Francesco Giusti graduated (BA and MA) in Comparative Literature at the University of L’Aquila (Italy) and, in 2012, obtained a PhD in European Literature and Culture from the Italian Institute of Human Sciences (SUM) and Sapienza University of Rome. He then held a British Academy Research Scholarship in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York (2013) and two DAAD Postdoctoral Research Grants in the Institut für Romanische Sprachen und Literaturen at the Goethe University Frankfurt (2014-2015). He is a member of the Centre for Research in Philosophy and Psychoanalysis Après coup at the University of L’Aquila.
His main areas of research are: history and theory of lyric poetry and the lyric as a discursive practice; psychoanalytic, philosophical, and cognitive aesthetics; medieval literatures and their reception in contemporary literatures and arts. His first monograph Canzonieri in morte. Per un’etica poetica del lutto was published by Textus Edizioni in 2015, and his second book, Il desiderio della lirica. Poesia, creazione, conoscenza by Carocci Editore in 2016. With Christine Ott and Damiano Frasca, he co-edited the volume Poesia e nuovi media by Cesati editore in 2018.
Lyric Time and the Transhistorical
ICI Affiliate Project 2018-19
How can two cultural artefacts – two poems in this case – connect with each other across time and space without dismissing their respective historicity? How can two events associated with the same cultural artefact – two readings of a poem – connect with each other across time and space without losing their respective singularity? Keeping these questions in mind, I intend to explore the following hypothesis: trans-historical continuity, trans-contextual (maybe even trans-national) exchanges, and trans-individual contacts intersect with historical individuality in every single poem.
Can a historical discourse re-trace and re-shape its own history? In considering selected pairs of poems, I will look at a specific verbal gesture that could provide the ground for transhistorical re-enactment in the lyric. My aim is not to propose a meta-historical account of poetry as such, but to investigate the inner workings of the lyric as a specific and, to a certain extent, alternative discursive mode, inasmuch as those inner workings can be detected in actual poems within the European tradition.
From Pre-diction to Post-diction:
The Prophetic Constitution of Subjectivity in Dante’s Vita nova
ICI Project 2016-18
According to the Biblical model, prophecy is the verbal or symbolic anticipation of future events. I want to focus instead on a different kind of prophecy that originates from a procrastination of truth and assumes the form of retrospective interpretation as it appears in Dante’s Vita nova. As psychoanalysis affirms, sense-making happens après-coup or nachträglich: the Vita nova is such an attempt to rearrange memory fragments into a teleological narrative.
This retroactive prediction compels Dante to cope with the problem of free will to define his poetic and ethical agency in time: a major issue not only in medieval theology but also in contemporary theory. Even cognitive science and neuroscience are now paying close attention to postdiction. The lyric can offer a model of subjectivity in performance which is relevant well beyond the literary genre: facing practical failures, the speaker gains an always provisional sense of self that is not constructed by a projection into an imaginary future but is recognized by looking back at her individual past.