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The Eloquence of Ghosts

Giorgio Manganelli and the Afterlife of the Avant-Garde


Florian Mussgnug

Giorgio Manganelli (1922-1990), one of Italy’s most radical and original writers, went further than most in exploring the creative possibilities of hybrid genres and open forms. Ostentation, theatricality, and a love of drapery and verbal excess are defining features of his body of work, which ranges from prose fiction, literary criticism, and drama to travel writing, treatises, commentaries, and imaginary interviews.
This study examines the wealth of Manganelli’s imagination – his grotesque animals, speaking corpses, and melancholy spectres – and argues that his spectacular eloquence was shaped by an exceptional awareness of literary and philosophical models. Following Manganelli’s lead, the author addresses issues such as the boundaries of meaningful language, the relationship between literary and visual texts, fantasy and realism, and the power of literature to express the apprehensions and intimations of human consciousness.

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