Places of the Italian Fantastic: cities, houses, mountains

nebbia_veneziaThe latest issue of ReadingItaly is devoted to the literature of the fantastic. Beatrice Sica (UCL) examines Bontempelli’s and Buzzati’s Milano fantastica in which Bontempelli imagined the Piazza del Duomo – ‘occupata non da altro che da basse capanne, in mezzo a suono di ferrame, perché tra le capanne s’aggiravano vasti guerrieri baffuti con risa oscene’ – as the warrior camp of Belloveso, the city’s alleged founder. Silvia Zangrandi (IULM) looks at the ways Venice – ‘suspended between reality and imagination … populated by angels … where streets spring up and dissolve overnight, new canals take the place of earth’ – has been portrayed in works by Marinetti, Morante, Winterson and Buzzati. Matthew Reza (Oxford) recalls Buzzati’s love of the mountains and dislike of the city – ‘bolgia infernale di perdizione e alienazione, regno dell’ipocrisia, della menzogna, dell’egoismo, dove i sentimenti e le angosce peggiori trovano il miglior terreno per attecchire’. Paola Roccella (Warwick) points to the ambiguities, thresholds and Gothic motifs in Landolfi’s Racconto d’autunno, drafted in a decaying manor in Pico Farnese in 1946.

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