Alimentary Discourses in Italian Modernist Literature
Chapter Four How to Cope with the Bites of Modernity: Two Literary Recipes by Massimo Bontempelli a
nd Luigi Pirandello 4.1 Learn to Play or Be Eaten: Massimo Bontempelli’s Gente nel tempo Come si divertiranno gli uomini Quando avranno un coltello per tagliare l’Eternità — M. Bontempelli, Il Purosangue 1919 Vedi, tu sai tante cose, ma se non vuoi piú farmi paura, devi impararne una ancora: devi imparare a giocare. — M. Bontempelli, Nembo 1935 Although a substantial amount of critical literature exists today on Massimo Bontempelli and his oeuvre as a modernist writer and intellectual, not many pages of criticism are dedicated to his 1937 “novecentista” novel Gente nel tempo (from now on, Gente).1 In the most recent monographic stud- ies on Bontempelli, their authors either did not feel the need – arguably because of their specific focus and goals – of including it in their analysis (i.e., Tempesti 1974; Saccone 1979; Urgnani 1991; Glielmo 1994) or, when 1 Gente nel tempo was written between 1935 and 1936 and it first appeared as a serial in the journal Nuova Antologia. 210 Chapter Four they did, they dismissed it quite rapidly, devoting minimal space to its discussion (see Airoldi Namer 1979; Cecchini 1986; Fontanella 1997).2 Granted, Bontempelli himself has notoriously been “un autore sostan- zialmente ‘rimosso’ dalla critica letteraria italiana del secondo dopoguerra”3 and, therefore, it should not be surprising that such a removal has af fected also (and especially) one of his “più fortunati (!) romanzi,”4 the one that, nonetheless, supposedly “segna il definitivo riconoscimento della maturità artistica dello scrittore.”5 As I am on the verge...
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