Camilletti, Fabio (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Restricted to Repository staff only until 01 January 2020.
The work examines the interweavement of individual memory and historical past in Giacomo Leopardi’s Zibaldone, arguing that the genre of this ‘non-book’ can be identified with the ancient Greek notion of hypomnēmaton. The first section reads the Zibaldone as an answer to the so called ‘second printing revolution’, examining the text as the outcome of tension between the ‘library’ and Leopardi’s own writing. The second section analyses Leopardi’s use of quotations through the case study of Montesquieu’s presence in the Zibaldone, highlighting how quotations from Montesquieu shape Leopardi’s reflection on the fracture between antiquity and modernity and on the aesthetic problem of grace. The third section moves from the poem ‘Le Ricordanze’ (1829), showing how the questions challenged in the Zibaldone from a theoretical point of view (such as the relationship between individual memory and historical past, the notion of grace and the problem of making culture after the Enlightenment) are finally embodied in Leopardi’s return to poetry of 1828-29, which makes the Zibaldone-hypomnēmaton unnecessary. ‘Le Ricordanze’ stages an unmediated return of memory (mnēme) through which the hypomnēmaton is ultimately emptied of significance.
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