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Primavera 2002 - Anno VIII
Edgar Allan Poe e la schiavitù
Le grandi paure
Cinque poesie di Sherman Alexie
Saggi su Philip K. Dick e Raymond Carver
Brevi di cronaca
Lobotomizzare le paure degli americani: la cura radicale per gli stati gravi di ansia, 1930-1980 - p. 10
This essay relates the historical and scientific development of psychosurgery in America from the 1940s to its decline in the 1970s. It describes in detail the procedures and effects of lobotomy, perpetrated on patients treated for chronic fear, in the name of freedom from anxiety and fear. For psychosurgeons even passivity and a more superficial or shallow affective life, a “surgically-induced childhood”, was better than experiencing fear. Ethical issues in American psychiatry and some literature of the counter-culture of the 60s, questioned the legitimacy of such practice and alternative forms of treatment, such as psychoactive drugs and psychotherapy, became the new solutions for a disorder which still is central to the American psyche.
“E poi mi attirarono sull’astronave”: rapiti dagli alieni nell’America di fine millennio - p. 22
The essay describes the development and effects of the UFO phenomenon, from the first sighting in 1947 to the present, from the cold war context to the complex interaction of technology and new age religiosity. The author investigates the reasons for the popularity of sighting and abduction narratives, the role of the media and the popular press and that of “experts”, and the codes and stereotypes that shape these narratives into a literary genre in its own right, in which, popular culture and literature, all interacting with modern mass culture. Debouzy points out how this “belief” blends with religion and the permanent need for the supernatural in a modern, technologically advanced society, for a spiritual quest free from any kind of externally imposed set of social rules.
Dare corpo alle paure: le teorie del complotto - p. 41
In the first part of his essay Fabrizio Tonello criticizes an essay on Waco, Oklahoma City and terrorist Timothy McVeigh published by Gore Vidal in “Vanity Fair” (September 2001), now translated into Italian and included in a volume by the same author along with three other essays on U.S. contemporary politics. In the second part of his essay Tonello puts Mc- Veigh and Vidal into a broader perspective. He proceeds to discuss the existing ideological connections between the sense of mission that the “Redeemer nation”, as defined by Tuveson, and both the “paranoid Style” in American politics, as defined by Richard Hofstadter, and the “conspiracy theory” interpretations of contemporary events.
Il ritorno della Chimera, ovvero l'11 settembre 2001 e l'immaginario americano - p. 56
On September 11, 2001 Americans’ worst fears came true. The U.S. were under enemy fire and they were unable to protect themselves. Since the Revolution, American culture has been dealing with the anguish of being invaded. This feeling was a legate of British insularity, but it became ubiquitous in a culture based on a gothic vision of life. Thus, September 11 was not only the end of the post-cold war era, but also a nightmarish catharsis.
Edgar Allan Poe e la difesa dello schiavismo - p. 68
Testo a fronte
Sherman Alexie: cinque poesie - p. 76
Resistere alla corrente: il paesaggio naturale in Raymond Carver - p. 86
Focusing on Raymond Carver’s short stories set in the outdoor and dealing with the encounter with nature, fishing, and the Indian presence, this essay argues that Carver can be considered as a descent of Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway in his stylistic and semantic representation of the literary patterns connected with the American pastoral. Carver’s stories, nevertheless, seem to undercut the mythological and symbolic unity present in Twain and latent in Hemingway’s writing. Carver deconstructs the codifying myths linked to the great outdoor and their literary representations within the American tradition even as he re-inscribes them and his voice within the same path.
Fourfold Symmetry: l’interazione dei livelli di realtà in tre romanzi di Philip K. Dick - p. 100
The article attempts to analyze the interplay of textual levels in three novels by Philip K. Dick (The Cosmic Puppets, Time Out of Joint, and The Penultimate Truth) in order to investigate the necessary relationship connecting dialectically related fictional constructs in the novels (alternative stories) and historical un/consciousness (alternative histories or interpretations of historical events). Based on the development of an intuition by Roland Barthes, Rossi’s essay proposes a fourfold interpretive scheme that might be applied also to other novels by Dick (especially the VALIS trilogy) and to alternate history novels written by other authors.
“The World Behind All This”: l’eredità di Philip K. Dick - p. 114
As most critics agree, the central theme in the fiction of Philip K. Dick is the “reality problem”, a strong form of those conspiracy theories so popular in Cold War America. Through the analysis of four films produced in the late 1990s – Dark City, The Matrix, The Truman Show, and Pleasantville – and which present a reappearance of illusory, constructed realities, this essay asks about the social/political significance of this revival and its relationship to the fiction of the Californian SF writer.