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Radikale Naturerfahrung in Cesare Paveses ‚Feria d’agosto‘ und ‚Il diavolo sulle colline‘

Stefan Bub

Pages 189 - 207

According to the importance of myth and childhood in the work of Cesare Pavese the contrast between cultivated land and wilderness constitutes a significant topic in the collection ‚Feria d’agosto‘ (1946). Many of his characters/first-person narrators are fascinated by the experience of rural life where they encounter a non-human space of untamed nature beyond culture. In ‚Feria d’agosto‘ we find two stories which are of particular importance in this context. ‚Storia segreta‘ focuses on the memory of inaccessible nature, subterranean spaces and moist earth permeated by roots and enclosing live and death. In a heightened manner, ‚Nudismo‘ describes the attempt of a mimetic fusion with nature in a hidden place (under a hazy sky) that leads to images of death, decomposition, and bare existence (symbolized by mud and naked roots) which transcend Pavese’s idea of myth. As certain thematically related passages in the novel ‚Il diavolo sulle colline‘ (1949) reveal, nakedness means existential vulnerability. Finally, the narrating ‘I’ has to realize the impossibility of the attempt to leave the sphere of human existence.


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