Fabio Camilletti studied at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa (MA, BA, PhD), at St John’s College, Oxford (visiting student), at the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne (Masters, PhD) and at the University of Birmingham (PhD). He has recently been appointed as assistant professor in Italian at the University of Warwick (starting September 2010). His specialization is nineteenth-century European literature from a comparative point of view.

He mostly worked on the metamorphoses of Dante’s Vita Nova in European culture and on the semantization of memory and historical time in Leopardi. His research interests include Dante, Leopardi, Aby Warburg, courtly/romantic love, literature and psychoanalysis, the uncanny, quotations and literary theory. He is currently working on his second book, titled ‘Dante’s Book of Youth: The Vita Nova and the Nineteenth century (1840-1907)’ (London: igrs books, forthcoming 2011).

The Visual Uncanny
Stendhal Syndrome as a Tension

ICI Project 2008-10

The notion of ‘Stendhal Syndrome’ emerged in the late 1970s to describe the psychosomatic and anxious disease one experiences in beholding a work of art. My research project investigates precisely such an uncanny relationship between image and viewer from a cultural point of view, especially considering how the crucial concepts involved by the notion of ‘Stendhal Syndrome’ – art, image, viewer, uncanny, anxiety – have been questioned and dissected by contemporary theory.

I am therefore focusing on the ambiguous role played by images at the intersection of literature, psychoanalysis and aesthetics in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By considering the complex genealogy of the notion of ‘imago’ in Western European cultural history, I analyze how the supernatural traditionally connected with images is metamorphosed, after the paradigmatic break known as the Enlightenment, in an uncanny and disturbing uncertainty.