Che materia stai cercando?



- At the end he returns to his origins

- Tithonus’ life was reduced to a shadow:

1) It doesn’t imply measurableness of time

2) No beginning, end or middle

3) With death it disappears and remain only what he did

- Tithonus is “maim’d” and this echoes the figure of St. Simeon Stylites who was an exposé of

superstition, fanaticism and imposture. “He is unfit for heaven and unfit for earth”: decontextualized

- He was a monk; introduces heaven into the secular concept of the world in a dangerous way:

introduces the criterion of the free choice of the will that was used to achieve the heaven; so he

desacralized religion, ritual and hierarchy. It’s an acephalous position: a position that doesn’t

recognize the apex of institutions.

- He meditates in the desert which is not symbol of sterility but it allows St. Simeon Stylites to observe

both earth and heaven from a right position. He is aware that the gap between the two worlds is


- Tithonus is doomed to contemplate the perennial transformation of the Goddess as a spectator, and

he is aware of his deformity and inadequacy

- Temporality characterizes human beings: Tithonus’ being in betwixt, located in a place where time is

suspended, makes him clearly see the uselessness of his condition. Losing the dimension of time

has made him lose his belonging to a genre, he doesn’t find anymore a sense to his life and the

world around him, leading him to the loss of identity. Central to Tithonus so is the division between

sensuous and abstract dimension

- Limit: breaking point in the speaker conscience; barrier for the atheist; threshold beyond which a

man of faith can reach his complete realization

- Tithonus: is the mental projection of poet’s dilemma; he is a symbol; his liberation symbolizes the

purification from illusions

- Poetry becomes a threshold between mind and nature; it is used to question himself

- Solution: “release me and restore me to the ground” (like Milton’s Paradise Lost)

- In Victorian Age Lucretius’ theory embodied the clash between scientific naturalism and Christian


- He was a disciple of Epicurus

- The key word of Lucretius’ theory is clinamen “declination of atoms”: principle of freedom; it gives the

mind its freedom of action

- Religion wasn’t the only way to explain creation

- Tithonus, St Simeon Stylites and Lucretius are examples of Tennyson’s dualism: world subjected to

mutability, God is the reason for man’s existence

- He looks for intellectual satisfaction

- Greek philosophy and Christian Creation were based on pure ideas, perfection and substantial forms

- Tennyson contrasted the Romantic ideas of immanence in Nature and employs methods of the

agnostic school

In Lucretius

- The speaker promises to give an account of the origins of belief

- The poet refers objectively to the things that appear

- No believe in beginning or ending: continuous transformation

- Denying the source of universe, he denies its essence: everything happens by chance

- Then the following lines (“The Gods! The Gods”) break the speaker’s conviction; the hypothetical

existence of God is left to the dona (doxa), common belief

- The true knowledge is transformation, relativistic knowledge is not absolute

- Then he discusses the premises fundamental to God’s existence: in a materialistic universe there is

no room for God; if atoms form everything they form God who should dissolve: no answer

- He warns against men like Memmius who are skilled orators that convince men

- The poem shows his scepticism and dilemma (popular idea, based on proof)

- Warning against the pursuit of the way of knowledge of God based exclusively on traditional, but also

against another way, along which mortals wander knowing nothing and rely on abstract principles

- He tries to understand the metaphysical world using the same paradigms of the rational thoughts

- When he says that mortal souls will perish, he reaffirms the great nature’s cycles

- Blind beginnings have made men: remark the accidental concept of creation

- A physical law has a crucial role in the process of creation

- The poet seems to believe more in entropy than in religion: everything is tied to momentariness, man

are a proof of the process of transformation, after death man cannot aspire to an afterlife of souls but

they will be reintroduced in the cycle of life: conservative situation where everything is transformed

and nothing is destroyed

- In his books man represent the balance between atom and void

- Time is the only invariable measure which can give proof of transience accepting death without fear

- Like Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura, Tennyson criticizes aspect of religion that engender fear and


- Like Plato’s Republic rejects the doctrine of predestination (two jars) which was used also in


• James Anthony Froude seems to transfer human imperfection to the divine: represents the crisis of

his time and generation in which they debate about God’s existence: typical theme of Victorian

scepticism is expressed in his “The nemesis of faith”, showing a lot of incongruences in a doctrine

based on a lot of false historical claims

He criticizes religion and says he believes in region of Christ, without dogma

- He speculated about the relationship between nature and God and his signs

- He had a lot in common with Whewell who affected also Tennyson productions: man is the

interpreter of nature through hypothesis, which might be used to explain a set of observations, and,

at the same time, observations can be used to test the truth of hypotheses

- According to Tennyson we don’t have proofs about relationship between Creator and Nature.

Religion can give only a partial answer

- The lacking of scientific answer produces a world of illusion and men find refuge in mythological


- Faith is based on a truth that can never be proved

- Faith produces a system of thought which can be applied to human who believe in Change

• Darwin: the instinctive belief of God was used as an argument for his existence but that idea is not

innate, it arises in the mind of man when he has been elevated by a long-continued culture. So God

is subject to an evolutionary process

• Epicureanism: the soul is made up of atoms and does not exist after death. It emphasizes the pursuit

of intellectual pleasure. The life was based on reason and final result ought to be peace of mind

(ataraxia) but the tension associated with the contrast between science and religion determined a

more complex feeling than the appreciation of God’s greatness as revealed in nature.

• In Despair (1885): Tennyson says that if God exist he would have more power than Hell which

wouldn’t exist

• In The Ancient Sage (1885) an old man says that God is nameless and all human languages about

him is relative and symbolic; His essence we cannot know.

• In conclusion

- In his earlier poems Tennyson questioned the theological concept of nature as depending on God for

preservation and the maintaining of due processes, and open to divine intervention. Later, he

inverted the paradigm: if theology desacralized Nature through the insistence upon a God who

transcends it; the poet praised nature and the regularity of order, inserting man in a lucid cosmology

in which God is just a part of the cultural heritage

- Desacralizing the afterlife, he affirms the epistemic distance between Men and God

- He broke away from Religious poetic tradition, proposing instead the sacralisation of the outer world

as the expression of genetic and biological evolution

ROGER EBBATSON: Seeking “the beyond”:

• desacralizing/resacralising Nature in Richard Jefferies

- th

The Age of steam (the English ”were more religious than any time)/19 century (crisis of religious

belief and widespread of pain and loss)

- New discoveries + positivism generated doubts and anxiety

- As Bonaparte says, when religion no longer command faith it becomes property of mythology and

poets, not of priests

- Religious lack: religion of humanity (attracted Spencer and Eliot)


- His work has to be contextualized in geophilosopy: thought takes place not between subject and

object but between territory and earth

- Nietzsche: all living beings create a place of settlement and he asks when we stop believing in God

and complete the de-deification of Nature and consider humanity as a part of nature

- Project showed with Ranciere is to “recovery” which involves the deconstruction of religious belief

and a resacralisation of Nature was aimed by Jefferies

- He says “I am nothing unless a metaphysician “

- In writing Jefferies has a bleak materialist realism

He had a natural knowledge and a journalistic career

- In the essay “One Of The New Voters”: detailed catalogue of wild life; the main character was not

interested in Nature; he thinks about work; a labourer is immersed in the landscape and lacks of any

religious/metaphysical vision and he is part of the landscape

Those who are ignorant will always observe the same landscape

- The artist is able to work the material and produce a new form, a subversion of ideology

- He describes peasants’ life but his addresses are middle-class men: a simple gesture can be full of

historical meaning: descriptions full of disenchantment, materialism and absence of religious

consolation (like in Courbet’s paintings): Courbet attempted to create a dignified and accurate image

of rural labour, that movement would extent to Van Gogh and Jefferies

- The work of art enables the quasi-religious “unconcealment” of art to take place, it is the

reproduction of the general essence

- His works are no fiction but a picture of what things are

- That texts can be analysed through Marxian theory: alienation of workers and his product: life

became hostile and alien; labour elicits wonderful things for the rich, the worker is condemned to

deformity, stupidity and cretinism (as Jefferies says)

Men work to create a world of objects. Men and women are the link between labour and object and

we have a desacralization of Nature

- In late works Jefferies adopt the American transcendentalism that veered towards pantheism and

believed in a universal spirit; universe is made of Nature and the soul; it was a Utopian but non-

Christian alternative to Victorian ethos

- Jefferies focused on the present and the presence in nature, not on temporal, cause-effect rationality

- Jefferies says that ancient men were absorbed in a cosmic experience that is scarcely know to


• Hegel proposed the rebirth of nature as a symbol of eternal unity, a kind of new religion

- Jefferies: pantheistic and non-Christian religion; he feels the divinity in Nature; he deploys the

traditional terms God and Prayer; he says the idea of God is the idea of attenuated matter

- Main work is The Story of my heart (1883)

- Moments of quasi religion: “Silence and sunshine brought my mind into the condition of intense


- The power of the religious attunement to nature leads to the annihilation of time, enabling him to

affirm “Now is eternity, now is the immortal life”

• The Story of My Heart 1883)

- He was ill and dictated the last parts, died 3 years later> at the instigation of his wife, he had

experienced a deathbed conversion to Christianity

- In his last essay “The life of the soul” he says that his main thought is the pray, the same he did on

the hills

- Sun life: transformation of thought - “Sun Life is the recognition of the Beyond not in everything but

by everything, as the sea now roaring.

- Christianity is like all the other superstitions and make no connection with the living world

- He dreams of ideality and says man has to search for the Beyond that is wholly spiritual

JOHN FAWELL: “An earthy sacredness: Maupassant’s and

• Van Gogh’s Christianized materialism”

- Vincent Van Gogh: volatile, emotional, in contention with society, anticipated Modernism; influenced

by Maupassant

- Guy de Maupassant: calm, amused, swam easily in his social world. He rests comfortably in the

conservative aesthetic of Naturalism

- Both had a similar attitude towards nature:

1) There were aterialists who responded with an almost pagan ardor to nature

2) They used Christian vocabulary to describe the ecstatic effect on them

3) The result is depiction of nature, partly pagan and partly Christian, never mystical > a

Christianized, ecstatic religion of the earth

Maupassant’s Cynicism towards religion

- He is famously materialistic; Incapable of spirituality, a guilt-free pagan

- His works are rejections and satires of the romantic spirituality

• The graveyard sisterhood

- Ode to Romanticism

- Begins with Joseph de Bardon visiting the grave of his mistress, appreciating the sense of human

transience and the melancholy wisdom engendered by cemeteries

- In the end he is fleeced by a canny graveryard prostitute who capitalizes on men who are vulnerable

to exactly these feelings

• The Jewels:

- The pure virtuous county girl who wears her modesty like a flower

- The young couple happy marriage is cut down by the premature death of wife

- The husband made a shrine of the bedroom and cries all night long

- These Romantic postures are deflated when:

1) The county girl turns out to be a courtesan that has a lot of jewels

2) The husband’s Romantic grief dissipates after he discovers that his cuckoldry has left him


• Idyll:

- Pastoral landscape, sleepy atmosphere

- Simple folk narrative

- The story of a starving laborer and a wet nurse who exchange favors for each other

- It fulfills the romantic genre and dismantle it at the same time

- Maupassant was distant from idealization of the peasant because he was close to Normand rustics

- His stories are filled with satyrs of church figures: in “Boule de Suif” two nuns convince Boule to have

sex with the Prussian officer she has been heroically resisting; in the beginning they give the

appearance of being absorbed in meditation, but it was a conspiracy; they had thought she was shy,

but now she showed herself to be bold and violent

• “Madame Tellier’s establishment”

- Wicked satire of religion

- The story is about a group of women working in a small brothel in a French provincial town, where

this type of business is accepted as perfectly normal. The business is run by Madame Tellier, who

inherited it.

One night the brothel closes because Madame Tellier has received an invitation to come to the First

Communion celebration of her niece Constance, whose godmother she is. So she travels with 3

prostitutes to stay at her brother’s, M. Rivet

- Normand peasant attitude: Rivet and his wife do not show repugnance about Mme’s establishment;

the peasant who know nothing thinks they are city sophisticated girls

- Turning point: at the communion ceremony of Constance, the daughter of Rivet, the youngest

prostitute is moved to tears via thoughts of her childhood church and her departed mother. Then

everybody cries: this is considered the deepest religious awe the little church has ever witnessed

- The priest thanks them for the elevated religious feeling they introduced

- Constance’s mum asks Mme Tellier to find a spot for her daughter in her brothel: she has been

introduced into two communities in one day: 1 sacred, 1 profane

- Maupassant notes all detail in the christening ritual; he doesn’t believe in it, but his peasants do and

their belief brings his sarcasm

- When there is Kyrie eleison there is no belief and no sarcasm

- He is open to all facets of human natures> could mock piety and be moved by it at the same time

- Its book is an attack to self-righteousness

• The convert:

- The abbe Marignan converts the carpenter offering him a job in Church’s renovation: more

worldliness than spirituality

- He loves stories and food and doesn’t hound those who don’t attend service regularly

- He was astute and knows how to make himself agreeable thanks to astuteness given to those by

chance exercise power over fellows

• Maupassant balances satires with kindness and understanding

• Maupassant, Religion and Nature

- He mocks religious extremism and those who are trapped in it

- As Ovid his landscapes are vivid and real, they love Nature

- He used Christian vocabulary for Nature

• “The Christening”:

- Father Dentu is presiding over his first nephew’s Christianising> he feels more powerful and strong

connection with the baby

- He understands for the first time the sacrifice of his celibacy, so he weeps on the baby late at night

- He awakens to the beauty of the material world

- The baby is holy, sacred, ineffable mystery. Maupassant is moved by life

- The description of the children betrays the same sensuality of women’s

- Language is ironical as well, he reverses the meaning of Christening: the child provides the priest

with a spiritual education

- Maupassant awakens Dentu to his religion: the one of life, mankind, sex, existence

• “Moonlight”

- One-sided satire of religious figure: Abbé Marignan

- He is a stronger believer in God than father Dentu, a moralist

- He finds his niece having an affair but wanted her to became a nun

- He asks himself for what purpose the night expressed itself with such lavish charm. Why God

created such a beautiful night if the night was made to rest? The sensual love of the couple

represents the fulfilment of God’s word, that fills the priest with a sense of sacred

• Divine is shown in the “living response” of humans and here again it is nature that is divine

- To the Abbe what he sees seemed almost biblical, like the love of Ruth and Boaz

- Sexual life merge with spirituality

- The beauty of the night has restored in him a primitive faith of the past, less prudish and moral

• “On the water”

- Autobiographical essay

- Compares his appreciation of Nature to that of animals

• Warm appreciation and cold honesty

- The holy resides in places where we least suspect it to be

- His response to nature is: objective, ecstatic

- As Ovid, Nature is full of sensuality and eroticism; the pulse of Nature is tied to the regeneration of

the species, not to the solitude as in Wordsworth

• Maupassant’s sensual landscapes

- Nature is tied to sensuality, sometimes comically, others lyrically

• The Story of a Farm Girl

- We can get the gist of what that story will be about, a farm hand’s seduction and abandonment of a

farm girl, by the description of a farmyard rooster, and the ease with which it takes its pleasure with

the hens in the second page of the story.

- The farmhand is cruel and indifferent

- The girl becomes pregnant but she stays sadly calm

• In “Martin's Girl” Benoist's lust for the farmer Martin's daughter, who has recently arrived at maturity,

surprises him, but not us, if we have read attentively Maupassant's description of the farm fields of

the area early, like what happens in “Confessing”

• Maupassant links a fine appreciation of Normand farm life with a sensually charged pantheism:

eroticism of nature

- Human life cycle is seen to be close to the cycle of animals. Humans are mere physical

phenomenon themselves: mixture of bucolic and cruel

• “Une Vie”

- His first novel

- The young Vicomte and Jeanne tacitly agree they will marry, and she gets pregnant

- Maupassant describes the sea before the setting sun as a “monstrous bride” who waits for her


- Passage of great peace and turbulent sensuality (appreciated by Van Gogh)

• Nature is not described in its beauty but in the intensity and confusion of senses it evokes. Nature

evokes vitality, wild energy. He loved nature like an animal, not like a man

VAN GOGH and spirituality:

- Painted in an anxious fever, not realistically, colours had to suggest emotions (Maupassant was very

calm and realist)

- Both had materialism and spirituality sublimated into nature

- Van Gogh represented an isolated period of materialism bracketed on both ends - Romanticism and

then Modernism; he is interested in the mysteries that reality hides from us

- Van Gogh began his adult life with a futile search for a position in the Protestant ministry and his

early letters are charged with a religious piety. Van Gogh's youthful religious zealotry wore off

gradually, more or less in concordance to his failure to his failure to find a successful situation in the

world of religion, either as a student or an evangelist.

- He started a cult of work and nature he rejected the symbolism used by modernist such as Gaugin

and Bernard: he abandoned romantic spirituality – loyal to materialistic vision that sublimated his

sense of sacred into a religion of nature – fight off a modern mysticism

- Even if he was a non-conformist he maintained something of the sober puritan (his father was a

minister): an understanding of the suffering that often consoled him

- “Pride is like drinking: is intoxicating”: he was cynical about his art and labour gave him relief

• Van Gogh and Nature: “A love of things that exist”

- In his conversion he was influenced by Maupassant’s “Bel Ami”: he appreciated Maupassant’s

lighthearted approach to life. He aimed to rest serenity from nature

(Maupassant M syphilis, mad, died in asylum)

- He sublimates his loss of faith into his studies of nature

- Nature radiates and vibrates with the eternal

- He was against expressionists who bypassed the study of this world for an art that came from

imagination. The thing he represented was important and had its own vitality

- Attention on what really exists, no desire to strive for an ideal

- His aim is to represent the power of nature, so he appreciated Asian art because they live in nature

as they were flowers themselves. It was a rational, concrete study of nature

- His religion was the careful study of nature: means as concentration, analytic study

- He sees health and fortifying power in nature, and could express it only in art

- In nature he finds peace even if he was mad ill and sad

- Connection with natural elements he would point (Gethsemane)

- Colour’s beauty in Nature and on his canvas

- His works were based on effort and concentration

- He draws colour from a careful observation: they are not the exact colours but those that bring the

essence and story of the object\person

- Van Gogh absorbed the substance\essence of things

- Dramatic notion of the painting: labour and struggle to understand Nature

- He wanted reality to invade his pictures

- Both Maupassant and Van Gogh see the sacred closest to the ground and in the Lowest members of


- They made saints the prostitutes

- Ecstatic description of nature: similar to pagan religion

- Maupassant was more than a cruel humanist, capable of intense responses to nature

- Van Gogh was not a troubled dreamer but loved things that exist

- They found a religion in the appreciation of world, concrete things

Displacement – distortion theory and the desacralization

• of Aesthetic categories: The case study of Hardy’s

“Neutral tones”

• Foveal vs peripheral vision and the displacement – distortion model

Process of visual perception

The central (foveal) and peripheral region of the eye treat the image in different ways: the central portion

of image is perceived with higher level of visual acuity, those in the periphery are distorted. False

interpretation of distance, position and movement, they are however perceived and analysed by the


Experiment: cross in centre; beautiful people at the periphery: they are perceived as ugly as the images

start to move as a sequence; grotesque; the effect was interrupted if the sequence stops

DISPLACEMENT – Distortion and the phenomenology of aesthetic experience and categorization

- The visual activity is personal and subjected to personal interpretation. There can be distortion of the

normal shape due to phenomena of deformation and impediments

- Individual’s perceptions of reality are dependent on the different relative position assumed by subject

and object


- Aestheticization turning an object to the aesthetic;

De-Aestheticization degrading into a non-aesthetic

- Change in the position occurring in the spatial, perceptual, cognitive and emotional sphere

- Marginalization, centralization and exclusion of an object: parallelism between aestheticism and


- The result of these two cognitive operations is the association of an array of perceptual constants to

different sets of objects made by individuals or social groups and these objects, aestheticized, are

now used in cultural production because they possess specific properties and are able to activate

aesthetic models of reception and production: the object doesn’t possess ontologically those

properties but it achieves them through a subjective manipulation:

Displacement: interaction between Subject and Object

Distortion: change in the subjective attitude towards the object

- An experience based on exercise of taste process results from the interaction between SENSORY


it is subjective and individual

leads to the formulation of an “aesthetic judgement”: no objectivity

- It produces a couple of euphoric-dysphoric

- outcomes that are organized in a hierarchical system of values

- The object is attributed a posteriori a series of qualities, which determine the quality of being or not


- It is possible thanks to optical physic phenomena

• Displacement – distortion and aesthetic sacralisation – desacralization

- Aesthetic centralization can be seen as a process of sacralisation: phenomenon of demundanization

and attribution of unique characteristics

attribution is arbitrarily and subjectively made ex post

it produces a shift in behaviours

it is put at the centre of their affective interest

- De-Aestheticization: desacralization: cultural practise of demundanization through the subtraction of

properties which decode it as a salient entity and now it is marginalized and then totally excluded

- It undergoes a process of deformation and defocusing

• Repetition and entropy

Reason behind this process of aesthetic sacralisation – desacralization: the notion of repetition

Repetition: fundamental component for the above mentioned experiments; the more is the fruition of the

element delayed in time, the more the distortion is perceived by the subject; in aesthetic, repetition is a

necessary condition for displacement; phenomenon of the re-use of objects as canonized items that

occupy the centre of the spectre for a period of time; the temporal duration of their canonization is

proportional to their progressive devaluation (in linguistic it can turn in into redundancy);

semiotic detriment, automatization of thematic patterns: the structure is less informative: loss of

specificity and becomes redundant


- It represents the gradual shift by the aesthetic category of Romantic beauty from the centre to the

periphery in Victorian period

- The voice of the poet makes a reconsideration of his own past in dysphoric terms

- It includes outer experiences (nature, women’s appearance) and the internalized psyche (love)

- Nature and love are the two dominant paradigms and the centre of the reconsideration go from the +

to the – pole: the analysis goes to the collective plane of intertextuality

- Romantic Beauty is evoked as a dysphoric ghost; in Hardy it is perceived only through its axiological

negative reversal

- Phenomenon of desacralization of an object which was perceived as sacred


- Takes places in stanzas 1-2

- Its development coincides with poem’s metrical and thematic articulation

- S1: nature > sod\winter day\sun\leaves\ash

S2: love > eyes\love\words played

- These terms, once common, now are perceived as alien entities, they are less able of arousing in

the speaker the sensory outcomes they had before

- They are marginalized through manipulation of text of the lexical and rhythmical pattern

- Defocusing is suggested by the immobility (stood, pond, lay, fallen) and chromatic desaturation of

the countryside (winter day, few leaves) and by the character apathy, stagnation which characterizes

his relationship with the women

- The woman cannot focus her eyes on him: emotionally: distraction>end of love; neuroscience: study


- S1: triple iambic rhythm with scheme AAAB: restlessness, anxiety

S2: triple iambic rhythm with scheme AAAB: inertness, lethargy

He uses a pair of weaker rhythmic pulse: freeing of articulatory energy

- Frustration of rhythm occurs also at a phonosymbolic level with heaviness and stasis

- Cadenced reoccurrence of vocal sounds and fricatives (leaves) in gentle sounds among consonant

sounds in words carrying stronger rhythmic accents (starving stood gray ash) that are more noisy

than musical

- In S2 the sound is dying away as perceived at distance

- Contrast between dynamism:

1) Image of the projection of sight from the subject to the object

2) Physical movement evoked by the wandering of woman’s eye

3) Metaphorical movement of the intellect which has to solve riddles

4) Temporal progression

5) Affective dynamism of emotion evoked by love

AND funeral sense of melancholy which weights down dynamism and transforming it into inertia: the use of

dash produces a pause which suspend the reading in indistinctness which is suggested on the semantic

plane by “to and from”

- The distortion affects both the element of the enounced (landscape and woman) and those of

enunciation (rhythm and sound quality) and all objects became defocused entities


- It is the outcome of the sensory detachment generated by the defocusing of salient objects

- It is a sort of hallucinatory phenomenon in which objects are repulsive so ready to be excluded from

the spectrum of interest

- The objects are transformed first into the grotesque monstrosity through the speaker’s voice and

then into horrific entities

1) Grotesque: the initial stage of distortion; on the visual plane it is a change of the configuration of

objects and there are synecdochic particular (woman’s body)

• Paratactic structure dominates the poem

These images are perceived not as part of a whole body but as aggregate of different parts

Even the smiling mouth is perceived as out of place: agricultural representation > subordination of

the organic to the mechanical

On the affective plane: perception of an object as repulsively ugly

Smile: dreadest thing: pun of bitter, cold humour

In the past he loved her smile, and the mouth is the source of sweet words and now affection is lost

and her words are tedious riddles

the smile became a grin in stanza 3: typical of grotesque images

bitterness: distate (?), disappointment, dissatisfaction

2) HORRID: intensification in dysphoric attributions; worsening of the grotesque; it is a new entity

completely detached from its original ominous bird a-wing has took the place of the smile: deeper

detachment, totally disconnected from the past

The bird is a new naturalistic element that was absent in Stanza1; the bird is elusive and cannot be reach: it

produces fear and honour because human can interact with it only with symmetrical logic

- The alienation can be seen also in the speaker’s voice

- Use of indefinite articles: no clear understanding of this experience

- Suspensions marks: the bird’s fly in a spatiotemporal dimension as a horrifying feeling

- Gloomy, funereal cadence of duple rhythm: 2 syllable feet, as Shakespeare’s

IV: symbolic and formal synthesis of desacralization

- Keen lesson that love deceives: show disappointment\frustration

- Wrings with wrong: attention of shape and decontextualized objects


- It can be found in lexicon, syntax and in speaker’s intratextual level

- Reoccurrence of words and patterns becomes redundancy (pond, sun, chidden of god, white, few,

gray, ash, tree)

- And we see a linguistic simplification from particular to general noun (ash>tree) and synecdochic

details of women became your face

- At the beginning we have more extended patterns then they are crystallized in a single more concise


• Noise is transformed into information due to the dynamic interaction of repetitive patterns and

deautomatization of thematic content

The “god-curst sun” iconic, paradigmatic synthesis

• The text is based on a presentative, rather than narrative mode of expression: verbal forms are at

the present (commentative tense); function to orient the text toward the hic and nunc of enunciation,

rather than narration that is dominated by syntagmaticity; sequence of juxtaposed images,

metaphorically charged: fragmentation of the text; element of novelty (breaking of linearity of the


• The elements of the poem (1867) are closer to modernism than to Victorian period

(paradigmaticity\fragmentariness\symbolic modes)

• The poem is a connection between Romanticism and Modernism (Eliot, Joyce, Woolf)

Geoffrey Hill’s “Serpents and Dragons”

- His education and upbringing was Christian, he sang in a Church choir and was present during


- He chooses biblical imagery to connect with the sacred roots of Western culture even when

sociological theories of secularization were emerging

• Secularization theory

- Articulated by MacIntyre in 1964 and published as Secularization and Moral change

- When people abandoned the countryside to became working-class members it was obvious the

abandon of God-given norms that regulated universe

- In the oriental vision knowledge has never been separated from sacred (prof. Nasr) and he gives

examples of Western authors who were influenced by Oriental traditions: Goethe, Taylor, Blake

- In 1990 Rabbi Sacks claims that the reaction to Secularization, the loss of social significance for

religious consciousness and institutions, would be fundamentalism: it was dethroned by science

(knowledge), liberalism (politics), post enlightenment (morals), social change (communities).

Religious faith resist as a form of private consolation

- The first form of religious modernity occurred after the French revolution when the Jewish were

invited to become French citizens: forced to the privitisation of faith

- American Catholic Andrew Greely: religion still managed to influence political movements in the

West (solidarity in Poland). He says religion exist to reinforce hope through its daily crisis. It arises

because human needs that renewed hope

- Religious values have been eroded but not eclipsed, they lie at the heart of our moral

• David Martin “On secularization” (2005): the notion of secularization was presented as the victory of

science over religion via Bacon, Machiavelli, Petrarch, Enlightenment, Nietzsche, Freud, Marx,


• Charles Taylor “The Secular Age” (2007): governments in the West no longer bear any relationship

to the sacred; no punishments only God’s love: Christianity makes a slide into Unitarianism; at the

beginning sex was connected to the sacred and violence to wars, so it was limited

• William’s Faith in the Public Square: we are vulnerable because we have no way of making sense of

the most threatening elements in our environment (no adequate vocabulary for speaking of evil); he

is an archbishop of Canterbury, a theologian and a poet; art is an important response to secularism:

it makes possible a variety of seeing because the object is located outside the closure of conflicts

and interests: many processes of negotiation

• in the bible, in the Apocalypse, a Woman is faced by a seven-headed dragon who will eat the baby

as soon as he’ll born, but the child escapes and Michael and his angels will fight the dragon and

send him on Earth: allusion to genesis; Hebrew word Tan translated into Dragon Jackal (in England


from 13 century) = evil

- Sometimes it is called serpent which refers to the biblical Leviathan: a sea monster, for Hobbes

when capitalized it indicates a totalitarian state

- Even in Moby dick is used the word leviathan to indicate the whale and it is used in many books of


the 21 century and it is linked to WW2

- th

There is also a 10 century text found in the Exeter Book about a whale which is called Leviathan



- In the first volume “For the unfallen” (1959) the first poem is Genesis in which there is the watery

Leviathan which is paragoned to the Nazi state and the creature is violent

- In the Assisi’s fragments the serpent has no malice or malevolence

- In Melville’s Moby Dick the sources are biblical or cultural or both

- Hills presents and questions Christian perspectives

- In “Mercian Hymns” (1971) there are spade digging (?) related to the mass grave of the previous

hymn; they struck the firedragon’s faceted skin: anaphoric phrase, 3° person plural pronoun used

with an active verb; the dragon represent war and evil and St. George was evoked as support in


- In “Tenebrae” the poem is called Christmas Tree and the main character Bonhoeffer is aware we live

in a “Come of age” and in his prison study he explores the idea of a world that functions without God.

He wants to make Christianity operative in a society that no longer acknowledged the sacred: when

God is absent does the Verb continue to exist?

- In “De jure belli ac pacis” in Canaan, Hill’s dragon symbolizes evil, tyranny and human choice and

the Nazi State; the epigraph to the 2 section evokes the struggles between Archangel Michael and

the dragon; the struggle of Christianity is to fight to keep something of Christianity alive in us

- Without title: poem “Broken Hierarchies”

- Allusion to Melville

- About natural beauty and allusions Appalachian music: Irish\welsh music; references to Baudelaire

who represent the moment when world come of age began in poetry

- It is also a war poem; rain = bullets; music: repetition of violence with drones > from 2006 they are

commonly used: prophetic poem

- In Daybook we find Oraclau / Oracles (2011)

- Dragon is a new positive figure: symbol of Welsh Flag and the bravest of community

- He appreciated his Welsh ancestry ant the Druid culture

- Pen Draig: head dragon: pendragon: name of King Arthur

- The dragon was used also in Roman Cavalry and then by Wessex Saxons

- It is mentioned in Welsh apocalypse and allusion to a Babylonian Dragon relief of the 6 BC

- And it is a sexual symbol: the temptation of sex

- The welsh apocalypse takes place in the coal mines, the dragon is a symbol of fortitude in the face

of adversity

• In a desacralized world there can be a lot of mayhem among the types

ESTRA MELIKOGLU: “Morpho Eugenia”: the individual

• struggle for self-realization and the question of morality in

a Darwinian world without God

- Karl Marx says that Darwinian theory was a mortal arrow for theology

• In the novel “Morpho Eugenia” by Byatt:

- William Adamson, the main character, is the personification of Darwin

- It is about the reconsideration of atheistic Darwinism as a relevant element of emancipation of the

individual from ancient bondage to the old regime; and allows to reconsider the morality in a world

without God

- Without God the individual has to survive in a world of Natural Selection and became a Predator:

thanks to the help of Matty Crompton, a Darwinist, he proves that there is place for both self-

realization and moral obligation towards the other

- The book is set in England in 1859: Darwin; Marx communist manifesto; Feuerbach Essence of


- As Darwin Adamson travels to South America, they kept a journal before the expedition, return as

naturalists, interest in ants and bees, rejected God and criticize slavery but Darwin is a member of

Upper class, Adamson is butcher’s boy: he has to deliver himself from his bondage to God and His

supposed representatives on earth, his religious father, Robert, and the old regime to realize himself

- Modern man wants self-determination and he rejects God because it symbolizes subjugation: the

power came from God and rebellion was blasphemy

- Adamson’s father lives in dread of hell fire and wants his son to remain a God-fearing man

God: oppressive father in heaven

Dad: narrow-minded father in earth; he believes that one can improve his situation but the divinely

ordinated class-divide shall be preserved (Methodism), he sells low quality beef to miners and

workers; he believes that a prospering business is the sign of salvation by grace from God

- Adamson refutes the existence of God and rewrites the creation myth after his shipwreck: the

Darwinian man is born in water (life began here) and in the struggle for survival moves to land and

descendant can demonstrate infinite variations in traits inherited by their ancestors: it support the

lower-class right to social mobility

Adamson inherits his look from his father but he is a marked man and has to remake himself as a

free man: he has his father rejection; he has lost the collection of specimen; what remain is self-


Orphanhood (as Jane Eyre says) is a condition of free injuries but also of free progress

- Adamson accepts Sir Harold Alabaster’s invitation to stay at Bredely Hall

- The reverend represents the ancient regime, the enlightened theologian

- He opens the gates of his country house to Williams, the atheistic Darwinian man, because:

1) The Alabaster family, with the transition from feudal world to liberal capitalism, is an oppressive

and unproductive body that needs a social evolution to face the mercantile classes (Alabaster:

mineral shaped by environmental changes, not immune to changes). William’s work should help

the family to adapt themselves to changing times

2) Alabaster represents the old paternalistic master who aims to prevent the radicalization of the

lower-class atheist and to reabsorb him into the feudal family

To lure him back, Sir Harald not only provides Adam(son) with a latter-day Eve, that is, Eugenia, but

offers him power asking him to label the specimens: shift from the will of God to the individual’s

authority of experience and scientific observations

- There is a temporary alliance of William to Sir Harold and his reluctance to rise to moral action: cold

indifference of Victorian society to the poor

- He marries Eugenia, then realizes he is neither a servant nor a master, he has no place in the


became a distanced scientific observer, engaging with Sir Harold in a series of debate on religion

the religion sense is part of history of mankind as the knowledge of cooking food

as Feuerbach says “Our God is ourselves” (God created on human attributes)

he believes in a wrathful God based on the law of Nature and on the image of cruel man

- The absconditus Deus:

- His existence is not knowable by human beings by contemplation or examination

- The absent God rob the world of meaning

- His ways cause misery and are hostile to humankind

- God is alienated and hostile to his creations and he cannot recognize them

- Religious relation to the others is not applied to servants or workers who are created by a lesser God

and are exiled to the obscure spaces of the house

- And money used to pay them are made in cotton trade, based on slavery

Sir Harald’s prayers in the morning serve to preserve his role in the house; obedience of servants, keep the

lower orders in their place; religion creates an illusory happiness, false consolation: it was the will of God

they should be servant and they have to wear black clothes and sit in the back rows

- William distances himself from dogma and he knows man’s struggle to emerge as a predator

- He has no wish to convert anyone

- An uncertain idea that represents his refusal to put himself in the service of any master narrative

- Philosophers have described the world but the main point is to change it

- He takes sides thanks to two servants: Matty who is reminiscent of Darwin and female

correspondences. She is also a socialist and an abolitionist

- Matty emancipated Adamson from the influence of Sir Alabaster and Eugenia who represents the

beauty a personal God, as Jesus Christ

- Matty suggests to observe social life in colonies through the servant’s life and A. keep his project of

writing the observation secret: sort of conspiracy; Together the group set up the Mother Nest, which

is modelled on Queen Victoria's Summer retreat

- The economy of UK is survival: depends on works of slaves and servants

Like Darwin Adamson criticizes the slavery abroad, but remains evasive about social injustice in UK

- He points out on the futility and mockery of religion, he says religion and slavery are found on the

same principle: ransom (riscatto), and the cause misery of our poor

- Matty and another servant openly criticize slavery and English implication in (American Civil war:

cotton panic in Lancashire 1861)

Even A. family have made money on the cotton trade: they are among those who must be saved

from moral deprivation but they also have to fight on the side of slavery-markers to preserve work:

daily bread

• W takes action only when he sees the distress of a child who is a servant: Amy her name is a

reminder of the imperative to love, given by God

• W never follows the servant in the “mysterious areas”: indifference

• He claims of the crime of the social inequality: Amy is emptying the traps for beetles (like a

coleopteran); children’s hard work: in order to accustom them to industrial labour

• Amy is abused by Edgar: cruelty mocks the imperative to love

• W provides for the pregnant Amy who is sent away to a workhouse: he rises to action moral

• Darwin observes that at certain point every animal including the human being, acquired the instinct

to sympathize with others. And in human it is promoted by the Fear of God\Spirits that prompt to

perform acts of kindness. There are savages who are atheist who would however help their mates

• W notes that a less developed human being was more inclined to perform an act of altruism to

achieve a social approval: W doesn’t have the Alabaster approval: ethic than utilitaristic choice

he fights to emancipate himself, Amy and Matty

• Darwin says that in cultural man there are less instinctual habits: he is the judge of his actions and

he would never violate other’s dignity

reason: moral man: altruism

• Struggle to maintain purity of the ace for horses and for the Alabaster family

• Servants reminds the origins of the Christian religion (r. of the poor), they hold the moral: mutual

charity and social inclusiveness, typical of the countryside

• W found Edgar with his life: leave the house which is doomed to extinct and in the last scene he is

travelling on a ship through the darkness with Matty

Dark Void: beginning of a new life\God’s creation of world = ambiguity

• Humans cannot be free nor in a divinely ordained world nor in the natural world of clashing life-forms

but this doesn’t absolve them from the moral responsibility



- Armonizzazione dell’universo dell’oggettività e della soggettività

- Lo sguardo permette di formulare la fissità di un oggetto attraverso la scrittura; è creatore di

immagini e unificatore di pensiero e parola

- Amplificazione e drammatizzazione di sé rintracciabile nelle opposizioni io\altro, passato\presente e


- Lo sguardo è anche presa di coscienza e autodeterminazione

- L’anima accoglie ciò che lo spirito accoglie

- La scrittura femminile si pone anche come alterità, presa di coscienza dell’altro

- Le scrittrici sono dinamiche: forma di isteria per la simultanea accettazione e rifiuto della società

patriarcale = distress, disagio, dannazione caratterizzano la donna artista, non la auto-realizzazione

- Sia nella vita vera che nell’arte le donne erano confinate nella società patriarcale

- Carattere confessionale: espressione del credo ideologico e rivelazione di sé, ma esprimono la

questione femminile sotto il sigillo dell’atemporalità

- Scrivere = atto di follia: in senso simbolico atto coraggioso di donne che si espongono, giudicano e

mettono a nudo il proprio intelletto; atto di trasgressione: appropriazione del dibattito politico,

imponendo all’attenzione pubblica una questione controversa: accreditamento intellettuale nel

riconoscere il ruolo e il pensiero delle donne

- La donna scrittrice è vittima del pregiudizio: invece di essere invisibile è overexposed

- La parola: presa di coscienza, realizzazione; donna: self e other, riguardo al modo in cui la donna

era vista e considerata

Austen: riequilibra il vissuto e l’idealizzato

scinde characters e caricatures: manca di forza ideologica


- cecità: non comprende che la donna può avere una voce autorevole

- mantiene i canoni della tradizione

- si adegua all’ordine sociale ma le sue eroine hanno uno spessore dato dall’emozione e dalla passione

- la sintesi è affidata al lettore che deve comprendere il rapporto tra reason e sensibility. Austen non prende



• teorico per Maria Wollstonecraft

- Prospettiva femminista, decostruzionista, difesa del suo sesso

- Maria or the wrongs of woman, pubblicato postumo da William Godwin nel 1798

- Vindication of the rights of woman (1792): opera per cui è maggiormente ricordata; spesso fu

criticata per fanatismo, instabile e capricciosa, ma è elemento di maggior disturbo è il fatto che sex e

passion hanno lo stesso ruolo nella degradazione e corruzione della donna.

- In Maria invece Wollstonecraft ha una visione diversa è meno punitiva sulla sessualità femminile e il

sentimento materno sopravvive come la positiva realizzazione della passione. Al centro dialettico c’è

la rappresentazione di avvenimenti e personaggi in una cornice sociale che tende al rifiuto, confronto

con verità e prevaricazione sociale

- L’oggetto di riprovazione di Wollstonecraft è il regolamento interno del matrimonio che con

“Despotism of heart and conduct” spegne sensibility, mind, affection and taste of a woman: è

l’accettazione passiva della donna che lo pone in essere (errore di Maria è accettare il codice del

matrimonio non è il matrimonio stesso che è un istituto riformabile). Entrambi i contraenti devono

essere pari degni per Wollstonecraft > conflitto di sguardi per modo di riferirsi a qualcosa (masch:

aspetti esteriori, femm: aspetti sofferenza)> * più che una soluzione al problema è un’ipotesi di

conciliazione che sfocia in una visione non femminista, ma femminile cioè la difesa della dignità della


- L’autrice si rivolge alle passions più che alle manners

- La colpa della donna si riferisce alla sessualità e originariamente a Eva

- Dall’analisi socio-antropologica Wollstonecraft può parlare della donna, della sua ragione e della

sorveglianza fatta dal resto della società

- In Maria c’è la ricerca dell’essenziale: distinguere il confine tra errore e verità, valutando il luogo in

cui l’errore si annida:

1) Il nucleo dell’opera si basa su un pensiero formulato da reticenze, parole e confessioni

2) Amore peculiare delle donne: degradation of mind

3) La riflessione si basa sulla difesa dell’uguaglianza tra maschio e femmina, ma è anche

testimonianza della difficoltà di concretizzarla:

a) Liberal feminist claim: autonomia legale, diritto al salario

b) Radical feminist: legame sentimentale tra donne oppresse

c) Sensibility: usato per superare i pregiudizi ma c’è la trappola del matrimonio visto come

danno per la libertà e la conoscenza. Wollstonecraft è anti-sensibility

- Wollstonecraft non nega la sensibility dell’individuo ma la riconosce come un momento negativo

perché incassa gli alti poteri della mente limitandone la dimensione intellettuale e razionale

- Alle spiegazioni empiriche di superiorità maschile Wollstonecraft contrappone l’opposizione di

consapevolezza intellettuale, della capacità di migliorare perché ignorance è confusa con innocence

le ragazze sono cresciute con l’obiettivo del matrimonio, nessuna ambizione > netta separazione di

due profili educativi, presentata con numerose negazioni (= esclusione), c’è opposizione tra liberty e

legally prostituted

- Le donne sono escluse e considerate incapaci di pensare come condizione necessaria per la

sopravvivenza di un ordine sociale>la voce di Wollstonecraft si alza per vincere la mortificazione

intellettuale > vuole il riconoscimento della propria parola, di emancipazione “Was not the world a

vaste prison and the woman born slaves?”

1.1 Maria: beyond an aesthetic achievement

- Maria è solo una parte del romanzo, sono presenti vicende e confessioni di altri personaggi

- Volume 1: Maria è nella madhouse; primo contratto con Jemima e Henry Darnford

- tra il primo e il secondo volume la cesura è apparente: continua la narrazione biografica, ma passa da

credulity o incoscienza alla piena coscienza degli eventi > attraverso l’esempio di esperienze vissute e

narrate cerca di recuperare una dimensione propria

- la confessione: non è la storia di una colpa o di un segreto ma è la ricostruzione di un’identità, rendere nota

la parzialità dell’impianto sociale

- Formalmente Wollstonecraft analizza le 3 confessioni in modo unitario, non nei singoli aspetti; la

confessione di Maria è collocata per ultima: posizione più importante > donna intellettuale che parla di sé e

della funzione di punizione: concezione di un ordine che tiene divise la sfera dell’accettazione dell’ordine e

della libertà

- La storia di Henry è l’intermezzo tra la reticenza di Jemima e la parola di Maria

- L’autrice ricorre all’intensificazione (di idea\azione\immagine) per far risaltare l’impianto teorico >

espansione orizzontale che permette di presentare risvolti differenti di un singolo argomento sino a diventare

esempi e momenti di chiarificazione (tipico del romanzo) si ha reiterazione contenutistica e formale (ad

esempio continua la fuga di Jemima: deprived, education, faculties, poverty, dissolution)

1.2 La Madhouse: guardare per agire

- elemento importante è la teatralità i personaggi si presentano come su un palcoscenico e come in un teatro

sono preceduti da un gioco di chiaroscuri e da una voce a parte che commenta l’atmosfera

- la Madhouse è descritta attraverso particolari visivi: sospensione spazio-temporale e preparazione

all’incontro con Jemima. È la rappresentazione del confinamento, conflitto tra interiorità (angoscia) ed

esteriorità (the mansion of despair)

Lo stato d’animo riflette il luogo di detenzione con un climax crescente a livello lessicale

- Maria esercita una rottura tra sé e il luogo di detenzione che non riesce a sopire la sua ragione. La

consapevolezza di sé delinea il fatto che la sua unica possibilità di sopravvivenza è legata alla riflessione e

alla forza di libertà

- La Madhouse è il perno intorno a cui la società ha costruito la sua verità; assume lo stesso valore dei

personaggi > rappresenta coercizione fisica e mentale perché è il luogo in cui sono relegati coloro che

tentano di turbare l’ordine sociale e la società li controlla e punisce

La società ha la funzione morale di guardare per guarire il male morale\individuale

- La Madhouse è un atto di riconciliazione con la società che tutela il libero pensiero purché conforme

a norme condivise

- L’uomo è rinchiuso perché mina l’ordine sociale sovrapponendo l’individuale al collettivo e viene

annientato ma scandendolo allo sguardo

- La sorveglianza ristabilisce la gerarchia > legame tra l’occhio invisibile di chi osserva e di chi è


Funzione incorporea: guarda e giudica secondo lo spirito di una legge comune

Funzione concreta: emendazione legge comune

- Per Wollstonecraft però l’alterità è l’anima del mondo, rappresenta l’unicità dell’individuo e lo

allontana dall’istinto primordiale

- Jemima ha la funzione di sorvegliante: è la carceriera ma il vero guardiano è il marito di Maria,

George Venables che chiede di correggere il comportamento di Maria che è uscito fuori dagli schemi

1.3 Sguardo e parola, reticenza e confessione: Jemima negazione e negoziazione

- Jemima = personaggio più complesso. È carceriera perché sorveglia chi ha messo in discussione l’ordine

morale (fuga dal marito) e rappresenta la civilized depravity. È carcerata perché la sua schiavitù risiede

altrove, nel passato pieno di misantropia; i suoi gesti sono pieni di autodifesa dalla malvagità; sorvegliando

sorveglia sé stessa dal libertinaggio del pensiero

- il rifiuto cui è sottoposta Jemima è espresso da parole come hunted\infested with a morale plague\outcast:

allontanamento per essere curata

- è stata soggetta a eventi imprevedibili e le è stato tolto tutto; ha solo un nome cristiano, che però non le ha

dato nessun privilegio

- Jemima da (?) è lei stessa a rifiutare la diffidenza per mettere a tacere un dolore antico, si difende

isolandosi e recludendosi

- La sua indipendenza economica le garantisce autonomia e rinascita di una vita lontana da ogni forma di

negoziazione e negazione

Poverty: not temptation and corruption of luxury, but a lack of necessaries of life

La solitudine serve a recuperare le forze

- Dalle ceneri della sua storia personale e dal dialogo con sé stessa intraprende un percorso di

autoricostruzione e ne coglie il senso: la sua reticenza è un modo per dire, è forza evocativa che va

compresa con l’interpretazione

- Jemima è il simbolo di chi ha sbagliato, abbandonata, tormentata dal passato, no origine chiara che

sigillano la sua vita nel silenzio. Maria invece si affida alla parola\scrittura: solo con il confronto

reciproco Jemima si apre narra le sue misfortunes e se ne libera e allo stesso tempo il suo

linguaggio diventa aperto all’altro, polisenso: she felt treated like a fellow-creative for the first time:

attraverso un atto di coraggio e volontà ripercorre il suo cammino e inizia l’autoriconoscimento

- Nel racconto delle sue origini (stupro) c’è il pathos e la predestinazione

- Il dialogo è il momento cruciale per ritrovare sé stessi e tornare in equilibrio con il mondo; è una

trasformazione in e per sé stesse: sono eroine della possibilità, donne che tentano di ribellarsi alla

cultura patriarcale a vicenda il pudore di parlare di sé si riconoscono come individui sono soggetti di

una comunicazione (no ogg di info)

- Maria comprende che la possibilità di salvezza sta nel ricongiungersi a sua figlia; la scrittura

(descrizioni di stati mentali ed eventi passati) è l’unica possibilità di salvezza

1.4 La teatralizzazione della vita

- Romanzo con funzione didascalica e con una morale

- Solo la parola riesce a creare uno squarcio nella prigione: apertura, condivisione di sofferenza

- Jemima è l’unico contatto di Maria con l’esterno, ma è anche un lettore simbolico disposto ad ascoltare e


- Attraverso il linguaggio Maria deve coinvolgere la guardiana nella sua stanza, darle una prova di sanità

mentale “Do you think me mad?”> follia serve solo a giustificare la prigionia: Jemima tenta di sottrarsi alla

domanda, ma l’incontro di sguardi è prova di verità e credibilità

Grief: dolore può portare alla follia, desiderio di morte o stimolo per la reazione. Maria è emblema di

sfasamento tra E e ragione che le avevano fatto perdere la rotta, ma ora lo sta superando mettendo in

discussione il dogma del dolore

- La storia che offre a Jemima è anche mezzo per raggiungere libertà fisica e morale

1.5 L’errore

- the wrongs of woman: errore di senso e interpretazione della realtà; non è importante la natura dell’errore

ma le cause: l’errore è non è la natura delle donne, ma il percorso che porta a vederle come inferiori. È

necessaria dunque una difesa dei diritti delle donne

- Jemima è vittima di solitudine e abbandono

- M è vittima della credulity, nella fiducia della passione e nel matrimonio. Scrive alla figlia allontanata

quando aveva 4 mesi e scrive per lei le sue memorie

Aspetto didattico: scrivendo alla figlia Maria sostiene che il suo errore fosse stato quello di aver creduto che il

proprio riscatto (dalla sottomissione al fratello) risiedesse nel matrimonio, che in realtà è stato l’inizio della


- La donna è abbandonata a sé stessa nella più totale indifferenza

- La prigione per le due donne ha il valore del rito che ha il potere della punizione per i trasgressori. La

prigione tenta di annullare le facoltà del discernimento, è la negazione dell’esistenza di gesti e parole

dei suoi reclusi

- Come afferma Ellis: c’è riferimento alla Gothic novel, defense of a female sexuality (“delicacy”)

- Come Tiresia Maria dirà la verità ma non sarà creduta

- Maria riesce a guardare al di là del proprio dolore e a percepire la fragilità umana in un mondo di

rovina e devastazione

- Maria avverte la trasformazione delle cose perché ha una nuova percezione delle stesse

- Contemplazione: insieme ogni esperienza in un sistema di valori più ampio; combattere è inerzia che

porta alla passività

Risemantizzazione: fondamento della vita stessa; trasformazione del vissuto, di sé e della cultura; è

la donna ad avere il compito di sovvertire l’ordine

- Per Maria la donna non deve vedere il sesso come un dovere nei confronti del marito

- A conclusioni alternative della sua storia: potere radicale della critica ognuna rappresenta una

malattia sociale che suscitano rabbia più che sentimentalismo o emulazione nel lettore

• In Wollstonecraft i giudizi so George Venables sono ripresi dal suo rapporto col marito

• Si oppone alla visione di Rousseau secondo cui la donna deve soddisfare il marito

• She says I wish them to be taught to think

• Piuttosto che avere un andamento lineare, si muove in modo circolare, riconfrontando gli stessi

problemi da diversi punti di vista e classi sociali per arrivare alla fine

• Le sue figure sono escluse da ogni categorizzazione

• Passaggio da Gothic romance to feminist gothic

CAP2 “La scrittura autentica” di Mary Hays

2.1 Memories of Emma Courtney & the Victim of Prejudice

- memories of Emma Courtney (1796): forma epistolare e di memoria caratterizzato da energia, intensità,

riflessività e senso di appartenenza. Questi elementi permettono di analizzare il mondo interiore e quello

circostante (“the world”)

- l’autrice mostra la difficile condizione sociale, esistenziale e sentimentale delle donne tra 700 e 800 con il

ricorso a paradigmi concettuali classici: forza d’animo dell’eroina; ottusità sociale; amore sfortunato (conflitto

tra le aspettative dei due amanti); rovina e condanna

- la societas è l’unico attore sempre in scena che si impone con e nel silenzio

- l’opera è una voce lontana che la protagonista non può mettere a tacere: è commistione di autonarrazione

e speranza: afferma più di quanto richiesto, esprime ribellione e autoaffermazione

- è il bisogno di raccontarsi in modo diverso, rielaborando il passato si modella il destino. Vuol dire

riguardarsi con consapevolezza; vuol dire analizzare il soggetto femminile da un altro punto di vista

- al tempo in Germania, Inghilterra e Francia erano comuni queste novels in cui il motivo ricorrente era

l’assenza della madre e viene scritta per essere letta lontano dall’autrice e dall’eroina. La storia è eredità

materna e rafforza il legame morale con chi testimonia

- il luogo della scrittura è benessere e amore verso di sé, sollievo dalla quotidianità. L’inner self si riconcilia

con la parte più debole e più fragile. Emma è spettatrice della sua stessa esistenza, il suo sguardo è quello

del giudice imparziale che esamina il susseguirsi degli eventi senza spiegarli o giustificarli

- sono una fictional form: Hays infrange il patto di verità autobiografica sostenuto da Lejeune e si reinventa.

Sono le reali esperienze di Hays che con la distanza dell’esperienza si distaccano totalmente dall’idea


- Sguardo: ruolo di creatore, insight e conoscenza interiore. Diventa viaggio conoscitivo: qui il confine tra

verità vissuta e narrata è impercettibile

- l’autobiografia non vuole proporre l’identico, ma attingere l’autentico: 3 fasi nella scrittura:

1) evocare: guardare con occhi diversi i giorni nuovi

2) ripensare riflettere sull’oggi

3) rimembrare: ricollocare nel giusto posto per noi il passato

- M. Hays rivive la sua storia attraverso le sue eroine, cercando di comprendere sé stessa e ciò che rende la

donna vittima

- Altra opera: The victim of prejudice (1799): fictional autobiography

2.2 “The chain of events!” e la drammaticizzazione della coscienza

- La logica della sensibility tende a far adottare un comportamento più passionale che razionale

- Le sue eroine non sono examples ma warnings: cerca di mostrare le dannose conseguenze della passione

(lo afferma nella prefazione di VOP)

- Hays era stata influenzata da Maria Edgeworth “Practical Education” e “Moral tales” che riguardano la

costruzione di una soggettività privata e le sue manifestazioni pubbliche e che le teorie estetiche devono

essere il prodotto della vita vissuta

- in VOP la speranza va spegnendosi così come la fiducia nel futuro al punto che la protagonista Mary

Raymond a fine romanzo dice che ormai stanca e sconfitta abbandona la penna con questo suo ultimo


- La fanciulla era destinata ad un romantico futuro descritte con un landscape roseo e rurale ed era felice,

attiva e positiva, robusta e intelligente: passato armonioso, euforico, morale perfetta, stato irrecuperabile

(infant). L’accordo tra esterno e interno è dato da Mr. Raymond: Saggio precettore che la educa


- Si interrompe inserendo un’apostrofe al lettore che è invitato a riflettere sulla catena di eventi e sulla

condizione originaria della protagonista: chain of event, metaforicamente sovrapposto a victim

. La protagonista non si preoccupa di conoscere le sue origini, considera Mr. R suo parent, protector and

Deity: topos di armonia e adesione a valori, è estranea alla falsehood

- L’euforia dell’infanzia si incrina e sorge il conflitto tra agire e non agire (Should I?)

Opposizione tra dovere e essere e desiderio e virtù:

prova vergogna perché si interroga

sceglie di trasgredire (rossore) e deve giustificarsi con la sua stessa coscienza, in una sorta di


Con sweet compensation e selfish gratification tenta di ricomporre la sua morale

“But” testimone di trasformazione e introduce le giustificazioni

- Passaggio da innocenza a età adulta: Should I? I should prove prevailed

e con esso l’inizio della caduta

primo contatto con il suo carnefice Peter Osborne è una scena dominata dalla paura. Mary viene

sorpresa e si sente prigioniera

- La sequenza di Rovesciamenti e di variazioni sul tema eroico avviano il novel e indicano la direzione

che prenderà la vita della protagonista

• Mary è victim of prejudice per la sua obscure birth: scoprirà di essere figlia di uno stupro e che

uccide il suo seduttore, prima di morire in carcere partorisce e affida la figlia a Mr. R che l’aveva

amata in passato > crisi della 17enne e inizio del calvario: non bastano bellezza e educazione per

essere accolta nella famiglia di William Pelham, ma l’origine è la sua sola dote. Il padre di William

aveva altri progetti per lui

• Mr. Raymond (wise protector, virtue honor, obbedienza filiale trasmessa per emozioni non con forza)

VS Mr. Pelham (slave of honour property, è il difensore di sé stesso e non vuole che venga a

contatto con poverty e obscure birth)

- Mary perde la fiducia nei valori in cui aveva sempre creduto: il futuro le appare oscuro e accusa Mr.

R di injustice e caprice

- Al di là dei personaggi le situazioni seguono un flusso discontinuo, ma soggetto ad una causa


il valore di why (causa scatenante) è maggiore di who (chi lo realizza)

- Mary viene tradita dal valore semantico che aveva dato ai valori e su cui aveva basato la sua vita

- I discerned not on which side lay the path of truth (incertezza)

- La ragione è indebolita e i valori di Pelham non fanno vedere le cose con chiarezza

- Mary rivive il destino della madre: dualità tra virtue e property senza punti di contatto

- Rivincita: William è descritto come immobile, incapace di autorealizzarsi, è soggiogato da una

possibile condanna sociale


3 volte




118.59 KB


+1 anno fa

Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea in mediazione linguistica e comunicazione interculturale
A.A.: 2016-2017

I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher manuzzo24 di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Letteratura inglese 2 e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Gabriele D'Annunzio - Unich o del prof Partenza Paola.

Acquista con carta o conto PayPal

Scarica il file tutte le volte che vuoi

Paga con un conto PayPal per usufruire della garanzia Soddisfatto o rimborsato

Ti è piaciuto questo appunto? Valutalo!

Altri appunti di Letteratura inglese 2

Riassunto esame Letteratura Inglese 2, prof. Partenza
Riassunto esame Letteratura Italiana, docente D'Antuono, libri consigliati "Lettere" e il "Discorso" di Antonio Genovesi
Traduzione testi e frasi, Lettorato di lingua inglese
Riassunto esame Letteratura inglese, docente P. Partenza, libro consigliato Dynamics Of Desacralization, P. Partenza