Theses Doctoral

The Double in Late 19th Century Italian Literature: Readings in Fogazzaro and his Contemporaries

Fleck, Samuel Theodor

This dissertation is organized around main axes: the literary and critical concept of the Double and the analysis of Antonio Fogazzaro’s 1881 novel, Malombra, in which the Double plays a complex thematic role. In the first chapter, I address the concept of the Double as a critical category, assessing its meaning across three different levels of reality: in terms of the cultural specificity of the representation (the 19th century and Romantic literature), in terms of the theoretical approach (whether it is construed as a transcendental figure, as in Freudian theory, or a transgressive figure, as in Jungian theory, etc.) and in terms of its placement relative to the other themes in the text. In the second chapter, I take up the analysis of three Italian texts from the second half of the 19th century which privilege the theme of the Double and invest it with idiosyncratic meaning: Uno spirito in un lampone by Iginio Ugo Tarchetti (1867), Due anime in un corpo by Emilio de Marchi (1877) and Le storie del castello di Trezza by Giovanni Verga (1875). My reading of these texts draw on diverse psychoanalytic perspectives, namely those of Jung, Lacan and Abraham and Torok. In the third chapter, I carry out an extensive analysis of Fogazzaro’s Malombra. The first part of the analysis, which focuses on the novel’s two primary characters, Marina and Silla, shows how these characters’ unconscious conflicts animate the narrative, shape its itinerary and anchor it in a phantasmatic past; the second part examines the ways in which the primary aspects of the plot work in tension with, and are offset by, the novel’s two subplots; the third part looks at points of comparison between Malombra and the three texts discussed in the second chapter, both in relation to the theme of the Double and to more general literary signifiers.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Valesio, Paolo
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 8, 2017