Italy Literature Part I

In the decade 2005-15 the literary horizon that had already emerged in the passage of the new millennium went as if it were: the neutralization of style, the dissolution of value hierarchies, the subscription of models imposed by the market, from targets to which one brings back a production that favors stories, their communicative and ‘creative’ importance. Notions of the world and existence corresponding to the image of reality defined by the media are drawn, within a sort of common sense which, the more common and banal it is, the more it tends to pose, to exhibit its singularity. The literature that is seen and sold the most remains mostly subordinate to the modes of communication and horizons of meaning conveyed by the media: and often relies on an exhibition of the figure of the author and of his own person, between festivals and media appearances, or simply to pose on a personal Internet site. The stories they come to present themselves as objects of consumption, packages in which the current modalities of existence are combined; the practicability of the communicative exchange is configured, between dutiful feelings, sociological reports, provocations and empty transgressions. Information technology and the network multiply the writings, their speed and interchangeability; they make writing faster and stylistic care more indifferent, they bend the language towards a standardization that is often further defined by the editing work. Random and provisional styles (or rather ways of writing) appear. Criticism is now completely expropriated from its traditional tasks: mostly replaced by editorial and journalistic promotion, it finds less and less space in the media and, even when it resists, it is viewed with hostility and indifference.

While self-referential critical exercises circulate in blogs and social networks, in the free flow of moods, resentments, jealousies, resentments, the only value recognized by the media is actually that of the market, invaded by books by politicians, journalists, show people.. When the list of 150 books that made Italy was drawn up for the 2011 Turin Fair, the year 2008 was marked with two best sellers of bleak mediocrity, full of good feelings and corrive metaphors.

In this situation, despite many claims to represent the present of the Italy and of the world, to touch reality closely, most of the images given by the most current literature remain evanescent, unable to dig deep, to make that reality spring from the force of language: the novels exhibit what is already known, what is already conveyed by the great cauldron of the media and the network. Lack of courage, adaptation to the mots de la tribu, to what is considered the expectations of the public and the market, fragility of any critical intentions, subscription to the marginal space that on the public scene touches literature today, loss of its link with that of the past: and at the same time the effect of the saturation of language and of the experience, of that constipation of communication which constitutes one of the most disturbing data of the contemporary cultural space and which would require from the intellectual world a radical ecology of language and images (of which, moreover, economy, technology, media system seem to narrow down any possibility). As the social importance of literature recedes, the quantity of what is written increases more and more, on all the most varied supports: and it is increasingly difficult to recognize the most authentic voices, buried and hidden under the quantitative accumulation and the speed of production. We do not see or fail to see experiences capable of delving into the dangerous drifts into which the world seems to fall, of extracting essential words, emblems of destiny.

According to LOCALTIMEZONE, the tradition of the twentieth century still partially resists, while some of the major protagonists of the century and its final part have disappeared, from Mario Luzi (2005) to Giovanni Giudici and Andrea Zanzotto (2011), to Luigi Malerba (2008), to Vincenzo Consolo (2012) and Antonio Tabucchi (2012). In 2009 two books appeared that from different points of view seem to record the departure of the great culture of the twentieth century, of its dreams of hope and beauty: the last, intense and torn poetic collection by Zanzotto (Conglomerati) and the last short story book by the younger Tabucchi (Time gets old quickly). Other authors of previous generations, still in intense activity, have had a real consecration, with the entry into the Meridian series: Alberto Arbasino (2009-10), Claudio Magris (2012), Raffaele La Capria (after a first Meridian of 2003, a new doubled edition of 2014 gave space to the developments of his fervent and measured rational outlook on the world, still alive in his numerous books of the last decade). Not to be overlooked is the prolongation of the commitment of other writers born before 1950, with still strongly ‘twentieth-century’ characters: a commitment marked by different ways of confronting the contradictions of the present, within the life of characters who bear their mark in the their lives, by Gianni Celati, with the stories Costumes of the Italians (2008) and Selve d’amore (2013), to Franco Cordelli, with the novel The human tide (2010), to Sebastiano Vassalli (who oscillated between the negation of the novel, in La morte di Marx, 2006, and novels that continue his varied critical picture of Italian life, past, The two churches, 2010, and present, Buy the sun, 2012), to Ermanno Cavazzoni (with his dazed, absolute, comic exaltation, from Natural History of the Giants, 2007, to The solitary thinker, 2015), to Aldo Busi, with El especialista de Barcelona (2012), unleashed against the dullness of a world that collapses without any awareness of itself.

Italy Literature 01