UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Aspetti interpretativi della crisi del rapporto con la realtà nel romanzo di Alberto Moravia, La noia, e nei film di Michelangelo Antonioni, L’Avventura, La Notte, L’Eclisse Jacova, Giorgio Alessandro


In this work my objective is to examine selected aspects of the theme of the "crisis of the relationship with reality" in Alberto Moravia's novel La noia (The empty canvas, 1961) and in Michelangelo Antonioni's films L'avventura (1960), La notte (1961) and L'eclisse (1962). The notion of crisis pertains to the concept of "alienation" in the negative sense of "estrangement of man" and "disease of feelings". The choice of this subject is motivated by the observation that the history of the concept of alienation, in the sense of unintelligibility and absurdity of reality, parallels, as it were, the history of modern society in its critical phases, anguishes and contradictions. Therefore, it is of extreme relevance if one is to interpret correctly the current social phenomena and cultural tendencies, including literature and cinema. The choice of the two authors rests on the fact that in their work Moravia and Antonioni, more than any other artist of the Italian cultural panorama of the time, portray a typification of paradigmatic and universal situations regarding the disarray of the individual and collective conscience. These situations suggest a certain model of man, and especially a model of the intellectual, that has emerged from the neocapitalistic reconstruction of the socioeconomic structures taking place in Italy following the Second World War. The two authors combine the analysis of psychological interiority with that of social critique and existential absurdity. Both strive to understand and disclose the most concealed impulses underlying human actions, driven by the desire to make sense of the social reality in Italy in the early sixties. By different expressive means they describe the antihuman condition characterizing the neo-capitalistic bourgeois society in which man, more or less consciously, lives, anguishes and suffers. In the course of my work I underscore those ideas, pages and images that, in my judgment, have contributed to give rise to a radical change in Italian culture, still strongly influenced at the time by of Gabriele D'Annunzio's poetics and by fascism. My purpose is to provide a key to understanding Moravia's and Antonioni's work in terms of a mirror of the moral, historical and cultural crisis that has oppressed man in the economically advanced countries, and, in particular, the Italian intellectual class, from the end of World War II to the early sixties. The class they depict, by alienating the other social classes and its own subordinate strata, had formerly avoided "indifference" and "boredom". Inside this class, ambiguity, intrigue, moral corruption, tyranny, desire for money and power, appear normal ways of action. It is at the same time the perpetrator (and in part victim) of neo-capitalistic antihumanism. The antinomy with reality, the boredom, the indifference, the professional sterility of the protagonists represent the greatest possible extent of awareness of the inanity and insubstantiality of the intellectual bourgeois's culture in the historical period that I am examining; the decision of the protagonists to desert their artistic activity equals abdicating the role of responsible human beings and turning away from a positive acknowledgement of reality. Finally, in my conclusions I try to characterize the type of "existential" solution reached by Moravia and Antonioni that can be inferred from their respective works.

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