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photograph of Eugenio Montale
History & Politics, Literature

Beyond Mourning?

A Reading of Eugenio Montale's Arletta Poems

April 11, 2019
6:45 pm

A lecture by
Adele Bardazzi, University of Oxford

Focusing on Eugenio Montale’s ‘ciclo di Arletta’, in particular La casa dei doganieri [The Custom Guards’ House] (Le occasioni, 1939), this lecture will discuss the nature of the poetic subject’s mourning for Arletta and how it challenges traditional views on elegy. Mourning in Montale’s poetry is intermittent but, nevertheless, unending. By considering the relationship between Montale’s poetry and mourning from the Derridean perspective of demi-deuil [half mourning], the lecture will offer an original contribution to the study of Montale’s care ombre [beloved shadows] (Proda di Versilia, La bufera e altro, 1956), in which subjects of mourning are no longer considered as negatively dominated by the Other’s death, but are, indeed, devoted to preserving the affect relationship with the dead, as opposed to the Freudian notion of moving on after loss. From this standpoint, elegiac poetry, in Montale’s rendition of it, assumes the key responsibility of passing on traumatic knowledge and, in so doing, affirms its own centrality in the creation of a space where death and the experience of mourning can be framed and processed.

Dr. Adele Bardazzi is the Laming Junior Fellow at The Queen’s College, University of Oxford. She completed her doctorate in 2018 at Christ Church, University of Oxford, with a thesis on the poetry of Eugenio Montale entitled Shadows on the Edge: Eugenio Montale’s Afterlife. In 2016 she co-founded the Research Network Gender and Authority with The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities and The Balliol Interdisciplinary Institute. Her current research project focuses on the cross-fertilization between ‘verbal’ and ‘visual’ in the poetry of Antonella Anedda, specifically her engagement with textile practices. She is also working on issues of self-translation in Anedda’s poetry and her use of the Sardinian logudorese dialect.