Kafka’s Italian Progeny

By Saskia Elizabeth Ziolkowski

© 2020

While many scholars of world literature view national literary traditions as resolved and stable, Kafka’s Italian Progeny takes the fluid identity of the modern Italian tradition as an opportunity to reconsider its dimensions and influencers. Exploring a distinct but unexamined Kafkan tradition in modern Italian literature, it brings Italian literary works into larger debates and reorients the critical view of the Italian literary landscape. The book calls attention to the way Kafkan themes, narrative strategies, and formal experimentation appear in a range of Italian authors. Offering new perspectives on familiar figures, such as Italo Calvino, Italo Svevo, and Elena Ferrante, it also sheds light on some lesser-known authors, including Tommaso Landolfi, Paola Capriolo, and Lalla Romano.

Using diverse approaches to explore thematic, generic, historical, and cultural connections between Kafka’s works and those of Italian authors, the author argues for a new view of Italian literature that includes talking animals, parental bonds, modernist realism, literary detective novels, and lyrical microfiction. Whereas Kafka has been mobilized in discourses on minor and world literature, Kafka’s Italian Progeny investigates the particular nature of the Italian reception of Kafka to reveal the richness and variety of modern Italian literature.

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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 312 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP006344

  • AVAILABLE JAN 2020

    From: $63.75

    Regular Price: $85.00

    ISBN 9781487506308
  • AVAILABLE FEB 2020

    From: $63.75

    Regular Price: $85.00

Quick Overview

This book explores Kafka’s sometimes surprising connections with key Italian writers, from Italo Calvino to Elena Ferrante, who shaped Italy’s modern literary landscape.

Kafka’s Italian Progeny

By Saskia Elizabeth Ziolkowski

© 2020

While many scholars of world literature view national literary traditions as resolved and stable, Kafka’s Italian Progeny takes the fluid identity of the modern Italian tradition as an opportunity to reconsider its dimensions and influencers. Exploring a distinct but unexamined Kafkan tradition in modern Italian literature, it brings Italian literary works into larger debates and reorients the critical view of the Italian literary landscape. The book calls attention to the way Kafkan themes, narrative strategies, and formal experimentation appear in a range of Italian authors. Offering new perspectives on familiar figures, such as Italo Calvino, Italo Svevo, and Elena Ferrante, it also sheds light on some lesser-known authors, including Tommaso Landolfi, Paola Capriolo, and Lalla Romano.

Using diverse approaches to explore thematic, generic, historical, and cultural connections between Kafka’s works and those of Italian authors, the author argues for a new view of Italian literature that includes talking animals, parental bonds, modernist realism, literary detective novels, and lyrical microfiction. Whereas Kafka has been mobilized in discourses on minor and world literature, Kafka’s Italian Progeny investigates the particular nature of the Italian reception of Kafka to reveal the richness and variety of modern Italian literature.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 312 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "The prismatic effect of viewing modern Italian literature through Kafka in multiple senses – thematic, formal, and as an historical force drawing together dispersed writers – captures a complex literary scene that defies the easy labels of movements and periods. Intervening into an impressive range of critical debates, this book will interest scholars working on contemporary topics including the changing representation of motherhood, animal fiction, detective novels, and the contours of realism and modernism."


    Michael Subialka, Department of French and Italian, University of California, Davis

    "With an impressive command of scholarship in both German and Italian, Saskia Elizabeth Ziolkowski engages with a range of debates, from questions of canonization in world literature to genre theory pertaining to detective fiction, realism, and animal studies."


    Salvatore Pappalardo, Department of English, Towson University
  • Author Information

    Saskia Elizabeth Ziolkowski is an assistant professor of Italian in Romance Studies at Duke University.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction

    Kafka, World Literature, and the Italian Literary Landscape

    The Place of Italian Literature in World Literature Debates
    Kafka’s Italian Reception: An Overview
    Morante and Buzzati: Two Cases of Kafka Reception
    Kafka’s Italian Progeny: An Overview

    1. Amerika in Italy: Kafka’s Realism, Pavese, and Calvino

    Kafka’s Amerika in Italy
    The Italian View of Kafka’s Realism
    Calvino’s Realist Kafka
    Amerika and The Path to the Spiders’ Nests: Finding and Losing the Way, All Over Again
    The Americas of Kafka and Pavese

    2. Dreams of Short Fiction after Kafka: Lalla Romano, Giorgio Manganelli, and Antonio Tabucchi

    Lyrical, Short Kafka
    Experimenting with Short, Short Works after Kafka
    The Transformations of Romano, Manganelli, and Tabucchi 

    3. Processi without End: The Mysteries of Dino Buzzati and Paola Capriolo

    Kafka, Detective Fiction, and Italy
    The Structures of Suspense: Questions, Identity, and Home
    Prisons of Analysis and the Pull of Imagination

    4. Kafka’s Parental Bonds: The Family as Institution in Italian Literature

    The Familial Institution in Kafka and Modern Italian Literature
    Svevo’s A Life and Ferrante’s Troubling Love: Societal Stress and the Bonds of Family
    Leaving Parental Bonds in Bontempelli’s The Son of Two Mothers and Morante’s Arturo’s Island

    5. The Human-Animal Boundary, Italian Style: Kafka’s Red Peter in Conversation with Svevo’s Argo, Morante’s Bella, and Landolfi’s Tombo

    Italian Literature, Kafka, and Animal Studies
    Communication across Species: The Monologues of Kafka’s Red Peter and Svevo’s Argo
    Interspecial Communication: Landolfi’s Châli and Tombo, Morante’s Belli and Immacolatella
    The Language of Animals and Dialects
    Animal Bodies and Christian Spirit in Morante, Landolfi, and Buzzati

    Epilogue
    Calvino’s Kafka and Kafka’s Italy

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