Mario Luzi: poetry of history and terrorism

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Is it really the second, from the 1950s and 1960s, the most innovative phase of Mario Luzi's poetic production, in view of the interaction between topics and contents on the one hand, forms and styles on the other within the poetic text? Or are the seventies and eighties the two decades of poetic production capable of rethinking the identity of the individual within an Italian society of Catholic origin, politically shaken by events of generational conflicts and violence, representing a synthesis of all best features of the work of the Tuscan writer?
Critics have always focused their lens above all on the experimental 'success' and on the public success of Luzian poetry books published in the 1950s and 1960s, identifying the publications in verse of the seventies. Above all, not fully reconsidering the value that Mario Luzi's verse collections written almost live in the 1970s - and which appeared very little, or relatively, after their conception and composition - had within the traditional canon twentieth-century poetics, and in the reconsideration of the link between poetry and reality, poetry and history, poetry and the movement of language.
The course intends to deepen the critical and historical reflection on Mario Luzi's work in verse Al fuoco della controversia, released in a crucial year for the history of our country such as 1978. The analysis will focus on the narration in verse in the Italian poetry of the second twentieth century of an episode that has been completely ignored up to now by critics such as terrorism, addressed only in the context of studies dedicated to Italian fiction of the last century. Starting from the poems that Luzi dedicated to the darkness and violence of the events of Italian political history in the 1970s (in particular from the death of Pasolini in November 1975 to the killing of Aldo Moro in May 1978), the course will also examine other different forms of poetic writing dedicated to the Piombo years, including works by Margherita Guidacci, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Nanni Balestrini and others, and attempting to reconstruct through poetic sources (understood as artistic and historical sources), a decisive page of the autobiography of a nation. A page, that of Italian terrorism of the 1970s, within which poetry seems to perform no testamentary, philological, maieutic function. Instead, showing itself as a 'human', literary, rhythmic-linguistic discourse capable of contributing at a hermeneutic and historical-bibliographic level to the 'identity' reconstruction of a piece of the history of the Italian Republic which in the context of studies is still partly immersed in chronicle reconstruction, in social taboos or in an interpretation devoid of intertwining of often 'hybrid' sources that take into account both the public and private dimensions of the historical tragedy.

Muore ignominiosamente la repubblica.

Ignominiosamente la spiano

i suoi molti bastardi nei suoi ultimi tormenti.

Arrotano ignominiosamente il becco i corvi nella stanza accanto.

Ignominiosamente si azzuffano i suoi orfani,

si sbranano ignominiosamente tra di loro i suoi sciacalli.

Tutto accade ignominiosamente, tutto

meno la morte medesima – cerco di farmi intendere

dinanzi a non so che tribunale

di che sognata equità. E l’udienza è tolta


[da M. Luzi, Al fuoco della controversia, 1978]

Obiettivi formativi

- To place the works treated and the biographies of the authors from a historical-literary point of view.

- To develop knowledge and hermeneutic skills in understanding the meaning of a single poetic text.

- Develop basic knowledge and skills in the technical and stylistic analysis of texts. - Identify intertextual sources in the elaboration of a poetic text. - Identify formal differences and common motifs by interpreting texts by different poets and different poets in comparison.

Riferimenti bibliografici

M. Luzi, Al fuoco della controversia, Garzanti, Milano 1978.


M. Luzi G. Tabanelli, Il lungo viaggio nel Novecento, Marsilio editori, Venezia 2014.


Indicazioni di lettura:


G. Crainz, Autobiografia di una Repubblica. Le radici dell’Italia attuale, Donzelli editore, Roma 2009.


G. Panvini, Cattolici e violenza. L’altro album di famiglia del terrorismo italiano, Marsilio editore, Venezia 2014.