Syntax and style in Alberto Arbasino's early works (1957-1963)

Agazzoni, Debora (2017) Syntax and style in Alberto Arbasino's early works (1957-1963). PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis examines the syntax of the sentence and the style of three of Alberto Arbasino’s early works: Le piccole vacanze (1957), Il ragazzo perduto (1959) and Fratelli d’Italia (1963). The period in which these works were written and published was one of great linguistic changes, with Italian starting to become the language spoken by the majority of the population and the consequent formation of a new variety, the italiano dell’uso medio. This social evolution has also consequences for the language of narrative: whereas some authors embrace the lingua media and a clear, communicative style (stile semplice), others reject it and opt for linguistic experimentation. Although Arbasino is typically placed in this second slant of narrative writing, one cannot so easily assign him to a group or stream, since from the beginning of his career he developed a personal poetics influenced by modernist writers, as well as his own ideas on language and style. The aims of this study are first of all to chart the birth and diachronic evolution of Arbasino’s style, and evaluate the influence of his syntactic choices on it. Then investigate how the syntax of each work compares to the lines of development of contemporary Italian and to the language of contemporary narrative. My analysis begins with a comprehensive outline of the features of contemporary Italian and of the styles of writing in post-war narrative, ending with a focus on the character of Arbasino’s poetics and ideas on language and style in the decade 1954-1964. A brief chapter then illustrates the methodology used, based on quantitative analysis of syntactic aspects, and clarifies terminology. Thereafter, the core of the thesis is composed of three case studies that examine thoroughly the syntax of the sentence and other important syntactic devices of the three works separately, comparing data with corpora of Italian and with studies on narrative language. Finally, a concluding chapter highlights the lines of development of syntax and style in the three works. On the basis of this research, it is clear that the syntax of the sentence places Arbasino among experimental writers tending to break with the linguistic standard. Moreover, Arbasino’s syntactic choices in the three works reflect an increasing distance from traditional literary modes of representation and the progressive affirmation of his own literary project, founded in the poetics of realismo critico.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Arbasino, syntax, style, Italian language, Italian narrative, contemporary Italian, Italian modernism, critical realism, linguistic experimentalism, neoavanguardia, linguistic standard.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
P Language and Literature > PC Romance languages
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Italian
Supervisor's Name: O'Ceallachain, Dr. Eanna and Simpson, Dr. James
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Dr Debora Agazzoni
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8122
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 May 2017 13:16
Last Modified: 30 May 2017 07:22

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