Visual Storytelling. Gadda's Iconographies From L'Adalgisa to Il Pasticciaccio
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AbstractMy dissertation is aimed at tracing a map of modernist Italian writer Carlo Emilio Gadda’s interest toward visual arts (painting, theatre, and cinema). Close reading of Gadda’s texts — both published and unpublished — and an attention to his intellectual biography will be intertwined in order to better analyze relevant aspects of the author’s oeuvre. First, I will trace the evolution of Gadda’s visual passion through an analysis of his personal library in Rome and of other unpublished notes in a rich archival trove in Verona. From the comparison between the unpublished texts and Gaddian essays and short stories one can outline the figure of the writer as an art critic. I will then examine the hidden mechanisms of Gadda’s ekphrasis, usually a complex operation of contamination between different iconographic sources. This innovative narrative method stands from the intellectual relations Gadda established with two important interlocutors, the art historian Roberto Longhi and the writer and translator Emilio Cecchi. Finally, I will deal with some case studies of visual and verbal intertexts in Gadda’s short stories (Adalgisa. Disegni milanesi) and pamphlets and historical pieces (I Luigi di Francia, Eros e Priapo) and in his masterpiece, Il Pasticciaccio. The aim of my project is to show concretely how visual arts represent a means Gadda uses to face some most significant biographical and intellectual tangles. Not only an art critic, Gadda is also a writer who awards visual arts with an heuristic power, carrying out a reflection on word image relations which is a unicum in twentieth century Italian literature.
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