|About the Book|
This dissertation examines the relationship between the representation of history and the narrative devices and strategies that authors use to sew their readers deeper into the story in Italian historical novels of the nineteenth and twentiethMoreThis dissertation examines the relationship between the representation of history and the narrative devices and strategies that authors use to sew their readers deeper into the story in Italian historical novels of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My theoretical framework builds on the assertion that history as a professional discipline in Europe emerged toward the beginning of the nineteenth century---the same time period in which the historical novel was cementing itself as a legitimate literary genre in Italy. I claim that his tandem emergence of history as a discipline and the historical novel is paralleled in the late twentieth century by their critical denouement, as some theorists of postmodern theory argue that a sense of the end of official history permeates the latter part of the twentieth century and continues today. I argue that this outlook permits us to look backward in time and rethink authoritative history, filling in its previously ignored blank pages. I demonstrate how nineteenth2 century narrators establish a connection with their readers by deflating conventional authority, and how narrators of contemporary historical novels establish and confirm their narrative authority by claiming that they have none, as they are all marginalized figures in society and in history. The novels I discuss include Alessandro Manzonis I promessi sposi, Ippolito Nievos Le confessioni dun italiano, Francesco Domenico Guerrazzis Beatrice Cenci, Anna Bantis Artemisia, Umberto Ecos Il nome della rosa, Luisa Muraros Guglielmo e Maifreda, Maria Rosa Cutrufellis La briganta, Sebastiano Vassallis La chimera, Luther Blissetts Q, and Wu Mings 54.