Italian literature - Saba and psychoanalysis

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Modalità esame

Oral exam


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The course is dedicated to PHD students but is also open to ordinary students.


The course will focus on Umberto Saba's relationship with psychoanalysis in contrast to Svevo's pont of view on this therapy and within the context of the fashion for Freudian therapy that characterizes Trieste in the first decades of the twentieth century. Therefore, the poet's relationship with the Trieste psychoanalyst Edoardo Weiss will be retraced and the main knots that link some traits of the Canzoniere with psychoanalytic thought will be highlighted, which Saba adopted, unlike Svevo, in an almost maniacal way. In particular, the poetic profile of the section Il piccolo Berto will be explored, with the childhood traumas brought to the surface by Weiss which become poetry, and at the same time we will try to argue the definition given by Gianfranco Contini of a "psychoanalytic before psychoanalysis" Saba, studying the manifestation of Sabian obsessions already in the texts prior to Il piccolo Berto, especially starting from the Autobiography in sonnets. Space will also be made for Saba's prose and above all for the unfinished novel Ernesto.

Obiettivi formativi

The course aims to present the evolution of Saba's poetics through its various seasons, framing it from the point of view of the introspection of himself and then of the adhesion to the Freudian doctrine.

Riferimenti bibliografici

G. Contini, Tre composizioni o 'la metrica' di Saba, in Id., Esercizi di lettura sopra autori contenporanei. Con un'appendice su autori non cintemporanei, Torino, Einaudi,  1974, pp. 25-33

M. Lavagetto, La gallina di Saba, Torino, Einaudi, 1974

S. Carrai, Saba, Roma, Salerno Ed., 2017