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Giovanni Pascoli (1855-1912) is one of Italy's most canonical and beloved poets. In Beyond the Family Romance, Maria Truglio offers fresh insight into the uncanny qualities of Pascoli's domestic verse. As suggested by the Freudian title, this study opens a dialogue between Pascoli's literature and Freud's theories, with a particular focus on each author's interrogation of origins. Through close readings and historical contextualization, themes of regression, memory, and other manifestations of 'origins' are analyzed, moving Pascoli's poetry beyond the biographical strictures that have hitherto confined it.
Truglio's post-structuralist readings question the dichotomy between 'safety within the home' and the 'threatening outside world,' revealing the ambivalences with which images of the home are fraught in Pascoli's poetry. In addition to the sustained comparison with Freud's writing, Beyond the Family Romance explores parallels between Pascoli's work and such writers as Tarchetti, Boito, Poe, and Invernizio. Rethinking the concept of the fanciullino ('little child'), Truglio shows that Pascoli's poetry enacts a symbiosis between the logic of the rational modern adult and the mythic vision of the child.