Cori, Paola (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
The aim of this thesis is to show the importance of memory in Giacomo Leopardi’s Canti and Zibaldone, not only as a theme for his poems and a source of theoretical speculation, but as a modelling structure of his writing. Following the first chapter on Leopardi and the philosophy of memory from Locke to the first half of the nineteenth century, chapter II investigates the self-referential perspective implicit in the recurrence of certain images in the Canti, and its consequences for the structure of the book, both in the Piatti and the Starita editions. Chapter III, focusing on the concept of clarity, demonstrates the importance and effect of Leopardi’s reading and re-reading of the Zibaldone, and shows the constant presence of a habit memory which acts through repetition, binds together demonstrative thoughts, and is responsible for their expansion. The second part of this chapter highlights Leopardi’s search for perfect images and their mnemonic power, as well as their general influence on the text. Leopardi’s knowledge of the phenomenology of memory is reflected in the text and offers an insight into the strong links in his works between thinking and writing as a whole.
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