Metamorphosing DanteAppropriations, Manipulations, and Rewritings in the Twentieth and Twenty-First CenturiesVienna: Turia + Kant, 2010
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Cite as: Manuele Gragnolati, ‘Re-writing Dante after Freud and the Shoah: Giorgio Pressburger’s Nel regno oscuro’, in Metamorphosing Dante: Appropriations, Manipulations, and Rewritings in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries, ed. by Manuele Gragnolati, Fabio Camilletti, and Fabian Lampart, Cultural Inquiry, 2 (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2010), pp. 235–50 <https://doi.org/10.25620/ci-02_14>

Re-writing Dante after Freud and the ShoahGiorgio Pressburger’s Nel regno oscuroManuele Gragnolati ORCID

Keywords: Alighieri, Dante – Divina Commedia – Inferno; productive reception; Pressburger, Giorgio – Nel regno oscuro; subjectivity in literature; the unconscious (Psychology); History in literature; Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)

Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt as restless and as passionately in love as the adulterous Paolo and Francesca in the ‘bufera infernal’ of Inferno V, but riding in a black cab to the (Italianized) rhythm of Goethe’s ballad Der Erlkönig; Ezra Pound, Knut Hamsun, and Louis-Ferdinand Céline as the three heads of a new Cerberus whose mixed pastiche of English, Norwegian, and French is an incomprehensible noise conveying nothing but hatred of the Jews; Primo Levi as a fallen angel taking the place of Lucifer at the very bottom of Hell: these are some of the surprises awaiting the reader of Giorgio Pressburger’s latest novel Nel regno oscuro (‘In/to the dark realm’), which is a rich and creative rewriting of Dante’s poem.

Like all previous prose works by the 1937-born Hungarian Jewish author who emigrated to Italy in 1956, it is written not in his native Hungarian but in Italian. It is the first part of a planned trilogy inspired by the Divine Comedy, integrating the Middle European style of Pressburger’s previous works with the attempt to engage with the first part of Dante’s poem (of which Pressburger’s novel also seems to replicate the canonical apparatus of notes, in this case written by the author himself).

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