Journal of Romance Studies

Changing styles, affective continuities and psychic containers: Corrado Govoni’s early poetry

Journal of Romance Studies (2010), 10, (3), 55–74.

Abstract

This article focuses on the relationship between the representation of femininity and aggressiveness (both stylistic and thematic) in Corrado Govoni’s early twentieth-century works, from the erotic-symbolist sonnets of Le fiale (1903) [The Phials] to the Futurist-nationalist fury of L’inaugurazione della primavera (1915) [The Inauguration of Spring]. Drawing on a number of post-Kleinian psychoanalytical notions, it analyses recurrent discourse practices and narrative/rhetorical strategies in the representations of gender, sex and violence, highlighting their ‘affective grammar’. The first section introduces the methodological framework, and then moves on to a contextualized overview of Govoni’s early poetry. The second part undertakes a close reading of a particularly relevant sample of his work, the section from Le fiale entitled ‘Vas luxuriae’. Both sections aim to show that the shift from the literary and cultural tropes of decadence to those of avant-garde nationalism is informed affectively by what, adopting Wilfred Bion’s language, is termed a failure of psychic containment.

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Poggi, Christine (2009) Inventing Futurism: The Art and Politics of Artificial Optimism (Princeton: Princeton University Press). Inventing Futurism: The Art and Politics of Artificial Optimism Google Scholar

Sirois, François (2008) ‘Aesthetic experience’, International Journal of Psychoanalysis 89, 127–42. Aesthetic experience International Journal of Psychoanalysis 89 127 42 Google Scholar

Spackman, Barbara (1989) Decadent Genealogies. The Rhetoric of Sickness from Baudelaire to D’Annunzio (New York and London: Cornell University Press). Decadent Genealogies. The Rhetoric of Sickness from Baudelaire to D’Annunzio Google Scholar

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Vaccari, Walter (1958) La vita e i pallidi amori di Guido Gozzano (Milan: Omnia). La vita e i pallidi amori di Guido Gozzano Google Scholar

Welldon, Estella (1988) Mother, Madonna, Whore: Idealization and Denigration of Motherhood (London: Free Association Books, 1988). Mother, Madonna, Whore: Idealization and Denigration of Motherhood Google Scholar

Abraham, Karl (1924). ‘The process of introjection in melancholia: two stages of the oral phase of the libido’, Selected papers in psychoanalysis, trans. Douglas Bryan and Alix Strachey (London: Hogarth Press). The process of introjection in melancholia: two stages of the oral phase of the libido Selected papers in psychoanalysis Google Scholar

Adamson, Walter (1993) Avant-Garde Florence: From Modernism to Fascism (Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press). Avant-Garde Florence: From Modernism to Fascism Google Scholar

Anzieu, Didier (1989) The Skin Ego, trans. Chris Turner (New Haven and London: Yale University Press). The Skin Ego Google Scholar

Augé, Marc (1995) Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity (New York: Verso) Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity Google Scholar

Becker, Jared (1994) Nationalism and Culture: Gabriele D’Annunzio and Italy after the Risorgimento (New York: Peter Lang). Nationalism and Culture: Gabriele D’Annunzio and Italy after the Risorgimento Google Scholar

Bion, Wilfred R. (1965) Experiences in Groups (London: Tavistock). Experiences in Groups Google Scholar

Bion, Wilfred R. (1965) Transformations: Change from Learning to Growth (London: William Heinemann). Transformations: Change from Learning to Growth Google Scholar

Blom, Philip (2008) The Vertigo Years: Change and Culture in the West, 1900–1914 (London: Basic Books). The Vertigo Years: Change and Culture in the West, 1900–1914 Google Scholar

Bollas, Christoper (1987) The Shadow of the Object: Psychoanalysis of the Unthought Known (New York: Columbia University Press). The Shadow of the Object: Psychoanalysis of the Unthought Known Google Scholar

Capello, Francesco (2009) ‘Corrado Govoni: the city as the fragmented mirror of the self’, Modern Language Review 104.2, 401–21. Corrado Govoni: the city as the fragmented mirror of the self Modern Language Review 104.2 401 21 Google Scholar

Caretti, Lanfranco (1975) ‘Nota a C. Govoni, Vas Luxuriae’, in Strumenti Critici 28, 349–66. Nota a C. Govoni, Vas Luxuriae Strumenti Critici 28 349 66 Google Scholar

Caretti, Lanfranco (1976) ‘Govoni “inedito”’, in Sul Novecento (Pisa: Nistri-Lischi), 3–4. Govoni “inedito” Sul Novecento 3 4 Google Scholar

Civitarese, Giuseppe (2008) ‘Caesura as Bion’s Discourse on Method’, International Journal of Psychoanalysis 89, 1123–43. Caesura as Bion’s Discourse on Method Caesura 89 1123 43 Google Scholar

Civitarese, Giuseppe (2010a) The Intimate Room: Theory and Technique of the Analytic Field (London: Routledge). The Intimate Room: Theory and Technique of the Analytic Field Google Scholar

Civitarese, Giuseppe (2010b), ‘Do cyborgs dream? Post-human landscapes in Shinya Tsukamoto’s Nightmare Detective  (2006)’. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 91: 1005–1016.  Do cyborgs dream? Post-human landscapes in Shinya Tsukamoto’s Nightmare Detective  (2006) Nightmare Detective Google Scholar

Di Benedetto, Antonio (2000), ‘Onirismo vocale. Accostarsi ai sogni attraverso i segni fonetici del racconto’, in Bolognini, Stefano (ed.), Il sogno cento anni dopo (Turin: Bollati Boringhieri). Onirismo vocale. Accostarsi ai sogni attraverso i segni fonetici del racconto Il sogno cento anni dopo Google Scholar

Dijkstra, Bram (1988) Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siècle Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siècle Culture Google Scholar

Dijkstra, Bram (1998) Evil Sisters: The Threat of Female Sexuality and the Cult of Manhood (New York: Owl). Evil Sisters: The Threat of Female Sexuality and the Cult of Manhood Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund (1953–74) The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, 24 vols, ed. J. Strachey (London: Hogarth). The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud Google Scholar

Gentile, Emilio (2003) The Struggle for Modernity: Nationalism, Futurism and Fascism (Westport CT and London: Praeger). The Struggle for Modernity: Nationalism, Futurism and Fascism Google Scholar

Gentile, Emilio L’apocalisse della modernità (Milan: Mondadori) L’apocalisse della modernità Google Scholar

Govoni, Corrado (1903) Le fiale [The phials] (Florence: Lumachi). Le fiale Google Scholar

Govoni, Corrado (1911) Poesie elettriche (Milan: Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia). Poesie elettriche Google Scholar

Govoni, Corrado (1915) Inaugurazione della primavera (Florence: Libreria della Voce). Inaugurazione della primavera Google Scholar

Green, André (2001) Life Narcissism, Death Narcissism (London: Free Association Books). Life Narcissism, Death Narcissism Google Scholar

Harris Williams, M. and Margot Waddell (1991) The Chamber of Maiden Thought: Literary Origins of the Psychoanalytic Model of the Mind (London: Routledge). The Chamber of Maiden Thought: Literary Origins of the Psychoanalytic Model of the Mind Google Scholar

Käes, René (1980) L’idéologie, études psychanalytiques: mentalité de l’idéal et esprit de corps (Paris: Dunod). L’idéologie, études psychanalytiques: mentalité de l’idéal et esprit de corps Google Scholar

Käes, René (1987) L’Institution et les institutions: études psychanalytiques (Paris: Dunod). L’Institution et les institutions: études psychanalytiques Google Scholar

Käes, René (1993) Le Groupe et le sujet du groupe (Paris: Dunod). Le Groupe et le sujet du groupe Google Scholar

Käes, René (2005) ‘Il disagio del mondo moderno e la sofferenza del nostro tempo: saggio sui garanti metapsichici’, Psiche 2, 57–67. Il disagio del mondo moderno e la sofferenza del nostro tempo: saggio sui garanti metapsichici Psiche 2 57 67 Google Scholar

Kirschner, Lewis (2006) ‘The work of René Kaes: intersubjective transmission in families, groups, and culture’, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 54, 1005–13. The work of René Kaes: intersubjective transmission in families, groups, and culture Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 54 1005 13 Google Scholar

Kristeva, Julia (1982) Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (New York: Columbia University Press). Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection Google Scholar

Littell, Jonathan (2009) Il secco e l’umido (Turin: Einaudi). Il secco e l’umido Google Scholar

Livi, François (1980) Tra crepuscolarismo e futurismo, Govoni e Palazzeschi (Milano: Centro Ambrosiano – IPL). Tra crepuscolarismo e futurismo, Govoni e Palazzeschi Google Scholar

Mariani, Gaetano (1974) ‘Crepuscolari e futuristi: contributo a una chiarificazione’, Critica Letteraria II, 4. Crepuscolari e futuristi: contributo a una chiarificazione Critica Letteraria 4 Google Scholar

Napier, Elizabeth and Barbara Studholme (eds) (2002) Marinetti, F. T. Selected Poems and Prose (New Haven and London: Yale University Press). Marinetti, F. T. Selected Poems and Prose Google Scholar

Perloff, Marjorie (1986) The Futurist Moment: Avant-Garde, Avant Guerre, and the Language of Rupture (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press). The Futurist Moment: Avant-Garde, Avant Guerre, and the Language of Rupture Google Scholar

Poggi, Christine (ed.) (1994) ‘Selection from the unpublished diaries of F. T. Marinetti’, Modernism/Modernity 1, 4–5. Selection from the unpublished diaries of F. T. Marinetti Modernism/Modernity 1 4 5 Google Scholar

Poggi, Christine (2009) Inventing Futurism: The Art and Politics of Artificial Optimism (Princeton: Princeton University Press). Inventing Futurism: The Art and Politics of Artificial Optimism Google Scholar

Sirois, François (2008) ‘Aesthetic experience’, International Journal of Psychoanalysis 89, 127–42. Aesthetic experience International Journal of Psychoanalysis 89 127 42 Google Scholar

Spackman, Barbara (1989) Decadent Genealogies. The Rhetoric of Sickness from Baudelaire to D’Annunzio (New York and London: Cornell University Press). Decadent Genealogies. The Rhetoric of Sickness from Baudelaire to D’Annunzio Google Scholar

Spackman, Barbara (1996) Fascist Virilities: Rhetoric, Ideology, and Social Fantasy in Italy (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Fascist Virilities: Rhetoric, Ideology, and Social Fantasy in Italy Google Scholar

Symington, Joan and Neville (1996) The Clinical Thinking of Wilfred Bion (London: Routledge). The Clinical Thinking of Wilfred Bion Google Scholar

Theweleit, Klaus (1987) Male Fantasies (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Male Fantasies Google Scholar

Todorov, Tvetzan (1991) Noi e gli altri. La riflessione francese sulla diversità umana (Turin: Einaudi), 368–72. Noi e gli altri. La riflessione francese sulla diversità umana 368 72 Google Scholar

Vaccari, Walter (1958) La vita e i pallidi amori di Guido Gozzano (Milan: Omnia). La vita e i pallidi amori di Guido Gozzano Google Scholar

Welldon, Estella (1988) Mother, Madonna, Whore: Idealization and Denigration of Motherhood (London: Free Association Books, 1988). Mother, Madonna, Whore: Idealization and Denigration of Motherhood Google Scholar

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Author details

Capello, Francesco

Civitarese, Giuseppe