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Changing styles, affective continuities and psychic containers: Corrado Govoni's early poetry

Francesco Capello and Giuseppe Civitarese

Keywords: CORRADO GOVONI; FUTURISM; SYMBOLISM; WILFRED R. BION; CONTAINER/CONTAINED

Abstract

This article focuses on the relationship between the representation of femininity and aggressiveness (both stylistic and thematic) in Corrado Govoni's early twentieth-century works, from the erotic-symbolist sonnets of Le fiale (1903) [The Phials] to the Futurist-nationalist fury of L'inaugurazione della primavera (1915) [The Inauguration of Spring]. Drawing on a number of post-Kleinian psychoanalytical notions, it analyses recurrent discourse practices and narrative/rhetorical strategies in the representations of gender, sex and violence, highlighting their 'affective grammar'. The first section introduces the methodological framework, and then moves on to a contextualized overview of Govoni's early poetry. The second part undertakes a close reading of a particularly relevant sample of his work, the section from Le fiale entitled 'Vas luxuriae'. Both sections aim to show that the shift from the literary and cultural tropes of decadence to those of avant-garde nationalism is informed affectively by what, adopting Wilfred Bion's language, is termed a failure of psychic containment.

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