Theses Doctoral

FTM Redux: Studio sull'ultimo Marinetti

Ceccagnoli, Patrizio

This full-length survey of late Marinetti aims to contribute to the study of the Italian twentieth-century avant-garde by recovering unpublished literary texts and bringing them to the attention of international critics and the general public. The result is an "F. T. Marinetti Redux," which I aimed to bring out of the "American manuscripts" preserved at the Beinecke Library at Yale University in order to trigger a critical revival of the last, and least studied, creative phase of Marinetti's career. The novelty of my approach lies in the combination of psychoanalytical methods and rhetorical analysis. In my study, I argue that personification is the master trope of Marinetti's writing.

I define the Marinettian poetics of personification in terms of an ideological clash between organic and inorganic, in which the writer's recurrent inclination to humanize inert matter prevails over his better-known aspiration to mechanize the "new futurist man." I then use the Freudian notion of fetish, as understood through Giorgio Agamben's Stanze, to re-conceptualize the relationship between the Italian avant-garde and the tradition of the past. From a broader perspective, my most innovative contribution deals with the relation between the living body and the inorganic world, the system of objects and its representation in the arts.

Chapter one analyzes the stylistic and rhetorical use of personification, prosopopeia and anthropomorphism, emphasizing the epistemological implications of this recurrent trope against the critical commonplace that sees Marinetti as the perfect emblem of a dangerous tendency toward reification and alienation in modern life. Chapter two examines how Marinetti elaborates the discourse of war in his late autobiographical writings. This analysis starts with a close reading of Originalità russa di masse distanze e radiocuori, posthumously rediscovered in the Beinecke archive. In this autofictional work, completed after his return from the Russian front, Marinetti indulges in a partially autobiographical war report, a genre he had explored in earlier works like L'alcòva d'acciaio and 8 Anime in una bomba, both centered around events that took place during World War I.

Drawing on an analysis of the unpublished novel Venezianella e Studentaccio, in chapter three I consider the metaphor of destruction and reconstruction of a city as an essential "architectural" image in Marinetti's iconoclastic poetics of regeneration. The loved and hated Venice is the main polemical target of this Marinettian metafictional master metaphor, from the early manifesto Contro Venezia passatista to the late Venezianella. Investigating how this utopian and equally fetishistic architectural mythopoeia relies on the futurist metropolitan ideology, I also explore the development of a Venetian imaginary in Marinetti's body of works. In the appendix I have included the critical edition of Marinetti's unpublished poem, Il Poema di Fiume.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Valesio, Paolo
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 6, 2013