"Tu non devi credere che si possa smettere di cercarla" : utopie et littérature chez Elio Vittorini et Italo Calvino, 1941-1972

Abstract : This Phd intends to explore the relationship between utopia and literature among two major writers of the Italian Twentieth century, Elio Vittorini (1908 – 1966) and Italo Calvino (1923 – 1985), taking into account a wide range of their novels and other literary output. Through this journey we are seeking to produce a parable of literary utopianism in the second Italian Twentieth Century, starting from the Forties, where literary work was related to an external political commitment to arrive, through a series of political disappointments and societal transformations to an attempt at redefining literature's political functions that leads us to the Seventies. The period of around thirty years covered by this thesis is rich in evolutions, from the estrangement of the Communist Party writers to a new 'neocapitalist' phase from which Italy emerges profoundly transformed. At the end of the Seventies, we were at the juncture of two periods, modern and postmodern, in a transition that also corresponds to a crisis and a questioning of utopia, through the notions of progress, perfectibility, teleology and totality that were connected to it. Our research attempts to outline these evolutions and their consequences on the work of writers – their literary production, but also their critical and theoretical work on the definition of literature and its functions. However, my thesis also functions at another level, and attempts a definition of utopian models in literature, as the selected books are all characterised, in their more or less distant relationship with the utopian genre, by a certain type of literary utopianism. After a theoretical introduction focusing on the possible definitions of utopia, we start with Vittorini and the 'cultural utopianism' of the Politecnico years, a journal animated by the author between 1945 and 1947, in a chapter where we also study Conversazione in Sicilia (Conversations in Sicily, 1941) and Le città del mondo (“The cities of the world”, 1951 – 1956). A long study is subsequently dedicated to Menabò, a journal directed by the two authors between 1959 and 1966, that reflected a poetical, political and epistemologistical crisis. We compare two 'works of crisis', Le donne di Messina (Women of Messina, 1964) by Vittorini and La giornata di uno scrutatore (The Watcher, 1963) by Calvino. A last part concentrates on the 'utopian' Calvino of the Parisian years, from his passion for Fourier to his formulation of the 'utopia pulviscolare', a shattered, spatialised, anti-teological utopia of which Le Città invisibili (Invisible Cities, 1972) is the literary embodiment and the point of arrival of our journey.
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Marie Fabre. "Tu non devi credere che si possa smettere di cercarla" : utopie et littérature chez Elio Vittorini et Italo Calvino, 1941-1972. Littératures. Université de Grenoble, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012GRENL010⟩. ⟨tel-01584266⟩

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