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Ruozzi, Cinzia (2014) RACCONTARE LA SCUOLA. TESTI, AUTORI E FORME DEL SECONDO NOVECENTO. PhD Thesis , Università degli Studi di Ferrara.

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    The present research assumes as focus the narration of the last thirty years of schooling in Italy. My aim is to investigate how literature has perceived and illustrated the age-turning changes involving school in the second half of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st, through a survey of meaningful works and authors. School is one of the central loci of modern fantastic, both as a miniature community reproducing patterns of behavior, hierarchies of values and ideological perspectives of society at large, and as a space for stories, a living anthology of narrations. My intention was to restore the realistic and symbolic dimensions of the teacher’s persona and of the image of school in society, making appeal to historical contextualizing, legislative sources and, above all, literary texts. Research approach is therefore based on the cross-contribution of different levels of study: the great social and cultural transformations and the history of schooling, considered at large as an undeniable background for the texts analyzed; the reconstruction of the cultural and educational debate, where necessary to understand the ongoing change; an in-depth analysis of literary works. The thesis is subdivided into six chapters following a diachronic line starting from the Eighties up to today. The first chapter takes into consideration the large corpus of writings by Domenico Starnone, marking a reprise of interest in the genre racconto di scuola; it closes with Sandro Onofri, the highest literary achievement among class diaries. To go deeper into reflections about genre, though, I found necessary to resume the models of tradition and to consider intertextual dialogue with some of the rhetorical archetypes, from De Amicis to the memorialists of the Fifties to Pasolini’s political essays, from which the latest authors have derived narrative forms, themes, topoi and stylistic features. The second chapter investigates a trend typical of the racconto di scuola since its very birth: the constant oscillating between hope and disenchantment, between the level of ideals and the painful recognition of reality, a gap giving rise, in the field of literature, to two narrative lines with different characteristics. In the complex relationship between theme and genre this has meant an upturning of the modes of representation, leading to the adfirmation of comedy and grotesque. The turning point was Lucio Mastronardi’s novel Il maestro di Vigevano (1962), anticipating the trend to interpret school through ironic and parodic modes fully displayed later by Starnone and many others. I chose to give voice to stories set in different types of schools, from primary to lower and higher secondary, to different figures of teachers from maestro to high school professore. 2 Research on racconto di scuola has been considered as an unicum to be explored at various levels across different geographic areas, times and textual genres, without boundaries. The third chapter, for example, is dedicated to the essays concerning school since the publishing of Don Milani’s works, marking the beginning of the genre; in the fourth I have collected the writings of young teachers, often working as substitutes, often debutant as writers, sharing a common condition of professional and existential precariousness. As a consequence, the research perspective is not limited to a single literary form, because “school stories” have found different narrative expression and made genre distinctions more complex. Finally, I have assumed the term racconto di scuola in its broadest meaning to define the various forms of narration of the theme, inclusive of non-fictional as well as more markedly fictional texts, specifying for each of them their own features. The recently-published short stories introduced in the fifth chapter point to the emerging of a still different modality to narrate about school. The parody or grotesque traits of representation seem to give way to new models in which the intention prevails to provide a truthful picture of youths’ life, away from commonplace typical of so many editorials and TV programs, together with the desire to investigate and give new meaning to the teacher’s role and identity, too long desecrated. It is the possibility of a third way, modestly As the intention of the present work has always been to demonstrate that since its 19th century beginning until today the racconto di scuola has been acquiring the status of a specific literary genre, though in absence of a stable paradigm and of a well-defined canon, the last section is dedicated to forms, style and stylemes. The choice of texts was demanding and time-costly, first because I had to cope with a substantial amount of published works, most of which very recent, and many of which have turned out to be repetitive and of scarce literary value; secondly, because I had to narrow the field of analysis down to the works focused on school as central element of the narration. The final result is to have sketched a sort of literary map of the main works and authors, obviously incomplete but useful to give an idea of the thematic and stylistic evolution taking place since the end of the 19th century and up to present time. Other aspects to be specified are the choice of the canon, limited to Italian works, and the space of the character, focused almost entirely on the teacher’s figure as dominant I-narrator in literary texts. A second element to bear in mind is the fact that the works considered here were written by teachers; among these, professional intellectuals and writers who worked in schools during their apprentice years or still do, and who at any rate can claim to have direct experience of what they write. 3 Finally, as in the repertory of “school stories” the subgenres of diary, letter, chronicle, memory or essay have emerged as dominant, I chose to leave more space to these narrative forms rather than to a text genre as the novel, for which minority is the case here. Besides, I am fully aware to have marginalized, with the intention to make of them a new starting point for further research, those novels cited in the chapter about forms where the fictional focus is prevailing.

    Item Type:Thesis (PhD Thesis)
    Date:25 March 2014
    Tutor:Montagnani, Cristina
    Coordinator:Andrisano, Angela
    Institution:Università degli Studi di Ferrara
    Divisions:Dipartimento > Studi umanistici
    Subjects:Area 10 - Scienze dell'antichita', filologico-letterarie e storico-artistiche > L-FIL-LET/10 Letteratura italiana
    Uncontrolled Keywords:racconto, scuola, diario, letteratura italiana, novecento
    Deposited on:02 Jul 2015 12:55


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