Poesia e performance del lutto

Francesco Giusti


Sociology and anthropology in the space of community and psychoanalysis in the space of the individual have shown that mourning is a performance which the deprived subject must carry out in order to recover from the dangerous state in which he finds himself after the death of the beloved person. In the continuous play of immedesimation as introjection and projection, the subject has to act not only in his mind but also in the world, not only on psychic objects but also on physical ones. In collections of poems written for the death of a beloved person, this performance is carried out within the space of the text – the whole collection, not a single poem – and literature, in the double role of substitute satisfaction of desire and reparation, becomes the space devoted and the space to devote to the elaboration of the loved and lost object. Obviously, what we see on the page-stage is not the direct self-representation of the psychic work of the author, but a work that takes shape within literature and its laws, anyway some relations with the real subject cannot be excluded. Analyzing some contemporary cases: Montale’s Xenia (in Satura, 1971), Douglas Dunn’s Elegies (1985), Mark Doty’s Atlantis (1995) and Ted Hughes’ Birthday Letters (1998), the paper is meant to show how the speaking subject performs his mourning, at the same time private and public, both on the level of content and the level of form, and within the community that he creates in the text.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.6092/2240-5380/1.2011.350


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