Beyond the garden. The 20th century Italian book of narratives. Theory, history, practice

Oltre il giardino. Il libro di racconti del '900 italiano. Teoria, storia, prassi
Begin - Einde 
2021 - 2024 (lopend)
Vakgroep Letterkunde



What if you got asked to tell what One Thousand and One Nights are about, with the foresight of leaving out the frame story of Scheherazade? You would probably end up with 1001 unrelated synopsis and quite confused. But would you have answered the question asking what the book is about?  Indeed, what is a collection of autonomous narratives about?

This question is the core of my research project investigating the Italian 20th-century short story collection that represents an essential element in the history of contemporary Italian literature, although still overlooked by scholars. More specifically, my research aims to understand the mechanisms through which collections, starting from independent stories arranged in the same media space, work as complex cultural objects generating a unique meaning.

To this effect, my research anchors on two main methodological approaches.  On the one hand, it confronts itself with the theoretical tools provided by the schools of thought developed around this issue in the US, Europe, and Canada.  On the other, it analyzes the historical metamorphosis of this literary form in Western literature, moving from the premise that a proper understanding of aesthetic and cultural objects' functioning comes from a deep understanding of their history. Hence, combining a theoretical approach with a historical and cultural perspective, I will develop a theoretical model for these complex structures based on their history. 

Lastly, I will test this theoretical model by analyzing a selected corpus: Narratori delle Pianure (1985) by Gianni Celati and Centuria (1979) by Giorgio Manganelli. I will thoroughly examine these works providing a textual and paratextual analysis alongside the research and studying of archive materials related to their compositional projects.




Externe medewerkers

Giancarlo Alfano

Università degli STudi di NApoli Federico II