Digression: A Narrative Strategy in the Italian Novel

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Peter Lang, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 260 pages
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Digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine; they are the life, the soul of reading . So declared Laurence Sterne in his" Tristram Shandy," the greatest of all monuments to digression. The modern Italian novel was not slow to pick up on Sterne s lesson. This book examines the workings of digression in the novels of five major Italian authors Manzoni, Dossi, Pirandello, Gadda, and Calvino from the birth of the modern novel in the early 19th century to the era of postmodernist experimentation. Digression is shown to play a role in defining not only the poetics of the five authors, but also their underlying world-views, their cognitive and philosophical dispositions. The book explores the tensions digression engenders in narrative texts, by creating extra time within narration, disrupting the readers expectations, and generating an act of reflection upon the narrative process itself. What emerges is a sense of the vitality and flexibility of the device of digression in the Italian tradition, both within the canonical novel and the anti-novel, as well as an illuminating and original web of relations between the five authors under analysis."
 

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Contents

Acknowledgements
9
Abbreviations
11
Introduction
13
Alessandro Manzoni and the Art of Digression
29
the Importance of the Reader in Dossis Digressive Texts
69
Digressive Art as Humorous Art? Luigi Pirandellos Uno nessuno e centomila
101
Carlo Emilio Gaddas Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulana
133
Italo Calvino and the Metamorphoses of the Plot
187
Conclusion
233
Bibliography
241
Index
253
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About the author (2007)

The Author: Olivia Santovetti is a Lecturer in Italian at the University of Leeds.

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