‘Ti ubbidirò, mio suddito o mio re’: sado-masochism and male victimhood in Giorgio Manganelli

Grossi, Manuela (2021) ‘Ti ubbidirò, mio suddito o mio re’: sado-masochism and male victimhood in Giorgio Manganelli. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis explores the work of Giorgio Manganelli (1922-1990), a member of the 1960s Italian neo-avant-garde, through a sado-masochistic reading. The existing literature has paid little attention to the areas of gender and sexuality in Manganelli’s work, with the exception of some recent studies that emphasise the hetero-aggressive, sadistic drives underpinning his writings and highlight his construction of masculinity as self-sufficient and based on the exclusion of woman. These studies, however, fail to take into account Manganelli’s insistence on tropes of self-victimisation and fantasies of self-shattering - as seen in Dall’inferno’s (1985) emblematic image of a male body tortured by a cannibalistic doll – as well as Manganelli’s radical renunciation of authorial power and his depiction of the author as a ‘slave’ of language. One of the goals of this thesis is to answer the question: what is the meaning of the sado-masochistic motifs and of this logic of self-victimisation in Manganelli’s work? Drawing upon the theories about the cultural meaning of masochism put forward by Gilles Deleuze (1967), Kaja Silverman (1992), David Savran (1998) and Nick Mansfield (1997), this thesis delves into the ambiguity and contradictoriness of Manganelli’s treatment of gender power relations. This thesis also investigates sado-masochism in Manganelli as a means of relating to both readers and medium and evaluates the impact on Manganelli of Vladimir Nabokov, one of the authors who is most frequently associated with sadism and a point of reference for literary games based on the acting-out of power structures. On the one hand, my exploration of Manganelli’s construction of a ‘deviant’, masochistic model of authoriality and subjectivity seeks to illuminate his ever greater self-consciousness with regard to the limits of the patriarchal models of creative engagement (related to notions such as authority and language ownership) as well as his attempt to release the self from culturally imposed identifications. On the other, I show that masochism and self-victimisation also function in his work as an oblique power strategy to recuperate authority and centrality.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
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: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82538
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2021 13:37
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2021 14:32
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82538
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82538

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