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La trama del caso. 'Maria Giuseppa' di Tommaso Landolfi (1930)

Pich, F (2010) La trama del caso. 'Maria Giuseppa' di Tommaso Landolfi (1930). Moderna, XII (2). 89 - 95 (6). ISSN 1128-6326

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The analysis focuses on Maria Giuseppa, a Short Story written by Tommaso Landolfi ,first published in 1930 and then collected in his Dialogo dei massimi sistemi (1937). Maria Giuseppa is exemplary of Landolfi’s main narrative attitude, which is dominated by the narrow span of the Short Story and by the peculiar perspective of first-person narration ; such a specific standpoint seems to depend on the writer’s overtly problematic relationship with complex plots and with narrative objects different from the self. The diegetic structure of Maria Giuseppa, a sort of confession of an « idiot », is built upon the opposition between an iterative, wandering pace and a singulative, abrupt ending – between the daily habits of a master towards his ugly female servant and their tragic interruption, caused by the rape of the servant and her subsequent death. There is no contradiction between the theatrical aspect of the story, which seems pronounced in front of an audience, and its interior character, because conscience itself is a stage and, in Landolfi ’s view, writing is always a monologue performed in public. The facts are told by a reticent and unreliable first person, who divagates and continuously loses « the thread » of his own narration : he is unable to explain and organize his past actions (i.e., to narrate) and at the same time he seems to expect an absolution or a condemnation from his narration. The tale undermines the rational foundations of its crucial narrative event and thus calls into question the existence of causal connections between facts, or even the notion of cause itself and, as a consequence, the possibility of determining guilt or innocence. Looking back on this Short Story in his La vera storia di Maria Giuseppa (1954), Landolfi himself described its tragic denouement as something « logic » but « conceived as » absurd and accidental.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2010,Fabrizio Serra Editore. Reproduced in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts (Leeds) > School of Modern Languages and Cultures (Leeds) > Italian (Leeds)
Depositing User: Symplectic Publications
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2012 14:36
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2014 12:10
Published Version: http://www.libraweb.net/contatti.php
Status: Published
Publisher: Fabrizio Serra Editore
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/74719

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