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Literary Criticism as Quadratic Position-Taking in Cultural Production: Symbolic and Pragmatic Implications. The Pirandello-Tilgher Case

Lorenzo Cardilli

Abstract


This study aims to elucidate the key characteristics of the critical text from both a symbolic and a pragmatic viewpoint. My perspective combines the Bourdieusian notion of literary field with a development of Genette’s theories on the nature of paratext. On the one hand, critical texts should be considered, from a pragmatic viewpoint, as a quadratic position-taking: i.e., as a position-taking focused on another position-taking, which coincides with the literary text. On the other hand, critical texts can be regarded as part of the paratext, and, precisely, as a special allographic epitext that cannot be reduced to the author’s will. Hence, this material and interactional position-taking has crucial semantic consequences, being embodied in five hermeneutic devices, i.e.: selection, interpretative description, comparison, framing and explicit valorization. By providing a specific slant on the literary text, the critical text triggers assessment dynamics and sometimes paves the way to several forms of mutual interaction between authors and critics. To illustrate my point, I explore the relationship between the famous dramatist Luigi Pirandello and one of his most important critics, Adriano Tilgher, a philosopher and an intellectual under whose influence Pirandello reshaped his self-interpretation. First, I analyse their mutual exchange by taking into account their crossing trajectories within the complex and stratified field of cultural production of 1910-20s Italy. Then, I explore Tilgher’s critical reviews and papers on Pirandello’s works with a view to identifying his use of the five hermeneutical devices discussed above. In the conclusions, I highlight the importance of this double bind between author and critic, which had a huge impact on both the assessment dynamics and the creative outcomes of their careers.


Keywords


Criticism; Theory of Literature; Luigi Pirandello; Adriano Tilgher; Bourdieusian Studies; Literary Field; Hermeneutics; Cultural Production; Franco Brioschi; Critical interpretation

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/lcm-2017-002-card



 


Lingue Culture Mediazioni - Languages Cultures Mediation
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (27/11/2013 n. 380)
Online ISSN 2421-0293 - Print ISSN 2284-1881


Dipartimento di Scienze della Mediazione Linguistica e di Studi Interculturali
Università degli Studi di Milano


Editors-in-Chief: Paola Catenaccio (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Giuliana Garzone (IULM, Milano)
Editorial Board: Marina Brambilla (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Maria Vittoria Calvi (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Gabriella Cartago (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Lidia Anna De Michelis (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Giovanni Garofalo (Università degli Studi di Bergamo) - Dino Gavinelli (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Antonella Ghersetti (Università di Venezia Ca’ Foscari) - Maria Grazia Guido (Università del Salento) - Elena Liverani (IULM, Milano) - Stefania Maci (Università degli Studi di Bergamo) - Andrea Maurizi (Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca) - Chiara Molinari (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Stefano Ondelli (Università degli Studi di Trieste) - Davide Papotti (Università degli Studi di Parma) - Francesca Santulli (Università di Venezia Ca’ Foscari) - Girolamo Tessuto (Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli) - Giovanni Turchetta (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Stefano Vicari (Università degli Studi di Genova)
International Scientific Committee: James Archibald (McGill University, Montreal) - Natalija G. Bragina (Institut Russkogo Jazyka im. A.S. Puškina; RSUH, Mosca) - Kristen Brustad (University of Texas at Austin) - Luciano Curreri (University of Liège) - Hugo de Burgh (University of Westminster) - Giuditta Caliendo (Université de Lille) - Giorgio Fabio Colombo (Nagoya University Graduate School of Law) - Daniel Dejica (Universitatea Politehnica Timisoara) - Anna De Fina (Georgetown University, USA) - Claudio Di Meola, (Sapienza Università di Roma) - Denis Ferraris (Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris) - Lawrence Grossberg (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) - Stephen Gundle (University of Warwick) - Décio de Alencar Guzmán (Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém,  Brasile) - Matthias Heinz (Universität Salzburg) - Rosina Márquez-Reiter (The Open University) - Samir Marzouki (Université de Manouba à Tunis) - (John McLeod, University of Leeds) - Estrella Montolío Durán (Universitat de Barcelona) - M'bare N'gom (Morgan State University, Baltimore) - Christiane Nord (Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences) - Daragh O'Connell (Cork University) - Roberto Perin (York University, Toronto) - Giovanni Rovere (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg) - Lara Ryazanova-Clarke (University of Edinburgh) - Françoise Sabban (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris) - Kirk St.Amant (Louisiana Tech University, University of Limerick/University of Strasbourg) - Paul Sambre (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) - Srikant Sarangi (Aalborg University) - Junji Tsuchiya (Waseda University, Tokyo) - Xu Shi (Zhejiang University)
Section editors: Maria Matilde Benzoni, Università degli Studi di Milano (Modern history) - Paola Cotta Ramusino, Università degli Studi di Milano (Russian linguistics and translation) - Mario de Benedittis, Università degli Studi di Milano (Sociology) - Kim Grego Università degli Studi di Milano (English linguistics and translation) - Giovanna Mapelli, Università degli Studi di Milano (Spanish linguistics and translation) - Bettina Mottura, University of Milan (Chinese studies) - Mauro Giacomo Novelli, Università degli Studi di Milano (Contemporary Italian literature and culture) - Letizia Osti, Università degli Studi di Milano (Arab studies) - Maria Cristina Paganoni, Università degli Studi di Milano (English linguistics and translation) - Giuseppe Sergio, Università degli Studi di Milano (Italian linguistics) - Virginia Sica, Università degli Studi di Milano (Japanese studies)

Editor of LCM - The Series: Marie-Christine Jullion


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