360º

Editor’s Preface

It happens to oil. And to websites. Drop them in water, and they disperse radially (sort of). Or move one piece, and you have moved the whole game, not just of chess. Metaphors are handy tools, especially by way of apology. If you ask us what has been holding us back, the reply, with apology, must be: our 360º growth (rough calculation).

Four new supplements come out with this edition, and our first one, A Pocket Gadda Encyclopedia (2002), has its second, enlarged edition. Supplement 2 tackles Gadda’s fascism. Or was it antifascism? This is a tough critical case, with a proven record of resilience. Autarky, Ethiopia, the colonial duties of women, the military might of the countries at war, the Sicilian land reform. It is no mystery that Gadda was writing in broad support of the regime, for newspapers and journals, as late as 1942-1943. And yet, if the historian is not surprised, the literary critic is not amused, unable to reconcile herself that easily with the idea of a fascist Gadda: not on the evidence of the other Gadda, the author of Cognizione and Pasticciaccio – even not counting Eros e Priapo, Gadda’s antimussolinian vituperations of 1944-1945.

Can anything add to our unease? Some ten such articles, originally published between 1935 and 1941, were not included in the Garzanti Collected Works, never having been republished by Gadda, as instead was the case with a number of writings in the same category. The ten exclusions are collected here for the first time. Does this new form of access change our perspective? To make sure that it does, three chapters from Eros e Priapo and selected critical material link up with the main body of the supplement from our subsidiary fascist readings. And vice versa. Just a twist of perversion, compliments of the wizardry of the web.

The proceedings of the first Edinburgh Gadda conference, April 2003, come out as our Supplement 3. The volume, in honour of Gian Carlo Roscioni, brings together twenty scholars on subjects as widely ranging as narratology, comparative studies, archival research, electronic philology, and including specifics such as Gadda’s relationship with other literati, the major themes, the fortieth anniversary of the first volume publication of Cognizione del dolore, the reception of Quer pasticciaccio.

Supplement 4 comes in two parts, both previously unpublished, though the material, kindly provided by Enrico Flores, dates back to 1965 (an interview with Gadda) and 1972 (a reconnaissance of the setting of Cognizione). Supplement n + 1 gets going with three and a half antinomies, seven contributions in all, no Fellinian maths here, but much optimism, and a Kantian connection. The optimism is stated in the date, November 2003-∞, as well as in the title; while the Kantian connection involves taking sides, committing oneself, in earnest or in joke, to one-side-only of a Gadda contradiction. So far fascist / antifascist, readable / unreadable, modern / postmodern and Milanese have been declared, all in dead earnest. New challengers welcome!

Ten articles, with one exception all previously unpublished, are presented in our two new regular issues, EJGS 3/2003 and EJGS 4/2004. The areas covered are again quite wide-ranging. Epistemology: when it is matter that thinks. An unorthodox Renaissance: Gadda’s love of Ariosto, Bruno, Machiavelli. Issues of genre and text typology: testing the theory on Gadda’s first statement of poetics. The inexhaustible intertextual Manzoni connection: its unsuspected role in ascertaining Gadda’s antifascism. The divided and yet unrepentant war writer: a further review of the literature. His ideal of Rome, its fascist connections: intriguingly, in two takes, by two different scholars. Gadda and Milan, a difficult myth, a controversial demystification: in one take, by one scholar playing all the parts. The finale of Quer pasticciaccio revisited: in all its lack of finality, and yet with a string of fresh hypotheses. And more, always more on Quer pasticciaccio: but this time getting to it in some roundabout ways, via the incipit of L’Adalgisa. The news we receive from the Gadda world through the submissions to the regular issue is very good indeed.

Some fourteen new essays have also joined the Archive. More Weaver Gadda has gone into our BabelGadda. The seven Abruzzo pieces have been added to the Selected essays, in homage to the hosts of the L’Aquila conference (the proceedings, edited by Errico Centofanti, are forthcoming in the Journal as Supplement 5). A Bibliography of Gadda in translation now collates all (nearly all) existing data, mostly from Sebastiani 1993a and Cortellessa 2003b. A Gadda Glossary gives a foretaste of the full electronic version of Italia 1998, already massively increasing that heavy traffic of links to and from each unit of work that is the trademark of EJGS. What else? Something is bound to have escaped. But who will notice? And, of course, fresh statistics, for the two year period, and for the four years as a whole: statistics to take one’s sense away, quite unsobering. Yes, 360º.

Our thanks go the readers, the proofers, the helpers, and the (very singular) webmaster. Our thanks also go to the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures of the University of Edinburgh for its generous financial support of our activities, and to the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland for funding the archival research that went into Supplement 2.

Federica G. Pedriali
University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, January 2005

Published by The Edinburgh Journal of Gadda Studies (EJGS)

ISSN 1476-9859
ISBN 1-904371-05-1

© 2003-2024 by Federica G. Pedriali & EJGS. First published in EJGS. Issue no. 3, EJGS 3/2003.

Artwork © 2003-2024 by G. & F. Pedriali. Framed image: Gadda, and a detail after Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Delights (detail from the outer shutters, The Creation of the World), c. 1500, Museo del Prado, Madrid.

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Dynamically-generated word count for this file is 944 words, the equivalent of 3 pages in print.