, with Comiche e Adventure by Guizzardi, The band of sighs); or, at the linguistic level, through the combinations of dialect and language and the syntactic deformation, as happens in S. Bruno, T. Guerra, S. vassalli, L. Malerba; or again at the level of the proliferating accumulation of heterogeneous materials, as in the first place occurs in the exploitation of the possibilities deriving from the mixing of styles (think of F. Leonetti with Conoscenza per mistake ; The incomplete ; Flying carpet).
During the Sixties, the critical activity in Italy significantly broadens the range of its methodological perspectives thanks to the use and deepening of individual disciplines and research methods often captured in an interdisciplinary dimension. The old trunk of the idealistic-historicist criticism, which in the immediate postwar period had worked on a grafting of Gramsci on Croce in order to recover a continuity up to De Sanctis, fragments in various directions. From this process emerges one of the strands of sociological criticism most directly linked to Marxism and subject in particular to the influence of the last Lukàcs; but the attempt recently made to recover Gramsci in the direction of the sociology of literature, that is, in the analysis of social implications, appears more fruitful, “production, circulation, consumption” of the work. However, the influence exerted by the writings of W. Benjamin and the authors of the Frankfurt school (TW Adorno in particular) appears to be far more important in orienting a series of researches in a predominantly anti-Lukacsian direction which, thanks to the richness of implications contained in this area, they leave the realm of sociological criticism in the strict sense.
The use of the modules offered by psychoanalysis, after a period of initial distrust of the “content” risks implicit in a thematic assumption of this discipline, is now experiencing a certain awakening of interest thanks to a reading in a semiological sense, such as to allow a comparison between the language of literature and the language of the unconscious. It is also probable that a certain development of symbolic criticism, which took place in Italy in more recent years, is to be attributed more to the influence of psychoanalysis, through the reading of CG Jung and of the historians of the religions of the Jungian area such as K. Kerényi and from a phenomenological area such as M. Eliade, and to the spread of North American archetypal criticism or French thematic criticism.
But the sector of criticism that appears destined for a broader and more original development is that influenced by other disciplines such as semiology, structuralism and linguistics, and by the knowledge of formalist criticism, passed in Italy more through the works of Russian formalists than through the writings of North American New Criticism.
Even in this sector, however, that element of continuity with the cultural tradition that had already characterized in the period preceding the encounter of Marxism with Desanctisian and Crociano historicism has not failed to manifest itself, sometimes negatively. That is, the problem of the relationship between work and history reappears, even in structuralist, semiological, formalist criticism, the problem of the relationship between work and history no longer seen as “immediately available, spontaneously in the work of art” but mediated in such a way that ” the ideals and pragmatic contents of the historical moment are modulated in terms of literariness or artistry “. However, a fact that can be highlighted through the analysis of the most recent critical production in this sector is that of the progressive detachment from models.